Cook Islands Prime Minister Responds To Tragic Shooting In Rarotonga

From Henry Puna Prime Minister of the Cook Islands
Rarotonga, Cook Islands 

“As a new week begins and we approach the anniversary of the arrival of the Gospel to our shores, celebrating this anniversary right across our nation, we take with us also the tragic events that unfolded last week claiming the lives of three people and forever changing our nation.

“That this week so many of us will be celebrating the arrival of Christianity and how this so greatly changed our society is fortuitous, to say the least.

“In our prayers, many of us will be pondering the events of last Wednesday, and at the same time thankful for the life, the families and loved ones we have, and for the paradise that we so enjoy each and every day.

“Can I at this juncture salute our brave men and women in the police force and for those prison wardens that assisted in the terrible events last week. They were placed in the line of fire and in real danger, but despite this rose to the occasion and responded like the brave professionals we knew we could depend on.

“As so many of our people fortified themselves in their homes, and shops closed, they were out in our community and would do so until this situation came to its tragic end. To all the men and women involved last week; we, your government, thank you sincerely for your commitment and bravery.

“To the Police Commissioner Maara Tetava we salute you and your men, and on behalf of your government I thank you for your courage and leadership in the line of fire.

“I know I speak on behalf of all the people of our nation and applaud again your efforts over those two very difficult days and, indeed, the days ahead.

“As your elected government our response to these circumstances and the many questions that have unfolded has been measured and calculated, and we have done all we can to not succumb to emotive reactions that in the long term may prove ineffective.

“Instead meeting with government officials and heads of ministry over the past few days, we are talking through the systems and processes that will need strengthening and this has been our resolve.

“This is not the time for political posturing or to make political gains from this national and human tragedy. More it is a time for us to come together, work together, talk and ensure that we strengthen where we need to, and we will be continuing those conversations, asking those questions from all and sundry until we arrive at a place where we are satisfied that our people, our police and the most vulnerable in our communities are taken care of.

“We thank you for your patience as we make our way through this process and we assure you we will leave no stone unturned.

“As tragedy turns to grief, and can often turn to anger, we ask you - the people of the Cook Islands - to bear with us as we work through this. Your continued support is greatly appreciated as you allow us to work with all and anyone that can be an answer to this dilemma.  Today we ask you to please resist pointing fingers, and to instead hold hands as a community because we as your government cannot do this alone, and we will as always draw upon the strength that is our people and your contribution to see us through.

“Finally and most importantly, let us as a family of one nation and one people uphold in prayer the families and loved ones of those killed in this terrible tragedy, and help us all find healing and comfort in this dark hour of sorrow.”             

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It's a shock to the system being there in beautiful rarotonga.old time being home as I'm a new zealand maori and on the second day of holiday walking along the beach and I came across Mere Dean and friend at that time Roger and had befriended them and invited them over for the next 3 weeks things was all good not knowing Rogers past good nothing went wrong as if it did it may have been bad.all I'm trying to say is that why is people with a bad past like Roger preying on tourist walking along the beach I feel the deepest sympathy to the whanau back here in Aotearoa especially Ian

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