Comment: The Maldives will not survive just on fish and tourists

The world is watching how Dhivehin are struggling to shape up their future by fighting seriously to give up their banana republic and become a player in the big league of democracy.

This is not an easy task, as we in Europe, heirs from ex-fascist countries, know. Changing a system and a mindset requires effort, dignity, time and a strong will to not want to go back in time. Democracy maybe is not perfect but it is by far the best and the most respectful ruling system we can have in a globalised world.

A democratic party system, that necessarily goes hand by hand with respect for the law, is the way to up the value of a country by giving its citizens a determinant role and thus use all the existing potential in the country.

It is clear that under a dictatorship regime this is not feasible. Dictators, like all authoritarian and nepotistic rulers, have only one main goal: become the owners of the country and sponsors of the body and soul of their people, thus owning their life by shaping up slavery either physically or psychosocially, just like old fashioned little kings. The Maldives has already had enough of this.

It is not easy to move from dictatorship to freedom as, like the dog that has been beaten for years, people when free from the hand of the master will tend to go wild and think that anything is possible. That is not democracy. Certainly a coup d’état is not democracy. Dictatorship always gives a false feeling of peace not because there is real peace but because the leash is on, permanently struggling people’s throat.

It is not possible to develop a country in a state of permanent harassment even if disguised of social peace. The core indicators of a country willing to develop are: work for all, freedom, law and respect for people, culture, health and intellectual development. At the moment Maldives lacks from all these in one way or another.

The Maldives – with a basic income from fish (sea resources) and tourism (food will always be an asset, nut tourism is a volatile business), will not be able to develop without offering more to the world. Strategies might be to attract different casts of tourists, with more or less money, but still, tourism is a fairly young industry in the country – only 30 years old. So far so good, however, it cannot be seen as the permanent chicken of the golden eggs. One day the chicken will get old and no more eggs will enter into the basket.

The Maldives, to survive in years to come, needs to offer added value beyond sea protein and nice sunny water bungalows, and it is a fact that in the present industrial and commercial world panorama that is not possible without an evolution of the Dhivehi society. The Maldives is condemned to develop, yes or yes. There is no way back.

The leash, sort of saying, cannot be on anymore and needs to be released unless the population wants to go back in time. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

In a global market, a country is no longer free, certainly neither from a production-commercial point of view nor from a political one as the world has become small, and it will be even smaller in 30 years’ time with supersonic jets and the communication generation. The only way to progress is by enhancing the development of society, opening up the creativity that will lead to discover new resources, give added value to the world and play accordingly.

Maldives is today in a cross roads, and its people need to take a decision on where to go. The possibilities are not that many, I’m afraid.

The author lives in Spain, has a business and marketing degree from ESADE, is the CEO of an international management coach company and a former owner of a Maldives private company.

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