The farmers’ leases expired and the farmers went to great length and expense to hire expert Agriculture Economist, Professor Chaudrey Shehata (UH-Hilo Campus) only to be told by the Estate’s lawyers that such a study is irrelevant and means nothing and refused to meet with the farmers and the professor. This is the same “income based” rather than “commercial land value based” type of study that Dr. Shehata had done for 220 Kona coffee farmers just over a year ago to negotiate their new lease rents with the Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate. They accepted Dr. Shehata’s Kona coffee study as relevant.
“I find it rather unconscionable that the one of the biggest trusts in the world will not sit down and hear out a small group of farmers who have been on the land for the past 35 years. All Judy Nii and her farmers want to do is present Dr. Shehata’s study and ask for fair lease renegotiations like the coffee farmers did,” Ward said.
Fearing that the Estate will remain obstinate and not meet with her and the farmers after so much time has passed since she has tried speaking to the estate weeks ago, Judy Nii has put out a call to the Hawaii Kai community to begin a sign waving protest campaign beginning tomorrow. Residents of Hawaii Kai fear that if the farmers are forced off their land, a new sub-division will be built and the lifestyle and density levels of Hawaii Kai will spoil the entire community.
Sign waving how unfair the estate is in refusing to meet or negotiate lease rents will start at 8am at Maunalua Bay in Hawaii Kai. A second shift will wave protest signs from 10 am to noon. Saturday, November 13th and Sunday, November 14th, are both scheduled for sign waving with the farmers.
“My family and I will be joining the sign-wavers at Maunalua Bay until we see some justice,” Ward concluded.