Friday, January 23, 2009

Payne puffs again

In a meeting yesterday with his staff, the general manager of One And Only Reethi Rah Resort Michael Payne told disgruntled staff to find work elsewhere if they still found working conditions on the island unsatisfactory.

The resort found itself in the centre of political controversy last November when its management called in police to break up a demonstration by staff protesting against inadequate working conditions and the failure to implement the new employment act.

Payne managed to get riot police or the "Golha" force onto the island, in part because the then home minister Gasim Ibrahim, who owned a fleet of resorts himself, would have been more sympathetic to the management than the protestors. Sending the golha force into Reethi Rah cost Gasim his cabinet portfolio, and government intervention forced the resort to take back staff they had sacked unfairly and take steps to meet the demands of its workforce.

Reethi Rah management has since adopted the new employment act and promised to improve working conditions there.

But Payne is singing a different tune now, say staff.

"He was raving like a lunatic yesterday," a staff told me. "He was going on about Obama and the global economic recession."

Payne reportedly warned staff of impending redundancies, then lost his cool when he was asked to explain why working conditions hadn't improved as promised.

Many of the promises made by the management, including better accomodation, more toilets for staff, and an increase in the transport to and from Male have yet to materialise.

In the words of one staff, Payne "puffed up like a puffer-fish" when confronted by his staff, and yelled at them to find work elsewhere if they didn't like conditions on Reethi Rah.

In December, president Anni bragged that his government had successfully resolved the Reethi Rah crisis.

But with Payne puffing again, that is beginning to look more like wishful thinking than fact.


Anonymous said...

These white people are still deluded that they are a superior human race. So they treat dark-skinned people (including Maldivians) like shit. White supremacists have no place in paradise. Payne and his minions better pack and go to hell rather than trying to milk every inch out of poor Third World people.

Hilath said...

It's true.

Some whites practise double standards. They don't have any morals or ethics. The only reason they are forced to behave ethically while in their countries (in the West) is because they are forced to do so because there are stronger laws there. In the West, they can get sued for things like evading taxes.

So they spend no time practising double standards when then operate in the Third World.

Bush used to do the same thing too. Because US justice system will not allow the kind of atrocities they committed at Guantanamo (even a Maldivian named Fauzy suffered there), the US had to station that detention center (if that's the right word) in Cuba. What a shame.

Heck, I even wonder whether people like Payne come to the Third World looking for business opportunities because they know there no strong legal infrastructure and they can get away with anything here.

This Reethi Rah incident actually reminds me of a feature story I covered for Haveeru Daily of the racism practised by Euro Divers. The white proprietors there were very worked up with me and Haveeru Daily Managing Editor Ahmed Zahir when we covered that story years ago. I can still see the change in color on their faces when we posed the sensitive questions.

Sadly, the Tourism Ministry here can never be capable to solve this issue. The Ministry staff is too much involved in private tourism business and they and their families get free stays at resorts during weekends.

On top of that most Maldivian businessmen, due to local unavailability of finance, are forced to operate resorts with foreign firms which provides them with an edge to flood dive schools at resorts with foreign dive instructors and dive masters. This trend still continues. Ask any local diving instructor who is equally qualified and who knows multiple languages whether it's easy for them to get jobs in dive schools in resorts or safaris.

Here's the link to my report on Euro Divers titled 'Dive pros allege racial discrimination by European dive resorts in Maldives' on CYBER DIVER News Network:

Anonymous said...

There was this documentary I saw where Nike's owner or some big shot is interviewed and he tries to dismiss the child labor issue in Pakistan and Indonesia saying that he cannot be held responsible for things that happen in other countries.

The fact is that these Western big businesses operate in the Third World, no only to scale down economies of cost, but also because of cheap labor, especially child labor and labor carried out in slavish conditions with peanut wages that would have shamed Abraham Lincoln.

People like Payne are downright sick. While they would have flourished on the decks of Amistad, I don't believe they belong to this era and especially not in a Third World country like Maldives.

Anonymous said...

Where is the change you promised, your "honorable" "excellency" "president" Anni???

Anonymous said...

Me thinks that Payne needs to have his sweet pink ass banged in order to have some sense knocked into him. Otherwise he would continue to be a pain in the collective asses of all Maldivians. Come to daddy, dear.

Anonymous said...

Its not a problem with Payne. Its a problem with the Maldives government.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone
Do not miss your chance to get a free iPhone 4G. Visit

Anonymous said...

There is a new big issue about One and Only Reethi Rah. The EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT named Mercy Reyes Fajardo was found to have been having a prostituting website on the internet. This is an act that is no one's business if this, as we may say, is a personal lifestyle. But Reethi Rah's management's lack of action despite very obviously identifiable information that the said person had posted, linking her name to Reethi Rah as a legitimate employee, plus posting pictures of guests' children that she took shots of during her part-time babysitting hours, is really not an amusing thing. Guests from all over the world should be discouraged from choosing One and Only Reethi Rah as a destination for holidays, especially if they have kids with them, as it is a place where their rights won't be respected, their rights would be invaded, and their kids exploited. If anyone is interested in seeing the pictures of children who were posted by Mercy Reyes Fajardo, a Filipino employee in the Finance Dept of One and Only Reethi Rah, pls email and the full contents of the website will be emailed to you. To those parents who were guests in One and Only Reethi Rah Maldives between yr 2007 and 2008, you might be interested to see if the pictures include your babies. We should spread this information.

Anonymous said...

This is true. Sometime a little less than 2 yrs ago, a staffer at the Kids Club was also caught by a parent molesting a guest's child. But that time, the staffer, as I came to know later from his colleague got fired. I hope Reethi Rah won't fail in doing the right thing on this executive assistant metioned above if it doesn't want to be titled World's Number One Resort in child exploitation.