When Maldives was offline!


The recent hack on Dhiraagu which happened on the busiest days of the year certainly delivered a message for the country. Tourists from all resorts in the country would have experienced this as they would have tried in vain to connect back to their families to say “happy new year” via social media, VoIP etc. and IT folks would generally be trying to convince the guests that a whole country’s internet could somehow be sabotaged by some unknown saboteurs! Those who did the DDOS on the network now seems to have been apprehended and their reason for engaging in this behaviour according to them seems to be to give Dhiraagu (the sole local isp) a new year message basically saying “ You are over priced”, and “You are too slow.. we need more speed!” These messages are basically truthful but the way in which the message was delivered was clearly not bright. A whole country (the economy involved) does not have to suffer just because one has a message to be delivered.

That Dhiraagu is big and bad is acknowledged. It has always been that way almost from the start. Dhiraagu became a big unfeeling ugly giant monopoly (too many adjectives tha ?) thanks to the former regime which wanted to favour the then long standing foreign minister who was chairman of the board of that company for as long as people can remember. The company grew and grew (like the giant turnip ..!) till Wataniyya inevitably appeared after much calls by the people and international bodies that the services Dhiraagu is providing as the sole monopoly are very high. Even then Wataniyya faced uphill battle as it is squeezed in from all sides by Dhiraagu (much like what Microsoft did to other smaller fish around it!) and today Dhiraagu is still the only real isp in the country. The other one called Focus does not have a wired network like Dhiraagu so they use the cable TV networks which is not the same thing. Dhiraagu is now the isp over wired the network as well as wireless network all over the country. Wataniyya is only authorized to give limited isp service on mobile internet but even with which it is doing a splendid job.

A government’s role in business would be to ensure fair-play in business. Restriction one sector or service to one company over the whole of a country would create a situation like what we have in the country now. Just like the trade ministry okay’s any new retail shop permit anywhere, so shall the Telecom ministry. It should be up to the entrepreneur to take risks on a business of his choice.

The most pressing problem

For a successful tourism industry, a safe image of the destination is essential. The last thing a tourist will want to be worried about is the safety of their stay while on holiday. Towards this end, the key players involved have to keep their acts together. The owners, the workers as well as the government has to project this image of a clean, happy, inviting and ultimately safe destination for the guests to feel welcome at our resorts.

However recent developments in the country and the continuing attention seeking behaviour of top government officials seems to be doing more harm to our delicate tourism industry than any good. To name just one name, our ambassador at UK Dr. Farahnaz Faisal is reported to have been story-telling to prominent media outlets mostly about little known topics in the Maldives; female genital mutilation, religious extremism, supposed religious scholars exhorting folks to shun vaccination etc. To the average local Ahmed or Mohamed (the equivalent expression for average Joe..?) in Maldives, these are frankly NEWS to them. Its very unlikely the average Ahmed or Mohamed would have heard of these themes either in the media or through word of mouth. The reason is simple! These themes are very unfamiliar and hardly common practice in the country. There are no known scholars or mullahs (or whatever) who exhorted people to avoid vaccination in Maldives. Female Genital Mutilation which has been popularized and sensationalized by media is another red-herring which is totally out of place in Maldives. Most Maldivians would have heard about this practice in media as happening in some parts of Africa akin to killing albinos for supposedly traditional medicinal purposes. There are no known cases of female genital mutilation in the country and no known designs to introduce such practices to the country by any groups or ideology.

This is not to say Maldives is a trouble free country. No country is devoid of problems and problems like everything else has causes and remedies. The most popularized religious problem that happened recently in Maldives is the Himandhoo issue which was caused by the then government’s strong-man tactics rather than Al Gaidha setting up shop in the country. The issue was caused by the government sending military forces to close an unauthorized mosque constructed by the islanders for successive three years in the holy month of Ramazan. The issue could have been easily resolved had the government sent a team of religious men to talk to the people involved and engage them in dialogue. The islanders issue with the mosque was that the mosque was allegedly constructed on top of a cemetery which is forbidden in Islam. The government’s stand at the time was that the government’s position is immovable and has to be respected regardless of the circumstances.

Coming back to the issue and to set the record straight, the most prominent issue that’s currently facing Maldives has nothing to do with religious intolerance or female genital mutilation. The most pressing security problem facing the country is gang warfare and drug abuse which is sweeping through the country and is showing little sign of abating. However in the latest stats presentation offered by the security forces on the independence day, the percentage of ‘reported crime’ rate was said to have fallen 43% which is a definite improvement if all other factors were constant.

The most pressing economic problem is unemployment which to a large extent was an artificial situation created by an unimaginative education system. In a nutshell, a whole generation of youngsters grew up in conformity to 3 streams of subjects (Arts, Commerce and Science) and much too little in the way of vocational education. The non-too-distant ‘maha-singa’ (funny when names are invented) on educational policy was a good start on identifying these problems and the coming years will hopefully see changes to educational system where these issues could be addressed.

The most pressing health problem that is facing the country is lack of facilities and standards. The problem has already been a challenge with the geography of the country whereby small distant islands are further more isolated by lack of a reliable public transportation system. Seeing at a distance, the top positions of the health ministry and the members of lower the rank in the industry seems to be engaged in a proper warfare throughout the industry on a wide range of issues. The outcomes are mixed with more improvements in facilities and infrastructure promised in the near future (as is always the case).

The most pressing social problem that’s facing the country could be the lack of facilities for island communities to get together and do anything ‘social’ to while away the time and participate in social projects. Apart from the Eid festivals the average island’s social calendar is uneventful throughout the year and has been so for ages. With the anti-social behaviour and anti social elements on the increase, this maybe the opportune time to consider such an initiative.

There are indeed many more pressing problems facing the country in many walks of life, but from the perspective of tourism industry nothing can be more damaging than our own political elite spewing out unsubstantiated negative information on the country coveting media attention and personal publicity.

New tourism minister appointed

According to local media, a new tourism minister has indeed been appointed although the president’s office has yet to break the story.
The new minister of tourism is going to be Dr. Mariyam Zulfa who holds a Phd from Curtin University of Technology on Business/Tourism , 2005 — 2009 according to linkedin.com site. The tourism ministry’s site is as usual non-committal about issues like this and its very unlikely that the site will even bother to put a page for the minister. Despite the allegations of nepotism (ie being alleged that the new minister is niece of the president’s press secretary ) We congratulate the minister and wish her and the industry success.

Our take on the bungled Vilu Reef wedding ceremony

The video that went viral in Utube of a Swiss couple who had their weddings renewed in the Vilu Reef resort, who got taunted insulted unwittingly at the ceremony as the ceremony was conducted in dhivehi (the local language), is generating quite big waves in otherwise a sleepy tourism industry in Maldives. The language used in the video is inexcusable is undeniable but there are more factors that needs to be explored. There indeed is more to the story than is acknowledged. Before we analysed the issue in detail, our heartfelt sincere apologies for wronged couple on behalf of all the workers of tourism industry. Our country also took hit on reputation by the foolish actions of a few fellow workers and we hope that this event will make everyone including the government work more to help the industry encounter the shortcomings and failings in the future. Resort workers are the most neglected bunch of workers in the country who are seldom cared, thanked or even entertained. In the vast majority of resort islands, the staff live below substandard pay, accommodation as well as food and other services. Resort workers are also human beings who have families and friends yet they sacrifice almost all their entire life on these tiny beautiful paradise islands which serves as their second home just as convicts who serve their time in isolation. Now lets analyse the story surrounding the incident.

