As the Hawaii County Council considers an anti-GMO bill which would require farmers to "register" the locations of their GMO crop fields, another GMO Papaya field in Puna has been attacked by machete-wielding vandals. The attack, which destroyed 100 papaya trees, occurred between Thursday night and Friday morning. Friday was the date of the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association conference in Hilo. Here is the coverage preceded by comments from Hawaii ag leaders:
Hawaii Farmers for Choice:
While the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association was gathering for their annual meeting Friday Sept. 27 and Mayor Billy Kenoi was speaking but one farmer was absent; he was at his field with police overlooking destruction of his trees. A sad discovery awaited his trees had been chopped down!....
The Hawaii County Council is asking farmers to register their locations; why would they? Taking away their constitutional rights and making farm locations public access is a threat to our farmers sustainability and opens them to additional eco terrorist attacks....
Alicia Maluafiti, HCIA:
Its eco-terrorism and yes - its time the public knows the truth about these people. The activists on the big island and around the state, including Roseanne Barr, have been calling for activists to do this for the past 4 months. Even Brenda Ford's own bill called for the papaya trees to be cut down and burned. This is violence against small papaya farmers - farms owned by local people who have lived on the big island for generations.
July 9, 2013: Rosanne Barr: We'll Burn Your GMO Crops Down
July, 2011: Papaya attack coincides with Worldwide Week of Eco Terrorism
Question: What religion produces the most terror attacks in the USA each year?
Source: FBI: Eco-Terrorism Remains No. 1 Domestic Terror Threat
HTH: 100 Papaya Trees Cut Down
Police said on Friday that about 100 papaya trees were cut down overnight Thursday at a farm off Highway 132 near the 4-mile marker. The victim, according to papaya grower and Hawaii Papaya Industry Association board member Peter Houle, is J.R. Bernardo. Bernardo is the son of Jimmy and Erlinda Bernardo of J and L Papaya Farm, who lost five acres to machete-wielding vandals in July 2011.
“He was very, very teary-eyed, his head down all day,” Houle said of J.R. Bernardo, who’s also a college student. Houle said that the young Bernardo has about three acres in production.
The trees were 3- to 4-feet tall and police put the damage estimate at $3,000.
“I think the real loss is inside that young man,” Houle said.
Houle, who said he leases the land from Lyman Estate and sublets it to the Bernardos and other farmers, stated that it looks like five individuals were involved in the vandalism.
“One was probably keeping watch, and they cut four lines. And they stopped at a certain point,” Houle said. “They were systematically cut down, four in a row. It looks like four people going right down the row, because it was done evenly.”...
"...somebody asked Jimmy Bernardo what was growing in those fields. Was it GMO? And the Bernardos’ field was cut down shortly thereafter..."
Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Cala Arnold at 965-2716 or the police non-emergency line at 935-3311.
Those who prefer to anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
SA: Vandals destroy scores of papaya trees in Puna
There have been several other notable cases of vandalism against papaya farms over the last four years.
In May 2010 vandals chopped down 400 papaya trees at a farm in Mililani. The following month, some 8,500 papaya trees spread out over 17 acres in Kapoho were destroyed.
In August 2011 three adjoining papaya farms in lower Puna were targeted. In that case an unspecified number of trees spread out over 10 acres was destroyed.
Also, in June 2012 vandals knocked over 35 papaya trees at a small farm in the Keaau area of Puna.
No arrests have been made in any of the cases.