And the low attendance means the organisers are now in “a holding pattern” to see if there is any interest in continuing with the idea, says lawyer and former Atiu MP Norman George.
“All the preparations are done. The new constitution is drafted and all the documents needed to register it as an incorporated society are in place, ready to file,” he said.
“The dining room of parliament was booked for 10am on Wednesday October 24. The signatures of 15 retired or former MPs were needed, but only three turned up!
“All swear words combined cannot describe our disappointment. We were too stunned to describe our reaction,” said a dejected George.
“We advertised the meeting for three weeks in CINews, so no-one can say they didn’t know about it.
“If that is how former MPs conduct themselves after their successful service in parliament, it must account for their loss of spirit and initiative to vigorously pursue alternatives to their lifestyle.
“Maybe we were pushing too hard. The intention was to formalise a structure, then for members to elect the office bearers to manage it. Opportunities for former MPs to travel and participate in new activities are limitless. This new body will be powerful, standing alongside others.”
George says there are around 56 former Cook Islands MPs and Clerks of Parliament, and most of them live in Rarotonga.
But while the former prime minister is down, he is certainly not out – and he’s going to have another shot at organising a meeting.
“While my first reaction was to walk away and drop the whole idea, I am prepared to give it one final chance.
“I will raise the idea again in February next year. I need expressions of interest from no less than 20 retired MPs and clerks before calling another meeting.
“If there is no interest, then good night ra! E moe ra! Call me on 20241.