Vice President Adeeb has entered his 11th day of confinement in Dhonidhoo Prison. His spirits are high and he offers his profound thanks to those many thousands who have offered their support to him publicly, in particular, those who risked and who have wrongly been deprived of their freedom in doing so.

The Vice President also sends his best wishes to those many good friends in the People’s Majlis who privately share their concerns regarding the events of recent weeks.  Their wisdom and dedication will be equally essential in rebuilding from a crisis that has been precipitated by a minority.

Personal and political attacks against the Vice President will be successfully challenged and dispelled in the coming weeks, but the immediate concern for the Vice President is the trend in events currently unfolding in Maldives.

Security

The Vice President condemns any violence or threat against the citizen of the Maldives. He expresses deep concern at the manner in which established protocol was seemingly abandoned when dealing with a suspected explosive device this week. In doing so, the lives of many residents of Malé were endangered.

The Minister for Home Affairs must take ultimate responsibility for this failure. The procedure witnessed seemed to contradict the obvious course of action. In doing so, fear and panic was achieved amongst the citizens of Malé, whether by accident or design.

This trend has culminated in the declaration today of a State of Emergency.  The Vice President expects that the People’s Majlis is immediately consulted as provided for within our Constitution.

Budget

The introduction and use of emergency measures to prepare and examine our national budget exposes the country to increased economic risk.  Such matters of national importance should not be rushed as their influence is felt in both the short and long term. They affect the citizens beyond any immediate political aim.

The finances of our country need to be properly debated in the Majlis so that improvements can be made with all members contributing their ideas.  The budget is one of the most important acts of government, it should not be used politically or to gamble with the future of our citizens.

Tourism

As a nation that is heavily reliant on the tourism sector for revenue, investment and jobs, the Vice President is frustrated that years of his work have been undone in a few short weeks.  The timing of these events could not have been worse with the World Tourism Conference taking place.  The tourism industry places great importance on safety and stability in choosing destinations for the coming year.  Again, our future in the year ahead is being sacrificed in a short-sighted attempt to gain personal political ground.

The declaration of a State of Emergency jeopardises our economic future by forcing other countries to advise their citizens not to visit our country due to concerns about their safety.

Democracy

The Vice President expresses deep concern regarding the silencing of voices outside of the traditional power structures.

The process of youth empowerment and civil engagement undertaken by him has given the people of the Maldives a say in their future. Any attack on this progress is an attempt to return to the old ways of the past and is recognised as such by our international partners.

The imprisonment and silencing of journalists, social media activists and commentators no longer has a place in our democracy. It must end now.

The declaration of a State of Emergency is a fundamental attack on the freedoms and rights enjoyed by our citizens provided by our Constitution.  The Office of the Vice President calls for an urgent sitting of the People’s Majlis as provided for within the constitution.

International

This inept management of the nation has extended internationally.

Yesterday’s premature announcement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs that government was NOT declaring a state of emergency demonstrates that the Minister continues to be overwhelmed by the responsibilities of her portfolio.

Today’s announcement by the President of a State of Emergency today shows that the minister is lost and has no understanding of what is happening in the country.

It undermines our credibility as a nation and confidence in the minister.  It is abundantly clear to all that there is a crisis.

Conclusion

The Vice President urges all citizens to take notice of the trend of events being executed in front of them.

He urges his colleagues in Cabinet and the forces of law and order to show restraint in the exercise of their powers.  The responsibilities of office are a burden on any shoulders, especially in a period of instability. Responsibility in governing and protecting people will be recognised when stability returns and we begin to rebuild a better Maldives collectively.

Provision is made in our constitution for circumstances such as this.  These include protection free speech, media and urgent debate before the People’s Majlis.

The Vice President reminds them that the ideal of true democratic government is to support the people in achieving their goals while providing them the security and stability to do so.