1. The story first appeared in Minivan News from where its gone truly global now. The story is now taken up by http://www.vancouversun.com,Montreal Gazette,www.expatica.com,www.gulf-times.com etcHowever anyone who have really seen the article in Minivan News would agree that the article is excessive in its detail for a purpose. The article itself is a tiring long detailed tirade of ‘insults’ for the purpose of creating maximum shock value. Considering that the victim in this instance is not only the couple in the video (the whole country is also victim because this incident identifies with the country), the excessive details is just doing more harm to all the parties involved; the wedded couple, the country, the resort, the staff etc. The only party who benefits from this story is Minivan.

2.The story when it appears in global media got another twist and a make-over. Now it is about “Couple victim of hate video” -which is the headline at http://www.straitstimes.com. The said video was shot by a staff at the scene and was anything but. However when global media takes an issue every blemish is magnified multiple folds for a good reason. To reach maximum ratings and generate as much shock value. The amateur wedding video now termed a hate video interlaced with religious themes (which is useful vitriol) as if the video originated from Tora Bora. To make the matters worse some readers of Haveeru has indicated that they will put English subtitles to the video which will add insult to the injury.

3.Modern media is both a blessing and a curse. Media like everything else is controlled by people and people have different agendas. For some its a way of earning recognition and fame at the expense of others, be it against their own family or country. In the case of Minivan News, the paper had a non too a humble beginning, became at one point a full blown printed paper and then went into decline. Currently Minivan is said to be run at a desk inside the office of the president by people who are close to him. However the genie that just escaped from this journalistic bottle inside the President’s office is likely to give the president a few headaches for a few days possibly till the furore dies down.

4.The money argument which is also mentioned in the straitstimes article is a non-starter. The fact of the matter is that almost every service, in a typical resort has a price tag attached. However, events like weddings do not have standard procedures in most resorts, so staff do with improvisations that go along with the experience they get from events like these. A staff who worked in Vilu Reef as far back as 2003 confirmed that what he has seen in the video is no more sinister than what he has witnessed in the island when he worked there. The meaning is that the staff did not intend the slang and improper wording they used as an insult to the guest, but for them its a kind of joke. The difference this time is that the media caught them off-guard. Its a little bit like the philosophical question of weather the tree has fallen in the far off jungle if there was no body to witness it.

5.Knowing full well the implications of this journalistic Coup_d’état, we have tried to do damage limitation on Minivan News and will be doing in other sites as well. This is not about not-acknowledging a wrong to the Swiss couple in question or being insensitive to their unwitting ordeal, but this is about redressing the wrong and trying to help the workers and the industry. We urge all our readers and fellow workers to do the same and help encourage constructive dialogue. Feeling ashamed of being a resort worker or a Maldivian will hardly do the job.

Links:

http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/World/Story/STIStory_596065.html

http://minivannews.com/society/resort-%E2%80%98wedding-ceremony%E2%80%99-in-dhivehi-degrades-tourist-couple-as-infidel-swine-mocks-islam-12671

http://www.haveeru.com.mv/?page=details&id=102622

http://www.montrealgazette.com/travel/story.html?id=3733527

Summary of new taxation rules for resorts

A summary of Second Amendment Bill to the Tourism Act and Tourism Goods and Services Tax Bill is as follows:

if the land area is < than 200,000m2 AND
if the rent is > than US$1 million, then the rent = US$1m/y

if the land area is < than 200,000m2 AND
if the rent is < than US$1 million then, the rent is= US$8/sqm

if the land area = 200,001 to 400,000m2 then, US$1.5m/y

if the land area> 400,001m2 AND
if the rent >US$2 million then, rent = US$2m/y

  • When this bill is enacted prior rates will be scrapped and all resorts will have to calculate rent based on this law.
  • Will start on the same day as taxation bill comes to effect
  • if the resort is registered in Maldives and is 55% shares are owned by the public, then that resort’s lease shall be extended to 99 years.

Its important to note that the new rules does not address the issue of “stolen” resorts, which are tourist islands the tourism ministry does not know about such as the Kandholhu Island Resort owned and run by the Universal Group.

Kandholhu Island Resort?

Relevant links:
http://www.haveeru.com.mv/?page=details&cat=&tbl=online&id=100077
Haama daily
at Minivan News

No travel warning issued against the country yet.


This time its the opposition political parties who are trying to spread fear, capitalizing on the political climate of the country and trying to destabilize the economy. The government’s inability to market their reform agenda is being exploited by the power hungry opposition which is claiming amongst many other things, that there has been travel warnings issued against the country by Britain. Nothing can be further from truth. Here is the exact wording of the travel advice issued by British Foreign and commonwealth office:


“Following a period of political unrest within the Maldivian Parliament (Majlis), there have been a number of political protests and demonstrations in Malé, predominately outside Government buildings and political figures’ residences. Social unrest is possible and there is a risk demonstrations might become violent. You should exercise caution and avoid any large political gatherings.”

This is no travel warning, its common sense and it applies well to locals as well as to British nationals to avoid large gatherings.

The US State Department also keeps a list of countries where their citizens are warned not to go. The list is here: and its doesn’t mention Maldives anywhere.

Haiti 06/24/2010
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza 06/20/2010
Guinea 06/16/2010
Nepal 06/15/2010
Nigeria 06/15/2010
Afghanistan 05/25/2010
Burundi 05/19/2010
Cote d’Ivoire 05/12/2010
Niger 05/11/2010
Mexico 05/06/2010
Georgia 05/03/2010
Congo, Democratic Republic of the 04/21/2010
Philippines 04/02/2010
Algeria 04/02/2010
Lebanon 03/29/2010
Iran 03/23/2010
Kenya 03/16/2010
Colombia 03/05/2010
Eritrea 03/02/2010
Central African Republic 02/26/2010
Yemen 02/25/2010
Iraq 02/25/2010
Saudi Arabia 02/18/2010
Pakistan 01/07/2010
Sudan 12/31/2009
Somalia 12/31/2009
Mauritania 12/02/2009
Chad 11/23/2009
Mali 11/19/2009
Uzbekistan 06/16/2009

However the extensive use of media to propagate these sorts of lies and fear propaganda will ultimately have its effect and the authorities are well advised to finish off this issue with incarcerating the local mafia bosses on whose behalf the opposition politics is advocating. The naivety of the government in allowing these corrupt Mafiosos has had its effect and much blood was shed in this small city of Male’ just because they exploited the liberal policies of the government for their own advantage. The government’s hand is in fact bound by its own liberal polices and sweet talk of democracy and values but where there is a need to show force it shall be used. As for the incarcerated mafioso’s, its common knowledge in Maldives for over a decade that Yameen is the acknowledged boss of local Mafia in Maldives.

