23 Feb 2011

Former Cooks speaker opposes appointment of former PM Henry

4:09 pm on 23 February 2011

A former speaker of the Cook Islands parliament, Norman George, says he and others are opposed to the appointment of a new speaker, who is a non-elected member.

A former senior politician and former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Henry has been made Speaker of Parliament after a former Mauke MP Mapu Taia retired last year.

Mr George says he and others in the country are concerned about the appointment as they believe the role should have been given to a young person and someone who is elected to parliament.

"I'm very disappointed. My preference would've been for another member of parliament to get the position. I believe nearly all parliaments in the Commonwealth employ elected members of parliament to be speaker and that I think they have the right when we should amend our constitution to disallow any non-elected members of parliament to be made speaker."

Norman George says he believes Sir Geoffrey Henry is demanding a salary of 63,000 US dollars, though non-elected speakers are only entitled to 26,000.