Translated extract of President Mohamed Nasheed’s speech on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
“Two or three days ago, police seized a large amount of hard drugs; heroin or brown sugar. It happened, as you know, while 800 packets were being sealed in a house called Henveiru Fashan. Today and tomorrow, a lot of young people will become sick.
These 800 packets, according to our information, were the drugs meant to be used by at least 50 percent of hard drug users in Male’. What we are trying to do with the police operation is seize these drugs. [But] when the drugs are seized, the youth addicted to these hard drugs leave their normal state. When that happens, they don’t have any sense of the wrong they do; they don’t have any sense, any inkling or knowledge of anything they do.
I am glad today and pleased by the fact that they can call the 1410 number. I would say that a lot of youngsters should keep the 1410 in mind. […] I urge very strongly that everyone, all who use drugs, keep the 1410 in your memory, in your recollection, at all times.
We can seize the hard drugs that enter the country. We can find out how it enters, too. And as I envision it we can stop [the trafficking]. While undertaking these efforts, it is now becoming very much certain to me…for example, what happened the other day was the sort of thing I find quite shocking. 800 packets of heroin a night were getting sealed in the house of an honourable member of parliament. 800 packets of heroin were being distributed in the ground floor of this house. True, there might be no connection between the MP and his house to the people doing [the drug dealing]. But what I know is, in my home, in my own home…the laws of the country definitely say this. That I should know what happens in my own home, under my own shelter.
What the government will continue investigating now will be the money transactions. And to find out what A.J Enterprises is and who owns that enterprise; whether it was through this enterprise that all that money was transferred out of the country. What I am trying to reveal is that even if it turns out that the [trail] ends with my own parents I will not back down in the least. Whether it’s the People’s Majlis, the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, any Majlis – God willing we will not leave a single stone unturned to discover who is involved in this.
Using hard drugs, running the existing network, involves large sums of money. The profit of Henveiru Fashan was at least Rf160,000. That is the profit of only one night. We do not doubt any more that on a good night Rf200,000 will be made as profit. A hardware store makes a profit of Rf150,000 a night. A normal general store, a big, big store in Male’ – the profit of one of those big stores would not reach Rf100,000. The business profit in this is not a truth that we will let slide from our minds.
It is not only drug dealing that occurs in this business. There are a number of other illegal businesses related to it. Now we are especially noting the business of selling humans from one country to another. That is, bringing workers into the country illegally in the name of labour as well as bringing them to transit here before being sent to other countries – this has become big business in the Maldives.
The drug business is widespread in the whole international community. It is not just the Maldives that was shocked. We do get shocked when we get this kind of information; we would get shocked when we get it suddenly. It is not just the Maldives that is shocked by this. I have come here today after finding out how shocked the whole region is because of this. [We know] how many kilos we have found and that it is a small amount. With this network in the entire [South Asian] region and reaching the Middle East, it is no small shock. I would think all of us are very shocked.
There are truths we know while we attempt to stop this network and the trafficking of hard drugs into the country. That is the fact that we have to show compassion to the youth at this time. When we don’t provide care for them, they take off with the box cutter and steal money from the mother’s drawers. [They] need it. They need to use. They must use. We have to come to know and understand this. We shouldn’t try talking about this politically or with the intention of hiding behind a nice veil, without using the real terms and words. I won’t do it. I will talk about how thing stand from A to Z. That is, regardless of whatever anyone says about me – the bitterness involved in this, how much our society has been destroyed by this, the obstacles it places on our country’s development, how we cannot achieve our desired ‘Other Maldives’ because of this will become very much clear.
Closing the doors to hard drugs is a policy of this government, a pledge of this government. God willing, this government will do it. The government will find those who smuggle hard drugs into the country. They will be detained. We will ask the Prosecutor General to take them to trial. That is the extent of what the government can do. We are not trying to meddle with trials illegally even now. However, we will [send] all the cases with all the evidence to the Prosecutor General’s Office – that is along with everyone else involved in this business, this network. Among them include using cycles, cars and lorries; providing places for packing; private companies facilitating business transactions – no one should be doing any of this. God willing, this government will give those involved the just punishment.
A detox centre was opened in Male’ last year. And a detox centre was opened last year in Addu Atoll Meedhoo. This detox centre is not a rehabilitation centre. So when you go there and nothing but [detoxification] comes of it, don’t complain about that. The place is intended for a particular purpose. That is what the place can do. Additionally, God willing we will be able to open a new detox centre for women I think today or tomorrow. Helping girls with this is absolutely necessary.
It has become very clear to us that the gang violence in the country is also very much tied to drugs. I think the connection between Red Light City and their affiliated gangs to this business was seen beyond doubt the other day [at the police briefing]. In the past, “our peaceful protest was disrupted by this gang, the gang leader was this person, that person calls such and such a politician” – we heard of this a lot. However, we did not go into it back then. And we haven’t gone into it after taking over government even up to this day.
Based on the evidence gathered, the government is only requesting the Prosecutor General to take the case to trial. From judges we request that they deliver a verdict based on what was said and the evidence presented. We don’t ask for more than that from anyone. We will not ask for more.
Our goal is to assure for our youth a better, more prosperous, much happier tomorrow than today. My prayer is for us the blessings of both worlds.