Zeroing in on the local Mafia!


At last the authorities are finally catching up on the sources of high stakes criminality by imprisoning three important figures who are frequently associated with corruption. Although the authorities are lagging in its media presence (reporting on the issue), the actions the authorities are taking now is long overdue and much to their credit. Being liberal has also its limits and being too liberal may have been the reason why criminality flourished unchecked for so long in high public places. With the detention and investigation of these figures, it remains to be seen how much of a strong case of corruption can the authorities make on these figures and hopefully remove them from public offices.The fact that these three figures used money to buy their way through to public offices is evident even from the fact that their party (PA) has 7 members in the Majlis, whilst the membership of that party has not reached 3000, compared to other established parties like IDP and Adhaalath who failed to get even one seat in the Majlis despite their considerable membership.

The issue is not all about politics, its about criminals using the cover of public offices to hide their trades which nobody believes in.

Centara marginalizing locals


A damning report has appeared in Muraasil condemning Centara Grand Resort for marginalizing locals on employment, claiming that the resort employs only 67 locals out of 260. The report lists the full employee listing of the resort which appears to confirm the fact that the resort employs little over 26% locals as compared to 74% expats. The situation of employing more expatriates than locals has been a constant criticism levied at resorts by island communities, as the communities struggle with mass unemployment whilst in their mids 5 star resort properties spring up but still does little to employ locals, even eligible ones.

From an economic standpoint the situation of allowing resorts to prefer expatriates to over locals does make little sense here in Maldives, because the social instability is quite linked to unemployment and poverty which is fueling the cycle. However the under the influence of business leaders and resort owners, former government has allowed provisions in the directives on human resources to allow resorts to keep a ratio of 75% expatriates against  locals were the later were said  not to have been available. However implementation of these directives is flawed as there are no robust means to check and balance the situation in resorts with a toothless labour ministry embroiled in an all out war with opposition parliamentarians who are threatening his job.

The full leaked employee listing of Centara Grand as appears in Muraasil is:


EMP NO NAME DOJ MALDIVIAN FOREINER

CIRM 0254 John Dimon Bendtsen 15 January 2010 F
CIRM 0002 Pannathorn Nampee 27 January 2009 F
CIRM 0013 Prapaijit Thongma 02 July 2009 F
CIRM 0012 Mohamed Shahid 01 July 2009 M
CIRM 0285 Chatree Jaithamjaroenporn 15 February 2010 F
CIRM 0054 Silvia Collepardi 13 October 2009 F
Total 1 5

Engineering
CIRM 0006 Jerome Manuel 01 December 2008 F
CIRM 0007 Shantha Delawella 01 February 2009 F
CIRM 0314 Nadeeka Withanachchi 18 April 2010 F
CIRM 0324 Hassan Ali 05 May 2010 M
CIRM 0196 Hassan Zareer 06 October 2009 M
CIRM 0089 Claude G W Manuel 18 October 2009 F
CIRM 0056 Kanishka P.B Jayathilaka 01 September 2009 F
CIRM 0090 Malagoda Gamage Mahinda J 18 October 2009 F
CIRM 0057 Wickrama R Wasantha Kumara 26 September 2009 F
CIRM 0107 Rajitha Maura Nuwan Kumara 22 October 2009 F
CIRM 0186 Wathudurage Lalith 15 November 2009 F
CIRM 0213 Sahadath Rozimudeen 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0199 Achchaylal Prasad 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0200 Mohamed Moshin Miah 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0198 Mohamed Atiqur 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0253 Aynal Haque 01 January 2010 F
CIRM 0205 Kamal Asoka 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0206 Mohamed Mohuddin 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0211 Aiyez Suttradhan 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0208 Basar 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0207 Amzat Hossain 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0210 MD Abdul Zollil Mia 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0257 Mojibur Rahman 01 December 2009 F
CIRM 0281 P.M.K.Anil Rohana 15 February 2010 F
CIRM 0290 L S Upashantha De Silva 28 February 2010 F
CIRM 0214 Shahidul Islam 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0258 Badsha 01 December 2009 F
Casual Jahirul F
Casual Jamal F
Casual Bahar F
Total 2 28

Food & Beverage Kitchen
CIRM 0003 Alisdair Bletcher 01 February 2009 F
CIRM 0018 Luis Rodrigo Zamora 13 August 2009 F
CIRM 0217 Mohan CN 25 November 2009 F
CIRM 0168 RMSK. Ranaweera 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0108 Rachmat Darajat 23 October 2009 F
CIRM 0177 Ajay Panwar 10 November 2009 F
CIRM 0245 Menuwara A Indika Menuwara 30 December 2009 F
CIRM 0105 KG Sanjaya Priyadarshana 22 October 2009 F
CIRM 0232 Bantwal Moidin 04 December 2009 F
CIRM 0187 Mohamed Mannan Mehedi 14 November 2009 F
CIRM 0139 Mohottige Chaminda Tusitha Kumara 30 October 2009 F
CIRM 0146 Buban Chandra Rajbangsay 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0150 Jeyakumar Vasagar 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0064 Sanat Chitrakar 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0136 K.K Lal Priyantha 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0138 Sanjoy Gomes 25 October 2009 F
CIRM 0165 Joshi George 04 November 2009 F
CIRM 0164 Mareeswaran 04 November 2009 F
CIRM 0142 Priyolal Halder 29 October 2009 F
CIRM 0143 Ajoy Gomes 02 November 2009 F
CIRM 0140 NW Manoj Lasantha Gunawardana 30 October 2009 F
CIRM 0060 Ben Ame F.Fabro 14 October 2009 F
CIRM 0095 Lokesh Babu 19 October 2009 F
CIRM 0113 I Nyoman Riatita 23 October 2009 F
CIRM 0329 Sutrisno Nuansa 19 May 2010 F
CIRM 0137 Periakaruppan R 25 October 2009 F
CIRM 0326 Ravula Ajay 19 May 2010 F
CIRM 0244 Jayasinghe Arachchilage Ranil 26 December 2009 F
CIRM 0151 Liton 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0059 Ayyoub Salameh 14 October 2009 F
CIRM 0181 Jayesh Premanand Karekar 12 November 2009 F
CIRM 0255 A.M.R.A.Mahesh Lashan 16 January 2010 F
CIRM 0166 Chiran Thapa 04 November 2009 F
CIRM 0169 Chaminda Ruwan Kumara 04 November 2009 F
CIRM 0275 Prasath Navaratnarajah 28 January 2010 F
CIRM 0225 Thanida Amornvatin 29 November 2009 F
CIRM 0291 La-Ong Sangvongsa 28 February 2010 F
CIRM 0227 Saowalak Thaweekan 29 November 2009 F
CIRM 0226 Saksit Charee 29 November 2009 F
CIRM 0020 Prakash Kundur 17 August 2009 F
CIRM 0019 Rajesh Kannan 15 August 2009 F
Avnir 03 June 2010 F
CIRM 0276 KG Chinthaka Pradeep Sumanasiri 02 February 2010 F
CIRM 0212 Mohamed Shabir 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0147 Prabhu Rajan Ganesan 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0148 Vadivel Rengaraj 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0149 Uttam Mondal 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0197 sohel 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0023 Navaneetha Krishnan 31 August 2009 F
CIRM 0061 Koralage Chaminda Sisira Kumara 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0052 Rajesh Kumar 27 September 2009 F
CIRM 0264 Pugalla A Chaminda Dayarathna 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0063 Samaraweera Arachilage 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0265 Mohamed Sabri Mohamed Deen 23 October 2009 F
CIRM 0144 Jahangir Miah 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0145 Mohd Ripon Ali 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0152 Sumon Laskar 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0161 Syed Noorul Sultan 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0183 Satar Aijul 11 November 2009 F
CIRM 0202 Mohamed Hasan 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0203 Jamal Hossan 01 November 2009 F
Casual Bilal F
Casual Yousuf F
Casual Mohamed khokal F
Total 0 64

