Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Formation of local Red Crescent branch in Maldives delayed

After the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, Red Cross organizations from a number of countries set up office in the Maldives, a popular holiday destination attracting the likes of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, currently spending their honeymoon here.

The work on forming a local Red Crescent society has been going on for a while, but Minivan News reports that the work is delayed again.

The formation of the new committee and the delay that comes with it has caused some members in the organization to express concern. They have pointed to the fact that attempts to set up the Maldives Red Crescent branch, have already taken over a year.

To add to the controversy, Minivan Daily has reported that Ibrahim Hameed (Lebbe), the delegate appointed by the government to head the working group of the Maldives Red Cross, was trying to resister the organisation as a government institution.

But Jerry Tolbot, Head of Delegation of the International Red Crescent Society said there was no secret motive behind the delays. In an interview with Minivan News he said that it all came down to the simply fact that the Maldives was just not ready.

“There are processes that have to be gone thought and standards that must be met in order for us to set up in the Maldives,” said Tolbot, “so far, the planning has not been completed in time.”

When asked if there were political motivations behind forming the new election committee Tolbot said: “The people who make up the society must respect our seven principals (humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, universality). We are not looking at people’s political beliefs nor are we trying to bring in any governmental objectives.”

Tolbot refused to comment when asked if President Gayoom was unwilling to grant official status to the Maldives Red Crescent because there were too many Maldivian Democratic Party members in the group.


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