An array of services formerly provided by the Maldivian government have stopped since President Dr Mohamed Waheed came to power, former President Mohamed Nasheed has alleged.
Nasheed, speaking in local media, has accused the Waheed administration of depriving the Maldivian people of “one and a half years of prosperity” and progress since his government ended following the controversial transfer of power February 7, 2012.
Despite the criticisms, President Waheed has in recent days been touring North Maalhosmadulu Atoll to view developments such as sanitation and education projects that are currently being undertaken by the state.
However, Nasheed alleged that all of the initiatives launched under his administration have since been halted by Waheed’s government, which he said came to power under the guise of protecting the “nation and religion”.
“Every island that I go to, I see commenced projects unfinished. Harbours have come to stop. Sewerage systems have come to a stop. The change of school sessions to a single session have come to a stop. Aasandha has become a Baasandha. Transport has come to halt, everything has stopped. So I think Waheed’s campaign slogan is ‘halted’,” he was quoted as saying by Sun Online.
“President Waheed has neglected the most prosperous one and a half years of this nation. Since my government was changed through a coup, I can only perceive this coup [government] as something that has come to halt,” said Nasheed.
Nasheed was reported to have made the comments during an MDP “Dheythin Fahethi” campaign event on Kurendhoo Island in Lhaviyani Atoll.
President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad and Spokesperson Ahmed ‘Topy’ Thaufeeq were both in meetings and could not respond to calls from Minivan News at time of press.
Revenue through tourism
Speaking Friday (April 12) on the island of Rasgetheemu on North Maalhosmadulu Atoll, President Waheed pledged to develop local islands in the area into resorts to help enhance social welfare for local people.
The president claimed that revenue generated through taxing these resort properties would then allow the state to spend a proportionate amount of funds on benefiting nearby islands, while also providing employment for young people.
Pointing to the potential development opportunities provided by tourism, President Waheed also slammed the efforts of “the group of people calling for the boycott of Maldives tourism”.
“In the past one and a half year, a group of people have continuously attempted to defame the Maldives and called upon tourists not to visit the country” he stated.
In addition to concerns about a recent avaaz.org petition threatening a boycott of tourism in the Maldives – which has now been signed by over two million people since its launch -Waheed also condemned individuals making “false allegations on human rights abuses”.
Dr Waheed urged the Maldivian public to be aware of any such attempts to “destroy the Maldives’ tourism industry”.
The Avaaz petition is calling for legal reforms in the country after a controversial flogging sentence was handed to a 15 year-old rape victim who admitted to having consensual sex with an unnamed man during a police investigation.
The government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed has pledged to appeal the sentence given to the minor by the country’s Juvenile Court, while also reviewing local laws to enact potential reforms over the use of flogging. No time-line for such reforms has yet been set beyond the commitment to hold talks.
In a letter published on Minivan News earlier this month, Avaaz.org Executive Director Ricken Patel insisted that the organisation had not called for a outright tourism boycott.
“What we do stand ready to do, however, is to inform tourists about what action is and isn’t being taken by the Maldives government to resolve this issue and change the law, and to identify those MPs and resort owners who are using their influence to push for positive change – and those who are not,” Patel said.