Food & Beverage Services
CIRM 0015 Salim Abdool Cadder 30 July 2009 F
CIRM 0049 Kalaivanthan Muniandy 10 October 2009 F
CIRM 0067 Moosa Anwar 15 October 2009 M
CIRM 0099 Abdulla Shukuree 20 October 2009 M
CIRM 0101 Ibrahim Mohamed 20 October 2009 M
CIRM 0102 Shiraz Shareef 20 October 2009 M
CIRM 0104 Rommel Garcia Barin 20 October 2009 F
CIRM 0109 K Mudiyanselage Susantha 23 October 2009 F
CIRM 0110 Hussain Faheem Ahmed 23 October 2009 M
CIRM 0112 Ahmed Solih 24 October 2009 M
CIRM 0116 Mohamed Nasheed Ibrahim 25 October 2009 M
CIRM 0117 Ibrahim Shameem Ahmed 25 October 2009 M
CIRM 0119 Mohamed Nazim 25 October 2009 M
CIRM 0121 Ahmed Husnee 25 October 2009 M
CIRM 0129 Marvelous Q.Camangon 28 October 2009 F
CIRM 0130 Eris 31 October 2009 F
CIRM 0131 Andri Mulyadi 31 October 2009 F
CIRM 0133 Hussain Fayaz 30 October 2009 M
CIRM 0266 Ruth A. Calma 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0163 Shimol Debanath 04 November 2009 F
CIRM 0175 Grace Lee Siew Fun 13 November 2009 F
CIRM 0176 Damera Vikram 11 November 2009 F
CIRM 0180 Mohamed Salim Ullah 11 November 2009 F
CIRM 0184 Nenjahat Haokip 13 November 2009 F
CIRM 0188 Sinta Kartika 17 November 2009 F
CIRM 0189 Y.M.W.Roshan Udurawana 17 November 2009 F
CIRM 0190 A.M.P Supun Alahakoon 17 November 2009 F
CIRM 0193 Mohamed Waheed 20 November 2009 M
CIRM 0218 MD Badiur Rahman Mollah 25 November 2009 F
CIRM 0216 Ernielou Christine P.Salcedo 25 November 2009 F
CIRM 0221 Lao Marlinda Lawrence 30 November 2009 F
CIRM 0222 Ni Putu Eka Susanti 30 November 2009 F
CIRM 0237 Jo Ann Zaballero Ordeneza 17 December 2009 F
CIRM 0274 KD Daminda Ruwan Kumara 29 January 2010 F
CIRM 0058 Emily Hopper 14 October 2009 F
CIRM 0282 Weldy Reviady 15 February 2010 F
CIRM 0287 Mahendra Kumar Moktan 23 February 2010 F
CIRM 0288 Clement Curt Perera 23 February 2010 F
CIRM 0289 Benjie Russell R.Villamejor 23 February 2010 F
CIRM 0292 Ibrahim Mohamed 07 March 2010 M
CIRM 0293 Munawwar Ibrahim 13 March 2010 M
CIRM 0294 Qais Abdul Qadir 15 March 2010 F
CIRM 0295 Saudhullah Ahmed 15 March 2010 M
CIRM 0291 Mohamed Ahmed 20 March 2010 M
CIRM 0298 Roma Flor Buenaobra 20 March 2010 F
CIRM 0299 H.Priyangalakmal Perera 19 March 2010 F
CIRM 0305 Ahmed Ali 04 April 2010 M
CIRM 0306 Jadulla Ali 04 April 2010 M
CIRM 0307 Mohamed Junaid 04 April 2010 M
CIRM 0082 Amal Debnath 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0317 Ahmed Fahudh 18 April 2010 M
CIRM 0320 Mayur D.Gawli 25 April 2010 F
CIRM 0318 Ma Zaung Nyoi 22 April 2010 F
CIRM 0100 Ali Mohamed Didi 20 October 2009 M
CIRM 0330 Anthony Jeewan 21 May 2010 F
CIRM 0328 Surya Kanwar 19 May 2010 F
Total 21 35

Finance
CIRM 0005 Durga Prasad Pattanaik 01 December 2008 F
CIRM 0017 Punnada Thongjeen 01 August 2009 F
CIRM 0238 DM Sarath Bandara 24 December 2009 F
CIRM 0027 Ahmed Mushthaq 15 September 2009 M
CIRM 0037 Ashok Kumar Swain 01 October 2009 F
CIRM 0241 Handunnetti Palinda Gangadara 25 December 2009 F
CIRM 0039 Narayanan Sathish Kumar 01 October 2009 F
CIRM 0045 Mathew Varghese 07 October 2009 F
CIRM 0240 Naveen Kumar Reddy Billa 01 December 2009 F
CIRM 0229 Ahmed Mohamed 02 December 2009 M
CIRM 0323 A.R.G.K.Kularatne 28 April 2010 F
Total 2 9

Front Office
CIRM 0014 Chaichan Chaida 02 July 2009 F
CIRM 0300 Siriwan Sitayotin 21 March 2010 F
CIRM 0024 Abdullah Hassaan Shareef 09 September 2009 M
CIRM 0047 Ahmed Ali 10 October 2009 M
CIRM 0092 Amy Ho Ming Yen 18 October 2009 F
CIRM 0053 Marlene Simon 13 October 2009 F
CIRM 0066 Mohamed Nadeem 15 October 2009 M
CIRM 0094 Mohamed Ahmed Didi ( MAX) 19 October 2009 M
CIRM 0106 Haruka Taniguchi 22 October 2009 F
CIRM 0122 Noara Ibrahim 25 October 2009 M
CIRM 0029 Mariyam Hana 22 September 2009 M
CIRM 0134 Anushka Krishani Wattage 26 October 2009 F
CIRM 0220 Omar Faruk 26 November 2009 F
CIRM 0230 Hussein Solih 03 December 2009 M
CIRM 0235 Annie David Kalaparambath 13 December 2009 F
CIRM 0256 Susann Seifert 31 January 2010 F
CIRM 0273 Hussain Musthafa Hassan 29 January 2010 M
CIRM 0286 Aishath Nasheedha 22 February 2010 M
CIRM 0302 Mohamed Nasheed Ibrahim 31 March 2010 M
CIRM 0316 Hussain Haroon 19 April 2010 M
CIRM 0096 Ahmed Azim 20 October 2009 M
CIRM0234 Gamlakshage Damantha 13 December 2009 F
Total 12 10

