Tonight I took a taxi from Nasandhura Jetty to Villingili Ferry Terminal. On the way I had a conversation with the driver. It was initiated by his announcement to me that the trip would cost me 20 Rufiyaa, as it was the standard charge for taxi trips initiating from Nasandhura Jetty. He also told me that business was down these days, and he could barely make ends meet.
I asked him why there was such a shortage of taxis in Male’ these days. He said that now most of the taxis were driven by their owners. And that those drivers did not want to waste their time without sufficient income. And that some did not have the need with the kind of costs it involved. He also said that those out in business were those, like him, who had to pay 200 Rufiyaa daily, to the taxi owners.
According to the driver of the taxi who drove me, he started at eleven o’clock this morning and since he has barely made 300 Rufiyaa. And when the petrol cost him a hundred and after giving the owner of the taxi, he was left with nothing. I told him that we had a huge shortage of taxis in the morning at the Villingili Ferry Terminal.
The taxi driver told me that the owners of most new taxis who drove their own taxis did not want to come out as coming out would mean wear and tear for their cars. That was when we reached the ferry terminal.
After a few minutes I was on Villingili and saw crowds gathered near Villi Ufaa, the island’s “pub”. On conversation with the bystanders and fellow islanders I found out that the island has been swarmed by the Police Star Force, in response to a gang fight that broke out after a verbal fight between two members of rival gangs, just after the Ishaa prayers.
Villinigli, which has been relatively safe upto now, has become an island terrorised by its own existence. The streets are not safe anymore. It is more dangerous than the mainland, because the police response to any developing incident would be delayed by hours, due to the logistics of a mobilization from Male’.
We, the people living in Maldives, have all the reason to believe that protection by the gangs is the safest way for a secure existence. Some living in more civilized cities may feel that the gangs are an illegal form of protection. But for us that is the reality when it comes to protection services. They are more reliable than anyone else.