Category Archives: My Concerns

Foreseen: The Demise of the Maldives Tourism Industry

Today I sat at a table in a coffee shop with a man who was delighted with the success of their strike to “make things right” on a tourist resort in Maldives. Hce was delighted that they had won. He was delighted that the “culprit” lost and could not do a thing because of rights enshrined in the August Constitution of the Maldives and the new Labor Law.

After he left, I wondered to myself – what have we become? I have always believed that Allah has created enough of everything in such abundance that the wealth and the welfare of another cannot take away what is rightfully mine. That the other need not lose for me to win. Yet, there is so many amongst us who seem to believe that our happiness can only come from someone else’s misery, that our success can only be if others are to lose.

What is going on in the tourism industry today is to me a sign of this mentality that seem to have gripped our nation – which have been hailed as Paradise on Earth. The chaos and the fight to annihilate the other has come about for compelling reasons that would be spelled out in detail by each party to impress their case.

It was in July 2008 that the Maldives Association of the Tourism Industry (MATI) warned of a looming tourism decline.

The first high profile strike organized by TEAM was settled after intervention by the President’s Office. Since then we have seen strikes that have rocked the industry which is in a very fragile state. Maryam Omidi’s report on Minivan News says, there has been about ten strikes in the recent months according to Tourism Employee’s Association President Ahmed Easa. Some blame the Labor Law while others blame the attitude and treatment of local employees by their five-star rich employers.

Since then, the President has flown to Italy to woo tourists, and the Economic Development Minister has made an offical visit to Italy “create a suitable environment for investment.” He had “expessed surprise” [that] “discussions to seek investment had not occured in the past.” The Tourism Minister has just left for the Moscow International Tourism and Travel Fair (MITT) 2009. The government is “going all out” to attract tourists and to woo investors.

There seems to be an absence of a commitment or a will by the government, MATI or TEAM to put things right – to work out a timeline for creating the conditions required to enable the Labor Law through short-term, medium-term and long-term strategies that would sustain the “bread-basket” of the nation. When are we going to act as a nation – not as individuals looking for fame, not as lobbyists for self-interest groups, not as political parties; who wish to “win” by the “sheer loss” of those who are against them; so that we may survive the world economic crisis?

This arrogance and attitude of mind (for “them” to lose so that we can “win” in absolute terms)can only scare the employers (of local employees) and create a lack of investor confidence in Maldives investment climate. How on earth would tourists come to holiday in a “dead” paradise that is socially irresponsible as a corporate citizen, recklessness in its psyche, and can boast only of mayhem on its streets? How hospitable can we be?

President Nasheed (Anni) embarked on his Presidency on a promising note, with a commitment to fulfill his party’s election promises. His biggest challenge seems to be to provide sound economic, political and fiscal conditions that would enable the realization of those dreams and his party manifesto on which he believes he was elected to Office.

How important is it for “us” to win and them to “lose”? Are we prepared to sacrifice this nation for us to win!


Posted by on March 20, 2009 in Leadership, My Concerns, Nation Building


Breaking News: Police Officer Hospitalized

According to a police media report, a police officer has been hospitalized in ADK Hospital in Male’ after being attacked by gangsters and was found “thrown into a lane” around Alikilegefaanu Magu. The report says that the officer’s face has been severely beaten. The Police Officer was in plainclothes according to the report.

The local print and online media who were “reporting 24/7 round the clock” are silent on the matter at this moment in time.

Rumors say that the people who attacked the police officer are known to authorities and will be apprehended shortly. It is hard to believe that anything will come of it. There is little hope that anything meaningful can be done to maintain law and order in this country, while the current August Constitution and unfinished business related to establishing the legal and judicial infrastructure remain as is.

And Ibra writes to the President on his blog, in a post published 4 hours from the attack – which I thought was related. He writes:

[…] The entire nation has to be mobilized if we are to get out of this hell hole. You can see the reaction of the Mob in relation to efforts by the police to establish the authority of the law. They will come after the Police, the Cabinet, the MPs and any other who will stand in their way. Only the unifying of the Public, across political divisions can combat this evil.

