President and MDP congratulate DRP on its anniversary

President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed has congratulated opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party on it’s fifth anniversary.

“The President expressed confidence that the government would receive the full cooperation of the DRP in consolidating democracy in the Maldives,” said the president’s office. “He also expressed confidence that the DRP will cooperate with the government in its efforts to find an amicable solution to the current political impasse in the Maldives.”

The president’s office said the president forwarded congratulations to the leader of DRP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, deputy leaders, others on different posts and its members.

Ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) also congratulated DRP on the occasion: “On this delightful occasion we wish the party progress and many successful days.”

Last night DRP held a special rally at the artificial beach to celebrate the party’s fifth anniversary. Leader of DRP, Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and Leader of the Jumhoory Party (JP) Gasim ‘Buruma’ Ibrahim addressed the people who attended the ceremony.

“We were unable to conduct our fifth anniversary as we expected due to the political challenges we have to face now,” said Thasmeen. “Today we are witnessing the executive power trying in different ways to change this country into a dictatorship, and this is the time we have to work against the threat and challenges.”

He said the opposition parties should be ready at the front line to “sacrifice” themselves to prevent the government from demolishing democracy.

“The constitution is fine, there is no place to amend or change it,” Thasmeen said, in reference to Nasheed’s suggestion yesterday that the constitution may need to be amended if the crisis continues.

“I want to say, if the president can’t obey the constitution, then he should resign,” said Gasim. “President Mohamed Nasheed is not a sincere and honest person.”

Gasim pledged that the opposition coalition would “work to eliminate corruption from the country”, and called on the president to resign.


Millions of rufiya and a 100 foot fiberglass fishing boat to join JP: leaked letters allege corruption

Letters sent by MDP MPs to President Mohamed Nasheed containing allegations of corruption against Jumhoree Party(JP) leader MP Gasim Ibrahim have been leaked to the press.

Gasim is currently under house arrest, charged with bribery and treason.

The documents are addressed to the President and signed by ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs  Mohamed Nazim, Ahmed Easa, Mohamed Gasam, Mohamed Rasheed, Mohamed Shifaz and Ilyas Labeeb.

In one of the letters, Madaveli MP Mohamed Nazim claims that Gasim offered him a 100 foot fibereglass fishing boat and Rf4 million to join the JP, adding that the offer was unlawful and could be considered attempted bribery.

In his letter Kedhikolhudhoo MP Ahmed Easa alleges that Gasim offered him Rf5 million to defect from MDP to the JP.

The letter from Mohamed Gasam, MP for Thinadhoo, claims Gasim had offered him “many rewards” to recruit him away from MDP.

In a letter signed by Hulhu-Meedhoo MP Ilyas Labeeb, the writer mentions that Gasim offered him Rf5 million to buy and construct a house in Hulhumale’.

Press Secretary for the President’s Office, Mohamed Zuhair, said that he could not confirm whether the letters were genuine, or that the letters were the same as those received by the president.

‘’Similar complaints were forwarded to president by several MPs,’’ said Zuhair. ‘’I cannot confirm whether the [leaked] letters are the actual letters.’’

Zuhair said that police were currently investigating the allegations of corruption against the opposition leaders.

Spokesperson for the MDP parliamentary group, Baarah MP Mohamed Shifaz, one of the MPs whose name was on one of the leaked letters, revealed that the leaked letter in his name was an edited version of the letter he actually wrote.

Shifaz said that the middle paragraph of the leaked document in his name was edited.

‘’I did not mention any amount of money Gasim offered me,” Shifaz said. “I wrote that he had offered me different amounts on different occasions.”

‘’I did send a letter to president last month, because of a rumor that circulating in those days that I was about to join the JP,” he said. “It dragged me into a situation where MPs almost lost confidence in me, and I thought the president might feel the same way. So I sent him a letter to make him confident that I would not leave MDP.”

MDP’s Council adopted a resolution late last month to terminate its coalition agreement with JP.

Gasim did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.


Dhigufarufinolhu “destroyed” to construct harbor, claims government

Dhigufarufinolhu, a sandbank in Baa Atoll, has been “destroyed” to construct a harbour for the Royal Island Resort,  claims Mohamed Zuhair, Press Secretary of the President’s Office.

The resort is owned by Republican Party Leader and Maamigili MP Gasim Ibrahim.

While the harbour was being constructed for docking speedboats, Zuhair said the sandbank and the resort were not in the same landmass.

“The sandbank has a massive lagoon. In between the resort and sandbank there is deep blue sea,” he said.

Zuhair said that the destruction of the sandbank would have dire consequences for the ecosystem as its lagoon was home to a plethora of marine life.

“All the plankton, fish, bait, sea turtles who come ashore to lay eggs, corals in the area and many seabirds fled after the sandbank was destroyed,” he explained.

Zuhair added that the government has received a numerous complaints about the environmental impact of the construction.

“All the bait the [fishermen] caught there is gone, all the seabirds, which they used to locate fish, are gone after the harbor was constructed,” Zuhair said.

He further claimed that all living coral in the areas was now dying because of the spread of silt produced during the construction.

However, he added, the government could only take any action when the case was reported officially.

”The former government awarded that sandbank in the 1970s,” he said.

Environmental impact

According to Google Earth, the distance between the sandbank and the resort is approximately 1,065 feet.

The lagoon of the sandbank was approximately 2.9 kilometers in length and 1.3 kilometers in width.

Ibrahim Naeem, director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said sandbanks were an essential part of the ecosystem.

”Birds and turtles go there, fish in the area die if there are no rocks,” Naeem said. “The plankton and corals in the area will also die if a sandbank is destroyed.”

Naeem stressed that silt was a very dangerous substance.

”If it gets inside the respiratory system of a fish, they will have difficulty breathing,” he said. ”If it reaches the eye they will suffer from poor eyesight.”

He added that “whether Gasim or Hassan” was responsible was immaterial as the environmental impact would be the same.

Moreover, he said, construction of harbours was generally very harmful to the environment.

Gasim said he was out of the country and could not comment on the matter.