Dhanbidhoo harbor project begins

The Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) has begun constructing a 500 foot long harbor on Laamu Atoll Dhanbidhoo Island on Tuesday.

The US$2.2million project is expected to be completed within 290 days

Housing Minister Dr. Mohamed Muizz said Dhanbidhoo residents had been demanding a harbor for several years and said: “The harbor will help to bring about economic and social development to the island.”


Foreign Minister calls for greater resilience to climate change impacts

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon has called on the Maldives to build individual and collective resilience to face rising seas and extreme weather events associated with climate change.

In a statement issued on Friday commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Dunya said: “Floods and rising sea levels threaten the loss of our livelihoods, our homes, our cultures and our very existence.”

“The words of scientists that have for years warned of frequent natural disasters due to climate change, are undoubtedly proving to be true.”

The Maldives must take action at home to build resilience, and continue to urge other countries to do their part to combat climate change, Dunya said.

Although the Maldives has urged the international community to reach a strong and legally binding agreement to reduce carbon emissions, President Abdulla Yameen’s administration has begun exploring for oil in the Maldives.

In October, Fisheries Minister Mohamed Shainee said a research vessel has found hydrocarbon source rock in the Maldives.

December 26 is marked in the Maldives as National Day of Unity to celebrate the collective tsunami relief effort.

“What we saw that day was the true spirit of oneness, our common history and the bonds that bind us together like no other,” Dunya said.

At a ceremony to mark the tenth anniversary of the tsunami on Thursday, Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muizz admitted government negligence in the delays in constructing permanent housing.

Muizz said the government has now completed a majority of the 338 remaining houses for families made homeless by the tsunami. He claimed there are no families living in temporary shelters at present.

The 338 houses include 41 on Thaa Atoll Madifushi, 87 on Gaaf Alif Dhaandhoo, 50 on Gaaf Alif Nilandhoo, 76 on Gaaf Alif Vilingili and 84 on Gaaf Alif Maamendhoo.

Only 51 houses remain unfinished. These include one house on Dhaandhoo, five on Nilandhoo, 12 on Villingili, and 33 on Maamendhoo.

Muizz said the government hopes to complete all houses by the end of 2014.

The housing projects in Thaa and Gaaf Alif atolls were initially commissioned to Maldivian company Vimla and an unnamed foreign company.

The government this year handed over the projects to the Maldives National Defense Forces (MNDF), state-owned Maldives Transport and Contracting Company, the Maldives Road Development Company, and several local companies.

The government is to give these families a grant of MVR 25,000 to buy furniture as they move into their new homes.

In his speech, Muizz also claimed the opposition had obstructed the construction of the permanent housing by vandalising buildings. He did not provide additional details.

President Yameen at the National Day of Unity function urged Maldivians to control negative emotions such as anger, hatred and envy in order to work towards sustainable unity.

Related to this story

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PG criticises Home Minister, calls for action on police brutality allegations

Prosecutor General (PG) Ahmed Muizz has criticised Home Minister Ahmed Jameel for “misinforming” the public over the PG office’s performance in a press release unveiled Thursday (March 16).

Muizz, responding to comments made by Jameel,  called on the home minister to himself act upon and investigate allegations of police brutality and other unlawful acts carried out during the controversial transfer of power on February 7.

The statement counters allegations made at a press conference held March 11 in which Jameel called the criminal prosecution system “lazy,” claiming that the PG office was delaying the prosecution of cases relating to arson and vandalism in Addu City on February 8.

Supporters of former president Nasheed are alleged to have destroyed police, court buildings, vehicles and a police training centre on February 8 in Addu in the aftermath of a perceived brutal police crackdown on protesters in Male’.

Muizz said although the police had claimed by February 16 to have filed cases related to widespread violence that occurred on February 8, the PG had only received incomplete documents as of February 21. He pledged he would expedite the February 8 cases, but only after verifying evidence related to them.

“This office is not mandated to prosecute all cases submitted by the Maldives Police Services,” the statement read. “This office will only lay charges once we have independently verified all evidence and if we believe the accused can be convicted.”

In Defence

Responding directly to Home Minister Jameel’s criticisms of the amount of work being carried out by the PG’s office, Muizz claimed that he could only conduct cases within the wider parameters of the criminal justice system.

“Some note an ‘extraordinary delay’ with cases submitted to this office.  But the PG’s office believes the performance of any institution within the criminal justice system must be measured based on the nature of the institution’s work, and in comparison with other offices with which the institution coordinates its mandate with,” Muizz stated.

Jameel had previously said that the delay in prosecution did not lie with the police, but rather with the PG’s office.

However, Muizz noted that of 305 cases the police had filed for prosecution in January and February of 2012, only 97 cases had been investigated and filed within three months of the crime being committed

Of these, only 22 were cases related to offences committed in 2012. In 42 of the 305 cases, the police had taken over a year or more to complete investigations, the statement also noted.

The PG office had also submitted 442 drug-related offenses to the criminal court, and had completed 87 percent of cases filed with the office in 2011.

“Hence, we do not believe our performance is far behind that of other institutions within the criminal justice system,” the statement read. However, many aspects of the criminal justice, including that of the PG office, needed to be strengthened in order to better serve the public, the statement added.

Allegations against Police

“I believe the Home Minister, as one mandated with upholding the constitution and the fundamental rights of the citizens of the Maldives, must act upon allegations of unlawful behaviour said to have been committed by the police between February 6 and 8 through an internal process that the public can trust, but one that does not cause loss of faith in the police,” Muizz said.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed announced his resignation after the military joined a police mutiny on February 7.

The next day, Nasheed alleged the transfer of power had been a coup d’état and led a peaceful march in Malé on February 8.  Police were widely reported to have used tear-gas and excessive force against Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters.

Amnesty International (AI) has issued several statements condemning and documenting police violence in Malé and Addu City on  February 8 and in the weeks following the transfer of power.