Housekeeping
CIRM 0325 Ramil Millamina Lagos 04 May 2010 F
CIRM 0167 Ahmed Shujau 31 October 2009 M
CIRM 0033 Hassan Latheef 01 October 2009 M
CIRM 0260 Bellanage Chaminda Indika Fernando 25 January 2010 F
CIRM 0034 Ali Naseer Moosa 01 October 2009 M
CIRM 0035 Shamrath Usmaan 01 October 2009 M
CIRM 0036 Hussain Rasheed 01 October 2009 M
CIRM 0028 Namdev 15 September 2009 F
CIRM 0083 Ibrahim Rasheed 15 October 2009 M
CIRM 0084 Mohammed Jahir 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0085 Siyah Zahir 15 October 2009 M
CIRM 0111 Ahmed Jamsheed 23 October 2009 M
CIRM 0155 Ahmed Zareer 01 November 2009 M
CIRM 0156 Mohamed Siraj 01 November 2009 M
CIRM 0157 Saiful Islam 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0158 Nurul Islam 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0159 MD Jomshid Mia 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0160 Amanulla 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0191 Hussain Shareef 20 November 2009 M
CIRM 0270 Ahmed Sujau 27 January 2010 M
CIRM 0271 Mohamed Ibrahim 28 January 2010 M
CIRM 0296 Muaz Muhammadh 16 March 2010 M
CIRM 0309 Ahmed Mazahim 06 April 2010 M
CIRM 0303 Ahmed Asim 31 March 2010 M
CIRM 0311 Ahmed Umshad 10 April 2010 M
CIRM 0312 Hassan Waheed 10 April 2010 M
CIRM 0313 Sanaullah 10 April 2010 F
CIRM 0322 Naushad Ibrahim 24 April 2010 M
CIRM 0032 Kulasiri A.Gamage 26 September 2009 F
CIRM 0262 Azgar Ali 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0087 Ruhul Amin 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0088 Abdul Mobin 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0103 Gina Fe Cunanan Barin 20 October 2009 F
CIRM 0331 Zahirul 21 May 2010 F
Total 19 15

SPA
CIRM 0022 Anunya Kumnerdthanaporn 01 October 2009 F
CIRM 0301 Sawwitree Nuan 28 March 2010 F
CIRM 0073 Daranee Kinglek 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0075 Kedsara Rungmaneetum 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0076 Ni Kadek Rustini 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0236 Ni Ketut Warni 22 December 2009 F
CIRM 0078 Panida Intaraksa 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0079 Panca Yuda Artiningsih 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0080 Ubon Phimson 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0081 Sangla Tuansanite 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0263 Uthai-thip Morayan 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0153 Kadek Kusuma Dewi 29 October 2009 F
CIRM 0315 Itthiphon Phonyiam 20 April 2010 F
Total 0 13

Security & Transport
CIRM 0026 Gopi Thappa 12 September 2009 F
CIRM 0123 Bharat Bahadur Khadka 25 October 2009 F
CIRM 0124 Uttar Kumar Waiba 25 October 2009 F
CIRM 0194 Maheshwor Paudel 20 November 2009 F
CIRM 0243 Narayan Bahadur Thakuri 22 December 2009 F
CIRM 0250 Arjun Thapa 04 January 2010 F
CIRM 0071 Ahmed Imad 15 October 2009 M
CIRM 0055 Ahmed Waheed 13 October 2009 M
CIRM 0259 Ahmed Ibrahim 24 January 2010 M
CIRM 0261 Ahmed Anees 26 January 2010 M
CIRM 0268 Ali Adam 17 October 2009 M
CIRM 0272 Mohamed Ahmed 29 January 2010 M
CIRM 0319 Hussain Mohamed 22 April 2010 M
Total 7 6

Human Resources
CIRM 0277 Ahmed Nizam 04 February 2010 M
CIRM 0031 Aditya Dilip LAD 26 September 2009 F
CIRM 0278 Shannon Frances Jenkinson 01 February 2010 F
CIRM 0333 Dr Shankar 03 November 2009 F
CIRM 0125 Manoj Bhusel 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0070 Masud Ali 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0182 Shaporan 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0201 Kalu Sing Syangtan 01 November 2009 F
Total 1 7

Male Office
CIRM 0004 Mohamed Didi 01 February 2009 M
CIRM 0283 Ibrahim Waheed 01 February 2010 M
CIRM 0284 Kamarul Hassan 01 February 2010 F
Total 2 1

Total Maldivians 67
Total Foreiners 193
Total Staff 260

Total Maldivians % 25.76923077
Total Foreiners % 74.23076923

Note: “M” Is Maldivian

If they want to cut cost…

The government is pressed to cut costs agreed with world lenders such as World Bank and IMF, and cost cutting was one of the major changes the current government brought when it assumed power. However old habits die hard. The fact that the government and its related institutions are still buying overpriced popular softwares from Microsoft is evidence that the cost cutting measures haven’t been pursued far enough. On average the offices of the local government and its computerized works does not go beyond word-processing and spreadsheets, which can easily be accommodated by other free Operating systems like Ubuntu Linux.
The fact that retraining employees to a new OS will take time and effort is true, however the average overall office use of the OS is not likely to go beyond a few functions such as word processing and spreadsheets which is only a fraction of the capabilities of an OS. So if there was a need to retrain, it could be limited to what the employees are expected to work with in the OS.

Another development which will add substantial expenses to the government is the proposed copyrights bill which the “Ministry of Economics” erroneously believes will benefit the country. This erroneous belief is based on the belief that there is growing substantial IT sector (& a ‘film industry”) which is supposed to be protected from piracy. However the reality of the situation is that we do not have an IT industry in Maldives yet. We do not have enough online connectivity thanks to the still high rates charged by the ISPs and most of our IT experts are expatriates from India and Sri Lanka and they are certainly not clamoring for copyright bills. As for our ‘fim-industry’ (LOL), one could be forgiven for a laugh… our film industry (if that is the right term) is simply not a film industry. Its a half hearted attempt by some brave souls just to attempt to bring a few smiles and laughs to the country which is made larger than life by the small media we have.


Summing up; the copyrights bill currently in the People’s Majlis (or is it?) if it ever is debated on is likely to be passed and as a result the country will be poorer than as it is. Our parliamentarians (most of them any ways…) are simply not capable of understanding the implications of what they are going to debate and they will end up making Bil Gates a few thousands of dollars richer than already he is at the expense of the our countrymen.

some Anti-copyright arguments from wikipedia:

  • Intellectual monopoly
  • …results in a weaker incentive at creativity
  • …increases the cost of creation
  • unlike physical property, intellectual property is not scarce and is, they claim, a legal fiction created by the state
  • knowledge should be “shared in solidarity”.

