31 Jan 2003

Cook Islands chamber of commerce hopes for political reform

4:43 pm on 31 January 2003

The Cook Islands chamber of commerce says it hopes the latest change in government will accelerate proposed political reforms.

Yesterday, the prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, sacked his deputy, Sir Geoffrey Henry, and replaced him with the opposition leader.

The chamber's president, Ewan Smith, says while the public is exasperated with the instability, he believes Dr Woonton is for the reforms, which would include a shorter parliamentary term and a change to a proportional electoral system.

Mr Smith says he views the sacked deputy prime minister as a politician inclined to keep the current system.

"I don't think Sir Geoffrey hsa been genuine in his discussion on reform. He is very much a person who supports a perpetuation of the old political style and quite frankly that's not going to get us to the next stage."

Ewan Smith