The Cook Islands would like to think that Commonwealth members would look on the fiscal sovereignty of States such as the Cook Islands with respect, says Deputy Prime Minister Dr Terepai Maoate.
Opening the 15th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Seminar at the Edgewater Resort yesterday, Dr Maoate told delegates and officials from 10 countries that he hoped any international initiatives by the Commonwealth relating to fiscal sovereignty would be carried out in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory way that encouraged the fullest cooperation of all parties.
He noted that the Commonwealth had been a powerful lobbying group on behalf of its members. The Commonwealth Secretariat had played a meaningful role in relation to international fiscal initiatives relating to the OECD and these had been a matter of controversy for small islands states like the Cook Islands, Dr Maoate added.
“On our part, the Cook Islands has been working diligently to reform its financial sector in order to meet the present demands in international standards and requirements.”
The deputy prime minister said the impact of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s eight-day meeting on Rarotonga was great for the Cook Islands because the country valued its ties with the Commonwealth and its membership of the Parliamentary Association.
“The fact that 10 countries from places as varied as Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Canada and the Pacific Islands are here shows the impact of the Commonwealth on the global stage.”
Dr Maoate also gave a brief explanation of the Cook Islands’ unique relationship with New Zealand and an outline of the country’s progress since self-government in 1965.
Delegates have been arriving for the meeting since last Saturday and were treated to a day tour of Aitutaki on Monday. They will be kept busy till Friday with discussions on a variety of topics relating to the role of Parliament and Parliamentarians, presented by speakers from a number of countries.
The visitors come from countries as diverse as India, Uganda, Scotland, Australia and Namibia.