US$1.5 million for student loans, but drugs remain an obstacle for youth

Youth Minister Dr Hassan Latheef has said the ministry has budgeted Rf 19 million (US$1.5 million) to be given out as loans for young people to pursue higher education.

Latheef said the money would be distributed to provinces equally, with a view to increasing the number of educated professionals in the islands.

While Latheef claimed that during the MDP’s campaign across the islands he had witnessed a great amount of support for the ruling party among youth, the ongoing lack of education and employment opportunities for young people in the Maldives has led many to become involved in crimes, drugs and gang violence.

President Mohamed Nasheed has previously said that there is “not even a single family in the Maldives that has not been affected by drugs.”

In an effort to understand the country’s drug trade and its impact, Minivan News interviewed several self-described drug dealers in May last year, and was told that more treatment facilities and job opportunities would curb addiction.

One claimed to earn “at least Rf15,000 every day” (US$1167) selling drugs, approximately Rf465,000 per month (US$36,186).

”Everyday one person will buy at least three to five packets, sometimes people from the islands come and buy 40 packets also,” he said, claiming that each 0.03 gram ‘packet’ (of brown sugar) cost Rf 100 (US$7.70).

“All gangs are operated by people and money. Gangs earn money by selling drugs. If someone gets stabbed also the gangs would provide them with medication and financial assistance,” he told Minivan News, adding that drugs were imported into the country 1-2 kilograms at a time “with the assistance of high-profile people in the country.”

“Real drug dealers” did not use drugs themselves, he added.

Police statistics for 2010 showed that most arrests made across the Maldives in 2010 were for drug offences (1153), assault (941) and theft (773), and that most of these were first time offenders.

While the bulk of those arrested were young men aged between 17-23, key crimes committed by minors (aged under 18) were assault, theft and drug offences – albeit with an overall decline in 2010 on 2009.


6 thoughts on “US$1.5 million for student loans, but drugs remain an obstacle for youth”

  1. Repressed, intolerant, undemocratic societies have a growing problem with drug use. Somalia, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan all have a serious and worsening drugs problem. Hey.........these are all muslim countries........Captagon pill anyone?

  2. Having visited Maldives many times during the 90s, I can well understand the problems that the youth in Maldives face and also the helplessness of the government to provide employment, to all. The more the education the more sophisticated jobs are aspired for. Maldives maynot be able to industrialise at short notice due to many inherent reasons.

    Youth should be encouraged to take up employment in growing economies like the middle east countries. Seagoing skills of the Maldivians should be fully used in Seafaring careers. Government should explore possibilities of investments in exclusive industrial zones for the maldivians in growing economies where land and infrastructure is available, even if at a cost.

    IDLE MIND IS THE DEVIL'S WORKSHOP, sad that drugs have encroached such minds, even in Maldives.

  3. It is shame the political parties are spending $10 million each to get elected while the youth is given so little as student loans. I think we should islanders to send their children to become doctors and pilots instead of wasting the money doing diplomas in Colombo.

  4. “Real drug dealers” did not use drugs themselves, he added.

    very true. real ciriminals are seated in high profile positions and have a decent living, well respected and an elevated social status while the public (the youth) are jailed.
    real criminals do not stab with knives or steal on road. they are more sophisticated than that. they rule the place and public is ignorant of the truth.


  5. @earthling

    Its our duty to expose them. Its strange that despite living in 2x2 km island no drug-lord is ever exposed.

  6. its money and corruption and the power that comes with it, that keeps them unharmed and no one is able to expose them despite living in a mere 2x 2 sq km island. in a saner world, they are the filth, the garbage that society would abhor but today they are considered heros. RICH filthy monsters.


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