A decision was finally handed down by the trustees of the Office of Hawaiians Affairs last Thursday and that is to pullout their support for the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope. However, they are not outright in opposing it.
It was in 2009 that the board of trustees expressed their support in the building of the $1.4 billion gigantic telescope. In the light of the recent events, where there are relentless demonstrations against it, they have decided to rescind their previous support, especially after the arrest 31 of demonstrators’ during the earlier part of this month. They arrest came after blocked the passage to the construction site,
Trustees could have voted for any of these 3 measures such as: maintaining their support for the project, oppose or take back their previous decision or just take a middle ground stand. They’ve been listening arguments from both sides and in the end they’ve decided to just rescind their present position and stopped short in opposing it.
“We have the opportunity to send a strong message that it is no longer business as usual for Hawaiians,” said trustee Dan Ahuna.
Peter Apo, one of the Trustees said their decision to rescind without opposing it would give the OHA a window in allowing more discussions to the matter with the final goal of removing all the other telescopes already installed on the hollowed grounds of the mountain.
It’s not clear yet what will be the effect of the OHA’s of decision. The main aim of the office is to safeguard the well being of Hawaiians.
“We are naturally disappointed that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has changed its position on the Thirty Meter Telescope project. However, we are by no means discouraged,” TMT International Observatory Board Chairman Henry Yang said in a statement. “We must now redouble our commitment to respectfully continuing dialogue and engagement with OHA and all other stakeholders.”
Some of those who are against the project were dismayed by the decision of the OHA.
One of the protesters who were arrested earlier was Kuuipo Freitas, a student who is taking up a master’s degree in Hawaiian language and literature at the University of Hawaii’s Hilo campus.
“Standing for the mauna, the biggest gain of all will be the support and trust of the Hawaiian people,” she told the board before the vote. “That’s what OHA has been striving for, for years.”
The rental and financial aid that the telescope foundation has promised for education is “soft money,” she said. “OHA needs to stop bowing down to the dollar and starting bowing down to the mauna.”
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