The Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) has claimed that the public may have been misled over its views on hosting a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit in Addu Atoll next year by the main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP).
Some Rf231 million is expected to be included in the 2011 state budget to fund next year’s SAARC summit in Addu Atoll, which will try and outline projects and policy areas of collaboration for regional member states.
However, DRP MPs in parliament have argued that it would be wiser to spend the Rf231 million for the development of Addu Atoll and Fuvamulah instead of using it to prepare for the SAARC summit.
DQP Deputy leader and MP Riyaz Rasheed said that he boycotted the parliament committee while researching the budget.
”It was not the intention of the DQP to work against the hosting of the SAARC summit in Addu Atoll, and we will not support such a plan,” said the party in a statement.
The DQP added that it wanted to try spending the SAARC money according to a strategy that will better benefit the people of Addu Atoll and Fuvamulah, “instead of making the money go to the pockets of specific individuals.”
The DQP said the party had requested parliament to provide detailed information on the budget to all MPs in order ”to avoid making it something that solely benefits the relatives and close acquaintances of the ruling [Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)], like the government did last year.”
”This party will always try to avoid corruption in developing Addu Atoll and other atolls,” the DQP stated.
The party said that it did not wish to remove the money allocated in next year’s budget to hold the SAARC summit in the Maldives.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Alliance Party (PA), a group led by Abdulla Yamin, half brother of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and a fellow member of the opposition coalition, has also issued a statement regarding the DRP’s position on Addu Atoll.
The PA claimed that the DRP’s statement read in a way that could be considered to suggest that it was opposed to the development of the SAARC event and Addu Atoll itself.
”We do not oppose holding the SAARC summit in Addu Atoll,” said PA Secretary General Ahmed Shareef. ”We demand to upgrade the regional hospital of Addu and also demand to money to upgrade the Maldives’ College of Higher Education’s (MCHE) campus in Addu Atoll.”
Shareef claimed that the PA has been mainly trying to avoid having development money for the atoll wasted.