Deals signed for waste management centres in northern atolls


The environment ministry has signed contracts to build waste management centres in four islands in Noonu atoll and an incinerator shed in Raa atoll Vandhoo.

According to the ministry, the contracts were signed last week with Wee Hour Investment Pvt Ltd and Saruh Pvt Ltd at a ceremony on Thursday (April 2).

Wee Hour Investment was contracted to build the incinerator shed at an estimated cost of MVR 2.5 million ($160,000) and a waste management centre in Noonu Magoodhoo at a cost of MVR 585,260.

Saruh was contracted to construct waste management centres in Noonu Lhohi, Maalhendhoo, and Fodhoo at a cost of MVR 592,087, MVR 798,617, and MVR 539,047, respectively.

Minister of Environment and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim signed the contracts on behalf of the government.

In February 2014, the ministry signed an agreement with Germany’s Michaelis GmbH and Co to establish an incineration plant at Raa Vandhoo to eliminate 40 tonnes of waste produced in all islands of Noonu, Raa, Baa and Lhaviyani Atolls.

The US$2.6 million waste management project was funded by the World Bank and was expected to be functional by 2015.

The General Manager of Michaelis Bernard Grim said the incinerator system could also be used to produce ice in the long run.


18-year-old infanticide suspect arrested

An 18-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of infanticide in Noonu Atoll Velidhoo Island on Sunday.

According to the Maldives Police Services, the baby was buried soon after birth, but a search for the baby has not yielded any results yet.

The police said they are not yet clear on when the 18-year-old had given birth or when she had buried the baby.


Man arrested for molesting 17 year old girl

Police yesterday (28 September) arrested a man from the island of Manadhoo in Noonu Atoll on charges of molesting a 17 year-old girl in the island.

Police said that the man, 39 years old, said that he was arrested after an arrest warrant was obtained while the man was on the island.

According to police, Lhohi Magistrate Court in Noonu Atoll have extended the man’s detention period to 15 days for the investigation of the case.


New police station on Landhoo in Noonu Atoll destroyed in fire

Police have said a new police station built on the island of Landhoo in Noonu Atoll has burned down.

In a statement police said the station was set ablaze at about 2:00am this morning, with the entire building destroyed beyond repair.

Police said the fire was controlled in 20 minutes with the help of islanders.

According to police, the building was built using the money of islanders.

Manadhoo island police station is now investigating the case.


Maldives’ first Marine National Park without land two years after government agreement

As the Maldives moves ahead with plans to transform itself into the world’s largest marine reserve by 2017, the country’s first Marine National Park (MNP) in Noonu Atoll has yet to receive land the government agreed would be set aside for the project back in 2011.

The Edu Faru MNP was established during the previous government through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Environment Ministry back in 2011 in order to protect nine islets in Noonu Atoll that would be kept in a “pristine” state and undeveloped for future research.

However, almost two years since the Maldives agreed to establish the MNP and a non-profit foundation to run the site, a private partner on the project has raised concerns that both the present and former administrations were yet to move ahead on the MNP.

Mohamed Hameed, Promoter of the non-profit Edu Faru MNP project, has said that despite receiving vocal support of both President Dr Mohamed Waheed and former President Mohamed Nasheed, both their administrations has so far failed to approve vital paperwork on the project.

Hameed, who conceived the MNP based around international models of marine reserves such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef or the Kosterhavet National Park in Sweden, said he had continued to struggle to obtain approval for the foundation charged with running the park.

“[The] government is a major stakeholder in the foundation that will run the Marine National Park (MNP) as a non-profit organisation… but it is yet to approve the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the foundation.  The foundation has not been registered,” he explained.

“Following the registration of the foundation, government is to hand over the entire site of the MNP, including its surrounding waters, to the foundation under an agreement.”

Hameed said that although the present and former governments had received all the required paperwork and files, he did not believe that any decision or progress would be made on approving the foundation to run the MNP before the presidential election scheduled for September this year.


