New7Wonders “infringing sovereign rights of Maldives” by keeping country in competition, claims MMPRC

The Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC) has issued a statement reaffirming the Maldivian government’s decision to withdraw from the New7Wonders competition.

The statement follows claims by the Geneva-based foundation’s head of communications, Eamonn Fitzgerald, that the Maldives was still in the competition “because the authority to withdraw a participant from the campaign is a decision for New7Wonders alone, not for any government agency.”

The government withdrew from the competition on May 18, after claiming that New7Wonders’ commercial entity, New Open World Corporation (NOWC), had solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars for the country “to compete meaningfully”.

“We no longer feel that continued participation is in the economic interests of the Maldives,” said State Minister for Tourism Thoyyib Mohamed, at the time.

The MMPRC today said that a second statement was necessary “to halt any further misrepresentation by the NOWC regarding the involvement of the Maldives in their competition.”

“After the many attempts by the MMPRC to negotiate and explain our financial situation requesting a reduction of the price to meaningfully compete and stay in the competition, we  are again perplexed to learn that the NOWC are considering taking a smaller sum of money from a third party in order to keep the Maldives in the competition,” the MMPRC stated.

Secretary General Maleeh Jamal of the Maldives Association of Travel and Tourism Operators (MATATO) said yesterday that the association had been in contact with New7Wonders and was considering working on the event in the government’s stead, claiming that the competition promised “enormous return on investment”, and that “US$500,000 for such an award would be quickly recovered.”

The MMPRC today stated that “the democratically elected Government of the Maldives is the only legitimate authority to act in the name of the Maldives and its people”, as “NOWC originally sought acceptance and involvement of the Maldives in the competition with a government signature and payment.

“The Cabinet (not the MMPRC) has made the final decision to withdraw from the competition due to their findings. We feel that the continued participation of the Maldives in the NOWC competition is a matter entirely up to the democratically elected government of the country. Any infringement of this sovereign right, including continued disregard for our position on the matter, will leave us with no alternative but to seek legal recourse.”

In a recent opinion column for Minivan News, Fitzgerald argued that the MMPRC’s “unfounded complaints regarding the campaign sponsorship options have to be seen in light [of the] extraordinarily positive numbers.”

Fitzgerald referred to two “independent studies” he claimed estimated the economic benefit to each of the seven wonders as “US$1.012 billion”, and the total benefit to previous winners as “US$5 billion”.

The MMPRC stated that it “does not agree with the business arguments as quoted in the article for Minivannews.com. To imply that you can guarantee a positive response of an advertising campaign or PR stunt that is yet to happen is wholly unethical.

“The NOWC-commissioned reports and estimates cannot guarantee and secure a positive outcome for the Maldives. There are so many variable factors as to why marketing activities are successes or failures ‐ but no two scenarios are identical and so generalisations and assumptions should not be made when spending huge sums of the country’s money.”

The MMPRC highlighted several articles in the government’s contract with NOWC, noting that “the obligation to pay is determined and decided by [the Government of the Maldives] abilities and resources and that NOWC will respect this.”

“In light of our recent economic riots and financial crisis which was broadcast to the world, we feel that NOWC have totally disregarded our situation.”

The MMPRC further claimed that “despite our emails and answer phone messages to Fitzgerald, New7Wonders have refused to respond to our communications. We have also noted that their office premises appear to be empty and their colleagues with whom we previously had regular communications are no longer available.”

Fitzgerald said New7Wonders was reviewing the MMPRC’s statement, and confirmed that “all MMPRC messages to New7Wonders have been duly received and filed by us. As New7Wonders accepted the resignation of the MMPRC on May 17, this agency is no longer New7Wonders’s counterpart in the Maldives, so we have no reason to respond to it.”

He added that New7Wonders would issue a statement regarding the continued participation of the Maldives in the campaign on Thursday May 26.

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21 thoughts on “New7Wonders “infringing sovereign rights of Maldives” by keeping country in competition, claims MMPRC”

  1. Did you see this post by Shayla in the other article about this??!! WoW, explains a lot!!!

    CUT AND PASTE OF THE POST:

    Someons shud investigate MMPRC. Who is this Simon Hawkins guy? does not look Maldivian to me. Why is he getting us into this fight???? Also why does MMPRC want money from everyone itself, just look at its website here http://www.visitmaldives.com/en/environment-friendly-tourism/mmprc-membership-fee-structure and here http://www.visitmaldives.com/en/environment-friendly-tourism/terms-and-conditions-of-co-exhibiting-with-mmprc. Seems a lot of money they are chargin??> Also why is the MMPRC money going to a NEW YORK USA bank account not to a Male account. Is Simon Hawkins from NewYork?? Maybe that is why we have USDOllar shortage??!! I am thinking this is the real scandal. They areusing this false new7Wonders fight to distract us…. NOT HAPPY WITH MMPRC!!!

