Is King Salman really buying an atoll in Maldives?

The short answer is sort of yes. The atoll in question is Faafu which is a sparsely populated atoll with lots of beautiful islands.  Total population of Faafu atoll is around 5000 will in all likelihood will be resettled in  Hulhumale under the proposed deal. The deal is rumored to be worth 10 billion and the atoll will be reclaimed and enlarged to build a mega tourist city. The rationale for the business idea around the project involves Saudi’s desire to diversify economic interests to counter whatever may appear after demand for  fossil fuel becomes low. 

In all likelihood the deal is likely to proceed with current government having super majority in parliament, significant control in judiciary, curbs on media and doing their 100% to stay credible after huge corruption scandal which landed the vice president Adheeb in jail.In president Yameen’s estimate this deal if sealed will produce same amount of revenue for the country as that of the whole tourism sector.

And then there is also significant opposition to the deal from opposition political parties who are also suffering the blame for voting for a bill in parliament which paved the way for private ownership of land in Maldives. 

For the average citizens this just political posturing as there is little difference between 99 year long term lease of islands and outright buying of the islands. Given the average life span of a Maldivian being 77 years, its very unlikely a Maldivian who lives today will see the day when existing long term leased islands lease expires. 

The only real danger Maldivians will face with selling islands may not be that one day all the islands will be bought by billionaires but that these deals will be tainted with corruption and invaluable pieces of beauty will be sold for knockdown prices. Maldives is already reeling from the biggest corruption scandal in history with the same administration in power. Several islands,  lagoons and sandbanks were traded unashamedly by corrupt politicians and things got so bad that tourism ministry even announced any party who have purchased any island or lagoon to get in contact with the ministry with proof of purchase to register the transaction! The corruption saga was never fully inspected and case looks all but closed after jailing 4 individuals including former vice president.

The business case for developing a huge resort island might be sound but the Saudi’s will be well advised not to alienate the opposition who might be not very cooperative if the current regime fails to win the election in 2018. The opposition lacks funding, clear sense of direction and leadership. The current regime almost lacks legitimacy and trust. Trust will never be won with money or power.

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Male’ braced for big Mayday rally.

Mayday rally used to be a simple affair in Male’ mostly organized by TEAM. Often times the rally is attended by less than 100 and looks more like a cause for resort workers as others don’t seem interested.  But this time it’s looking like it’s going to be different. Mayday for once is going to be attended in good numbers and for a good reason.  Apart from the ruling party PPM, every other party has joined the effort to free former president Nasheed and some other high ranking officials of the previous administration who have recently been jailed on trumped up charges. Amnesty international and EU has backed the calls for releasing the former president and former defense minister Nazim as the legal proceedings that landed them in jail were neither free from political interference nor just. It remains to be seen how the popular anger against the political trials and injustices are going to be heard by the ruling minority led government which has shown amazing naivety in thinking they can mask the discontent by threats and intimidation and remain non committal to popular sentiments.

Politics being politics every party will take as much advantage as they can out of situations and frequently lie their way through situations making small things appear big, tiny problems appear as huge but there are very good reasons for voicing discontent against the government this time.

Adheeb

image012
image012

The current controversial tourism minister is by all accounts very much involved with the gangs in Male and he has made no effort to distance himself from them. It is also said that when he was made tourism minister his net worth was around minus 5000 dollars and in just 3 years he was able to present brand new car to first lady on her birthday. Former auditor general Niyaz was removed from his job for trying to probe allegation of corruption against Mr. Adheeb.

car donated by Adheeb to firstlady
car donated by Adheeb to firstlady

The courts:

Maldives maybe the only country where a sitting judge in court may have less qualification than the lawyers. It’s sad but true that some sitting judges in our judicial system have not even completed their primary education and preside over cases argued for and against by lawyers who are much learned them. Positions in courts were historically all favors by government to their loyal supporters and they basically just used technicalities in the new constitution to cement their questionably gotten positions. They have also made their positions permanent for life and wrote their own pay scale and benefits.  Against this backdrop its easy to see how any political position the government wants is easily implemented by the courts and this is exactly how the hastily conjured up sham trials of former president and defense minister were concluded.

The police

The opportunity to shine and rise to the occasion for police came when they mysteriously found an elaborate scheme collectively by all opposition politicians to murder president Yameen and tourism minister Adheeb. According to this theory, Villa group chairman (presidential contender) financed the scheme. Former defense minister Nazim wrote the sequence of events. He also kept a pistol with exactly 3 bullets (allegedly: 1 for president Yameen, 1 for Minister Adheeb, 1 for police commissioner). A trained soldier Mr. Nazim also kept an ied, the thumb drive with the murderous plans and the pistol and bullets under his pillow and he and his wife slept blissfully aware of the monstrous things under their pillow while they slept. AND WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THIS OF COURSE…

One maybe forgiven for believing that politics is for grown up people but when situations like these are actual news from Maldives, it’s hard to believe that sane people can go through this much longer. So in effect this mayday rally is warranted and for the right reasons.  The drama has to stop and sun has to shine. Maldives deserves better than this.

