HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 598: 11 January 2012

News Brief

Confusion and dissent in the Government
In New York, newspaper peddlers have this sales cry, “Read All about It” and if I may echo the same; “Read All About It – PM off again on another trip to Abu Dhabi”. No joke here. Prime Minister Henry Puna and his Minister of Finance left last Sunday for Abu Dhabi. Well, whatever the attraction in Abu Dhabi is – it must be precious in the eyes of the PM. But what is the price of his self-gratification?
In my decade of being an MP in the Cook Islands, I have never witnessed a neglectful leader as the current PM. He must that know that he is abandoning domestic duties and responsibilities. In effect he is ignoring the problems we are having in fishing, depopulation, depressed economy, false economic forecasts and the CISNOG debt and mismanagement saga along with the “stink” over the John Scott chicken farm in Ngatangiia.
I have said previously that the PM and his Minister of Finance are too terrified of Sir Geoffrey Henry to do anything other than bail him out to the tune of $800,000. With regards to John Scott, the PM won’t interfere because John made it a mission to attack the previous Government during the last pre-election period and during the elections. He was vocal and wrote letters to the local news all for revenge because the previous Government will not take anyone’s position in his battle with CITC over the protection, quality and saleability of his eggs. The Democratic Party Government’s position was very clear and simple; Cook Islanders are entitled to choose whether to buy locally produced eggs or imported ones.
This selective and at the same time “could not care less attitude” of the PM will undoubtedly fester and test his leadership as exemplified by the recent and simmering behaviour of his own caucus and cabinet. They are becoming unruly by the day. Unruly, you might ask? Yeah, his own Cabinet and caucus have no clear directions from the boss. They are in the dark and confused as to whether what they say to the public is personal or policy.
The MP for Tupapa, George Maggie is threatening (whether real or not – let’s wait and see) to walk out of his Government if things get worse. You see he has very, very high ambitions – the top job is in his sights but he is dismissed by the powers in hand as “rough rock”. Remember, he was not first choice for the PM as a candidate but “Tutungi Rangatira” defied the odds.
Then we read some extraordinary statements from the Minister Nandi Glassie, the most educated of the CIP lot. First, he wants Cook Islanders to pay for their own medical referral from the outer islands to Rarotonga and onwards to NZ. Added to that was his threat to clamp down on free press. I think he had better grow thick skin like I have; the media is a double edged sword for those in the public eye.
Lastly, I worry when my brother, Minister Teina Bishop broods. I hear that the PM wants to take over Bishop’s seat because he knows he won’t win Manihiki back. Believe me when Teina is bruised, he can be formidable. Go Demo Way! -Wilkie Rasmussen

Up a new mast
Existing communications devices will soon be up a new mast being directed by Telecom
To be safe during the cyclone season, Telecom Cook Islands had decided to change their old existing mast for a new, sturdier one.
Erection of the mast started in November and will be completed by the end of February according to Telecom’s John Teiti.
The new mast which is being set up by Telecom’s workers is a spare one shipped over from Aitutaki. “The old one that this one is replacing will be sent to Mangaia to replace the old one there,” said Teiti
The current old mast is at risk of collapsing during a cyclone.
“There was rust on the beams of the mast, so we had to take it down as it was considered to be unsafe. The beams will be repaired before being sent to Mangaia,” said Teiti.
The new mast, which is built to 30 meters, will hold antennas used to capture and send out signals from the GSM, South Pole, TV and FM. -Tiare Ponini

Traditional haircutting ceremony

Over 300 invited guests and family attended the traditional hair cutting ceremony of Ezekiel Tuatea Tatuava Enjoy held on Saturday afternoon at the Avatea School Hall. Ezekiel who turns five this week is the son of Annabel Tatuava and Masterton Enjoy and the grandson of Eugene and Helen Tatuava and Tapu and Ah Young Enjoy. The ceremony was truly a cultural feast and thoroughly enjoyed by all those who attended. Shona Pitt

Australia’s best impressed with our Eddie

The Cook Islands Amateur Boxing Association was pleased to announce following its executive board meeting on Tuesday morning that champion Australian boxer Anthony Mundine who visited Rarotonga recently to attend a wedding and christening, has offered to return to Rarotonga to help local boxers. Mundine took time out during his stay to train at Kent Hall in Titikaveka with local boxers including top local boxer Eddie Daniel with whom Mundine is very impressed. Mundine also sparred with Eddie.
Eddie’s coach, Australian Graham Taylor, told the Herald on Tuesday that Mundine was a showman for the camera but in his own way was very humble, shy, a non-drinker and a non-smoker.
Mundine a super welter weight, that’s between 72kg-76kg, holds 6 titles and next month is to challenge for a world title in the USA. Taylor said Mundine told him he loved Rarotonga and wanted to come back with his 6 kids for a holiday. Mundine said everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Taylor said Mundine had offered to help our local boxers with their preparation for the Oceania Boxing Championships to be held in Australia in March. -Charles Pitt