By the end of the current year, the management of the MNP, which presently works on a voluntary basis, has targeted reaching an agreement with the state on the park’s boundaries. Under guidelines set by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the park requires an area of land of at least 1,000 hectares.

With these boundaries in place, the MNP’s management has said it will then aim to secure grants from groups like the world bank as well as international donors, NGOs and the country’s tourism ministry to try and establish research centres and an underwater observatory for both the public and scientists to study at.

Aside from the opportunities for research, Hameed said that strictly regulated fishing and tourism expeditions would also be allowed in the area, although travel in the park would have to be conducted on non-motorised, traditional dhoni vessels.

Money raised through these ventures would be used to help run the park and provide research and training programmes.

Despite the restrictions on the use of the proposed MNP site, Hameed said both the public and Noonu Atoll Council had lent support to the project.

He added that while there was a local understanding of the need for national conservation through projects like the MNP, it remained important to educate and create awareness among the public, as well as the international community about the sensitive nature of the Maldives environment.

Hameed therefore said he welcomed the government’s wider commitments in trying to transform the Maldives into a national biosphere reserve.

Reserve reservations

Despite welcoming the idea of the project, Hameed has expressed some reservations about the state’s ability to plan and execute such an ambitious conservation strategy. He raised particular concerns about what he claims was the lack of a holistic legal framework outlining environmental protection in the nation.

A number of stakeholders working in the environmental sector last month expressed concern about a perceived lack of enforcement and legislative framework to protect biodiversity and conservation areas nationally.

Ali Rilwan, Executive Director for local NGO BluePeace, claimed at the time that a lack of national enforcement mechanisms continued to setback and limit the effectiveness of national parks and biosphere projects in the country.

He claimed that without such regulation, marine reserves and other conservation zones currently established in the country were operating more as “paper parks” than designated protected areas.

State conservation commitments

The Environment Ministry earlier in June announced the formation of an Environmental Police Unit that would see 22 trained officers with the aim of investigating and punish violations of laws relating to biodiversity and littering.

As well as establishing the Environmental Police Unit, the ministry has continued to call for expressions of interest from atolls wishing to be part of its national marine reserve transformation plan set for 2017.

Muhusina Abdul Rahman, an analyst for the Ministry of Environment and Energy, told Minivan News that authorities were seeking 10 atolls to be unveiled in 2017 as being part of its national marine reserve.

Within each of these ten atolls, the government has pledged to designate three different types of zones that would be exclusively separated into conservation, buffers areas and “transition” land free to be developed for industrial and other commercial purposes.

Rahman said that the ministry was now moving ahead with feasibility studies in the nominated atolls to see conduct a detailed assessment of communities best suited to being included in the reserve.

She claimed that the ministry hoped to identify the first two atolls that will make up the national biosphere reserve by year end, but said these areas would not be unveiled until all ten were officially announced in 2017.

Rahman mantained that the Edu Faru MNP would compliment the state’s biosphere reserve scheme along aside other high-profile conservation areas such as Baa Atoll, which was designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 2011.

Bio-reserve challenges

One resort general manager based in Baa Atoll said earlier this year that the despite the area being classified as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, there had been no changes on its operations, despite claims from authorities about the significant marketing potential.

“There are a lot of conservation organisations here with opinions on how to manage the site, but it’s taking a long time to reach agreements. I have myself expressed concerns that it is taking too long to devise how the areas should be used,” the resort head said back in January.


Six expats arrested over alleged fight with Maldivian colleagues in Noonu Atoll

Police have arrested six expats working on Fushivelaavaru in Noonu Atoll, after they allegedly assaulted two Maldivian staff members on the island.

According to a police statement, the incident occurred last night with the six expats workers being arrested at 5:30am this morning.

The expats arrested were all Bangladeshi nationals aged between 25 to 31, police stated. Police have not revealed the names of the persons arrested or the details surrounding the incident.

