Sawad and the 60 resorts problem

Speaking about the delays in the development of the last batch of resorts which were awarded to successful bidders, Tourism Minister said the islands remain undeveloped because of lack of investment banks or such institutions in the country. This is true to some extent but a far more bigger problem which the tourism minister Sawad did not mention was the fact that all these new islands were competed and awarded to the same people who already owns a couple or more resorts, in a bidding process fraught with corruption from to to bottom. History is witness to the fact that all manners of tricks were employed in the bidding process such as proxies and front companies to get the islands by the existing cartel of resort owners in often illicit ties with the then government and they got the islands sometimes not based on the strength or competency of their bids. Many examples are there of bids being contested in courts after the islands are awarded fraudulently and sometimes the government having to award another island to the injured party simply because the bid evaluation committee made a mistake. Biyaadhoo, which was contested by Yacht Tours and fraudulently awarded to Sunland Hotels is one case and Yacht Tours has being compensated by a court order to award them Kuda Villingili , Male’ Atoll. Here the problem lies in the fact that the government instead of dispensing with justice had opted to forgive the culprits and award the Yacht Tours an island as compensation.
Another problem according to the minister was the fact the previous government has taken substantial monies from these resort owners as rent for these islands although these islands have not even started development yet. The resort owners who won the bids to these islands want the government to waive further rent monies and even give them compensation which is all but too much to ask. It remains to be seen if the current government can stay even handed with the fraudsters.


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