There is a new sheriff in town. Carl Hunter, as the new Public Service Commissioner, has brought to light two cases of interest that previously may have been swept under the carpet. What will it mean for the Government if ministers and heads of ministry are made accountable?
interesting to ponder what might have happened had the court ruled fraud was
evident against the past and present Prime Minister, Henry Puna and Mark Brown.
Who would run the country? Would it be Robert the deputy who is under
investigation? Rose, who said she didn’t know her husband paid for the charter
with Puna and Brown during her daughter’s Atiu election campaign? What about
George, who burnt down the Justice building, or Albert who was in trouble in New
Zealand in relation to a rental car? This is our Cook Islands Party Government.
Merkel, the leader of Germany, the largest economy in Europe, has stood down
after 18 years of leadership. Meanwhile Xi
Jinping of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia have changed their countries
constitutional laws to allow them to rule for … well, forever.
Merkel did not appoint any family relations or friends to high positions in her
government. Unlike Donald Trump who had his daughter, sons, and their partners
in his close circle. It’s interesting now that Henry Puna has stepped down after
10 years in office as Prime Minister, how many Puna’s holds positions of power?
One is currently under investigation, the second to be investigated. Puna’s
friend, Ben Ponia, was stood down on full pay for allegations of misconduct and
during this time he builds new units to rent, then gets appointed chief of staff
for the Prime Minister’s Office. Another, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
are lots of examples of people holding top positions in the public and private
sector who have been found pilfering the coffers of charities, schools and sports
federations, and never get charged, never repay the stolen funds, and are then
hired by others where they repeat the same actions.
they, can they, be called to show up at high noon by our new sheriff? One would
hope so if we want to change our endemic ‘help yourself’ culture of theft.
hope current and future cases will have a pathway where they can be dealt with,
as they are for the small person.
the boy who absconded to New Zealand avoiding court after stealing $50 of
lemons; lots of comments but still nothing from anyone about our prime ministers
welcoming and promoting MP Albert Nicholas, who New Zealand police wanted to
talk to in relation to a $40,000 rental car.
was never charged with any hints of corruption. Henry Puna has been to court
defending cases that in my opinion walk a fine line, like the latest Medivac
flight post-election. The chartered flight to Atiu, the giving of two days
public holiday to Rakahanga, which he said was a joke, and the signing of purse
seine fishing rights after much public protesting and petitions against.
remained living in the same apartment she was in prior to her appointment and
wore the same tunic often many times with a sense of thrift and practicality.
Incredibly, here in the Cook Islands where our country’s earning potential even
pre-Covid is a ‘gnat’ fraction of Germany’s, our politicians have a $5000 dress
allowance, when a pair of jandals cost $20 and a pareu shirt $40.
the PM say anything re Corrective Services minister George Angene and the
prisoner work saga? Chances are no. Giving an inmate convicted for manslaughter
work privileges early, is no biggie, “he does good work”. In my opinion the
minister got his position when the former prime minister needed to convince
Angene to join the CIP party, helping them towards a slim one seat majority to
lead. CIP need him, which is why he got a $60,000 electric car to use, along
with Rose Brown. A fine way to stop them from walking.
Brown announced we are ready to open on May 1, meanwhile we are waiting to
recruit 30 nurses from Fiji. We used to have a nurses’ school but it was closed
down not long after the successful nurses’ convention. We lost good nurses,
then and recently, who want to be recognised and paid for their services. We should
have a nursing school once again for our youth to train here and work here.
for a wage rise for health workers was deferred for three years, while their
job risks have increased a hundred times due to Covid. The 45 per cent wage
rise for MPs has not been adjusted to meet the decline in the economy; they
have short hands in their deep personal pockets. Meanwhile, the PM has a long-outstretched
hand asking for funding handouts when we need to give ourselves a hand up.