Last week we had our very own homegrown Cook Islands version of a “how dare you” moment, when the Office of the Prime Minister effectively sacked Jacqui Evans from her position managing the Marae Moana Marine Park.
Why? Because she was trying to make the marine park into something real, something our Prime Minister has been travelling the world promoting, using as a demonstration on the global stage of the Cook Islands’ commitment to marine conservation for the last four years.
Well, in response:
How dare you sack the one person who has put her heart and soul into the Marae Moana, the person who nurtured the real conservation values of such an ambitious initiative and gained international support for the Cook Islands as a result.
How dare you do this without any prior consultation with, or subsequent explanation to, the Marae Moana Council, showing a complete disregard for the group established by the Marae Moana Act to play a meaningful role in what is meant to be a multi-stakeholder Marine Park.
How dare you terminate someone for merely making the suggestion that it may be wise to move more slowly on seabed mining, to allow more time to research the unknown impacts it can have on our Marae Moana marine Park. Has it been forgotten that Marae Moana was established by an Act of Parliament to protect and conserve the ecological, biodiversity, and heritage values of the Cook Islands marine environment?
How dare you embarrass the Cook Islands on the world stage by sacking the person who has just been recognised internationally with a Goldman Award for her outstanding contribution to marine conservation. You should be aware that this award was for work done in trying to ensure protection of the Cook Islands marine biodiversity and for conservation and sustainable management. The promotion of seabed mining is not a good fit with this aspiration.
A particularly relevant quote for us here in the Cook Islands from Greta Thunberg’s speech is: “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of economic growth – how dare you!”
We need people like Jacqui Evans in positions of power in this country. We need people who genuinely care for the future of our country, our Ipukarea, and not those that want to sacrifice our environment and our natural resources for short term financial gains.
Meanwhile, those that care about our future, like the members and supporters of Te Ipukarea Society, and many others, will continue to keep Government accountable for the impact of their decisions on the environment.
Office of the Prime Minister, how dare you!
Te Ipukarea Society
Te Ipukarea Society