Rising crimes and the survival of the Maldives Dictator
Dhivehi Observer, 11 May 2008
Maldives despite its minute size is witnessing a surge in serious crimes, such as drug dealing, cyber-crimes and counterfeiting money. In addition, the capital has seen some of the worst gang violence in the country's history leading to several deaths in the last couple of months.
Last month there were reports of 3 arrests in connection with counterfeiting money. More than a 100,000 US dollars of counterfeit money was seized during the arrest and the three were locals.
Also last month, there was a report about cyber-crime. A group believed to be led by a Malaysian man had made transactions worth millions using fake credit cards. His accomplices were local.
Similarly, there were several seizures of drug dealers in the recent weeks, which included the arrest of 5 foreigners who were smuggling drugs to Tanzania via the Maldives. And, in 2006, more than 1.6 tonnes of drugs worth more than 250 million dollars was found by lobster divers. The drug was carefully hidden beneath sea in the lagoon.
And, last but not least, we heard the reports of cold blooded murder cases in the capital. Gang violence had been rising in the capital quite rapidly over the last couple of years and despite earlier deaths, the authorities failed to take action. Leading gang members were free to roam the streets and committed numerous crimes, including rampaging businesses and torching vehicles.
But, most serious of all was the way these gangs beat up and injured people with their box-cutters and swords. And, in December last year, we witnessed the murder of a young man, Ali Ishaar. The suspects remained at large for months and the case is still on going. The army was then mobilised to control the violence after a 16 year old was killed by gangs last month.
Once Male' was a peaceful city but the residents now live in fear. Parents don't like their children to walk around freely like before. Drug dealing and drug abuse is rampant and the authorities have failed to bring an end to these issues. Clearly, somebody or someone must take responsibility for these crimes which is destroying our livelihoods. But unfortunately, Dictator Gayyoom and cronies are more concerned about their survival and sustenance that they could not give a damn about all this. Just like in Zimbabwe, these violent crimes give heed to the dictator to run his police state under an iron fist rule.
Let's quote the Home Minister Abdulla Kamaaludeen. He said with regard to recent gang violence that “these gang violence will only stop when the gang members stop fighting..”. This was clear admission of failure and lack of vision and sense of responsibility by the man who is supposed to be in charge of our security. Couple of months later, we see that the army had succeeded in controlling gang violence to some extent, so the question is, why did the authorities wait for so long before taking the right action? Had they done it from the start, many lives and livelihoods could have been saved. The answer is really very simple. Dictator Gayyoom does not have will or the guts to control these thugs and criminals. And, most importantly, violent crimes create fear amongst the public which the dictator uses to gain political mileage. Ultimately, the most important this for a dictator is first and foremost his own survival.
We are living in gangsta's paradise! You want peace and prosperity, vote for change and remove the dictator from power. Remember, you can be in charge of your own destiny so don't trade yours for short term gain!
© Dhivehi Observer 2004