Parliament to investigate Bodufinolhu expat unrest

Parliament has decided to investigate the case of expatriates holding locals hostage, protesting and vandalising the properties in B. Bodufinolhu resort that is under development.

The expatriates held 12 locals hostage, all of whom were rescued unscathed. Reports state they were enraged over not having being paid their wages for more than seven months. The sponsor of the expatriates states the company was unable to pay salaries due to the cash flow issues amid COVID-19 pandemic.

The police who initially went to rescue the locals were threatened and confronted. They were prevented from disembarking the island by the enraged expatriates. Two of the police officers had to get treatment from the hospital due to the injuries caused by the migrant workers when they threw stones and sharpened metal rods at the police. After that, a police team from the capital Male’ had travelled to the island and rescued the locals. However, there was no confrontation during the rescue operation.

MP Ahmed Usham representing Villimale’ said the issue is on the agenda of the next meeting of the Committee on National Security and Foreign Relations, and is an urgent matter. Dozens of people have been expressing their concern over the issue, including political parties, leaders of the parties, and MPs.

MP Ahmed Nazim representing Dhangethi constituency said it is high time the Labour Relations Authority become active and role model before there is a disruption to the peace of the community due to issues with expatriate work conditions getting out of hand.

“Labour Relations Authority is entrusted with a huge mandate as per the Employment Act”, he said.

The police said there was no unrest after the Investigation Team and Public Order and Response Team disembarked in the island in the early hours of Friday. They had communicated to the expatriates with the assistance of interpreters from Bangladesh High Commission, and 19 suspects involved in the disruption has been arrested.