Maui News

Molokai Chamber Issues Statement Backing Cruise

November 28, 2011, 2:10 PM HST
* Updated November 30, 6:16 AM
Listen to this Article
1 minute
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00
A
A
A

By Wendy Osher

Signs in support of a Molokai cruise operation were waved from shore, as protesters opposed to the operation took to the water in a small blockade on Saturday. Courtesy photo.

The Molokai Chamber of Commerce today issued a statement in support of a cruise company that has encountered protests in recent weeks from a small group of residents.

“The Molokai Chamber supports all business & tourism that compliments our unique lifestyle and we understand the vital role it plays in our community,” said Robert Stephenson, President of the Maui Chamber of Commerce.

The American Safari Cruises ship was turned away during a scheduled stop on Saturday after being greeted by a water blockade consisting of about 14 people on small boats and surfboards.

The group of protesters are seeking community input on decisions over tourism on the island; and have expressed concerns over the effects of the cruise industry on the island lifestyle.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

Meantime, a small group of supporters also gathered during the Saturday’s planned visit, holding signs saying “Welcome to Molokai,” and sharing messages of aloha.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

Supporters of the operation say the cruise supports local business by utilizing island products and services, and helps to address the historically high unemployment rate on the island.

“When there is interference with lawful commerce it can set a precedent that may have significant consequences to a fragile economy like ours,” said Stephenson in the emailed statement today.

American Safari Cruises CEO, Dan Blanchard is expected to be in attendance at a community meeting planned for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30, at the Mitchell Pauole Center.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

Company officials said they planned to provide comment upon the conclusion of Wednesday’s meeting.

E-Mail Newsletters Receive daily or weekly updates via e-mail. Subscribe Now
News Alerts Breaking news alerts on your mobile device. Get the App

Comments

This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments