19 Mar 2008

Cooks government internal row over Mini Games becomes public

3:05 pm on 19 March 2008

The Cook Islands foreign minister, Wilkie Rasmussen, has dropped portfolio dealing with the next year's Pacific Mini Games.

The decision was made amid ongoing tension with the Deputy Prime Minister, Sir Terepai Maoate, over the building of facilities for the games.

In a statement issued from Slovenia, Mr Rasmussen said when Sir Terepai questioned his role in heading the construction of the multi purpose complex, he was again challenging the authority of Cabinet and the Prime Minister.

Mr Rasmussen said he had avoided a public fight for some time because of the bad image it created for the government.

In return, Sir Terepai said while Mr Rasmussen had been the Games Minister for over two years, there was very little to show for it.

He said progress on construction of the sports complex has been made by the Cook Islands Investment Corporation, and as such the CIIC should remain in charge of the project.