Comment: The Maldives will not survive just on fish and tourists

The world is watching how Dhivehin are struggling to shape up their future by fighting seriously to give up their banana republic and become a player in the big league of democracy.

This is not an easy task, as we in Europe, heirs from ex-fascist countries, know. Changing a system and a mindset requires effort, dignity, time and a strong will to not want to go back in time. Democracy maybe is not perfect but it is by far the best and the most respectful ruling system we can have in a globalised world.

A democratic party system, that necessarily goes hand by hand with respect for the law, is the way to up the value of a country by giving its citizens a determinant role and thus use all the existing potential in the country.

It is clear that under a dictatorship regime this is not feasible. Dictators, like all authoritarian and nepotistic rulers, have only one main goal: become the owners of the country and sponsors of the body and soul of their people, thus owning their life by shaping up slavery either physically or psychosocially, just like old fashioned little kings. The Maldives has already had enough of this.

It is not easy to move from dictatorship to freedom as, like the dog that has been beaten for years, people when free from the hand of the master will tend to go wild and think that anything is possible. That is not democracy. Certainly a coup d’état is not democracy. Dictatorship always gives a false feeling of peace not because there is real peace but because the leash is on, permanently struggling people’s throat.

It is not possible to develop a country in a state of permanent harassment even if disguised of social peace. The core indicators of a country willing to develop are: work for all, freedom, law and respect for people, culture, health and intellectual development. At the moment Maldives lacks from all these in one way or another.

The Maldives – with a basic income from fish (sea resources) and tourism (food will always be an asset, nut tourism is a volatile business), will not be able to develop without offering more to the world. Strategies might be to attract different casts of tourists, with more or less money, but still, tourism is a fairly young industry in the country – only 30 years old. So far so good, however, it cannot be seen as the permanent chicken of the golden eggs. One day the chicken will get old and no more eggs will enter into the basket.

The Maldives, to survive in years to come, needs to offer added value beyond sea protein and nice sunny water bungalows, and it is a fact that in the present industrial and commercial world panorama that is not possible without an evolution of the Dhivehi society. The Maldives is condemned to develop, yes or yes. There is no way back.

The leash, sort of saying, cannot be on anymore and needs to be released unless the population wants to go back in time. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

In a global market, a country is no longer free, certainly neither from a production-commercial point of view nor from a political one as the world has become small, and it will be even smaller in 30 years’ time with supersonic jets and the communication generation. The only way to progress is by enhancing the development of society, opening up the creativity that will lead to discover new resources, give added value to the world and play accordingly.

Maldives is today in a cross roads, and its people need to take a decision on where to go. The possibilities are not that many, I’m afraid.

The author lives in Spain, has a business and marketing degree from ESADE, is the CEO of an international management coach company and a former owner of a Maldives private company.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


11 thoughts on “Comment: The Maldives will not survive just on fish and tourists”

  1. Dear Antonio Cardoso,
    We will eat Fish, Democracy and Human rights.
    thank you for taking the time to write this

  2. "The Maldives, to survive in years to come, needs to offer added value beyond sea protein and nice sunny water bungalows, and it is a fact that in the present industrial and commercial world panorama that is not possible without an evolution of the Dhivehi society."

    Antonio, my friend, you've hit the nail on the head, so to speak. That really reflects the crossroads where Maldives is at now.

    I truly believe that Nasheed tried to inject an "impulse" (as we say in physics) into the Maldivian economy and social fabric. Just as in physics, the impulse soon unleashed a lot of vital information about the underlying system.

    In the case of Maldives, we found out that the oligarchy, vested powers, elite society or whatever else you want to call it, fiercely resisted any step change. They were quite content collecting the golden egg from the goose everyday. After all, they do not think beyond their own comfort. They couldn't care less whether the geese died tomorrow, since they'll no longer be around.

    I am proposing an even more radical step change. We should change our system of governance to a more open one which is even closer to the people. The Executive should be replaced with a Council of Members selected from each province of the country. It's a bit like the current Parliament but much smaller in number and very much more limited in terms of power.

    This is almost a federal system of governance, where most of the decisions will be made locally. The federal government will look after defense, foreign affairs and other global matters.

    We imposed a style of democracy almost suited to the pockets of wealthy businessemen. We should rearchitect that to move forward.

    We have tried and failed with these:

    (1) Absolute Monarchy
    (2) Brutal Dictator
    (1) Benevolent Dictator
    (3) Ambivalent Dictator
    (4) US style democracy

    We need something the works locally for us.

  3. @ABABS

    We have not tried and failed at democracy yet. You were not naive enough to believe that after one election we would all sing kumbayah together, were you?

    We are emulating the current European democracies which took hundreds of years to take shape, revolutions, counter revolutions and thousands of lives over the years. We won't take that long nor sacrifice so much, considering the benefit of hindsight, social media, and a much more involved international community.

    Consider the CMAGs statement, or closer to home in Addu right now, how well President Nasheed is welcomed. The traitorous administrations' days are numbered.

    Two steps forward and one step back brother. But on straight on.

  4. @peasant on Thu, 23rd Feb 2012 8:25 PM

    "Consider the CMAGs statement, or closer to home in Addu right now, how well President Nasheed is welcomed."

