No island in the Maldives can be developed unless such projects are undertaken in Addu Atoll, declared Addu City's Mayor Abdulla Sodiq.
Speaking to the media earlier this week, Sodiq described the past seven years as detrimental to the southernmost atoll of the Maldives. Noting that former President Mohamed Nasheed had brought about progress for the people of Addu during the three years of his abridged presidency, Sodiq expressed hopes for a resurgence of development projects during the new administration of President-Elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
"Addu gave the highest number of votes (to Solih in the presidential election), based on the population ratio. Hence if the [opposition] coalition do not bring about good things to our city, then we cannot believe that any other island in the Maldives would be developed," he said.
Sodiq further highlighted that while people across the archipelago migrate to capital Male City in pursuit of fundamental needs unavailable in their own islands, the congestion crisis in Male cannot be lessened without the development of Addu.
Taking the southern atoll as an example, Sodiq shared that Addu City's population alone dropped from 33,000 to 31,000 over the past two years.
The mayor went on to say that despite claims of Addu City's hospital being only second to the tertiary hospitals in Male, patients are often referred by doctors to seek treatment from the capital or abroad.
Furthermore, Sodiq proclaimed that Addu Atoll also lacked quality education and employment opportunities.
However, he expressed hopes that the people of Addu would prosper under the new government to be sworn-in on November 17.
He requested the opposition coalition to amend the Decentralisation Act and to return the powers of city and island councils.