That brings me to the point of this letter, Mr.President. It is only you who can unify the nation on this one. It is your Constitutional duty to do that. The Constitution spells out in black and white that it is your Constitutional duty and obligation to promote unity among the people. You can’t do that by ignoring the majority of the people in this country and just acknowledging people of a certain political membership. You will be deepening the divisions even further.

Mr. President. You are the PRESIDENT of this country, elected by UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE. You are not the PRIME MINISTER appointed by a majority party in the Majlis. The Maldivian Constitution does not provide for a Prime Minister yet, Mr. President. I remind you, lest you forget.

Read the full post here


Male' Street Killings: Ongoing Terror Unchecked

Minivan News has reported that an 18 year old boy (Abdulla Farhad, 18) has died “after being assaulted by a group of young men on the south side of Majeedhee Magu”. It also reported that “Farhad’s murder (on the night of 8th March) is the sixth gang-related death since December 2007 when 19-year-old Ali Ishar was beaten to death.”

This means there is a gang related murder every three months for a population of just over 300,000 people. In addition, several more cases of suicide and near death incidents involving street violence have been reported in this 100% Moslem nation. Yet, there is no sign of a clear government strategy to combat this epidemic. The religous ministry perhaps would say that street killings and gang related murders are not in their purview. The last government blamed it on the people. We are yet to wait and see who the present government will blame; or take responsibility to bring civility to this country.

The point I wish to make is that we have a nation that is deteriorating into decadence. And where the dawn of democracy has resulted in a seemingly acceptable anarchy.

Reports of the latest street violence leading to murder:
Minivan News / Haveeru News / Maldives Police Service


Posted by on March 10, 2009 in Civil Society, My Concerns, Terror


Disaster Management Centre for Male'

Male’ is home to over one third of the population of the country and a great majority of over 78,000 expatriates who live and work in the Maldives.

This morning a shocking experience took the whole island by surprise. Male’ did not have any electricity right throughout the island for over an hour in the morning. This experience ran shockwaves through my mind.

I thought: what if we have such a situation in Male’ for 24 hours. Are we prepared? How prepared are we?

What would be the fate of the people in Male’ in such an eventuality where we may have a disruption to electricity supplies for more than 24 hours? I think that we need to establish a Disaster Management Centre for Male’ under the Male’ Municipality which should make the necessary preparations for such eventualities.


Posted by on March 1, 2009 in My Concerns, Neevey Adu Kon Adu


The Black Market for US Dollars…

This is the second call I had today.

Just now it was from an expatriate project manager that I know who is from a neighbouring country. He said that he has a 100,000 US Dollars that he can sell and was looking for a willing buyer. He also told me that as I know, the market rate is now 13.75 Rufiyaa and that he could give me a better deal if I knew someone who was ready to buy. You know what that means!

This morning the call was from a CFO in a reputable company in Male’ who had 200,000 US Dollars that he wanted to sell. He said that the rate was 14.00 Rufiyaa. He had given me a call because I had requested him for some assistance in meeting our dollar purchase requirement. I told him we did not buy from the black market, yet.

Both the calls came from people working for and in reputed business organizations. I don’t know whether they were trying to make a quick buck for themselves personally or for the company. Some of my friends tell me that I don’t have proper business acumen because I think this way. They tell me that a thriving black market is here and we have to embrace it or perish. These are the same people who believe that the government is corrupt and are up in arms to combat the wrongdoing.

In the meantime, agencies of the state seem to be unable to design and implement policies to regulate the financial market to deal with the challenges of the day.


Posted by on February 24, 2009 in My Concerns, Values


Dhivehi Raajje….

… gotheh fotheh neiy insaanunge baaru gadha biruveri vilaagandegge dhashugai oiy 21 vana garunuge gaumu…!!!


