Naagoshi to open in March 2013.

Naagoshi, Radisson plaza resort developed by Three K International sub leased by MTDC

According to work on the construction of Radisson Plaza Resort Maldives, Naagoshi  is 35% complete and is expected to open in march 2013.  The resort will have 281 land villas and 99 over-water villas and will operated by Three K International Private Limited. The island is in Northern Haa Dhaalu Atoll  which is 45 minutes by sea plane from Hulhule  International Airport.

Alidhoo Staff fired asking for salary!

SAARC secretary General Dhiyana and JResorts owner Abdulla Jabir
Chairman of Yacht Tours Jabir with his wife Dhiyana SAARC Secretary General

Not to be unfair or one sided but if a survey is made of all the resorts in Maldives and asked which employers are the worst, Jresorts will come to the bottom of the results. There is very little doubt about that. Its a combination of bad politics and corrupt business practices which views the workers as nothing better than paid slaves. This is in very contrast to the excellent service resort workers give to their high paying clients who blissfully are unaware that the workers who pamper them in their expensive holidays sometimes go without pay for months while they still retain the smile.

Our solidarity with the wronged staff of Alidhoo Cinnamon Island who were summarily dismissed for asking for their last month’s salary. This sends a chilling message to honest workers who toil hard in resorts far away from family and friends that employers can still cheat and threat and getaway with everything and nobody seems to take notice!

Here are some background info about Alidhoo the resort, the parent company and the owner of the bussiness.

The owner:
Jresorts is owned and managed by Mr. Abdulla Jabir who is frequently referred to as a self made businessman from Huvadhooo Atoll. However like all creations of the state Mr. Jabir was also a creation of the former administration. Specifically Mr. jabir rose to prominence in tourism industry by association with Yameen the powerful minister who held many ministerial portfolios and half-brother of the Maumoon the last president. It could be safely assumed that almost all of Jabir’s resorts were built, renovated or maintained by finances and materials from deals with the State Trading Organization whose board chairman was also Yameen at the time. So unlike most resort owners who struggled with finance arrangements, Jabir had an important friend at the right place and time. Mr. Jabir’s wife the Diyana the current SAARC secretary general is not associated with his bussiness but its frequently noted in forums and local news that the position for Dhiyana was offered as part of a political deal to keep Mr. Jaabir away from ruling party politics. He is the only prominent politician/businessman in the country to have been in all major political parties, DRP, MDP, Jumuhooee Party, And People’s Alliance (Yaameen’s party) in so a short period of time. Basically he is an opportunist businessman involved in politics for the business interests like everywhere else around the world.

The resorts:
Jresorts currently owns Alidhoo, , KudaRah, Vatavarreha, Funamaudda among many other islands. The parent company of the islands is Yacht Tours Maldives. Past management deals and ownerships include Dhonveli Beach and Spa which has been sold to John Keels Holding Co of Sri lanka and Herethere which was leased from MTDC. The Herethere deal has since been abandoned after a sizable loss to everyone including the MTDC. Jresorts has also been awarded an island in lieu of a failed bid he presented to Vilivaru and Biyadhoo which was a precedent which has since not been replicated.

Magudhuhaa update

The beautiful island of Magudhuhaa is soon going to open in the even more beautiful atoll of Gdh. A closeup aerial pic of the island is not yet available in Google Earth as when the pic was snapped over the atoll, the satellite was essentially sleeping… Anyways, Here are some pics from the project report the resort submitted to MTDC which can be found at the MTDC site…

The local newspaper Haveeru, also reports that the resort is putting out to tender the design of logo and resort name, which will award 4000$ for the winner.

Although the resort will look just like any other beautiful resort, the staff areas look dull and unimaginative… Resort designers and architects should consider these as once erected, the structures will just stand there irritating those who occupy it for years to come. It wouldn’t cost awful lot of money to build sensible accommodation blocks for staff. Its sad that most employers still design staff accommodation blocks just as an afterthought after going through world-class designs for the guest areas.

YTM settles cases out of court

Yatch tours recently announced that they have settled 2 pending cases out of court which would have dragged on in legal process for years if the parties were not able to come to agreement on the issues. The first case which was settled out of court was the failed business partnership between YTM and MTDC on the island of Herethere. Both parties have lost considerable amount of money as tour operators were hesitant to do business with them when there were pending court cases against them. Now that the issue was solved, MTDC is frantically looking up for investors to sell a management contract of the island as Herethere is politically important to be a viable business.

The second case settled out of court was between the landlady of Vatavarreha and Jabir. With the money receved from MTDC to settle the earlier case, Jabir effectively bought the island from the landlady. The island of Vatavarreha is 150 room island and Yacht Tours says the island will be opened for guests in the coming year.

At last Herethere handover begins

Herethere or Handhufushi MTDC
Herethere or Handhufushi MTDC

Following a verdict issued by the Civil court to Yacht Tours to handover the resort to MTDC, the resort is being handed over. This is some news for the many staff of the island who were laid off most unceremoniously in the midst of the chaos when the two operators were litigating against each other for the island.

Herethere is one of the many things that went wrong when politics and businesses were combined in the last days of the former government. It involved placating PA (Peoples Association a political party belonging to Yaameen the nephew of the former president) of which Jabir (of Yacht Tours) was a member at the time as well as accommodating the wishes a large number of business people who with various means were buying shares of MTDC which was up for grabs with little oversight using proxies etc. With the share buying frenzy coming to notice of the public and the transition from the former government to the current one many questions are being raised and many a tie that was tied in the last days of the former government are being untied. Yacht Tours seems to have been found on the wrong side of the law this time and is welcome news for the laid off staff who were seen protesting when MTDC hastily decided to give the island to Yacht Tours in the first place citing many grievances against the Yacht Tours which is famous for withholding staff pay for extended periods of time.

According to media reports MTDC has sent a four-member delegation to the resort to observe the situation there before making final arrangements to take over the resort and Yacht Tours is said to be extending cooperation to MTDC in the handover process.

MTDC had claimed that the cost of insurance and cost of the stock handed to Yatch Tours amounted to MRf 11 million which the Court has ordered to pay to MTDC in two months. The verdict was delivered on 23 July. Another case case filed by MTDC to get the outstanding rents from Yacht Tours for the resort is awaiting verdict.

Of the many islands Herethere resort is the only resort belonging to MTDC from which there is a an income to be generated and it is doubtful dividends can be paid to share holders if the outstanding rent is not received by MTDC.

MTDC has paid a dividend of MRf 9,000 in 2008, while the same has dropped to Mrf 2300 this years. Shareholders are unhappy they are receiving a very small dividend this year while a handsome dividend was paid last year. There are different stories why MTDC decided to pay such a large dividend last year when some sources who bought very large numbers of shares has recovered their entire investment in one shot raising many questions.

Protests against Yacht Tours in Hulhudhoo

Protests in Hulhudhoo

The ever so peaceful islanders of Hulhudhoo have decided to protest at Yacht Tours for mismanaging their resort Handhufushi and they are reported to have said to continue their protest until the resort is handed over to MTDC. The grievances of the islanders is mainly about financial wheelings and dealings of Yacht Tours which is proverbial in nature for their inconsistency and the seasoned people of Addu are no strangers to tourism.
For their part the Yatch Tours maintains that the protests are politically motivated and the monies owed by Yatch Tours to local business people will be paid very shortly.