Police prepare for ‘Tourist Arrival Countdown Show’ as revised lineup announced

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) have said today that it is prepared for any event which might unfold at the ‘Tourist Arrival Countdown’ show held in Malé tonight.

Central Operations Command’s Deputy Head Superintendent Abdulla Shareef said that all security measures for the New Year’s Eve show held at the National Stadium have been arranged.

“All roads surrounding the National Stadium and leading up to it will be blocked for vehicle entry from 6.30pm tonight. We request all individuals wishing to watch the show to walk to the National Stadium,” said Shareef.

Shareef’s statements comes after Jamaican dancehall artist Sean Paul cancelled his scheduled appearance at the show, citing security concerns.

Tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb has today announced that the show will now feature Indian artists Salim and Sulaiman Merchant.

Sean Paul’s cancellation followed the posting of an online death threat against the singer last week, as well as calls from religious groups within the country to stop the performance.

“Unfortunately, the world has reached a point where cyber threats must affect real life decisions,” read a message posted on the artists official Facebook page yesterday (December 30).

Meanwhile, MPS confirmed today reports on local media that the service had searched a house and questioned an individual in connection to the video after obtaining a warrant yesterday.

Tourism minister Adeeb told Minivan News yesterday (December 30) that Sean Paul had decided to continue with the concert before pressure in Jamaica caused him to make the last minute decision to cancel.

The singer’s decision had come despite assurances from the President’s Office and the security services that the posted threat was a hoax.

Adeeb revealed on his twitter account today that the show will now include performances by Indian artists Salim and Sulaiman Merchant who arrived in the Maldives this morning.

The brothers – who perform under the name ‘Salim-Sulaiman’ – have produced music for several Bollywood hit films and come from a Muslim family in Gujarat.

Also speaking at the police press conference today, Drug Enforcement Department’s head Superintendent Ahmed Shifan said the police will not allow “illegal new year parties, especially those with illegal narcotics” to take place.

Shifan revealed today that the police arrested a 29-year-old man with 140 bullets of heroin while a 35-year-old Maldivian arriving from Sri Lanka was arrested with 30 “pieces of narcotics” which he had swallowed.

The past week has seen a large amount of alcohol confiscated in the Malé area, with police reporting seven individuals taken into custody within the last 48 hours after having being found in possession of alcohol on Hulhumalé.

Last weekend police confiscated 70 bottles of liquor and 70 cans of beer with a street value of MVR200,000 (US12,970) from Faamudheyrige in Maafannu ward in Malé.

Shifan had claimed that it was foreigners who are mainly active in Malé’s black market trade in alcohol, but said they received help from Maldivians, resulting in the confiscation of at least 400 containers of alcohol since December 1.

Related to this story

Sean Paul cancels New Year’s appearance, citing security concerns

Online jihadists threaten Sean Paul with death ahead of New Year’s concert

Sean Paul threat a hoax to create atmosphere of fear, says President’s Office

President Yameen warns of adverse impacts on tourism from threats against guests