They need some cash…


They in this case means the so called “Honourable” sleaze balls of our parliament who undoubtedly are the most selfish thoughtless and spineless creatures of our country. Forgive the harsh words but where there are not sufficient words to express the indignation of the common people at the corrupt politicians who run the country, a sufficiently strong language shall be used to wake others from the deep slumber of complacency. These are the same members of parliament who just a couple of years back revised their salary up from 18000 to 62500 and yet they did not include a provision for deducting a single laari even if they fail to show up to work for the entire duration of their office. This is perhaps a world class example of corrupt and incompetent and selfish majlis which is not like any other in the world. Of course this is not to paint all the MPs in the same brush but the recently leaked phone calls between the majlis members shows how their sweet talk at the election campaign and their lifestyles do not match. The very reason why they raised their salary upward at that time was given as a way to dissuade them (MPs) from taking loans or bribes from rich businessmen and the public were asked not to make much of an issue out of that. However now that their salaries are fatter, responsibilities are thinner and are fully involved in works beyond their mandate it comes as a shock to the nation to see how their trust are reviled by these chameleons.

On the political front..

Now that our country is going through a a “real” political problem, a few comments which can be said about the issue are in order:

  • the mass  protest resignation of the cabinet is more drama than anything else.
  • however the reasons they gave for their resignations have a little substance and more drama.
  • the president’s explanation of the situation is more prose than politics which is understandable since the president was a penman before a statesman.
  • that the opposition is taking advantage of the privileges offered by the parliament is a fact and equating some of them to petty thieves is not without merit.
  • understanding the problem is the first step to address the issue in question, however the legislature is not in a position to address these issues because of the runaway parliament which has fattened itself and made it more powerful than it should.
  • the judiciary is also in the same position of the parliament which is all about clan loyalty to the former president and little about what ails to the public.
  • the solution lies in heads rolling. Better perhaps if the supreme court can find a way to hang the parliament and president to call for fresh parliamentary elections.

Gitmo resettlement will NOT damage Maldives’ reputation

Although Tomato ( sorry Matato) claims otherwise, there will be absolutely be NO damage to the reputation of Maldives by agreeing to resettle Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Here are the reasons.

  • Most resorts in Maldives are geared for high spenders rather than budget spenders who have their own businesses, professions and generally their heads with them. So they could not possibly be unaware of world politics or ramifications of it.
  • Guantanamo Bay is not a terrorist camp or a training ground for terrorists. Rather its a place that came to be associated with the wrongful policies of the last US president whose successor is making good on his election promises to close down the place to show the ethical and humane side of American values. World media knows this and any measure to close down the camp will be cheered in any part of the globe.
  • Our Obama (sorry, our president Mr. Anni) may not have always aligned his political steering to the correct compass direction but this time the president is correct. Absolutely correct to ZERO decimals without error. Assisting fellow human beings who happened to be caught in a global battle without an end in sight, is the responsibility of all respectable people of the world.
  • Its the opposition politics which is taking advantage of the ignorance of the masses to gather support for their parties which is creating all this fuss about the move to resettle the POWs which has no basis whatsoever. Our president Anni showed considerable courage (far more than is generally necessary) in cutting short the reporters who are questioning this move because the media can make or break a country. In this case, the opposition is using media to the hilt to discredit a rather commendable move by the president.
  • Maldives Association for Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) which is different from tomato (of course!) are not experts of world politics, terrorism, tourism or anything. These are just individuals (locals) who make a life selling package holidays to unwary tourists who might not have come across big names of world famous tour operators who operate in Maldives. Top brands in tour operations in the world knows the value of their statements to media so they generally refrain from commenting on issues without prior knowledge. Moreover these Tomatoes (sorry MATATOs) are the most worker unfriendly people who works in the tourism industry. Generally they make a living by their fancy websites (to unwary guests of course ) while we the workers resort workers tarry with the guests.
  • The Tomatos (sorry MATATO) said that certain countries issued travel warnings to Maldives citing “internal conflicts and linking terrorism to Maldives.” these are just claims which has absolutely no basis. Even the specific wording they used has nothing to link this to the recent decision by the government to resettle Guantanamo Bay prisoners. What it has if anything was the fact that the former government of Maumoon committed the big mistake of smearing the name of the country by claiming to the world media about the presence of terrorism and terrorist camps in the country. These were of course lies to win in the presidential election by playing the “fear” card which thankfully backfired.

Below is the link to country specific information about Maldives which is certainly not issuing cautions against visiting the country.
US Department of State

Here is the world alert page by State Department which also does not contain advice to boycott our country’s tourism.
Worldwide caution

Below is the link of MATATO board members
The couch potatoes.. sorry MATATO

C++, Java, Esperanto.. anyone?


The education ministry is in the process of revamping the national syllabus which is said to include interesting many changes to the national curriculum. One such interesting and controversial change the ministry is pondering is offering foreign languages to secondary students which are said to include Chinese, Japanese and French. Another change they want to usher in is making Islamic studies and Dhivehi language optional which is proving to be controversial as there is opposition from mainstream to such a drastic change without public consultation.

On the issue of new foreign languages, the religious party Adhaalathu pointed out a similar case of curriculum change in Turkey which modified their ultra secular stance to include Arabic as the country has many important cultural and economic ties with middle east. Retorting on the Chinese, Japanese and French languages as optional subjects to be offered to students in Maldives, the party mentions it would have been better to offer languages Sinhalese, Tamil and Bengali which are languages of our neighborhood countries which all aspects of our country’s commerce is tied to.

Although not much commented about, this draws an important point about the choice of subjects and disciplines the ministry is considering to offer to students which clearly needs better direction. If we take a look at each language and our relation to that language in particular, we see these languages falling in the category of art and such cultural aspects of education which bigger and more advanced nations can dwell upon because of their wealth and affluence. Developing nations needs talents more in the line of crafts, and sciences which will build and the strengthen the country, after which the bourgeois can come in and setup shop. So instead of offering Chinese and Japanese language to students, the education ministry could offer them computer based languages like c++ or java or something in the line of AI (artificial intelligence). Instead of French as a subject, which was the bourgeois language of the past taken over by English, a substitute can be offered in Esperanto which is an artificial language nobody really talks. That is if the ministry is adamant that it has to be a language.

Four more islands up for grabs

If you have a couple of hundred million dollars in disposable income, now is definitely the time to drop in by to Maldives for a small business trip. The Maldives government is in the process of bidding out 4 small beautiful islands for eligible buyers to raise money to develop a number of housing units for the countrymen. The issue of housing has been a problem for the country and with the new democratic government hard pressed to make good upon election pledges, the feeding frenzy of resorts idea came to happen.