Boxing: next Fight Night 2 February

The next “Fight Night” for local amateur boxers has been tentatively scheduled for Thursday 2 February 2012 at the Tupapa Youth Centre.
The Executive Board of the Cook Islands Amateur Boxing Association (CIABA) made the announcement at its meeting on Tuesday.
The programme, fighter match ups and fund raising proposals will be finalized on Tuesday 24 January when CIABA executive next meets and local trainers attend.
Resumption of the popular Fight Nights is necessary to raise funds to send our top talent to overseas tournaments. The next overseas contest is the Oceania Boxing Championships to be held in Australia in March. Gold medal winners at this tournament are assured entry into the Olympic Games in London later this year.
Three local boxers have already qualified for the Oceania tournament. They are Eddie Daniel, Matthew Titoa and Jubilee Arama.
Other talented boxers such as Sonny Nooroa (currently boxing in Australia) and the Super Heavyweight Bernard Okatai are also under the Executive’s gaze.
CIABA welcomes sponsorship from interested parties keen to support local boxing. Sponsorship can be by way of funds or training gear, materials, supplies or equipment.
CIABA is keen to organize Fight Nights on a monthly basis and a local tournament involving Tahiti and New Caledonia boxers is being considered. -Charles Pitt

Kia Orana Cook Islands – Our Trade Development Strategy
It is confirmed: after the second successful year the Kia Orana Cook Islands Forum now takes its place as a key tool in the destinations tourism trade development strategy.
With increasing competition from other tourism regions and destinations KOCI is a crucial element in ensuring the Cook Islands remains top of mind with our trade partners. There are many successful destination forums – larger ones like POWOW for the USA, TRENZ for New Zealand, and ATE for Australia. Of course closer to home, there is TOKTOK in Vanuatu and BFTE in Fiji. These annual forums continue to operate successfully after decades of being a part of NTO activities. The Cook Islands will take its place with these forums also.
Not to run in isolation, KOCI is positioned at a time following the Corporation efforts after a year of consolidated activities held in-market. The offices representing the Cook Islands in our key markets continue to plan year round programmes targeting key sales and travel periods. These trade strategy elements include training, incentive prizes, cooperative initiatives, online activities, visitation programmes and consumer advertising.
The Forum timing also works when the Cook Islands as an industry are better placed to accommodate and support this. This kind of programme is only successful with this partnership and the success and longevity of the programme relies on this heavily. The experiences gained by the delegates while in the Cook Islands is invaluable and drives home the real message that the Cook Islands is an unbelievable destination.
In the coming weeks, discussions will be held to formulate future plans for KOCI with the launch of plans for KOCI2012 : 1-10 December expected in March this year.
The Corporation team are receiving welcome feedback from the public including industry and delegates and will utilise this information to bring about a bigger, better, brighter KOCI programme.

Bouncing signals off the moon causes TV to fail
Bouncing signals off the moon may be a cool thing but not when it interferes with the local TV transmission. CITV viewers were frustrated on Monday evening yet again when they lost their television signal between about 7.30pm and 9.30pm. Telecom Cook Islands, the owner of the transmission network, were called out to the RSA site to try to find the problem.
John Teiti, Manager of Engineering told CITV that it was interference. He suspected that this was the case because it had happened a couple of times before and at around the same time on each of these days.
So on Tuesday evening, Telecom engineers camped out at the site to wait for the interfering signal. At about 8.41pm, CITV got its first call that their broadcast had gone off. CITV contacted Teiti who said that he could see the interfering signal. So CITV checked the signal leaving its building but there were no corresponding fluctuations. In fact, the town signal was perfect so was quickly eliminated as the source. So CITV decided to call the only ham radio operator in the vicinity of the RSA to ask if they knew anything about the spurious signal. Coincidently, the hammie had just begun transmitting signals to the moon. So the hammie turned off his equipment and Teiti was able to confirm that the signal disappeared, he turned it back on again, and the interfering signal came back.
The hammie who is a visitor will not be using his equipment again in the direction of the RSA mast, and will now wait for the moon to move away from it.
CITV has asked the Minister of Broadcasting Hon. Mark Brown and Telecom Cook Islands CEO Jules Maher for stricter governance of ham radio operators and any other transmitting operators for that matter given the severity of the problem to both CITV and Telecom Cook Islands commercially.
CITV would like to officially thank John Teiti and his team including JessieTotini and Eric Herrmann, who spent countless hours trying to fix this problem. CITV would also like to thank the public for their patience and understanding. And a small thank you to Tino Vaireka for checking for power fluctuations at the site.
CITV would like to advise the public that now that the RSA site has been cleared of a problem, there are still some other smaller problems around the island with its transmission network which are yet to be addressed. - CITV Release

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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