Your Highness the Duke of York, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good morning,

Unlike many other Asian counties who have a certain amount of difficulties with the history, we tend not to have that. We don’t have a hung-up with colonialism. We are with knowledge and understanding that we have a trusted partnership with England. Most of us are very aware of what the United Kingdom is and how much you will be able to assist us and help us.

Not many Muslim countries have been able to come up with a home-grown democratic movement, galvanise the public to political activism, amend the Constitution, have free and fair elections and also, have a very smooth transfer of power. We have been able to do that. And I must say we are extremely grateful for the British government in their support all throughput the process. They did see the light, I must say, unlike many other countries who probably thought that this was so against the odds, that there is no point in assisting this bunch of people. But the British government did realise that good governance was always important and that democracy will always flourish and will always win.

I would like to thank the British government, the British people, and everyone here for assisting us all throughout, especially during the last four years.

Now we are in the process of consolidating democracy. To do that, we need to build upon the institutions that are already mentioned in the new Constitution. We need to build our legislature; we need to build our judiciary; and, we need to build the independent institutions. Again, in that process we would be looking at Britain for partnerships.

To consolidate democracy, we really need to deliver to the people. We have all sorts of problems in the country. We have drug abuse; we have a very big percentage of our youth doing hard drugs. We need to rehabilitate them. We need to bring them back to the society. We need to stop the trade of drugs in the Maldives and we need to clean the society in this regard. The vast majority of people live without running water, sewerage, or reliable electricity. We need transport, we need people to be travelling from place to place--for development to happen we have to be able to go from place to place. In the Maldives we have every single problem that you can imagine. We have Islamic radicalism, and we do need to have a grip in these issues. And we are very confident that we can solve these problems. One of the reasons why people of the Maldives decided to change their leadership and their rulers is because they want to change all these problems. They have given us the opportunity to do this and with the assistance from good friends like the British industrialists, we believe that this should not be a problem at all.

We are opening up the Maldives for business, specifically because we believe that it is not the government’s business to do business. The government has more important work to do - in regulating businesses, in setting-up standards, in looking after the people. It is not the concern, we believe, of the government to run these businesses. So we are opening ourselves up for foreign investments. We don’t have a problem with nationalism, we do not actually believe that you can take the Maldives away from where it is and bring it here. It would be there. So whatever you do, you would be doing it there. We are very certain that whatever partnerships that we form from our meetings here today would be mutual.

I’m extremely grateful for the Duke of York, who has been very helpful from the very initial beginnings. We have had many conversations. I’m extremely blessed to have a friend who is so aware of not only the problems here in England, but also all over the world through their travels and through their engagements in many affairs and areas. I have been able to learn a lot and therefore, we are yet again more confident than ever before.

We will be able to deliver to the people. We can consolidate democracy in the Maldives. What we are asking for is not aid, but what we are asking for is trade as equal partners.

And as pointed out, there are many British investments in the Maldives. I believe if you count them, the total amount would not be small. It might be as high as 5billion pounds of British investments in the Maldives. We also have 200,000 British nationals travelling to the Maldives every year. We have established companies like the UK’s Cable & Wireless who has been there for a very long time. We also have many tourism concerns who have been in the Maldives and who are making very good return. We had a very fruitful time with Cable & Wireless yesterday at lunch. They also do want to expand their investments in the Maldives.

So again, thank you very much. I hope that we can make this gathering as fruitful as it can be. I also do hope that from here, what would lead this as an example of what can be done in a hundred percent Muslim country in terms of democratic governance - good governance - and in terms of corporate activity.

Thank you very much again. Just before I leave, I would like to thank on behalf of the people of the Maldives and myself to Her Majesty the Queen, the Duke of York who has been assisting us all around.

Thank you very much