Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed has this week pledged to transform the island of Fuvahmulah into a city through the provision of 70 separate development projects.
Speaking during a campaign rally Monday (August 26), the former president said that a future MDP-led government would establish all the services required by a city in Fuvahmulah within five years time.
Geographically, Fuvahmulah is the only island located in Gnaviyani Atoll – the north of Addu City – making it the country’s only one-island atoll.
Nasheed added that, should the MDP win next month’s election, some 70 out of 137 development projects planned and budgeted by the party would be focused on developing Fuvahmulah.
The Nasheed administration completed a domestic airport on Fuvahmulah in October 2011. The construction of the airport took nearly three months, a record for such a facility in the Maldives.
The strip, which measures some 1,200 metres in length and 30 metres in width, saw its maiden flight land on October 31, 2011.
Shortly after inaugurating the airport, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Mohamed Didi won the mid-Fuvahmulah atoll council seat, defeating MDP representative, Mohamed Abdulla Didi.
Nasheed has nonetheless pledged this week that his government would work to transform Fuvahmulah into a city.
“We will ensure that higher education facilities will be established and children of this island will no longer have to roam around the country to get higher education,” he said.
Nasheed also promised to develop a water and sewerage system in the island, as well as transforming the Fuvahmulah football ground into an international stadium and improving the island hospital.
“The results of these development projects are the establishment of the Fuvahmulah stadium, the facilitation of a sewerage system. For us, sport is not simply a game. For us, every ball that comes to our feet is a life changing decision. Every pass we make is an experience. Every free kick, every goal we score is a victory for us,” he added.
Speaking during his party’s MDP rally in Fuvahmulah, Nasheed said that his government would increase the national revenue to MVR72 billion (US$ 4.67 billion). Out of this total, he pledged to spend MVR 30 billion (US$ 2.07 billion) on 137 separate development projects, while MVR37 billion (US$ 2.39 billion) will be spent on the administrative running of the state.
He added that MVR16 billion (US$ 1.03 billion) from the sum would be allocated to the repayment of national debts.
In response to recent campaigning by rival parties, Nasheed said that focusing on his flaws would not do any anything for the development of Fuvahmulah.
“We are talking about the good things that need to happen to [Fuvahmulah]. It is a great pleasure to know that our rivals have slowly started taking up our language in these matters. That will be a real boost to the work we are doing,” he added.
Nasheed claimed that people had faith in the MDP’s election policy, on the basis that the MDP would not focus on vague promises, but rather a set of policies which had been costed and budgeted.
He suggested that with the presidential election a month away, the people of the Maldives had given thumbs-up to the MDP’s policies, implying that a first round election victory is just round the corner.
According to the Elections Commission (EC), the Presidential Elections is scheduled to take place on September 7, with an additional run-off election being held on September 27, should no candidate be able to secure the required 50 percent plus 1 share of the vote.
EC Statistics released from the commission have indicated that 239,008 people are entitled to cast their ballot with 31,008 new voters.