Dear Editor, Merchant of Paradise (MOP) leader Tim Tepaki's letter in CINews’ Saturday issue was strange in criticising me rather than debating the relevant issues I raised. I laughed after reading his reply, and really had no intention of replying, but I realised that my reply is not just for Tepaki’s benefit, but also for those, who like me, wish he’d stop flogging his dead horse!
The reality is, there are likely a large majority of Cook Islanders here and abroad who, like myself, suspect and believe that the Chinese are just not interested in MOP’s plan. Which has unequivocally been borne out by the respected Chinese Taihe Institute’s confirmation of their research, headlined in CINews’ Friday 28th December issue, “Study on China's Belt and Road initiative ranks Cook Islands as...Least suitable”, further stating that the Cook Islands is also deemed alongside Palestine and Yemen as unsuitable for any Belt and Road projects.
Translation: no Chinese aid finance/loan/$300m for the Cook Islands for any Belt and Road projects, as we’re now officially deemed “least suitable”, like Palestine and Yemen!
Comprende? And now to the points I raised:
1. It is certain that the Chinese, like the Demos, would do comprehensive due diligence on MOP’s plan and eventually come to a decision; and it’s also likely that the Taihe Institute would do the research. Thus, the “bizarre” criticism was not only irrational, but also unwarranted.
2. If those individuals who support or have a vested interest in MOP’s plan, can’t, won’t, or are simply unable to “put their money where their mouth is” using their very own assets such ashouse/land/monies, or even agreeing to personally guarantee any and all loans to Tepaki and his MOP plan...is it any wonder that there are no investors interested in this plan? Logically, if you don’t want to lose your assets or monies as a result of MOP’s plan, then neither do they!
3. As it was the respected Chinese Taihe Institute who deemed the Cook Islands as least suitable, and together with Palestine and Yemen, as unsuitable for any Belt and Road projects, then please don’t blame me for the demise and failure of your MOP plan because investors and/or the Chinese won't come to the party. Blame the Taihe Institute for publishing their report globally instead, where they clearly make the point of declaring our unworthiness in having any further consideration for Chinese funding support.
4. I again state that it is possible and therefore probable, that our government’s threat of Court action against the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), as well as our government’s perpetual complaining and moaning about their sub-standard buildings, and their poor workmanship of the TMV water-pipe joint welds (where now our government is
demanding they repair the welds to internationally accepted standards at their own cost, citing legal recourse in return if CCECC refuse to acquiesce to their demands!) And all of this alongside our ongoing “pati pati” for pick-up trucks, excavators, machinery, monies, electronic equipment, air-conditioners, etcetera, is likely another major reason for China’s newly revamped attitude towards us, and now not so generous position towards our country. As this really does appear to indeed be the case and perhaps may be the real reason for China’s dissing us, perhaps this is one of many points that can squarely be blamed on our government for dissing the Chinese, and causing them to lose face!
Hopefully, there’ll be no more flogging of this dead horse, now that we know for sure that China is no longer predisposed towards us as a favoured nation. I trust I was concise enough, because...that’s it, folks! Ka kite e kia manuia.