Mass resignation of expatriate staff at Thaa Atoll Hospital

All expatriate staff working in Thaa Atoll Hospital on the island of Veymandoo in Thaa Atoll have resigned following a strike over visa and financial issues with the Health Corporation.

Assistant Manager and spokesperson for Thaa Atoll Hospital, Midhath Naseer, told Minivan News that the hospital’s doctors had submitted their resignations, which were accepted on Sunday.

“On Sunday there was no doctor at the hospital, but the next day at 12:00pm we replaced all the doctors by bringing them in from Laamu Atoll and nearby islands. They have started working and the hospital is fully functioning,’’ Midhath said. “We arranged it so that any patient with a critical condition could receive services.”

Midhath said the major issue was that the expat doctors’ visas were not renewed before they expired, which made it difficult for them to return to their home countries in urgent cases.

‘’One of the doctors apologised to us and withdrew the resignation,’’ he said, adding that the doctor had now rejoined Thaa Atoll Hospital.

He said the expat doctors and nurses who resigned had also complained about being included in the pension scheme, which lowered their wages.

Atoll Councilor Abdulla Shareef told Minvan News that the resigned doctors and nurses were still on the island and that he did not know when they would depart.

‘’They met us recently, but since the Health Corporation has accused the Atoll Council of politicising this issue after we met with them, we are not involved in this anymore,’’ Shareef said. ‘’But the council thinks that we being the Atoll Councilors have the authority to meet with them anytime they request.’’

Shareef said that he did not have any official information about the resignations.

The doctors and nursing staff working at the hospital – which is almost entirely staffed by expatriates – declared themselves on strike on Sunday, and met with the atoll council to discuss their issues.

Haveeru reported that head of the Atoll Council, Shareef, had told the paper that the Health Corporation was counting staff as having used their vacation days despite staff waiting in the Maldives for their visas to be renewed.

Doctors and nurses told the council that in some cases their vacation days were all but spent by the time they actually reached their home country.

Shareef also told the paper that the hospital was using expired medicines imported during 2004 tsunami, and that doctors were being blamed for not having enough medicine in the hospital.

Meanwhile, an Indian gynecologist working at the Hoarafushi Health Centre in Haa Alifu Atoll has declared that she will “never come back to the Maldives” after two masked islanders attacked and gagged her on Monday night.

“They broke in to my room with their faces covered, holding knives, and they tried to attack me,” the doctor told Minivan News yesterday. “I could only see their eyes. It was like the worst nightmare I have ever seen.”


Five men gang rape 18 year-old girl in Laamu Atoll Maabaidhoo

A group of five men allegedly gang raped an 18 year-old girl on Maabaidhoo in Laamu Atoll, police have confirmed.

According to the ‘Laamuatoll’ newspaper based on Maabaidhoo, the group of five men snatched the 18 year-old girl as she was walking down a street last night, and took her to the other side of the island before gang raping her.

“Her mother noticed she was missing at 7:00pm and set out searching for her,’’ said the paper. ‘’At 9:00pm last night her mother found her sitting under a coconut palm tree, barely covered as her clothes were torn.”

The paper also reported that the group of men had blindfolded her using her headscarf, and dropped her to the ground hurting her head.

She was carried to the hospital on a vehicle as she could not walk properly due to the injuries she received, said the paper. At the hospital police were called and informed about the incident, but reportedly could not make it to the island because of poor weather.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed the incident had occurred and that police were now investigating the case.

‘’We have arrested one person in connection with the case,’’ Shiyam said. ‘’We will provide more details after the investigation.’’

In March 2010, a group of 15 men abducted, drugged and gang raped a 20 year old girl, filming the incident with a mobile phone on the island of Hithadhu in Seenu Atoll.

“Two men came by on a motorbike while she was outside her house, and forced her to sit between them,” Regional Commander for Addu Atoll, Chief Inspector Hussein Adam, said at the time. “The 15 men forced her to drink a suspected liquid drug and she became drunk,” he said. ”They used box cutters to threaten her.”


