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‘Machine is for the people, people vote me in, so it is for them’

Wednesday 19 April 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Local, National

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‘Machine is for the people, people vote me in, so it is for them’
Minister George “Maggie” Angene with the machine which was subject to a heated discussion in Parliament last week. 23041801/23041802

Corrective Services Minister George “Maggie” Angene says the machine that was brought up during Question and Answer session in Parliament last week was earlier discussed in 2018.

Angene said the issue goes back to 2012 when he was in the Opposition, he attended a MPs meeting where he asked for a “‘Bobcat’, a truck and a digger for my village”.

“Why? Because people can’t afford this machinery to dig graves, or anything that these machines can be used for.

“I asked to use the machine for one day that is Saturday for our community work day.”

After joining government in 2018, Angene said he asked Prime Minister Mark Brown for a machine (digger) to be used at the prison and to dig around the Punanga Nui Market.

“My portfolio can’t afford the machine, so I was asked to get through the Corrective Services not only to help them but (help) around the island,” he said.

“I give the digger; you buy the diesel and use the machine. If there is no work it is parked.”

Angene hit back at Opposition MP Teariki Heather who raised the issue in Parliament last week, calling for transparency and accountability on the use of government owned machineries.

“I am asking where faith, hope and love is,” he said.

“I am helping people. This machine is for the people, people vote me in, so it is for them. If there are no people, there is no government. People look after us, we look after them.”

Cook Islands United Party leader Heather in Parliament said he had never seen an excavator which was purchased by the government working within the compound of the Corrective Services.

Minister Angene then said MP Heather’s question was implying that he was doing something wrong.

PM Brown said the Minister for Corrective Services requested for a machine to help his ministry and be useful in the wider community.

He said the machine has been helpful in digging graves among other work in the community.