admin's picture

AVARUA, Rarotonga, Cook Islands (April 23, 2001 - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat)---Cook Islands opposition leader Sir Geoffrey Henry says the government is spending too much money on overseas trips for ministers.

He says while schoolchildren in the outer islands are running short of basic supplies, the government's budget is directionless.

In particular, Sir Geoffrey points to the lack of educational material on Pukapuka, where pupils have to cut their pencils into thirds and use cardboard to write on.

"One does not see an economic and social policy that is consistent with the reform policies we adopted since 1996," Sir Geoffrey said. "If one was to read the budget document itself against the policy statement that was issued in March of last year, there is hardly any correlation between the two whatsoever."

He said the money that was set aside for the development of the outer islands is "paltry" compared to the amount of money being spent for institutions established on the main island of Rarotonga.

"There has been more spending for travel by ministers and Members of Parliament in that one period than in the past four or five years," he said. "There’s probably a strong desire for them to see the world before they get kicked out."

Sir Geoffrey said money is also being spent on giving political supporters high-paying government jobs.

"This is the sort of nonsense that’s been going on," he said.

For additional reports from Radio Australia/Pacific Beat, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia/Pacific Beat.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment