Letters for Saturday, May 6, 2017

•Fishing boat conditions must improve • Affordable housing, Hawaiian culture at risk

Fishing boat conditions must improve

When I see commercial fishing operations off the shore of the Hamakua Coast near my home, I am reminded of the overwhelming problem of fishing boat slavery where normally 75 percent of crew members are professional Southeast Asian fishermen held under horrendous conditions of bondage as originally exposed by an Associated Press investigation.

They may be working 20 to 22 hours per day at 70 cents per hour without benefit of any humanitarian consideration including decent sanitation, open sores from bedbug bites, chronic food shortages, untreated injuries from dangerous working conditions, continual toil for uninterrupted years at sea.

When their last bit of energy has expired, their captains not infrequently abandoned them perhaps in an anonymous Asian island graveyard or the depths of an ocean burial.

Hawaii state legislator Rep. Kaniela Ing has done back-breaking diligence to get legislation passed which would keep track of all foreign fishermen on American boats to curb sea slavery. Unfortunately, his efforts were stymied by the Hawaiian Long Line Association claiming fishing operations are already over regulated by the feds.

But as long as the criminal conditions of slavery exist, much more needs to be done to stop these unspeakable atrocities beginning right here in Hawaiian waters.

Let Rep. Ing be the guiding light for the rest of the Hawaii Legislature whose members should be rising up in righteous indignation rather than retreating to their comfort zones of doing nothing in combating sea slavery. Shame!

I refuse to purchase any slave caught fish which can be found in abundance at all major grocery and big box stores and urge everyone else to do the same as a substantial step in halting fishing boat slavery.

Janet Ashkenazy, Honokaa

Affordable housing, Hawaiian culture at risk

Unless there’s change, we’ll never have truly affordable housing and Hawaiian culture will be lost to “Western ways.”

Land thefts, water issues, homelessness, impaired reefs and historical sites destroyed are the result of greed. Plantation closures left thousands of acres fallow with questionable prospects. Quiet title/quit-claims legally plunder that land for development.

Charitable and community organizations endorse and partner with developers. They rationalize wrongdoing believing the end justifies the means. Other injustices include disrespect for Hawaiian history. A Lahaina example is Stanford Carr’s Kahoma Village Project aided by Goodfellow Construction building on David Malo’s homestead, gifted to him by Kamehameha III, and a historic battle ground.

The Front Street adjacent property’s “Jesus Coming Soon” sign promises hope and forewarning. “See, I am coming soon to repay everyone according to their deeds.” — Jesus.

“Look, a righteous King (Jesus) is coming with honest rulers. … In those days the ungodly will not be heroes! Wealthy cheaters will not be spoken of as generous, outstanding men! Everyone will recognize an evil man when he sees him, and hypocrites will fool no one at all. The smooth tricks of evil men will be exposed, as will all the lies they use to oppress the poor in the courts. But good men will be generous to others and will be blessed of God for all they do.” — Isaiah.

Do what’s right! Be generous with what you have. Practice honesty, integrity and contentment. “Turn to God and away from sin. It’s your life that must change.” — John the Baptist

Michele Lincoln, Lahaina

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