Komandoo constituency MP Ahmed 'ADK' Nashid has denied reports that opposition Maldivian Democratic Party has any connections to Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fenfushi, which recently received unwanted attention after unveiling the world's first semi-submerged art gallery.
While the gallery was opened last Monday, much to the dismay of a number of local religious scholars, there were statues in the art installation. While the statues are exposed, Fairmont had said that it hopes 'they will become a sanctuary for marine life'.
However, the statues were a concern for religious scholars, as well as a number of citizens, who took to social media to express their sentiments on the matter.
State broadcaster Public Service Media (PSM) reported that this was done by senior members of MDP's parliamentary group, 'in order to slander the government at this crucial time' when campaigning for presidential elections are ongoing. It said that Gaakoshibee island in Shaviyani atoll was first leased to former MDP parliamentarian Ali Riza for resort development, but that that it has since been leased to a company with connections to MP Nashid
Nashid released statement on Saturday 'to clear up any confusion'.
Noting that PSM's report is 'entirely fabricated', he said that he has no connection to the resort 'and neither does any other MDP parliamentarian'.
He said that the tourism ministry had leased Gaakoshibee island to a Hussain Waheed from Foakaidhoo island back in 2006 and that ADK Akarsu Development had reached an agreement to develop the resort in November 2007.
Admitting that he is a shareholder of ADK Akarsu Development, Nashid revealed that it was later leased to GBH Maldives Resort Private Limited 'prior to the conclusion of the project'. He added the resort development plan did not include any such galleries when ADK Akarsu Development left the project.
Noting that MDP's parliamentary group has no connection to Sirru Fenfushi, Nashid said PSM's report 'confuses' readers and asked 'to correct' the mistake, citing the Anti-Defamation and Freedom of Expression Law.
Following the immense public scrutiny, Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fenfushi was ordered to remove the statues.
A tweet by President Abdulla Yameen's spokesperson on Friday translates to, "upon receiving information that idols have been put up at Shaviyani Sirru Fenfushi, the president’s office has instructed the ministry of tourism to complete their removal by the end of tomorrow".