COVID 19 has without a doubt devastated the fragile economy of the Maldives. Decades of repetitive economic policies to cash in on the nations beautiful islands and beaches with little regulation on maximizing income and nonexistent penalties on tax evasions has made our nation exceedingly dependent on the tourism sector.
Incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and his reactionary policies against COVID 19 has allowed the economy disrupting COVID 19 to not only come to our welcoming sunny shores, but taken a hold of the whole nation by its neck. While today Tourism Minister Ali Waheed boasts about how he will not endanger the public for the sake of the resort operators, it is an undeniable truth that he did in fact, endanger the public for the resort operators.
Not only did President Ibrahim Solih, Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, Health Minister Abdulla Ameen and Director General of Public Health Maimoona Abu Bakr refused to close the airports following months of criticism by the public who called to close our borders as early as February 2020, they chose to keep operations running up until the first community spread was flagged thereby forcing them to close the airports in a classic Solih reactionary measure.
If we dwell in to the realm of hypotheses, consider an alternative reality where the current ruling executives actually chose public safety and health over the income of a few resort operators. Tourism sector would take a hit but, the rest of the economy would keep going on allowing the public to go on with their lives. Construction, delivery and transportation, import and export businesses and other offices would have been able to continue on had the current government chosen public health over private wealth.
But the blame on the current situation does not solely lie on the too slow too little policies of President Solih. Ruling Party MDP holds a supermajority over the parliament. In fact, they have a stronghold over every single government institution and organizations, why haven’t they done anything to aid the public in this time of struggle?.
Current ruling party holds 65 seats along with an additional 5 seats from the government coalition partners giving them a total 70 out of 87 seats in the parliament. This staggering majority is enough to pass any bill unobstructed to aid the public in this crisis but till date the ruling party MDP with its sizable parliamentary group even has failed to aid the public.
The level of incompetence by the ruling party has even allowed room for conspiracies with the public alleging the ruling party of working to keep the public poor and desperate to keep us relying on the rich elites in a bid to control the public’s outrage. This is only further fuelled when oppositions bills on rent moratoriums and COVID 19 aid bills are rejected by the parliament controlled by the ruling party MDP without any reasoning.
Keeping aside conspiracies, current government and its parliaments indulgence in corruption and embezzlement along with their aimless policies directed to divert public attention without actually solving any critical problems has furthered public outrage at the current government. No amount of PR by the dedicated staff at the President’s Office will now clear President Solih, his cabinet and his party of endangering the public and then abandoning it.