High Commissioner to the Maldives from India, members of the diplomatic community, all Indian friends and all those gathered here tonight, Good Evening;
Indian independence and Indian republic and all to do with India coming out soon after the end of the second world war and of course when everything was in bits we saw the birth of this excellent idea called India. And since then, we have all learnt so many lessons; understood so much of our lives and of our countries from what has happened in that subcontinent. Indian republic and the Indian constitution and the implementation of it and what has happened and what is happening since then and now, we still continue to get aspirations and lessons from the Indian experience.
As the High Commissioner pointed out, the Maldives is undergoing a very dynamic transition. Very often I have mentioned and said our biggest and most important project is consolidating democracy; establishment of rule of law and an independent judiciary; separation of powers; freedom of expression. These are very, many sacred and honourable ideas that we want to consolidate here in this country.
In the process of doing it you have very often seen and experienced a number of unusual and sometimes vey challenging situations coming out from the present Maldives. Let me assure you, it is not foreign governments that are concerned about it. We are concerned about it. And I must confess that you are going to see more of it. If we are to consolidate democracy, and if we are to be true to our future generations, what we have to do has to be done.
In the process of doing this, we have heard and we will continue to hear a number of criticisms. Would the ends justify the means? Can there always be a process and not any substance. How do we establish and how do we find rule of law? How do we consolidate and how do we implement an independent judiciary. There are a number of issues that come out in our attempts to consolidate democracy in the Maldives.
In 2008, we came up with a free and fair election and therefore a new presidency. In 2009, we came up with a free and fair parliamentary elections and therefore with a parliament. According to the new Constitution, we should have come up with a Judiciary by 2010 and latest by August 7, 2010. The new judiciary was supposed to contain a Supreme Court, a High Court and a number of lower Courts. We have been able to establish a Supreme Court according to the Constitution; we have been able to establish a High Court according to the Constitution. But I am not certain if we have been able to establish the lower courts. There are still very many issues of how the lower courts came into being, how they were formulated, how judges were sworn-in, how the law came into being, the role of the Judicial Services Commission, and the role of a number of other independent institutions.
I need not, I am sure, go into details of our perception or my perception of what is happening. What I am sure is that the people of this country aspire for a free and fair judiciary and they want the judiciary to look like them. They wanted the presidency to look like them, they wanted the parliament to look like them and therefore the judiciary has to look like them. They have to look like the Maldives and that is what has been asked of me and I am going to do that.
I’m sure our friends and our neighbors, everyone in everywhere will understand what we are going through. They will, when they understand the intricacies and the details of what is happening and what might happen – that there are no easy, short routes. We do not have the luxury of functions and processes of established systems and democracies. And therefore very often we have to invent out of the box. But we will go on, we will come out of this. I’m sure we have the necessary tolerance, the respect and the need for us to engage and come out as an established democracy.
Tonight, I would again like to thank the Indian people, its government and its institutions for the very necessary and good assistance they continue to give to the Maldives in our work and in our strive to become a democratic and a free society.
Again I know what I’m saying has turned out to be very, very serious, but we have a very, very light night. The High Commissioner has been threatening to foist the tabla upon me for a very, very long time. I, on the other hand have been trying to scrounge tabla lessons from the High Commissioner for a very, very long time. And I hope the tabla we are going to hear tonight, will again give us more music and therefore will broaden our minds and give us peace to understand what is happening around us.
Thank You Very Much and Thank You Everyone.