Expat accused of machete attack on Maldivian

An expat working on Gan in Laamu Atoll stands accused of attacking an islander with a machete.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said that the alleged incident occurred last Thursday.

”The Maldivian received serious injuries to his hand after the attack and is undergoing treatment,” said Shiyam.  ”The expat is now under arrest.”  Shiyam declined to provide further information.  “‘More information will be provided after investigation is concluded,” he added.

Island Chief of Gan’s ‘Thundi’ district, Mohamed Saeed, said that the alleged attacker was Bangladeshi in origin.

‘”He works for another islander on this island,” Saeed said. “The Maldivian was injured and was admitted in the hospital.”

He said that the case was not reported to the island office.

Last month, a Bangladeshi expat working in Male’ was stabbed to death after he refused to give his mobile phone upon being ambushed in the city whilst on his way to work after breakfast.


Six Senses Laamu to open in April 2011

The new Six Senses Laamu resort, by Six Senses Resorts & Spas, will open in the Maldives in April 2011 the company has announced.

Chairman and CEO of Six Senses Sonu Shivdasani was reported on HospitalityNet as saying the development of the project had been “challenging, [with] unavoidable delays frustrating to all. I believe though that it will all have been worthwhile, as Six Senses Laamu has all the ingredients to make it a hugely popular destination. With its remote (but accessible) location, its pristine reef, its yinyang surfing wave, its contemporary design features and focus on nightlife, it will set a new standard for Six Senses Resorts.”

Shivdasani attributed the delays to the resorts commitment to using only sustainable materials in its design and architecture, and the property’s isolation.

In addition to 97 villas, the resort will offer 10 beach front residences for purchase at U$2.5 million, fully staffed and managed by the resort part of a managed rental programme with a guaranteed five year five percent yield.


Eight men rob expats, collide with coconut tree

Police are investigating eight men who allegedly robbed five Bangladeshi farm workers of Rf8000 (US$622) on Fonadhoo in Laamu Atoll, before attempting to flee in a car.

One of the suspects was seriously injured when the car hit a coconut tree during a high speed police chase. Police arrested two of the men, one of whom was admitted in Laamu Atoll Gan regional hospital, and the other who is to be transfered to Male’ with a serious elbow injury.

Fonadhoo police station is now investigating the case.

Island Chief of Fonadhoo Ahmed Yousuf said the men were not islanders from Fonadhoo, but were travelling from Mundhu in Laamu Atoll.


Arrests in Laamu Gan after gang attacks on police

Police have arrested 22 people including four children under the age of 18 in Laamu Gan, after they were attacked during a wave of gang violence.

Police said the attacks occurred on Saturday morning at 4:00am, after the gang, believed to be from Mathimaradhu, “appeared suddenly from a forest.”

Police alleged gang members broke the glass windows of a shop in the industrial area of Mathimaradhu, burnt down a hut in Mulurimagu [district] and broke the windows of two houses. When they tried to stop the gang members, police claim they they were attacked and a police vehicle damaged.

Two policemen were seriously injured in the attack, including one suffered a broken arm after he was hit by a metal tube and another who was struck in the arm by a piece of wood with nails in it.

Police have recovered some of the weapons used in the attack from a house in Mathimaradhu, including swords, knives, metal pipes and blocks.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said the injured two police officers have been brought to Male’ and admitted in Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH).

He said the police were investigating the case but refused to give more information.

Island Chief of Gan office Abdul Rahman said that the attack on Saturday night was a gang war between the two districts Mathimaradhu and Mukuri Magu that had been going on for a long time, “for at least three months.”

”Several times many of them have been injured,” Rahman said, ”but this is the first time they attacked the police and damaged property.”

He said most of the gang members were under the age of eighteen.

”We do not know why they have been fighting,” he said. ”We had not received any reports on these fights.”

He said there was a distance of 30 minutes between the two districts on foot.