Friday, April 27, 2001

Hawaiians to
attend ADB meet

A group including judges
and elders will address
the delegates

By Rod Thompson

HILO >> When representatives of the Asian Development Bank meet in Honolulu May 7-11, Hawaiian sovereignty activist Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele will not protest.

He will be inside, learning.

Sitting with Kanahele will be establishment-oriented Hawaiians such as former state appeals Judge Walter Heen and former National Guard Gen. Edward Richardson.

During a visit with the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce yesterday, ADB strategy and policy director Shoji Nishimoto announced that the group of Hawaiians will make a two-hour presentation to ADB delegates May 9.

Heen said the session is intended to educate the delegates about Hawaiian concerns such as the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom.

Kanahele, reached by phone later, said potential protesters have tried to recruit Hawaiians. Kanahele realized they were not any more interested in Hawaiian issues than some of the people he had previously faced.

They were looking for "useful victims," Kanahele said. He prefers for Hawaiians to be seen as "useful assets."

"It was all one-sided. We didn't know anything about the bank. We should really find out for ourselves what it's about," he said.

Heen said others who will meet with the bank are Ho'oipo Pa of the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council, Kunani Nihipali of Hui Malama, retired state Judge Melvin Soong, Keoni Agard of Ha Hawaii, and Dr. Solomon Naluai. At least 20 Hawaiian elders will join the group.

Kanahele is not bothered by the absence of others who were invited but chose not to attend.

He said political viewpoints are numerous but economics is more simple. "You're either going to make money, or you're going to lose money," he said. "If you make it, how good is your integrity?"

He is not under illusions about the Asian Development Bank. "Although it looks nice, something was wrong with the picture," he said.

Heen conceded that there are problems but said they come from Asian governments borrowing bank money, not from the bank.

The answer, Kanahele said, is "socially responsible investing." As an example, a nuts and bolts factory may be a responsible investment, but one that makes nuts and bolts for weapons may not, he said.

Kanahele said Philip Angelides, treasurer of California and director of its huge pension fund investments, will speak on responsible investing at the bank meeting.

Kanahele said the greatest benefit may be the relationship he has developed with establishment Hawaiians.

"I'm finding out these guys are not bad guys," he said.

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