To the Editor:
When last week’s Islander front-page article, “Citizen initiative on cruise ships likely,” appeared, a wave of relief washed over me. In September I requested and received all the necessary information to begin the process of an initiative but became discouraged by the need for an attorney’s expertise to draft the petition language.
Thank you, Mr. Charles Sidman and your group. It is disappointing to see how downtown merchants are myopic, irrational and terrified of losing the slave ship industry abusing workers they cannot see below decks and how they prefer to cling to and deny they exist.
These ships fly flags of convenience, do not pay U.S. income taxes, do not abide by U.S. labor or environmental laws. It is immoral and inhumane to not only deny what goes on but to deploy strategies designed to confuse, distract and divert attention away from these facts of slavery, ecological concerns, COVID issues and the millions of dollars in fines for environmental damage.
Just as a photographer must change lenses, it’s time for merchants and islanders to see things differently. They have become too accustomed to setting their watches to the arrival of these ships and want only to continue gleaning chump change from disoriented passengers who create problems.
We have enough with our land-based tourism, a new strong paradigm firmly in place. We must change our focus, address the needs of land-based tourism and stop catering to an industry that sees Bar Harbor as a destination to unload passengers who eat 12 meals a day on board. The weak responses to strong questions regarding these ships returning this summer clearly requires a citizen initiative.
Thank you, Charles Sidman. I am ready to help gather signatures.