Although there were several more islands given away to develop in the last few years which are still not developed, these new four islands would not have to go the same way as those other islands if more investors show an interest. The islands which were stalled mostly were taken up by existing pool of resort owners under various names and pseudonyms and front companies just because they knew how much the islands are worth despite having funds to develop them. These islands are now in the process of being renegotiated to make them profitable business ventures and possibly to be sold to other parties who can deliver.

The process of bidding and acquiring a resort in Maldives started a small informal venture which has grown up to be a complicated issue where the talents of various consultancies work tirelessly sometimes for a year to produce ‘a-resort-on-paper’ to impress the bid evaluation committee which ultimately scores the prospective bids and chooses a ‘winner’. The winner of course is overjoyed every time because its commonly understood that the investment to cover a normal resort pays off in roughly 3 years and a luxury one in 7 years. After which everything the resort earns is profits and the tax bill to shave some of those earnings is thankfully (or not) is still quietly sleeping in the parliament.

Dhigali

Huivani


Fushivelavaru


Raafushi


The island that shouldn’t be given away


If there is one lucky person in Maldives who consistently gets his way through the courts of law, then that person could be the chairman of Yacht Tours Mr. Abdulla Jabir.

Chairman of Yacht Tours Jabir with his wifeDhiyana former AG

Mr. Jabir was a typical tourism worker till he was got the little secret red number of the then formidable government minister Mr. Abdulla Yaameen. Being like minded in style and in outlook they created a business partnership that endured. Several years since, they both used their influence and political posturing to get their way through several business deals and ultimately from zero resorts to nobody-knows-how much, Mr. Jabir is probably now the man with the most resort islands in the country. At a business level Mr. Jabir was not successful in running resorts which was apparent from the selling renting out of islands such as Dhonveli, yet he has even obliged the government to award him another one resort and that’s one another interesting story.
Kudavillingili or
The island kudavillingili (or “chickens” in the above image) is awarded to Mr. Jabir against compensation for the “oppportunity costs” they would have incurred because of a failed bid for “Biyaadhoo” which erroneously was awarded to some other parties. The interesting part in this story is that those who sat on the evaluation board did not have to take any responsibility for their error but the government had to and they are giving away the island as a result. All these events happened with political maneuvering in the background such as

  • Mr. Yameen in and out of several government ministries and boards including the STO which was a principal lender of materials for Jabir’s resorts. etc
  • Mr. Jabir becoming an MP in the ticket of the then ruling party DRP
  • Joins Jumhooree party in the elections which failed to secure the top job.
  • now Mr. Jabir is again in the ruling party and there are already talks about the cases against him being looked in to by presidential commission to be being quietly laid to rest now that he belongs in the correct fold..

All these cases of corruption, influence peddling, gaining priceless islands for free and political maneuvering are not lost on some who include the Attorney General but he is at a disadvantage because even the judiciary is influenced by the poisonous politics which resulted from the dismantling of the iron fisted rule of the last 30 years. According to news sources, the Attorney General voiced his opposition to the supreme court order to give the islands to Jabir and that he is weiging his options now. However its very unlikely that the island of kudavillingilinorth Male' atoll will be saved now that Mr. Jabir has AGAIN joined a ruling party (this time the MDP).

Giving away this precious island for free for a purely political reason is symbolic of the reasons why so many  islands were given away to develop in the last two rounds and yet very few islands were developed as resorts. The last thing we need in our country is corruption and political misjudgment as we strive to progress after the stagnant politics of the last 3 decades. Those advanced countries of the world became what they are not by sheltering criminals and allowing them to take advantage of law and the common good but by being fair and even handed in principle. Frequently we hear our politicians remarking about Singapore as a model of business success but nobody seems to realize Singapore is the least likely (Singapore is smaller than Huvadhoo Atoll in area!) to let their business model be hijacked by perverted politicians.

Links:

http://www.miadhu.com/2010/04/local-news/mrf-16-7-million-was-paid-to-jabir-for-dollar-purchase-yaameen/

http://www.splendidasia.com/maldives/north-male.html

http://www.dhivehiobserver.com/speicalreports/hassan-sobir-wealth1105052.htm

http://www.miadhu.com/2010/04/local-news/presidential-commission-sends-the-controversial-jabir-yaameen-case-to-police/

http://www.miadhu.com/2010/04/local-news/abdulla-jabir-joins-mdp/

http://www.dhivehiobserver.com/lhaviyani/MIFCO_JABIR_040420063.htm

http://www.miadhu.com/2007/01/local-news/mifco-chairman-tenders-resignation-1304/

http://www.haveeru.com.mv/?page=details&cat=&tbl=online&id=93546

Copy right laws in Maldives.. Who needs it?

The list of the biggest problems we face in the country are many but they certainly do not include an issue about copyright laws. Nevertheless our parliament ie The Majlis is busy debating this very issue. A fair question might be, why? Why indeed are they debating this issue which is an issue with the advanced countries of the world who are inundated with intellect and intellectual property? Compared to them who are we and what do we produce of intellectual value? Zilch is the answer!

The bill was said to have been tabled by the ruling MDP which might be a political necessity for securing better foreign relations with donor countries but the implications of the bill will certainly hurt the country as a whole. The bill will ultimately govern all aspects of modern living from music, films to softwares etc which is all but too expensive for the 99% of the population of this country to buy at original copy right sanctioned prices. The proponents of the bill are saying this bill will encourage productivity but that is far from reality considering the current situation of the country. For example once this bill comes in to law, its very probable that small to medium business owners will turn to local software ‘engineers’ to write for them some sort of POS application for their shop which will will be happily sold by the few crappy software engineers we have for highly bloated prices which will land the business owner in circle one. Basically the bill will give an unfair advantage to the few local software makers at the expense of the public who are used to pirated copies of the best softwares of the world for a very fair price!

There are no opponents to the bill in DRP, which normally opposes MDP in almost everything but this time around they had only to say this. “That some businessmen are getting richer by selling these fake products and pirated software and films and this shall be stopped.” However they also failed to acknowledge the immense benefit the public receives from such commerce.

As for the songs and movies, this sector is so small as to be completely insignificant compared to the demand of the viewers. Most of our countrymen (and women of course!) are polyglots by nature as they learn English in school and Hindi at home while speaking various dialects of local language in everyday life. So the lacking of Dhivehi films and songs is complemented by the abundance of such materials from Bollywood and Hollywood which needless to say are prevalently pirated copies of originals. Once this door is slapped by the copyright regime, the mother or father of necessity shall in theory be called upon to fill the gap which it simply can never do. Literature and arts and culture take time to develop and cannot be forced in by legislating them in.

Every country in the world except perhaps ours, puts the best interest of their countrymen above that of others. Now our national interest certainly lies in not opening this Pandora’s box of intellectual property rights but dealing with real world issues that are more pressing and important such as tackling our high unemployment rates and the ongoing tax works.

politicizing everything…


The former government politicized football. So much so that footballers were made stars overnight and for every goal they scored or every match they won, huge sums of money were lavishly poured over the team. The effect of politicizing football did not go well if the results of the latest international matches our teams participated in, were any indicator. The summit of football madness was when former president Maumoon used the football trophy for his campaign which saw the trophy and some team players went on island hopping for each island just to let the islanders take a pic with the trophy. That was when everybody was calling on everyone else to cut cost and to economize for a better future.


