Sunday, February 8, 2009
For Provinces the Countdown Begins Now
By appointing 5 more State Ministers to govern the newly created provinces of the Maldives, President Nasheed on Friday revealed his full provincial team. This also marks the beginning of the race to develop the provinces.
Provincial administration is a landmark in the history of Maldives. Throughout the written history of the Maldives, the archipelago has been governed as atolls. Ancient records show that Maldivian kings styled themselves as ‘Sovereign of 13 atolls and 12,000 islands.’ According to the legend of Muhammad Thakurufaan, during Portuguese rule there were four atolls to the north of Male, all governed by a man called Viyazoru.
During 20th Century there was a trend to divide atolls and increase their numbers. This trend was started by Mohammed Amin who gave Dhivehi alphabet letters to most of the currently existing atolls. During the regime that followed, the original Haa atoll and Gaafu atoll were subdivided, and more recently Alifu atoll was similarly subdivided.
President Nasheed’s new initiative is a 180 degree reversal of this trend –merging individual atolls into provinces instead of dividing. His initiative also ends 20 years of failure by President Gayoom to implement (sic) population consolidation.
The newly appointed State Ministers have sweeping powers and are in the drivers’ seat to create history. They come from varied backgrounds. Some have experience in the construction and engineering sectors. Others are technocrats and yet others have majored in development studies. How will they perform? One thing is certain. In the next 6 to 12 months they will be judged and compared with their peers in other provinces. They will have to show results, not excuses.