Wednesday, September 17, 1997

Bishop Estate trustees
should be removed

THE authors of the "Broken Trust" article that attacked four of the trustees of the Bishop Estate are calling for removal of the four, at least temporarily, and appointment of a receiver for the estate while the attorney general's investigation proceeds. This would be a drastic step, but in our view warranted by the situation. As the "Broken Trust" authors contend, the four trustees are doing their utmost to impede the attorney general's investigation and are improperly using their authority and the estate's resources for this purpose.

The authors assert that unless the trustees are replaced, "precious resources will be wasted on unnecessary legal wrangling and relevant evidence will be harder to locate."

This is clear in the trustees' legal motion to restrict the attorney general's access to Bishop Estate records and in their outrageous attempts to intimidate students and faculty of the Kamehameha Schools to prevent them from criticizing the trustees' policies -- in particular the arbitrary and oppressive orders of trustee Lokelani Lindsey. Only by removing the four from their positions of authority can these obstructionist tactics be ended.

It has been correctly pointed out that the recent spate of attacks has focused on the actions of the trustees, not on the Bishop Estate or its mission of supporting the Kamehameha Schools. In fact, most of the critics are Hawaiians and people whose commitment to this institution is unquestionable.

Yet some of the statements of the trustees' have falsely described the criticism as directed at KS/BE. Such statements further damage the credibility of the trustees who are under attack but who seem oblivious to the spectacle they are making of themselves.

As the "Broken Trust" authors assert, the trustees have no right to their positions and do not own the Bishop Estate. They are subject to the laws of the state of Hawaii and the United States of America, and they can be held accountable for their actions under those laws. That is precisely what must be done. The four have shown that they cannot be trusted to continue managing the affairs of the Bishop Estate, at least while the investigation of their actions proceeds.

Of course, it would save everyone a lot of trouble if they would resign, but that is too much to hope for.

Bishop Estate Archive

Convention center

WITH the Hawaii Convention Center virtually finished, the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau reports that 30 conventions have been booked and there are another 14 "verbal definites" and 43 tentative bookings. So much for the idea that the center will have trouble getting bookings. And all this is months before the doors open for the first time. We expect that interest in the center will increase dramatically once the first conventions have been held there and word gets around about the facility.

Another plus is the bureau's selection of a new president after more than five months of searching. A previous selection fell through due to inability to reach agreement on employment terms. The latest choice, Tony Vericella, was formerly the bureau's acting president and twice chairman of the board. He has broad experience in the airline and auto rental businesses.

The HVCB has been troubled by rapid personnel turnover in recent years and needs more stability. Vericella could be the person to provide it.

Malaysian demagogue

MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has long been a loose cannon, spouting off irresponsibly on a variety of subjects. As far back as the 1970s, he caused a sensation by warning that Vietnamese refugees trying to land in Malaysia would be shot (none were). Over the years he has repeatedly lashed out at Western business interests even though they have been instrumental in Malaysia's economic success. Recently Mahathir accused American financier George Soros of causing the collapse of the Malaysian currency, the ringgit, through speculative manipulations.

The prime minister's ill-conceived decisions and reckless public comments worsened Malaysia's problems, which began after neighboring Thailand devalued its currency in July. He restricted short-selling of 100 blue-chip stocks and moved to support stock prices for local investors, but not for foreigners.

Scapegoating foreigners -- Mahathir called foreign speculators "wild beasts" -- is a favorite tactics of demagogues, but it can only hurt Malaysia and other Southeast Asian nations that are struggling to stay afloat economically. As one of the beneficiaries of the global economy, the Malaysian leader shows a lack of character by turning on foreign investors as soon as things stop going his way.

Published by Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership

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John M. Flanagan, Editor & Publisher

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