Home Minister vows to track every can of beer

Home Minister Umar Naseer has vowed to limit the sale and use of alcohol to Maldivians by placing a GPS tracker on alcohol containers, or a mark on every can of beer.

While Maldivian law allows foreigners to buy and consume alcohol at licensed locations, citizens are subject to 40 lashes in public and a jail term for alcohol consumption.

Speaking at a ceremony at the Customs Building on the occasion of World Customs Day, Naseer said alcohol released from bonded warehouses have been found in the capital Malé and in the islands.

He suggested safari boats were involved in the sale of illegal alcohol, and vowed to monitor the entry and exit of alcohol from bonded warehouses.

“One method is to place a GPS tracker on alcohol cases and check where they end up. I think this is something we can do with modern technology. God willing, we will do this, or place a mark every bottle of alcohol or every can of beer. We will place this mark before we release them from the bonded warehouses,” he said.

If alcohol containers are found on inhabited islands, the authorities will use the GPS tracker or the mark to track down the party to which the particular containers were released to and hold them accountable, he said.

Naseer also said that Maldives ports are not secure and that the government must invest in fences, x-ray machines, body scanners and improved customs facilities in order to seal the ports.

Expressing concern over the sale and consumption of illegal narcotics, Naseer said these substances must be stopped at the port of entry.

“Every 100 grams of narcotics that enters the Maldives destroys one child in our society. That child then has to go to jail or rehabilitation [centers]. To sell every 100 grams, 10 people have to package it and sell it on the streets. Every 100 grams, on average leads to three robberies. Every 100 grams creates five criminals. Maldivians participate in prostitution in order to buy it. Beg to buy it,” he said.

The Maldives Customs Services faces challenges in carrying out its duties due to the Maldives’ large sea area, the increase in new ports, and limited resources, he added, promising to increase coordination and cooperation between the customs, police, MNDF and immigration in order to monitor the entry of contraband.

In an interview with Minivan News earlier this month, Naseer said his first priority as Home Minister is “the fight against drugs” by controlling the gates through which drugs enter the country.

Last week, Naseer also ordered the Maldives Correctional Services to make preparations to implement the death penalty through lethal injections despite the lack of legislation administering the death penalty.

Amnesty International has called the move a “retrograde step and a serious setback to human rights in the country.”