The unforgivable metal birdie

bird statue in Addu
the unwanted birdie ..

the statues of birds and beasts which has been erected in Addu for the SAARC summit are a first for the country and are already causing much controversy. Prior to this, Maldives has been free of statues like this in accordance with the conservative religious norms of the country.

It maybe a creative idea gone wrong on the part of SAARC organizers to come up with the idea of statues which is scorned by everyone across the board. But like everything else it has a money trail in the millions which probably is the reason why they are hastily fixed there without any public consultation or regard to peoples sensibilities . Street news have it that the bird statue in Feydhoo alone cost more than a million ruffiyaas to create it although news sources set the figure at 600000 rufiyaas. Whatever the amount is, the cost of producing the scorned objects in the first place, maintaining 24 hour military security around the statues is clearly ludicrous as our country is still barely making ends meet and there are recommendations, advice and even threats by leading world bodies like IMF and worldbank to trim the already wasteful state expenditure or else!

The statues are even politically not tenable because it has infuriated a sizable percentage population which surely will cost the ruling MDP much votes and possibly the executive office if a strong contender emerges for the president.

Statues, fine arts, exotic drinks are fine for developed countries which has money to spare after doing everything they can think of doing but here in Maldives where we are on par with Ethiopia in corruption scale and where we fare even less than sub saharan african countries in terms of higher education enrollment, this is an unforgivable mistake.

Alidhoo staff on strike, again!

Alidhoo Cinnamon Island JResorts Maldives
Alidhoo (Cinnamon Island)

We are getting reports that a strike is happening at Alidhoo Cinnamon Island over last month’s pay. Apparently the resort has still not paid August month’s pay to the staff and is not even able to tell the staff when the resort can pay them. The same situation was repeated in June when staff had to go on strike to get their pay! That time the resort fired 12 staff for their legitimate demand on pay.
SAARC secretary General Dhiyana and JResorts owner Abdulla Jabir
Chairman of Yacht Tours Jabir with his wifeDhiyana former AG

Under the labour laws of the country, every employer is required to pay the previous month’s salary no later than the 10th of the next month. Cinnamon Island resort which is owned and managed by JResorts Maldives (formerly Yacht Tours Maldives) has a history of abusing workers rights and flout labour laws without fear of reprisal. The managing director of the company happens to be a senior member of the ruling MDP and a former parliamentarian whose wife is the current SAARC secretary general. It is scandalous that such high profile persons can afford to openly flout laws of the country with impunity.

We call on the Tourism Ministry and the Human Resources ministry to look in to the recurring problem of delays on staff’s monthly pay at resorts managed by JResorts and to bring those responsible to justice.

Lets meet the people’s representatives

people's majlis
Apparently there is an issue about our parliament members requesting privacy of their phone numbers, which is despite the fact that most members pledged to be in contact and forever approachable by the people in their election campaigning. Most parliament members promptly went back on their pledge the moment their election victory was announced. However an effort led by a facebook group Majliswatch calling for reform of majlis member’s pay structure have put up a posters in Male’ with our majlis members photos and their contact details asking the people to send views direct to the members on this and other similar reform issues.


We believe this is a very good initiative and everyone shall engage in calling for reform of relevant issues through majlis. Majlis members as they are people’s representatives shall respect the peoples right to be heard and shall maintain open lines of communications with the people. As long as they are in the service of the people, the people will have every right to demand and to know how much their representatives are being paid, offered, by whom and what-for etc.. This is basically accountability to the people.

Listed below here are some details of our parliamentarians and their contact numbers. We urge all fellow resort workers to respect their position and address issues in respectable terms when texting your views.

