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Island Expert to halt construction on police flats

Mariyam Malsa
14 August 2020, MVT 18:29
foreign workers protest / island expert / police flats Island Expert recruited the expatriate workers for the construction of flats for in Hulhumale'. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI / MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
14 August 2020, MVT 18:29

Island Expert Pvt Ltd, on Thursday, revealed its decision to annul agreements concerning flat construction for Maldives Police Service staff in the reclaimed suburb of Hulhumale'.

Speaking to local media outlet Mihaaru, the company's Managing Director Anon Songpanya stated that the decision was finalised in response to economic impacts resulting from restrictive measures of the COVID-19 pandemic. He elaborated that Island Expert had been forced to lay off several workers due to the unfavourable conditions.

Songpanya stated that discussions were held with Maldives Police Service Company (POLCO) concerning the annulment of the agreement.

A large portion of the police flat construction project was completed at the time Island Expert decided to annul the agreement.

However, Island Expert continues efforts to construct flats as per agreements signed with Maldives National Defence Force Company (SIFCO).

Construction work for the flats allocated for MPS and MNDF staff commenced in 2012, during former President Mohamed Waheed's administration, but the project is yet to conclude.

Expatriate workers employed by the Thai company staged protests in early and mid-July in the reclaimed suburb of Hulhumale' over unpaid salaries, with demands for repatriation.

The police detained 41 expatriate workers during the protest held on July 13 after it took a violent turn, resulting in injuries to officers and damage to police vehicles and public property. Out of the 41 arrested, Maldives Immigration confirmed last week that 38 expats were deported after they received their full salaries.

The protests by the company's staff were among a number of expat-led demonstrations that took place this year, amidst renewed concerns from rights groups as well as the general public, over the continued exploitation of expatriate workers in Maldives.

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