Gathering Places


Sunday, December 29, 2002

We should welcome
visitors to Molokai

I came to these islands on a cruise ship in 1946. Over the years I have met and known a number of wonderful Hawaiian leaders. Their common trait was that they lived the aloha spirit in its entirety. I'm sure that many who read this will recall some great memories shared in the company of Emma Hausten, Genoa Keawe, Duke Kahanamoku, Gabby Pahinui, Eddie Kamae and the Rev. Abraham Akaka. They opened their hearts and homes to all and set the standard for hospitality in these islands. They were always pleasant in sharing their culture with others.

As I listen to the statements of the handful of anti-everything individuals on Molokai regarding a cruise ship coming to the island, I recognize many of the statements to be false and uninformed. I think it is sad that the residents of Molokai have paid the price for such narrow-minded leadership.

I find it ironic that these individuals would file a frivolous lawsuit against the state to prevent visitors from coming at the same time they are asking the state to pay them revenues that the visitor activity generates on ceded lands.

A positive attitude by these individuals and some clear thinking would bring the real benefits to the community into focus. For example, haven't visitors to Molokai brought much of the expertise from elsewhere in the past to solve Molokai's electric power-generation problems?

Haven't visitors provided scholarships to qualified graduating seniors at Molokai High School to get them started at college and on the road to success? Didn't a visitor almost single-handedly pay the Molokai High School sports inter-island travel costs not long ago? Haven't visitors provided the increased revenue on the island that has allowed Molokai businesses to survive? For all of this, I am grateful for visitors to this island.

These visitors have worked and raised children and made their contributions to society. Many of them are probably retired now, and have dreamed of traveling to Hawaii to spend some of their hard-earned money. They deserve our respect. The real benefit to the community is for people to understand that the visitor is interested in them and their culture. The visitor actually represents opportunities for the children of Molokai to accomplish their dreams.

We are all visitors on this planet. Hawaii is and always has been about aloha and the opportunities and successes that come from welcoming people to our islands. Isn't it time that the people of Molokai welcomed opportunity, rather than trying to make it go away? The statement that the anti-everything group is making does not represent my feelings in any way; I enjoy meeting and making new friends.

Capt. Mike Holmes owns and operates Fun Hogs Hawaii, an ocean-based recreation company in Molokai. He has lived in Hawaii since 1946.

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