I have been having a go at MPs recently and I think it’s fair to say that many people are not happy with what we are having to put up with, writes Te Tuhi Kelly, the leader of the Progressive Party of the Cook Islands.
of the things that gets up people’s noses and really snots us off is the
incompetence of some of our MPs. The utter disregard for process from an
undereducated and arrogant at times rabble. The sheer lack of respect for their
positions as the political leaders of our country and for us who put them
1965 when we gained independence has seen the rise of corrupt practices by our
elected officials culminating in the mid-1990s debacle where the country was
essentially bankrupt. Now we have a history of court proceedings, loss of
knighthood, loss of seat due to fraudulent behaviour, demotions and then to rub
salt into the festering wound, the rallying cry from the affected Party and
their anau rushing to the defence of their comrade.
have a history of voting into political and public service positions,
criminals, liars, philanderers, and those who were found to be derelict in
their duties which goes hand in hand with bribing, treating, and manipulating
the feelings and emotions of our people and relying on the forgiveness model.
All towards one goal and that is, the need to maintain a greedy disposition for
them, their families and their lifestyles whilst lying through their teeth and
smiling whilst doing it.
of the things which I rabbit on about to all whom will listen to me is the need
to make politicians accountable for their actions to the people and not every
four years or a by-election. In the Public Service there is a code of conduct
which binds each and every employee of the public service. Now one would think
that MPs are also public servants but, and it is a big but, not one nor any of
the other Public Service Commissioners would even take on such a role as to
police MPs. Why? Because they are not subject to the Office of the Public
Service Commissioner. They are subject to criminal law and the Constitution of
our country and to their Party.
would go so far as to state that they are more beholding to themselves then
their Leader and then their Party than they are to the laws of our country
going by the issues over the decades since 1965. Do they care about what we
think, nah not on your nelly, they don’t give a toss once they have your vote?
You know the thing that people don’t seem to learn is this, “Fool me once (Shame
on you)/Fool me twice (Shame on me)” and this happens time and time again.
must be held accountable to us the people and if it takes a referendum to force
change then so be it. The Party that introduces a code of conduct that is the
one you should think about voting for. The main parties will never think of
something like this or even come up with an initiative that puts the power for
decision making squarely in the hand of those who will be most affected by
their shenanigans: that is us. They will make noises to comfort and console and
to get you onside and the thing about is, it will never happen.
may ask what is a code of conduct and how is it applied? The best way to
describe it for a layperson is in this manner. Every group of people has a set
of rules written or unwritten that they adhere to for the good conduct of that
group. The ties that make them unique are bounded on those rules as the way to
give sense as to whom they are as well as to modify good social and acceptable
behaviour to that group. Examples include tribes, sports teams, clubs, you name
any team, or any group and those rules are there. All groups mingle socially or
competitively, and we the people are a member of more than one group and hence
adhere to same, similar, or variable rules depending on group dynamics.
rules in a sense are called a code (standards) of conduct (ethics or morals)
which you sign up to if you want to be a member of that group. In a democracy there
is none, no MP is required to formally sign into this and hence we find
ourselves at a crossroads in disciplining those who transgress and break the
rules (code of conduct), because it does not exist. If it did exist it would be
highly unlikely that those who should be policing it will in fact do so professionally
and without bias or prejudice. Even if it is written into their Party
Constitution, it is at best a throw away paragraph.
process for managing a transgression which arises out of an allegation of a
breach of the code of conduct i.e., misconduct or serious misconduct will be
predicated on an investigation being carried out by an independent body to
ensure the integrity of the process is maintained throughout. It will mean
invoking Article 14 (7) (b) of the Cook Islands Constitution as has happened
recently with the Deputy Prime Minister Robert Tapaitau being arrested and
charged with allegedly committing an act of fraud and was suspended by the
Queen’s Representative acting on orders from the Prime Minister.