    Indeed, we will have him as our President if the lot in Male or elsewhere do not want him, thank you very much. I am not talking about a full blown cessation as under Afeef, but I think its time we seriously gave thought to break away from the money men and "beyfulhun".

    Certainly, in Addu and I suspect the surrounding area as well, most people do not believe or want to be ruled by those sitting in Male anymore. They do not represent us or our wishes.

    With regard to your point on European/American style democracy, the reason why it won't work in the Maldives is because we lack the socio-economic development these countries possess in order to support such a system. Most importantly, we lack the substantial, educated middle class to sustain such a system of governance.

  5. Finally!,sensible writing.all the way from Spain.Gracias!..Dats how you write an unbiased article even if you are expresssing your own view point..with humility and foresight.

  6. Hola Antonio, do you seriously think Maldives has a hope in hell of having a democratic form of government anytime soon?...........I don't.
    Maldives has been pursuing a fundamentalist islamic agenda which is taking the country backwards instead of forward. The good people of Maldives have just unseated a democratically elected dumb is that? The country has some of the stupidest and discriminatory religious laws in south asia..........flogging of women, only practice of islam permitted, deportation of 'infidels' for practicing their religion, thuggish Islamic Ministry goons fashioned on the saudi mutawwa (whose primary remit seems be to make sure women are covered up, no idol worship takes place and nobody has sex) etc etc. We have seen the extreme intolerance of the people in the destruction of the SAARC monuments and the precious buddhist artifacts in the National Museum...........their past pre islamic heritage which they do not value at all.
    Do you seriously think these primitive islanders have any concept of freedom and democracy?...........reminds me of Captain Cook running into cannibalistic tribes on his travels in the south pacific!!
    It is the same in other sunni dominated islamic states that follow the same intolerant fundamentalist beliefs of the Maldivians........saudi arabia, yemen, afghanistan and pakistan.
    I believe hell needs to freeze over before this motley crew embraces democracy.
    Democracy and secularism work in India because the majority of the people are hindus. We are not brainwashed.........from childhood..........into believing that jews are evil, that plurality and tolerance is against the teaching of the koran and that we are the 'true believers' and 'God's chosen people'............sadly Maldivians do.
    Look at Pakistan today. Difficult to believe 65 years ago we were the same people.

  7. @ Indira ND

    You need to get your head checked.
    Sometimes all Maldivians are dimwits ... all 300,000 uf us.
    Sometimes there are good people too. (only those who ousted the Nasheed government are good people).
    I guess you are just jealous. Plain and simple.

  8. @Indira

    Hindhu fundamentalist who killed the great human being Mahathma Gandhi and sikh extremists who killed the strong lady persoanlity of Indira Gandhi and those who demolished the Babri Mashid and those who created the riots in Bombay 93' and later in Gujurat not to mention scores of indians who turned traitors and conspired with British imperialists to enslave their own people are all tolerant people for you? and speaking of democracy your democracy is dictatorship of the babus like laloo's,sharad pawar,mayawathi's,kaunanidhi's,jayalalitha's,thackarey's, modi's and the italian lady and her family etc. Call the maldivain poeple dimwits or wateva but for your information we baost 100% literacy and you have the lowest in the world(which basically explains why the babu democracy works there) and for decades Male' has had the highest standard of living in south Asia with your metro's lagging far behinde!The hindu's there are brewing a hindutva agenda to incite funadamentalism and extremism and the muslims there are deeply rooted to the underworld based in dubai and also being recruited by islamic extremists using the political mess u have created in Kashmir,dividing people along religious lines.The free people whome you are refering to are just those in the middle who have been deprived of any hope but struggle and subjecting themselves to a system beyond their control,these selfless people(regardless of religion) put the nation first and that is why they remain at peace and that is just what we maldivians are doing and what we want!So even if you r jealous of us all i want to say is YOU DONT REALLY CARE ABT US! or even knw us for that matter and ur stupidity will do nothing but strengthen our beliefs,principles and resolve(which is wat we are fighting for n nothing else) and Unite us for eternity! Thank You.

  9. Maldives has been living with fear from its inception. From Rannamari to Allah, than the rulers like Qayoom and his force NSS. Fear is the main psyche of its people. The fear has so much engraved in their brain, without fear they feel uncomfortable. If they are not physically shackled, they want their brain to be shackled. The word freedom gives them electric shock like their world is shattered. They are salves of imaginary God, and this slavery is very worldly affair and it is always good to be like salves. People have no right to choose their leaders who promise them to give good life. It is Allah’s choice to select people like Qayoom who instill fear to be his henchman because this Allah is cripple to take action against those who disobey his sadist orders.

  10. What you call imaginary is for us FAITH.and it has been proven time and again to us that 'faith can move mountains'..rather be slaves of faith and the heart than to imaginary materialistic logic preached by mortals!Afterall it's one person's word against the other's or rather clash of human ego's.

  11. for development and stability of a country agriculture is most important. it is fixed security is urgent. education is the back bone of a nation. priority should be given on it. fish industry is asset but not permanent. export oriented industry and technical man power should be developed.technical skills and experts a re vital of a country. even a smallest country ca n be big power if resources given by almighty Allah is properly used.tourism is good incoming source but not permanent.permanent and stable source is urgent. only Allah knows the truth.thnx editor for nice article.


Comments are closed.