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Opinion pieces, analyses and letters are intended to provide a diverse range of views from our community. They are not intended to represent the views of Maui Now.

LETTER: Re Molokai
Cruise Ship Protest

Posted 03:26 PM HST, November 15, 2011

See original story regarding protest of American Safari Cruises on Molokai here.

By Clare Mawae, Molokai


American Safari Cruises ship "Wilderness." Courtesy photo.

If we ask the group of protesters to form a group and then ask some one to facilitate the following task, how many would be left standing?

* Please all of those collecting grants which by the way the working people contribute taxes to these grants to step to the side
* Please all of those collecting some kind of government help whether it is federal or state, which also means food stamps, help with housing, WIC, etc etc step to the side
* Please all of those working for the State or Federal agencies/schools step to the side.
* Please all of those that are retired and do not have to worry about making a living step to the side.
* Please all of those that are depending on others to pay their bill step to the side.
How many do you think would be left standing in front of the facilitator?
My guess it would be ZERO…

So the question that I have is then why is it that 36 visitors with a company that has been talking with community members/businesses for the past 6 years should be classified under cruise ships.

I thought cruise ships were 800-2000 people, and no way can Molokai even come close to accepting cruise ships because of the infrastructure..

How many days a week can a boat seriously dock at our harbor when you have to take in account the barge, gas barge and other community activities. MINIMAL…

So in my mind this can only be a good thing for the community when a company such as this only goes places where cruise ships don’t go..

Don’t you think that because this company is looking for cultural and enriching experiences for their guests, that they too would be fighting off the cruise ships..

This is not about cruise ships as was tried once before…this is about our economy and helping small businesses survive on this island.

Can you count on how many businesses went under this year? It’s scary..
So why are these people protesting?
Let us go back to how many people had to step aside?
I am baffled about all of this despite hearing all the meetings both pro and against..I am baffled that not one person against the boat can realistically say they knew nothing about this.

Please help enlighten me as some how we need to find the balance on our island. We need to find clear communication between the different groups. As some how the communication got muddled and opposition only mounted a week prior. From what I understand there were many opportunities to talk and discuss this months and even years ago but the confusion came about of what the right protocol is to the island.

I am baffled when I see respectable Hawaiian people on both sides of the fence. I am baffled on why and how communication broke down between these people.

But the bottom line is we need to find the balance and perhaps this group of protesters could for just a moment feel for the real working people that are trying to keep a roof over their families’ heads and not be living off the system.

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  • Dakine

    Clare makes a lot of sense.  The protesters were caught unaware and reacted the only way uneducated people could, be against anything and everything.  However, this cruise company has been working with the community for quite some time to bring some guests to the island.  Its mystery how some of these people, including the Molokai Prince, Walter “Half” Ritte, were out of the loop.  

    I do like the solution presented, which was, if you are sucking on the government teat, back off, and try get educated first.  Im sure if Prince “Half” Witte approached the local organization who was working with the company, he may have had a better understanding of what was going on.

    I feel bad for the people on Molokai who actually have to work for a living.  Unless you are an educator, or work for the state or federal government, you dont deserve to work, according to Prince Half-Witte. Cause, if you in construction, no work for you, you in tourism, no work for you, you work the ranch, no work for you.  Congrats “Half” Witte for sinking Molokai deeper into the Ghetto of Government Subsistence.

    Ever wonder where “Half” Witte gets his money??  People of Molokai would love to know.

  • Aloha lady

    Touch Claire, Touche!  Of course the idiots protesting on Molokai won’t even know what that means!

  • happythoughts

    I love your letter Claire.  As a matter of fact, I come from a “family owned business” that depends on the people that are coming off of this so called- “cruise ship”.  My father and mother worked endlessly to build a family business that has allowed my mother to be home when we got home from school, that allowed all of their 6 children the opportunity of remaining here on the island to enjoy the island and it’s beauty, and not be FORCED to move away, just because we are unable to provide for ourselves and our family!!  WE ARE heavily involved in community activities-  send our children to Immersion programs- Eat Deer meat when we’re blessed with it, Eat fish when we are blessed with it too-  We teach our children the importance of taking care of our land, We pick up rubbish on the side of the road, we pick up rubbish in public areas that we see, even if it’s not ours!!  We LOVE our neighbors and Welcome the Malihini (which has become some of our most precious friends to date) and share with them the importance of WHY we love our island, and HOW we would love it to remain “the most hawaiian island” and TEACH them and HELP them to feel what WE FEEL…. we don’t dis-respect them, or curse them, or call them names and push them on their way… WHY? Because we ARE NOT that kind of people– and most especially, because our CHILDREN are watching!!  It is more important TO ME to teach my children to LOVE others, be kind, and still be able to RESPECTFULLY say, “But Aunty, and Uncle- we want you to come visit and enjoy what we enjoy, but we don’t want our island to be the next Waikiki or become like Honolulu, or even Maui for that matter, can you respect that?” Chances are- they will!!  So-  BALANCE? SOLUTIONS? Only one!!  Conduct your business with love, respect, and good intentions- and with that- WHO NEEDS TO WORRY!!  If we PONO.. PONO will take care of all of us!! 

    • Finding the Balance

      Aloha Happy thoughts..

      Thanks for your comments…..I just got to break the news to our drivers that the boat was not coming today or tomorrow..Maybe in time for Christmas but who knows….

      If we had taken a vote at the meeting, the majority would have been in support…..

      The good part though is that this has opened up the door to a process and community plan where the silent majority can also have a say without being intimidated by the few that continue to do so to this very day..

      Well we all try but at least when I left the meeting on Wednesday I had nothing to hide and as the Aha Kiole said they wanted transparency….Well they got from me and I feel relieved….

      Now to start rallying up the silent voices and let them have their say in this…We have a week to get this done..