DRP calls on government to terminate GMR agreement “no matter the cost”, but without impacting public services

The Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) has advised President Mohamed Waheed Hassan to terminate the agreement with airport developer GMR “no matter the cost”, but asked the President to ensure public services were not affected.

The move follows a meeting between GMR’s Chairman, G M Rao, and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom at a hospital in India where Gayoom’s wife was being treated, during which Gayoom expressed concerns over the contract on behalf of Maldivian citizens, reports local media.

Attorney General Azima Shakoor also this week asked the Supreme Court to rule on whether the laws of the Maldives could be applied to the government’s agreement with GMR concerning the development of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).

Shakoor and three other cabinet ministers also held a press conference accusing the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) of “negligence” and behaving “irresponsibly” in its handling of the bid under the former government.

On Tuesday, DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali told media of the contents of a letter sent by President Waheed to the party, informing it that, while the current agreement was not the most beneficial for the country, any attempt to terminate the agreement would result in a huge financial burden on the government.

According to Thasmeen, Waheed’s letter went on to say that, owing to the economic condition of the Maldives, it would be extremely difficult to make the payment of US$700 million needed to terminate the agreement with GMR.

Waheed further advised that cancelling the agreement may have negative effects on the perception of the Maldives as a favourable destination for foreign investors. It highlighted the President’s concerns about the impact such a move may have on foreign relations, specifically the country’s relationship with India.

President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad said he was not aware such a letter had been sent.

DRP MP Dr Abdulla Mausoom told Minivan News that the party had earlier asked to the government to clarify the legality and validity of the agreement with GMR.

“If the agreement is not legally valid, then that is it. The airport will be back in the hands of the Maldivians. Even if it turns out to be a valid agreement, there is still an exit clause in it,” Mausoom said.

Mausoom said the party calls on the government to investigate whether there was any corruption in making the contract with GMR, and to have the concerned authorities look into any cases that may come up. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is currently investigating the deal.

“DRP holds on to the stand that we want the airport to be nationalised. All this loss is being caused by (former President) Nasheed’s blunder. We do not wish further hardship on the Maldivian people. So we call on the government to go ahead and pay whatever it takes to terminate the agreement with GMR. They must however first ensure that public services will not be adversely affected through this,” Mausoom said.

Dr Mausoom subsequently contacted Minivan News to clarify that the DRP “calls on the government to proceed fast in checking legality of the contract with GMR and to provide an assessment of financial and other costs of terminating the agreement. DRP’s council will then decide on future actions to be taken.”

Mausoom said the DRP’s council would come to a decision on a course of action based on the government’s response to the party’s concerns.

The seven political parties currently in the national unity government – apart from the DRP – held a press briefing on Monday, announcing that they were officially starting work to nationalise the airport.

Explaining DRP’s decision not to participate in the joint press briefing, Mausoom told Minivan News that he felt that “yelling in groups” would not lead to any productive results.

“These parties have just gone in front of cameras and said whatever might get them some media coverage and headlines. They have no common agreement and contradict each other. The things they say in these places are not verified, and often later proved wrong. We aren’t interested in being part of a circus or showing off. As a responsible party, we did not want to participate in the press event,” Mausoom explained.

He further said, “We aim to do things under due procedure, and have called on the government to proceed at speed with the work, through the relevant institutions. Our party works to achieve results with national interest as our priority”.


8 thoughts on “DRP calls on government to terminate GMR agreement “no matter the cost”, but without impacting public services”

  1. DRP did not take part in yesterday's news conference held by the coalition against leasing the airport to GMR. The seat allocated for DRP was obviously vacant. So they wanted to refute any accusations of corruption.. From what I have seen DRP has had an understanding wit GMR to support them. Now that they have seen that the Maldivian people would not the corporate giant to do whatever they want they have backed off, at least in the media.

    In any case I am for terminating the agreement with GMR. They should compete fairly in any future bidding processes, not bribe government officials in order to win.

  2. Whatever the realities behind DRP's move their current stand is the best-articulated and most reasonable-sounding.

    The stand will appeal to literate urban classes while painting DRP as a devil in the eyes of rural voters.

    From their actions it is clear the DRP is aiming for educated middle-class supporters while sacrificing a wider voter-base.

  3. This country does not want companies like GMR from India but want to use India for giving them loans

    If these so called joker politicians in this country are serious about their economy then first ask all your resort owners to deposit dollar in your country and then speak about

    This country will lose interest from foreign investors and will start begging for alms

    All Gasims, Thasmeen will dump the country and leave

    This country does not have a single dollar but speaks of paying 700 million

    Better the Tsunami comes and wipes all these jokers

  4. GMR should leave our country, and we should not pay them, instead we should try GMR on the basis of corruption.

  5. For what we paying them for, is it another deal by the present government. One is trying to do better than the other.

  6. The driving force from this appears to be from Mr Garsim who owns the airport between Sun and Holiday Island which was built big enough to land International Jets and the Airline called Villa Air (FlyMe)and who has last week had their credit from GMR revoked as they owe them reported on this site 1.1 Million USD in unpaid fuel bills. Of course they want the GMR company who is owed money by prominent MP's removed.

    In other news, the sun did rise in the East today and it went down int he west.

  7. Ahmed, you seem to infer that the country is unable to repay loans, the latest, being of some 500 Million USD from China will be waved in return for a naval base, to help protect the shipping lanes for Chinese chips to Africa.

    You bring up a good point regarding USD and the resort owners. Oh, but the resort owners are the Gov, (except the extremist don't seem to be in the resort game yet).


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