Our president has done a great job obtaining the attention of both international and local media through his campaign on environmental issues. The underwater cabinet meeting was telecast on many well known international tv channels, and reported on many newspapers. His speeches, and media interviews also cover the impact of environmental change to the Maldives. Particularly, that sea level rise will result in Maldives being submerged in water, and that all Maldivians are gonna ‘die’.
Having the attention of the international media is one thing. A president repeatedly advertising the death of its country, while at the same time participating in seminars/forums attracting foreign investments and aid, is yet something of great concern.
I’m sure the president shows admirable character; through his articulate skills, entertains and convinces huge groups of people on different issues. My guess is that as he used to be a journalist, it seems that he’s a firm believer in ‘letting the truth out’, no matter what. So, Indian tv channel got the story about Maldivian terrorists fighting in Pakistan.
Many of my friends who are in regular contact with foreign investors have told stories of some huge investors being a bit uneasy about the president’s remarks regarding the fate of Maldives. I’ve also seen some of the e-mails sent by such investors on the subject.
I guess there are serious issues that need to be brought to the attention of the government, and the president.
For a start, president Nasheed needs to rethink his real objectives, and give priority to the welfare and future of the nation instead of promoting his personal fame in the international forefront. His recent remarks and speeches in the international media has had un-measurable damages to the Maldivian economy. Foreign investors are scared and reluctant to make new investments in Maldives, as the president appears on TV and other media interviews to announce that the country’s going under water pretty soon, and also, that the country has a stock of terrorists who are being trained from Pakistan.
Existing investors are also in a state of confusion, and may in the near future leave the country after selling off their investments.
I’m not suggesting that we stay in denial, by just ignoring the harmful effects of climate change and sea level rise. We need to work out plans and put in place adaptive measures to tackle environmental disasters. We need to reduce our carbon emissions, and call other countries to do the same. At the same time, we need to keep living instead of giving up on everything, saying that we all gonna die soon. We need to attract foreign investors to come and set up their businesses here. Especially, when the government’s main policy on economic reform is to privatize existing state owned enterprises, and where possible rely on public private partnerships for provision most of the public goods and services.