20 January 2018, Male’: Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed condemned today police raids on tourist resorts owned by opposition leader Gasim Ibrahim, who is currently living in exile in Germany.
Police, customs and tax officials raided Royal Island and Spa Management, Paradise Island Resort, Sun Island Resort, Fun Island Resort and Holiday Island Resort all owned by Gasim’s Villa Group, in the past 24 hours, ostensibly over the suspected infractions of regulations regarding the importation of pork and alcohol. On Saturday police have started an operation to confiscate all alcohol at Paradise Island Resort, Sun Island Resort, Fun Island Resort and Holiday Island Resort severely impacting the operations of the businesses while the resorts are currently in its high season.
President Nasheed dismissed the authorities’ excuse for raiding the tourist resorts, accusing President Yameen of attempting to pressure Gasim ahead of presidential elections, which must be held later this year.
He has also warned against the growing influence of Islamic extremists in the Police and the Government who may take advantage of this instability created by the Government to cause further disruption to the country’s vulnerable tourist industry.
President Nasheed said:
“The police raids on tourist resorts are a big blow for Villa Group and Maldives tourism more broadly. Clearly President Yameen is prepared to play any dirty trick or underhand tactic to try and fix the upcoming election, which he stands to lose because of his dire unpopularity.”