MDP Whip, Covid Resurgence, Workplace Safety

Photo Credit: @mrsays_

Friday, June 17

Former president Mohamed Nasheed’s clash with ministers on the ruling party’s WhatsApp group was widely reported in the media. Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer and Economic Development Minister Fayyaz Ismail opposed Nasheed’s call to restructure debt, contending that it would send the wrong signal to lenders and rating agencies. The Maldives is not in any danger of reserve depletion or a debt crisis, they insisted.

“Mr President, a lot of our opponents are trying to turn these false claims into the truth by repetition. Their purpose is to overthrow the government even if the only way to do that is by destroying the country. This is being planned and done by our enemies. Let us not encourage it,” Fayyaz, the newly-elected chairman of the party, was quoted as saying.

In response, Nasheed criticised the government’s decision to take loans to repay debt in 2018. “I’m contesting against President Ibu, not the two of you,” the speaker of parliament added.

The Maldivian Democratic Party remains divided into rival factions loyal to Nasheed and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. The “childhood friends” are expected to face off in a primary for the MDP’s 2023 presidential ticket.

Earlier in the week, 19 MPs in Nasheed’s faction decided to disregard the MDP’s whip line after the 65-member group rejected debt restructuring legislation.

Friday, June 17

Thursday, May 16

A government that fears freedom of expression and assembly cannot serve the public, former president Abdulla Yameen declared, referring to police crackdowns on the opposition’s ‘India Out’ protests.

He was speaking at an opposition rally dubbed ‘In Defence of the Prophet’ in response to derogatory remarks made by former BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma.

The Indian ruling party is seeking to eradicate Islam from the country, he contended, citing the razing of Muslim homes.

Thursday, May 16

The criminal court started hearing witness testimony in former president Abdulla Yameen’s bribery and money laundering trial. The opposition leader is accused of accepting and laundering a US$1 million bribe from former lawmaker Yousuf Naeem for the no-bid lease of  Vaavu Aarah for resort development. 

The prosecution’s first witness was a police officer who compiled a report after analysing calls and communications from three phones.

In the middle of the hearing, Judge Ahmed Shakeel warned TV stations to stop rebroadcasting’s the court’s live stream on YouTube without permission.

A local man who was arrested at the airport in August 2019 after more than a kilo of drugs was found in his luggage was acquitted of drug smuggling charges.

According to the not guilty verdict, the prosecution was unable to prove that Ahmed Irfan had been aware of the contents of the bag, which he claimed to have been carrying for someone else. The judge also cited investigative failures, including a broken chain of custody.

Two foreign workers died after they were crushed under marble sheets while unloading them from a container at the Hulhumalé dinghy jetty area.

The first man, who was aged 38, died shortly after the accident on Sunday. The second man passed away on Wednesday while undergoing treatment at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital. An excavator was reportedly used to free the men from under the sheets.

Photo Credit: Mihaaru

President Solih visited Kaafu Kudagiri to inspect progress on the development of a picnic island for residents of Malé.

Wednesday, June 15

President Solih launched the Raajje Transport Link’s (RTL) bus service in Hulhumalé, including the newly-inhabited phase two of the reclaimed artificial island.

A subsidiary of the state-owned Maldives Transport and Contracting Company, RTL purchased 15 buses with a capacity of 86 passengers each. RTL is operating a bus from phase two every 15 minutes.

Wednesday, June 15

Tuesday, June 14

President Solih approved a cabinet recommendation to establish a new institution called Maldives Health Services, which is to be  “tasked with improving primary healthcare, catering to the country’s public health requirements under a decentralised setup, developing human resources, and training technical staff in the health sector.”

Tuesday, June 14

Customs seized 15.5kg of hashish oil (cannabis extract) from a shipment that arrived from the Tuticorin port in India. The estimated street value of the drugs was MVR4 million (US$259,400).

The Judicial Academy conducted a two-day workshop on criminal evidence for 29 judges in partnership with the United States embassy.

The main facilitator was former U.S. district court judge David O. Carter. Other foreign experts covered a range of topics including digital evidence, terrorism, corruption, money laundering, trafficking of narcotics, human trafficking and violent crimes.

Vice President Faisal Naseem laid the foundations for the Ajial Bilingual School under development in Hulhumalé.

Managed by Kuwait-based Aljeri Holding Group, “the new school would be operated as an international bilingual school for students from the lower kindergarten to the twelfth grade, offering education in both English and Arabic.”

Monday, June 13

The National Centre for Cultural Heritage reported the vandalism of ancient tombstones in Fuvahmulah’s Friday mosque cemetery to the police.

Monday, June 13

As the number of Maldivians travelling overseas after pandemic travel restrictions were lifted exceeded forecasts, applications for passport renewal reached an average of 800 a day, up from the previous daily average of 200, according to the immigration department, which extended working hours to 9:30 p.m.

The Health Protection Agency warned of an uptick in Covid-19 infections as 142 cases were detected last week, up 69% from the week before. Hospitalisations and the sample positivity rate are also rising with 11 people admitted to hospital in the first 12 days of June, up from 15 patients in May.

The HPA advised mask wearing as well as testing and isolation if symptoms develop. The Pfizer booster dose is available with walk-in appointments for people who completed the first two doses six months ago.

The Supreme Court overturned a decision by its former bench not to accept an appeal of a ruling that forced the closure of the country’s oldest newspaper in March 2016.

Haveeru was shut down after the civil court had ordered owner Zahir Hussain to involve three others in operating the media organisation in light of a controversial High Court ruling that split the paper’s ownership.

Citing the questionable basis and legality of the High Court judgment, the Supreme Court granted Zahir Hussain permission to appeal within 30 days.

Sunday, June 12

A judge in the three-judge panel presiding over the trial of seven suspects charged over the bomb attack on former president Mohamed Nasheed recused himself from the case, citing threats made by defendant Ishaq’s son in a previous trial. Judge Adam Mohamed argued that he faced a conflict of interest due to the alleged death threat, according to media reports about the preliminary hearing.

The speaker of parliament narrowly survived the assassination attempt on 6 May 2021. Adhuham Ahmed Rasheed, 26, who confessed to detonating the IED, was sentenced to 23 years in jail last December.

Sunday, June 12

Saturday, June 11

A group of young people staged a vehicle rally in Malé in protest against derogatory remarks made about Prophet Mohamed by a top official of India’s ruling party.

After the rally concluded with a special prayer, photos of the former spokeswoman, Nupur Sharma, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were set on fire.

Saturday, June 11

Former assistant attorney general Ismail Wisham was elected president of the Maldives Bar Council. Mizna Ahmed was elected vice president along with three members to the council’s executive committee.