Trustee Asks OHA to put TMT Back on Agenda

September 11, 2019, 2:30 PM HST (Updated September 11, 2019, 2:30 PM)
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The TMT protest has now stretched on for nearly two months. PC: Gerald Besson

Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Trustee Dan Ahuna penned a letter to fellow trustees requesting the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project be added to the agenda so the OHA Board can “consider its position on the project.”

Ahuna expressed his “grave concern” about the tension on the mountain, saying the situation has “caused a pinnacle moment of conflict and uprising.”

“Circumstances have changed drastically from 2015 when we last took a vote, and we are compelled to consider further action regarding this project…” Ahuna wrote.

He went on to list several reasons behind the request. Ahuna contended the state “unnecessarily” sawed through a Hae Hawai‘i while removing an unpermitted structure from the Department of Hawaiian Homelands property that was constructed by an OHA beneficiary.

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Ahuna said the action “…is construed as an intentional attempt to provoke angst and anger in our beneficiaries.”

He also noted an increase in rumors swirling around potential state actions, mentioning several rumors specifically and admitting they were speculative in nature, then blamed Gov. David Ige for not doing enough to dispel the rumors.

Much of Ahuna’s reasoning in the letter was speculative, and his characterizations of several entities and activities involved in the TMT dispute amounted to subjective interpretations.

“Their resolve now is to continue to threaten and intimidate our beneficiaries,” Ahuna contended.

He continued to implore his colleagues to take up the issue again, claiming the leadership of the governor, the University of Hawai‘i and TMT had all failed.

OHA has publicly voiced support for TMT protestors since the demonstration began nearly two months ago.

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