Coastal Post Online


January, 2003

Moloka'i Versus Goliath
Submitted By Rich Zubaty

The 6000 residents of the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i are preparing to greet the December 28 arrival of the Holland America cruise ship Statendam with chants, pickets and a "No Cruise Ships in Moloka'i" 'protest party'. While no violence is anticipated in this refuge of the Aloha spirit, some members of the "rescue the land" grassroots organization feel very passionately about this multi-billion dollar corporate incursion onto their quiet island. "How can an island without a single traffic signal and one public toilet be expected to handle 2000 visitors at once?" asks resident Walter Ritte Jr.

Residents' concerns-on this island with the highest per capita Hawaiian lineage, and home of Father Damien's Leper Colony- include: destruction of their coral reef by a five-ton anchor, importation of viral diseases and non-indigenous plant and animal species, massive social and cultural disruptions, and the utter lack of cruise ship regulations-particularly their freedom to dump photo chemicals, bilge oil, and the human feces of 3000 people three miles offshore the beaches of this tropical hermitage. Unlike the other Hawaiian islands, Moloka'i has rigorously declined tourist development -- there's only one small hotel.

Says resident Rich Zubaty, "These ships are foreign registry -- foreign soil. They (sic) can come on our island but we can't go on their boat. Even the Coast Guard can't go on their boat to inspect it. It's like having a chunk of Liberia parked in your back yard...They got away with this by paying off politicians, from the Feds on down to Charles Taguchi on (outgoing governor) Cayetano's cabinet. It stinks."

State Circuit Court Judge Shackley Raffetto has refused to HEAR the arguments to require an environmental impact statement put forth in the Motion for an Injunction filed by Earthjustice lawyer Isaac Moriwake -- which even the pro-business Honolulu Advertiser called "sensible". So let the 'party' rage. And remember. Aloha means "hello"-and "goodbye."


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