Offering state dignitary title to tourism pioneers… again!

Slapping each other’s back on perceived achievements is a very familiar sight among the rich and politicians. President Anni conferring ‘State Dignitary’ title to Muhammad Umar Manik and Champa Hussein Afeef, yesterday is another such feat which needs to be commented about.
Despite their unremarkable running of several resorts (where workers toil in slave-like conditions), these two individuals have been receiving state dignitary title almost every year since ‘recognitions’ began. The citation of their award each year lists the same old tale of how they were there with the first batch of tourists to the country. But after hearing this consistent tale for the past few decades, one wonders weather is it not enough? Will we have to bear to hear the praise of Champa and Mu Manik for the rest of our lives? Would not somebody recognize the ‘others’ (a significant number of others) who worked hard to bring smiles to the guest and made the holiday possible? The waiters, roomboys the laundry boys, the engineering boys and so many other boys and girls who started their career at about the same age as Champa and Mu Manik who worked on their properties? Of course they are no longer boys and girls any more, time has taken its toll and they have grown to respectable old age with no recognition of their services. For sacrificing half of their adult life, banished away in 5 star resort islands, away from their families and friends what have they got in terms of recognition? Very little apart from the satisfaction that they have been useful for themselves and their loved ones back at home irrespective of how tough for them life was..
Recognition and awards are momentary 5 minutes of fame kind of things most people can do away with, but what about a proper recognition of their services such as a pension they can rely on once they are retired and back in their islands?
In most other countries business regulations and norms requires private employers to make arrangements for such cases where the staff can retire to a dignified retired life, however no such requirements were required of our ‘state dignitaries’ and those who served all their life in their resorts are just faceless nameless people once discharged from the resort after their useful resort life.
So we call on the government to rescind these farce recognitions and be judicious in selecting those who are worthy of recognition. The already rich and famous needs not be recognized because they are already recognized. People know Champ and Mu Manik and successive presidents needs not to introduce them again and again. Champa and Mu Manik were not doing favours for anyone except themselves. This country would have produced more entrepreneurs besides Champ and Mu Manik if the government plays even handed with all its citizens. The already rich in this country are rich because the government helped them in one way or another way. Bright ideas, innovative approaches and dedicated work have yet to be recognized in the country.

relevant links: velidhoo online

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Beautiful place but never again because of strikes…


That was a comment by a recent guest to Kurumba who actually witnessed the strike action in Kurumba writing in Trip Advisor site. The guest mentions that the management of the hotel made no effort to explain the situation and that they (the guests) do not blame the staff for protesting against their poor facilities. They just believed that it should have been handled better by Universal the company that owns the island.

These are just typical lines of thinking by average guests and hotel managements shall be wary of thinking they scored points against protesting staff after intimidating them to end their legitimate strike by using security forces on made up charges. The sympathies of the guests are invariably with the staff when its known that the employer ill treats them. In the case of recent Kurumba strike, there was very little the management can, even if it tried to explain to the guests what caused the strikes in the first place because it would have raised more questioned than it would have answered.

The bottom line is that there is no excuse for not addressing the legitimate concerns of the staff because in the long run its far more cost effective to well treat the staff than to be mean with them. Kurumba certainly has played dual personality of the mean employer to the staff and the ever so gentle hotelier for the guests for too long. Now is the time to discard the dual personae and come clean like a civilized hotelier.

Read the story of the Kurumba strike at Asian Food Worker

Kurumba Maldives staff on STRIKE!!

Yes Finally the Universal owned resort Kurumba Maldives formerly known as Kurumba Village is officially on strike! Despite catering for diplomats, prominent businessmen, and generally to an affluent clientèle, the resort has a tall list of grievances against the staff to address which is the reason of the strike. It is quite true that the staff of KV are low paid, poorly fed, and unlovingly accommodated whilst job and work discrimination exists to a level where it can be said to be above the sky. To cap the list of woes, the service charge which the resort charges from guests are cheated on while being distributed to the staff. Then there is the little issue of over working staff without overtime pay which is brazenly against the labour law and accepted norms of business. The situation was quite the same for 38 years and now it appears the staff are protesting these conditions.
Here is the story @ Velidhoo.com
Here is the story in Minivan News
The story is also on Maldivestoday.com