- It doesn’t hold water legally according to former attorney general and renowned lawyer Husnu Suood. A spa or any place of legal business can be ordered to stop their business if evidence was discovered which implicates criminal intent. However closing all such businesses for the crime of one establishment is beyond comprehension.
- No resort has complied thankfully and hoteliers are aware about the political nature of the dictate The government’s line that this was a measure they are taking to address the demand of the big-demo on 23rd December 2011 is also not consistent as no similar dictate has been issued to remove the commemorative idols and statutes of the SAARC summit in Addu.
- One of the five demands of the big demo protesters was to close places of prostitution in Male’ which goes by names such as ‘spas’ , ‘beauty saloons’ , ‘ayuverdha clinics’ etc. There was no mention of high end spas in resorts.
- Tourism minister Zulfa’s assertion that spa’s will be reopened once the people support moderate Islam is also inconsistent with her mandate. This presupposition of people’s belief shall not be normal subject matter for a minister to decide. Peoples belief are their own and the fact is that the paranoia about Islamic extremism has been blown out of all proportions for political reasons.
People’s Majlis is today debating prohibition and severely limiting freedom to protest by workers in resorts. The bill was submitted to the parliament by a member from Dr. Hassan Saeed’s party. If the bill goes ahead and gets passed by the Peoples Majlis, the country would take a serious blow to freedom of expression and the right to protest against injustices. The debates are still going and both sides of the political spectrum seem to be aware of the negative implications of this bill.
For a healthy democracy to survive more needs to be done to open up rather than closing in which seems to be the only outcome of limiting and restricting freedom of expression and speech. The trigger for workers in a typical resort to come to a protest will normally be fired after many many attempts at a solution which eludes them. Unlike other countries where unionism is already established and workers organize and plan their protests, the protests that happen in resorts in Maldives are more like an ‘uprising’ than a protest. It so happens because the workers rights are not protected and are already at the bottom of the rights ladder and yet the People’s Majlis is already finding ways to stop and repress the workers rights even further.
The only party that will benefit from this law when and if it becomes one, will be the employers as they would even be able to ‘preside’ over any protest by the workers suffering injustices under the employers.
Not that there are many ears to listen to resort workers demands, but at least for the record, we the resort workers call upon Dr. Hassan Saeed to withdraw this bill (if it isn’t already too late!) and to reconsider oppressing the workers! Its tourism, resorts and resort workers who contribute overwhelmingly to the country’s budget from where the non-productives like politicians and civil-servants get their monthly pay, perks and benefits.