However, police stated that a 19 year-old and 25 year-old Maldivian were injured in the fight.

The two Maldivians were hospitalised at Manadhoo Hospital based in Noonu Atoll.

A police team is on the island investigating the case.

According to local media, Fushivelaavaru is an uninhabited island being developed into a resort.

An online newspaper based in Noonu Atoll, ‘Manadhoo Live’, reported that according to people working on the island, the incident occurred at about 8:15pm after a Maldivian staff member accidentally ran into a Bangladeshi man while he was walking out of the mess room.

The paper reported that the Bangladeshi workers on the island confronted the Maldivians following the incident and four Bangladeshi men allegedly attacked the two Maldivians using an iron bar.

Last Wednesday (May 15), an Indian physics teacher was hospitalised after a group of angry islanders allegedly confronted him on the island of Kumundhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll.

The teacher was then reported to have been beaten over accusations he hit a student in the chest.

Police have arrested eight persons from the island in connection with the case.


Supplementary budget to be proposed in first half of 2013: President Waheed

A supplementary budget is to be proposed to parliament before the end of the first half of 2013, President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik has announced.

Speaking at Henbadhoo in Noonu Atoll, the President claimed the country’s economy “is not as bad as it is perceived to be”, adding that the decline in global economy was affecting the Maldives in an adverse way, local media reported.

Waheed stated that that priority will be given to projects such as health centres and other basic services on islands, and that he intends to make the necessary changes to the supplementary budget in order to address these issues, he was quoted as saying in local media.


Protests disrupting services on Maafaru: Home Ministry

The Ministry of Home Affairs “expressed concern” about the prevention of islanders’ basic needs being met on the island of Maafaru in Noonu Atoll, with ongoing protests having resulted in the island council office, health center, and school closings, local media reported.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs Thursday (January 17) stated the provision of these services is obligated under the constitution and subsequent laws, as well as that the obstruction of these [fundamental human] rights is equivalent to denying citizens of their rights.

Therefore, necessary legal actions will be taken to restore the provision of these services without discrimination to all citizens, according to Sun Online.

The ministry added that planned government projects to provide basic services are based on income received by the state.

The government also said they “will always welcome peaceful assembly” since this right is guaranteed in the Maldivian constitution, according to local media.


Two men and a minor arrested in connection with murder of 65 year-old man

Police have arrested three persons in connection with the recent murder of 65 year-old Hassan Abu Bakuru, of Maafaru in Noonu Atoll.

Police have not disclosed the names of the three arrested, but have said the suspects were aged 26, 27 and 17.

The 17 year-old boy was arrested on Friday afternoon at about 2:02pm with an arrest warrant, police said.

Police also said they were taking the case very seriously and that the investigation had a high priority.

Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef said police could not disclose further information before the investigation reached a conclusion.

He said he could not tell if the arrested persons had any relations to the victim.

Hassan Abubakur was found murdered inside his own house on May 30 at around 6:00pm on the island of Manafaru in Noonu Atoll.

“Neighbors living near his house noticed that he had not been coming out at all, and went in to see what was going on and found his dead body,” said Ahmed Shareef, President of the Island Council of Maafaru.

“I saw inside the house after the incident, it seems that some people tried to steal something from the house, because the things inside his house were not arranged as they usually were,’’ he told Minivan News, in a previous interview. “Some cupboards doors were opened and some things supposed to be kept on the table were dropped on the floor.”

Head of Maafaru Island Health Centre Ali Shareef said according to rumours, the man had received a large amount of cash in a lump sum through the elderly persons’ pension scheme, as he had not received it for a long time. The assailants may have killed him in an effort to steal the money, Shareef speculated.

The elderly man’s legs were tied and a pillow was on his face when his body was found, Shareef said, according to islanders who witnessed the body.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the island was ‘Manafaru’. This should have been ‘Maafaru’.