salaams

moosa manik 7771907 mdp hulhu henveiru dhaaira
eva abdulla 7782847 mdp galolhu uthuru dhaaira
muhammadh rasheed 7764243 mdp machangolhi dhekunu dhaaira
ibrahim rasheed 7785618 mdp maafannu dhekunu dhaaira
muhammad shifaaz 9699626 mdp baarashu dhaaira
ahmed sameer 7772046 mdp dhidhoo dhaaira
ali arif 7917489 drp vaikaradhoo dhaaira
ali riza 7783081 7781429 mdp milandhoo dhaaira
ali saleem 9911132 drp funadhoo dhaaira
muhammadhu thaariq 7788510 mdp manadhoo dhaaira
dr. afraasheem ali 7775327 drp ungoofaaru dhaaira
ali azim 7771918 drp mehu henveiru dhaaira
ahmed mahloof 7774567 drp galolhu dhekunu dhaaira
imthiyaz fahmee 7777852 mdp maafannu uthuru dhaaira
ahmed nihaan hussein manik 7774330 drp vilimaafannu dhaaira
Dr. abdulla mausoom 7791001 drp vilimaafannu dhaaira
muhammadhu mujuthaz 7777948 drp hanimaadhoo dhaaira
muhummad nasheed 7902266 kulhudhuffushi dhaaira
hussein waheed 7771166 mdp komandoo dhaaira
ali muhammad 7772076 drp velidhoo dhaaira
muhammad naashiz 7772370 drp alifushi dhaaira
visaama ali 7774256 drp maduvvari dhaaira
haamidh abdul ghafoor 7778245 mdp henveiru dhekunu
mariyaa didi 7771769 mdp machangolhi uthuru dhaaira
abdulla abdul raheem 7993113 mdp maafannu hulhangu
ahmed rasheed 7774650 mdp hoarafushi dhaaira
ahmed abdulla 7775645 mdp ihavandhoo dhaaira
muhammad nasheed 9992013 mdp nolhivaram dhaaira
abdul ghafoor moosa 7772656 mdp kulhudhuffushi uthuru dhaaira
muhammad hussein 7775555 drp kanditheem dhaaira
ahmed easa 7773764 mdp kendhikulhudhoo dhaaira
hamdhoon abdulla hameed 7772333 drp inguraidhoo dhaaira
muhammad zubair 7900166 duvaafaru dhaaira
thasmeen ali 7772547 drp kendhoo dhaaira
ahmed moosa 7772339 kurendhoo dhaaira
ismail abdul hameed 7777137 kaashidhoo dhaaira
hussein muhammad 7784383 drp mathiveri dhaaira
gasim ibrahim 7771111 jp maamigili dhaaira
ahmed nazim 7786789 pa dhiggaru dhaaira
ahmed aamir 7782131 kudahuvadhoo dhaaira
riyaz rasheed 7771331 (GP) vilufushi dhaaira
abdul aziz jamal abubakr 7785619 pa maavashu dhaaira
muhummad ramiz 7771724 drp vilingili dhaaira
muhummad nazim 7774548 mdp madaveli dhaaira
zahir adam 7783433 mdp gadhoo dhaaira
abdulla maseeh muhammad 7772233 drp foamulaku dhekunu dhaaira
hassan latheef 7902231 drp hithadhoo dhekunu dhaaira
alhaan fahmee 7900324 mdp feydhoo dhaaira
ahmed saleem 7773508 lp aedhafushi dhaaira
ahmed muhammad 7774618 drp naifaru dhaaira
rozaina adam 7778061 drp thulusdhoo dhaaira
ali waheed 7925554 mdp thoddoo dhaaira
yusuf naeem 7772506 drp felidhoo dhaaira
abdul muhsin hameed 7775763 drp nilandhoo dhaaira
ahmed siyam muhammad 7771020 meedhu dhaaira
muhammad musthafa 7778844 mdp thimarafushi dhaaira
abdul raheem abdulla 7795834 pa fonadhoo dhaaira
muhammad riyaz 9991298 mdp dhaandhoo dhaaira
ibrahim muthalib 7775087 jp fares maathodaa
muhammad rafeeg hassan 7778455 drp foamulaku uthuru dhaaira
muhammad aslam 7772966 mdp hithadhoo uthuru dhaaira
ilyas labeeb 7774670 mdp hulhumeedhoo dhaaira
nazim rashaad 7781182 mdp thulhaadhoo dhaaira
ibrahim muhammad solih 9998171 mdp hinnavaru dhaaira
ibrahim riza 7772823 guraidhoo dhaaira
rugiyya muhummad 7907984 mdp mahibadhoo dhaaira
abdulla yameen abdul gayoom 7785665 pa mulaku dhaaira
ahmed hamza 7771328 mdp bileydhoo dhaaira
moosa zameer 7771727 pa kinbidhoo dhaaira
ahmed rasheed ibrahim 7874050 9996027 pa isdhoo dhaaira
yusuf abdul ghafoor 7786517 7936517 pa gamu dhaaira
ilham ahmed 7777197 drp gemanafushi dhaaira
muhammad gasam 7777322 mdp thinadhoo dhaaira
shifaq mufeed 7772271 mdp foamulaku medhu dhaaira
muhammad rasheed 7781360 mdp hithadhoo medhu dhaaira
hassan aadil 7785050 mdp maradhoo dhaaira