Police Lies…

One of the emerging new realities of the New Maldives seem to point to the Maldives Police as having a culture of propagating lies against ordinary citizens. They seem to have inculcated the “lie-culture” for the protection of the government they serve.

Jazeera Online reports that Fahala Saeed a reporter of Minivan Daily (who was arrested by Police allegedly with drugs on his body) was convicted and jailed possession of drugs. That was in October 2006. More than two years from then it has been found that the allegation was a lie. Saeed is now a free man after scrutiny by the High Court.

The Human Rights Commission who visited the tourism employees who were on strike in the upmarket island resort of One and Only Reethi Rah reported on Sunday:

“The police in riot gear had confronted them in order to remove the 13 dismissed staff from the island, while they were striking as a means of peaceful protest. Police used spray that irritates eyes and batons,” a statement reads.

Police also sent out a statement on Sunday denying any use of weapons or any injury caused. “Police did not use batons, pepper spray or tear gas. Police did not carry teargas to the island,” it reads.

So the Police lied again. A culture of systemic lying!

Related Links: JazeeraMinivan / Fahala Saeed releaseMinivan / Police Use Batons

1 Comment

Posted by on December 1, 2008 in Maldives Police Service, My Concerns


To THINK: A sin in democracy …the Maldivian Style

This afternoon I sat for a cup of coffee at a table in a coffee house. An acquaintance who walked up to the table and made his input to the ongoing discussion around the table about the upcoming elections. He said to be aware of this guy Shihab, that he and the guy sitting next to him were both golhaas. Such suspicion was not new to me. I was “warned” the same the other day in another cafe frequently visited by supporters of “Vathan Edheygotha” (Pulse of the Nation). This was also not the first time – it has been an experience that I go through often.

This evening I was also with a different group of people I knew well, and one of them pointed out to the rest that I am an MDP sympathiser. That I am going around advocating for “Pulse of the Nation”. This was also not the first time. Quite a few other people who (thought they) knew me also told me how taken up by Anni I am.

It is funny, how this labelling must go on! It is sad that independent minds cannot be tolerated in this country. As one person pointed out, you have to be either black or white – because the mental attitude of the common man is “you are either with us or against us”.

Heh he… Smile


Go Vote… for what?

Last night, I stopped by Alfresco on my way home. There were people gathered around the tables watching the campaign rally of Aneh Dhivehi Raajje on DhiTV. People at one of the tables started shouting filth as Dr. Mustapha Luthfy came on stage. They started with “elhaa vakikuree keevvekan engeytha!” It is always a crime to participate in political activity; for some. I clearly remember the disgrace the same man was subjected to by the champions of reform in the last parliamentary elections.

I wondered to myself, what is this democracy we have got! I sometimes wonder whether there is a need to go vote in this election. The majority seems to be hysterical if anything. Maybe there is a reason for it. There is always a reason for everything, to the minds of those who are looking for excuses.

It is true that a condition of a purposeful democracy is also civility and maturity of minds. We Maldivians have not matured to decent humanity. How can we ever have a democracy!

My friend told me that, it was however, important to go vote. Perhaps, he has been influenced by the Go Vote Campaign.


Free and Fair: What does that mean?

Dr. Abdulla Waheed writes:

“… The last few months have been a rollercoaster ride for Maldivians with too much happening in too short a time. Let alone ordinary citizens, even parties and candidates have not been able to keep up with the pace, with many of them still to publicize their full manifestos. So the voters have not had the opportunity to make a full informed decision.”

It is quite true that this election will not be free and fair. People have not been given space and time to make an informed decision. The elections commission is clearly undecided on the fairness of this election, if one is to take Commissioner Ali Faiz’s comments seriously. He represents one of the major voting blocks of the people.

The fact that the independent election commission is made up of representatives from key political parties puts the fairness of this whole election and others during the transitional period into question.

So how can it be free and fair!

Read more of Dr. Waheed’s post here

Comments Off on Free and Fair: What does that mean?

Posted by on October 7, 2008 in My Concerns, Presidential Election 2008, Presidential Race 2008

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