Cook Islands PM: Government MP Who Joined The Opposition Supporting No-Confidence Motion Was ‘Blindsided’

Puna says Brown would be welcomed back to Cook Islands Party

By Rashneel Kumar

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, June 27, 2016) – Prime Minister Henry Puna says Cook Islands Party MP Rose Toki Brown, who crossed floor to support the opposition coalition’s bid to overthrow the government, was “blindsided by some scheming people in the background.”

Reaffirming comments from Finance minister Mark Brown, Puna said the government was ready to welcome the MP for Teenui-Mapumai back in the party, despite her disloyalty.

Efforts to get comments from Rose on Puna’s statement proved futile after a number of calls made to her cell phone went unanswered.

On Monday, the opposition coalition in absence of most CIP ministers and MPs elected Rose as their prime minister after passing a vote of no confidence against the Puna-led government.

Minister of Internal Affairs Albert Nicholas, who helped make up the quorum on Monday, was also part of the parliamentary proceedings but later confirmed his loyalty to the CIP government.

The opposition coalition’s action was deemed illegal by Queen Representative Tom Marsters, who stood by Speaker of the Parliament Nikki Rattle’s ruling that the parliament adjourned “sine die” on Friday last week.

In a press conference on Thursday Puna said he did not doubt Rose’s ability as a potential leader.

“But I do feel sorry for Rose because she is young, she is still growing in the political world and she has a bright future ahead of her. And I really think she has been blindsided by some scheming people in the background.

“She just started in politics. She still has a lot to learn.”

Mark Brown said earlier this week that the government was ready to welcome Rose back to the fold.

Puna reiterated Brown’s statement, saying the olive branch had been extended and they would stand by that until further developments.

“I think it got to be borne in mind that there is also another very important party in these happenings and that’s the constituency.

“They are our bosses as politicians, our committee and our supporters in our respective constituencies. We are answerable to them and their views have to be taken into account.”

Puna said him stepping down as the PM to entice Rose back to the CIP government would be the last resort for the party.

Meanwhile the prime minister has questioned the integrity of the Democratic Party following the latest events.

“I think everybody out there is just laughing their heads off of what the Demos are doing to themselves. They bring in an ex-CIP to lead the opposition in parliament and now they are bringing in a CIP member to be their prime minister.

“There’s got to be some integrity, especially in politics.”

Democratic Party MP James Beer lashed out at Puna, saying it was the prime minister who lacked integrity.

“Our integrity is questioned by a person who himself lacks integrity. There are countless examples of prime minister lacking integrity, from the referendum in Aitutaki to advance payment to Pacific Schooners,” Beer said.

“He should look at himself in the mirror first before pointing fingers at the Demos.”

Cook Islands News
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