18 Dec 2003

Cook Islands Marine Boss resigns due to public perception

11:44 am on 18 December 2003

The Head of the Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources, Navy Epati, says he is resigning to stem the tide of speculation and rumour over his ministry.

Mr Epati says the main reason for his resignation is public perception of a conflict of interest in his position.

He was reappointed in June after taking a 70 percent share in a new fishing company in May.

Mr Epati says concerns about his ability to oversee an industry he has a stake in have generated misinformation and rumours which cast a bad impression on the ministry itself.

"We cannot allow that to continue and the only way to have that removed is by resigning as Secretary of Marine Resources ,despite the fact that all the positions that I have made have been declared with the appropriate authorities and I have had no feedback to the contrary."