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  2. Throw them off your back, Thakurufanu style, this is an invasion, seriosly, I have had things to do with scams etc... and the intimidating, imposing way Eamonn's letter was written - the kind of- it's our choice not yours, THAT is absolutely standover, it is so unethical, it is violence, abuse, come on guys just refuse to pay a cent, let them do their best to sue you, to hell with them, FIGHT THEM, I mean it, it is robbery, you are being plundered and robbed, make a stand! Yes, get legal advice, go all out, it hurts the hell out of me to see you guys being exploited...

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  3. It is a SCAM.
    By the way Manita, I would address your concerns to the ACC if you think there is something financially illegal with the MMPRC, it is the right and proper way to proceed,
    hilarious!!!

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  4. I don't understand, is the govt still obliged to pay anything? If not the only problem is MATATO going it alone, it's their problem isn't it?

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  5. Oh for F***s sake, the Government of Maldives has said they don't want to pay up the money and they don't want to be in the competition, So why don't these 7 wonders people try and find some other wonder.
    Like MATI said the whole competition seems to be a scam,to get money from participants, and Maldives does not want to be part of it. End of story.

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  6. This belongs to a Swiss entrepreneur by the name of WEBER, BERNARD. It does not appear to be an official project of any government or recognised international organisation and it seems to be just a well organised money-making scam attempting to cash in on misplaced national pride (abundantly present all over the world and especially in countries that feed on their past that also tend to be poor countries). In this respect I propose you send a complaint to appropriate authorities.

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  7. I do not understand.

    Since the government has made clear it is not going to waste any more money in this, why do they care what the New7Wonders guys do?

    To me, this contest has as much legitimacy as a facebook poll - after all, it IS just an online poll with no academic merit - so where does this issue of 'sovereignty' creep into this?

    Also, the New7Wonders guys "estimated the economic benefit to each of the seven wonders as “US$1.012 billion”, and the total benefit to previous winners as “US$5 billion”."

    Eh? What previous winners?

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  8. Who is this Bernard Weber to say what is beautiful and a "wonder" whilst making a lot of money out everyone at the same time??

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  9. Simon Hawkins says cabinet has decided to withdraw from New 7 Wonders. I ask Simon, why did the cabinet decide? Its simply based on the information given to cabinet by Simon Hawkins.

    And if you say when the government has decided and no one should open his mouth to talk about it, then where is the freedom of expression?

    I think the present government listens to people and our president is capable of accommodating constructive criticism, unlike the previous dictator.

    Now lets wait and see the day that New 7 wonders announce their winner and how it is accepted by the world. We will then know what the truth is. If it turns out to be genuine and not a scam, then it will be too late for us The Maldivians to regret for a golden opportunity lost.

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  10. I do not think its a scam, although to stay in means spending a hefty sum of money which the government does not have at the time.

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  11. This seems to be fraudulent activity to gain money. Guys find something which make sense and new7wonder guys are fraudstars owner have bad history of credit cards and attempt several fraudulent activities. So please be aware of this guy.,,,

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  12. This shows how incompetent the current administration in Maldives now.

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  13. Ekaloa, from this I see how competent they are don't you think? What would you have said if they had paid all this money and then it turns our be a scam!!! I say hats off to MMPRC. But of course Bondibai Jameels brother in MATATO should have enough money to pay for this no?

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  14. Pharaoh Khufu's mummy is planning to declare war on the New7Wonders Foundation for not obtaining the mummy's permission before entering the Great Pyramid into the competition.

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  15. http://itchofwriting.blogspot.com/2007/06/new-7-wonders-emotional-scam-or-master.html

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  16. BAKURU = Can you or any-one name any of the 7 winners of the last competition? I checked it out & no-one uses this trophy logo - what exactly is the point then??

    It does not matter if you love or hate the govt. or the MMPRC, the point is, IT IS A SCAM!!!

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  17. At the beginning of this thing i searched their website and i think that $500,000 was only an option. I mean we have to pay that only i we use that balloon, or use sponsors as partners in promoting Maldives. Even that time the terms that says this was little confusing that i had to read twice or thrice, and thought myself they could tell this in simple words.

    Anyway its good to lean something from Egypt. When this Weber went their to promote Pyramids for "New seven wonders" he was not welcomed and Egyptian officials were very angry about that poll, they said that "Pyramids do not need a casting of votes to be a wonder". They even REFUSED to meet this fellow. This caused media attention and at the end they removed Pyramids from the list and gave it " a honorary status".

    Look here we are saying the same, Maldives does not need a casting of votes to be a natural wonder, it already is. Some guys are saying that this will be ebnefitial in promoting maldives but look guys, have you ever heard "Taj Mahal; the first in New seven wonderes of Nature"

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  18. This is something similar to scam mails you recieve to your inbox from someone claiming African bussines man!!! I knw the boss of this so called 7wonders, Eamonn Fitzgerald and he is trickstar in real form. I dont know why people are so crazy o recognise them at national levele when UN heritage reject this group. These guys approached our country and we rejected them firmly as we notice this is only a modern art fraud. Please reject this 7wonder thing and wonderfull people will recognise you without those who sit in some corner of the world with only a web page!!!!

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  19. Is this any more of a scam than poor countries trying to squeeze millions in aid money on the basis of all this talk (and no proof) about the sea rising?

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