Timeline: Hawaii County Council Abandons TMT--Ige Abandons Mauna Kea—Confusion Reigns
Dec 10, 2019: TMT: Time to Reassess Viability of Hawaii Telescope Project (Only Hawai’i Free Press reported this statement.)
Dec 10, 2019: Witch Hunt: UH Manoa seeking nominations for commission to address racism and bias on campus
Dec 11, 2019: Hawaii County Ethics Board asks if ongoing blockade of Maunakea Access Road is allowed under county ethics code
Dec 17, 2019: Telescope Protesters to halt sit-in at UH-Manoa campus After Launching Witchhunt
Dec 18, 2019: Hawaii County Council refuses to accept promise of $15M to support County Police efforts to secure Mauna Kea against protesters
Events on Dec 19 in chronological order:
Dec 19, 2019: According to Gov Ige, “We were informed that TMT is not prepared to move forward with construction on Mauna Kea at this time.”
Dec 19, 2019: According to Gov Ige (VIDEO), “Today, the state reduced its personnel on Mauna Kea. We made this decision after we were informed that TMT is not prepared to move forward with construction on Mauna Kea at this time..”
Dec 19, 2019: Mayor Kim withdraws Hawaii County Police from Mauna Kea -- By 3:30 p.m. Friday, all police personnel will be withdrawn from Mauna Kea, says Chief Paul Ferreira of the County of Hawai‘i’s Police Department.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This leaves telescopes at the top of Mauna Kea totally unprotected.)
Dec 19, 2019: Police give demonstrators one week to clear the road -- Mauna Kea kia’i Andre Perez said the news seemed disingenuous.
“TMT is not leaving Hawaii. They’re still committed…and the governor has expressed to TMT the state will be there when they are ready to start construction. That doesn’t give us a whole lot of incentive to clear anything,” Perez said.
Perez said Thursday’s announcement doesn’t change anything.
During Ige’s news conference even he admitted the removal of law enforcement wasn’t likely to change things.
“I don’t believe it changes anything per say… We’ve been up on the mountain in response to Hawaii county police to provide support…We did inform the project that at the point where they are prepared to start construction we would be prepared to provide safe and peaceful access to the site,” Ige said.
According to Perez, the kia’i will remain committed to preventing the desecration of Mauna Kea.
Perez said law enforcement didn’t ask them to leave, they gave them an ultimatum.
“Because they’re demobilizing, they’re demanding we move off of Mauna Kea Access Road–meaning the kupuna tent needs to be removed. They gave us a deadline of December 26th, the day after Christmas. If we don’t move–open up Mauna Kea Access Road– then they are going to come and, they used the word heavy handed. They’re going to come heavy handed with enforcement and they going to clear all the tents from the highway, ” Perez explained.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The police get 'heavy handed' ONLY after TMT announces it "is not prepared to move forward with construction on Mauna Kea at this time." See how that works?
Perez said there are those who plan to stay on the Mauna. He said the kia’i were still discussing whether they would remove the structures blocking Mauna Kea Access Road.
Dec 19, 2019: Thursday, Gordon Squires, TMT VP External Relations said they are hoping to create space for more discussions to take place but he would say construction was suspended.
“I wouldn’t characterize that we have made a decision to suspend construction–we haven’t been able to start construction since we were first scheduled to do so in July.
Instead he said they want to allow discussions concerning Hawaiian issues to take place.
“Because of these larger conversations that are going on we have been creating some space for those conversations to continue and hope for real good to come out for native Hawaiians and all of Hawaii,” Squires said.
Squires said they also want to see Mauna Kea once again open to the public.
“We are committed, as I think everyone in Hawaii is, that access to Mauna Kea is given in a safe, respectful, sustainable manner and that needs to be demonstrated by the State and Hawaii county.”
Without giving a timeline, he said they do plan to move forward with TMT on the Mauna.
“People ask me all the time, when is this too much? And I don’t have an answer for that. We just remain committed at this time in moving forward and trying to find a way for real good to come out of all this,” Squires said.
Dec 19, 2019: TMT Statement: State and County have not Demonstrated they are able to Provide Safe Access to Mauna Kea
Dec 19, 2019: Protest leader Kahookahi Kanuha says that the camp will not impede members of the public attempting to ascend the mountain. The tents on the road have been shifted to the side to allow vehicles to pass.
What happens when the police are gone? -- History of Anti-Telescope Violence: