20 Jul 2004

Cook Islands MP says Penrhyn mayor is "childish" to try to stop supply of gas to islanders

6:39 pm on 20 July 2004

The Cook Islands MP for Penrhyn says it was childish of the island's Mayor to try to prevent the sale of gas to desperate islanders.

Wilkie Rasmussen says the Penrhyn council could not buy gas because it already owes 4-and-a-half thousand US dollars to the country's gas centre.

Mr Rasmussen bought gas for 20 households who had been reduced to cooking on open fires, and arranged for his representatives on the island to pump it into household cylinders.

But he says the Mayor refused to allow them to use the island's only pumping device.

Mr Rasmussen says the Mayor is supporting another candidate in the upcoming election.

But he says it was also a case of revenge.

"We've had an island secretary, he's sort of like the chief administrator, suspended, because of him and the Mayor withdrawing money from a Penrhyn Island trust fund without proper authority. I laid a complaint with Cook Islands audit department and they investigated and came up with a report that there were, indeed, breaches. Because of that, I think they took it very personally. They thought well, we'll retailiate in this way."

Wilkie Rasmussen says his representatives managed to devise a method of pumping the gas into household cylinders anyway.