(BIVN)– The Hawaiʻi County Council again heard testimony from “protected persons” in support of absent Puna councilmember Jen Ruggles on Wednesday.
Hawaiian Kingdom subjects and advocates, as they have in the past, told the council to “cease and desist from legislating” until the county’s Corporation Counsel can assure the governing body that they are not incurring criminal liability under U.S. and international law. Ruggles’ council seat has sat empty during meetings as she awaits an opinion from Corp Counsel.
On September 24, Ruggles held a community meeting in Keaʻau to explain her ongoing absence from council, and to show her constituents how she came to understand the Hawaiian Kingdom still exists as a state in continuity that is under a “strange form of occupation” by the United States.
During the Keaʻau meeting, and in a subsequent media release, Ruggles announced she was putting Queen’s Health Systems on notice, saying that changes to the hospital’s charter since 1909 “appear to violate article 47 and 50 of the Geneva Convention IV.” Ruggles said she called upon the Chief Executive Office of the Queen’s Health System, Mr. Art Ushijima, and the “Board of Trustees to comply with the 1859 Charter and to admit aboriginal Hawaiians, as that term was understood under Kingdom law, for medical care free of charge. Failure to do so [would] appear to constitute war crimes under Article 47 and 50 of the [Geneva Convention, IV].”
Ruggles said, “as an agent of the the United States as defined under the Hague Convention and whistleblower, it is my duty to hold individuals and other officials of the State of Hawai‘i and the United States government accountable for apparent violations of the Hague and Geneva Conventions and the rights of civilians within the occupied territory under the title of protected persons.”
Ruggles’ fellow Hawaiʻi County Councilmembers weighed-in on the situation in recent news articles. A “perplexed” Hilo councilman Aaron Chung told the Hawaiʻi Tribune-Herald he found it very confusing that Ruggle’s “would use her title in the County Council to advance a particular position.”
The West Hawaiʻi Today reported on October 2 that Council Chair Valerie Poindexter said she was “not going to fund the office if she’s not going to do any more legislative work,” and has refused Ruggles’ request to hire a council aide to fill the position recently vacated by one of Ruggles’ two staffers.
Testifiers took aim at Poindexter on Wednesday. Kale Gumapac told the chair to “please be aware that by impeding Councilwoman Ruggles in anyway only provides more evidence for ‘War Crime’ charges against you with no statute of limitation.”