President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Sunday delivered a televised national address on the occasion of the Maldives’ 55th Independence Day.
The Maldives gained freedom from the British in 1965, after 77 years as a British protectorate. The country marks the occasion on July 26 every year.
Addressing the nation, the President urged all involved in the political field to prioritise the national interest above all else. He reminded that although the country’s citizens may hold different views, there are certain fundamental principles upon which all must agree; and that politicising every trivial thing to create divisions and strife within our community is a vice.
The President noted that the constitution inaugurated a multi-party democracy in the Maldives, in which individuals holding diverse views are welcomed to express their opinions and contribute to nation-building. He stated that his Administration will always value the input of those who disagree with it politically and welcomed their assistance in the pursuit of broad national interests.
President Solih noted that the Maldives won its independence through peaceful means and foresight. Therefore, he emphasised that the Maldives’ national policy priorities and political direction must ensure that our continued independence is maintained through peaceful means. He mentioned that an important part of this entails open engagement with the international community: concerted global effort will be required to resolve pressing international issues, including recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing climate change.
Reflecting on how far the Maldives has come through its reliance on two industries it developed through its own efforts – tourism, and pole-and-line fishing – the President remarked that now is an opportune time to begin diversifying the country’s economy. The participation of women and youth in this endeavour, he noted, will be crucial. He also spoke on the importance of speedily expanding Maldives’ human resource capacity, so that we can overcome the economic challenges COVID-19 has forced us to endure.
Speaking further, the President noted that Islam is the main source of the Maldives’ national pride. He stressed that the pillars upon which the nation built its identity – the country’s mother tongue, heritage, and way of life – have all been established through Islamic influences. He further highlighted the importance of always preserving Islam and the other essential pillars that comprise our national identity.
The President stated that after 55 years of independence, the direction of the country’s development compass should be clear to all. He reminded every Maldivian citizen that they have a collective and individual responsibility to do their utmost to help this country develop and prosper. He also noted that an important aspect of this is to shape one’s life to always embrace change and progress.
Concluding his remarks, the President spoke a word of tribute and offered prayers to one of his predecessors, the late President Ibrahim Nasir, who is responsible for the Maldives’ independence. President Solih prayed to Allah (SWT) to grant mercy to President Nasir’s soul and to give to him the eternal blessings of paradise. He offered similar prayers to all those who have fought and struggled for the cause of the Maldives’ independence. Further, he offered a final prayer to Almighty Allah to protect and help the country to recover from COVID-19.