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.
Below is the link of MATATO board members
The couch potatoes.. sorry MATATO
Moofushi a small club style resort island, which was closed for repairs is opening up soon. Although their website does not give this glad tiding, we just came across a job ad from Haveeru. by the new company (www.constancehotels.com) which will be operating the resort.
The job ad says that interested candidates shall apply before 31st May 2010 and placements will begin 15th July 2010. Its the first batch of staff or pre-opening team consisting mainly of managers and department heads etc.
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.
Traditions has it, that as soon as a person gets a plot of land to build a house, he or she will erect the ‘wall’ of his house which is like marking his official boundary to the outside world. So the first steps to build a house is directed at demarcation of boundary. This maybe because we are territorial creatures by nature, but also by the need to safeguard and secure the place we call home. Whatever the justifications, the fact of the matter is that building the inevitable stonewall is an unnecessary drain on the environment as well as the funds needed to build the house in the first place. This drain over the years ruined many a historical place we had as those places were destroyed and the stones removed to make walls for houses etc, and of course the all too evident effects on environment. The issue of walls has been neglected by the authorities even now because there is lack of awareness as to the detrimental effects of to the environment and alternative means to achieve what a stone wall might be used to achieve.
For a fraction of the cost to erect an unsightly, unnecessary, unwieldy stone wall, a better alternative which provides the same security and aesthetically and environmentally friendliness is a hedge. Plants can be used with little effort to construct a hedge which is an ideal solution for islands as the plots are bigger.
However for people to embrace the hedges and destroy their stone walls, there are steps the authorities will need to take which they do not seem to be aware at the moment.
Hedges are ideal places for mosquitoes to loiter around so the authorities should in theory propose a solution for the mosquitoes problem. Vandalism and burglary issues are also issues which left as it is a non-starter for the people to dismantle their beloved stone walls. Historically our armed forces were there to protect the president and the elite and currently they seem to be engaged in some war efforts with a phantom army of aliens few knows about, while the gangs thrive unchecked in the capital Male’ and other islands. Once our armed forces can take care of these gangs, the island planning committees can spring up and start promoting the idea of flowering hedges, and fences for gardens instead of ugly concrete and stone walls barricading every house.
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.