Coming back to the present, the same mistakes are being repeated by the current government in a different way. This time its about music and the government taking an ill advised stand on one side of the issue. Its about some controversial foreign musician being invited to perform in the country and the government increasingly coming under fire from a sizable majority which is only calling for respecting their views and culture. The correct way for the government would be not to antagonize and further polarize an already restless situation and always make an effort to be seen as a seeing and a listening body rather than a dictating one from a high pedestal. It used to be everything in the past and now its about ultra liberal secularism which is bound to bring clash of cultures to the front.

Tribunal orders Airports to give 1.9m to employees.


The employment tribunal has ordered the Airports Company to give 1.9 million ruffiyaas for 21 of its staff, who were retired as compensation for unfair retirement compensation. The said employees were retired according to a “policy” of the airports which they were not able to present or prove to the tribunal. Shows how much Airports Company value the services of workers who have given half of their adult life to the company. The story is reported in Haveeru and read the rest here..

The idea of a Tourist Village..


Some industry experts are suggesting an interesting new concept of a tourist product in Maldives which is the Tourist Village. The idea is to create several hotels (5 or more) in a big island with lots of accompanying services to be outsourced to other businesses. Currently all our resorts are dedicated hotels in one island which is running in complete autonomy. The idea is very interesting as it will be an opportunity for lots of businesses to do business in one island. For example the security, transportation, staff accommodation can all be handled by different companies instead of one resort management which will be a very welcome different work atmosphere. Although the idea is just an idea it is expected to get some serious thought from the government as they are already exploring further ways to extend the already proven profitability of tourism. With the recent swamping of Male’ by the arrival of tourists from a passenger liner, the industry leaders are agreed that there needs to be more to do to facilitate further arrivals by big ships in the future.

Presidential mistakes

Lets begin at the beginning.
His Excellency Mohamed Amin Didi was our first president and he is said to be the founder of the present “Republic” that Maldives is. Many important initiatives like formal education, creation of main roads in the islands are credited to him. However His Excellency’s rule was short lived and was brutally murdered by a mob. Despite his revolutionary and progressive governance, he does not associate himself with the common men and was elitist in appearance and style. It maybe one of his undoings of which clearly there were many. Mahatma Gandi was also educated but in Oxford and yet, to associate with the common populace, he wore clothes like a beggar. At that time Amin Didi was in power, few men in the ‘republic’ had the wherewithal to wear a shirt or anything to cover their bodies. Yet Amin Didi always wore either military uniforms or western attire…


Ibrahim Nasir was the second president after a brief spell of kingdom of Hassan Fareed. Ibrahim Nasir was a president brought to power by the elitist power brokers in Male’ and was not well loved or respected during his whole reign. Nor did he need love or popularity of the common people as he based his rule on fear and intimidation. Its said that he did not use bodyguards and walked the streets of Male’ alone and unattended yet it was common knowledge that His Excellency was not a person to be messed with. At the time his dictatorship only knew force, violence and torture to solve most of the cases. At the time political dissenters disappearances were not uncommon and prison inmates were routinely tortured sometimes to death. The most poignant example of Nasir’s notoriousness was shown on the occasion when he depopulated the island of Thinadhoo because Thinadhoo islanders allied themselves with the short-lived Suvadive government.
The current government’s effort to portray Nasir as a proper president making best of a rough situation, not as a dictator seems to be an effort to chip away the popularity of his predecessor Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom. Its commonly used tactic in politics to discredit an entity by presenting competing further entities which seems to be the case.


In the short lived Suvadive government (in Addu), the president was Afif Didi and he reigned in tumultuous times. During the short reign of Suvadiva, they were able to do pretty much everything a new country aught to do save perhaps the efforts to consolidate on what was achieved and to move forward. There were many reasons for their failure and on a personal level Afif Didi was more popular, loved and respected by his countrymen than any other. Most of the factors that lead to their ultimate defeat of the Suvadive Republic were possibly beyond their power. The involvement of the British and the Male’ government’s unwilling to let go of the souther three islands were certainly factors. The leadership of Afeef Didi on a personal level was impeccable but there were elements of aristocracy and elitism which would not have gone down well with the freedom loving masses.


Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom comes from an aristocratic family in Male’ and was pushed into presidential hot seat (it was much colder then…) by the favor of his predecessor Nasir. Under his rule lots of good and bad things happened and the list of his presidential mistakes were indeed long. Although a lot of propaganda goes both ways, the fact that he nurtured a personality cult and was a nepotist is true. Further mistakes would involve curbing freedom of expression, imprisonment and harassment of the Ulema. One of the most damning things for which Maumoon will be remembered is for his extravagant life style which is summed up in the gold decorated toilet in the Presidential Palace at Theemuge.

The incumbent president Mohamed Nasheed entered to the list of the presidents on popular vote after defeating his predecessor Maumoon in the first “real ballots” this country has seen (possibly) for the first time. Prior to coming power, he was a constant (and consistent) thorn for Maumoon’s government, forming a broad based popular opposition and basically twisting the Maumoon’s arm while he was still in power. After coming to power with a coalition of partners, Anni was lauded for his prudent economic policies which in his own words were in a state of jaahiliyya. It might be too early to state the full list of Anni’s presidential mistakes but there are indications that the once grass-roots president is loosing touch with the roots and bowing to pressure from the elitists in his party. The issues are social and religious which Anni used not to dictate in principle but at the insistence of the aristocracy and his inner circle of party members, the president is getting into uncertain waters. Adhaalth party which is the political partner of ruling MDP, consists of the most respected religious leaders of the country is increasing coming under pressure from the elitist camp in MDP which is basically trying to set the agenda on how Anni operates. It maybe Anni’s undoing for letting this vocal minority influence his relationship with Adhaalath Party which is in a position to make or break who will ask for votes come the next election.
enumerating the mistakes:
1) Signing agreements and pacts with Israel which by world’s consensus is the most roguish state currently in existence. This is the same country which uses the passports UK citizens to murder people in other countries despite the fact UK is the country which actually gave birth to Israel and is closest to them save the US.
2) Trying to legalize sale of wine in inhabited islands which was revoked by mass protests. The front for the issue was city hotel business but was actually done to placate the wishes of the MDP party backers who were linked with the Holiday Inn hotel in Male’.
3) Seeking help for Islamic sharia from Germany which is ironic as this country is still respected by world’s Muslims as one of the few surviving 100% Muslim countries in the world. The idea is not actually to seek help for sharia but perhaps some financial gains which was given cold shoulder by Germany, as Islam and Europe do not mix. Its currently not acceptable political language in Europe to talk about Islam to the chancellor.
4) Aligning with and giving his moral backing and support to a vocal minority of secular elitists from his party activists and others. Democratic principles is firmly on the side of majority and the majority of this country still has not signed up to secularism.