Tourism Minister lands himself in hot water for service charge comments

Tourism Minister Ali Waheed opens the Maldives Tourism Conference 2019 held at Crossroads Maldives on October 3, 2019. (Photo/Tourism Ministry)

Tourism Minister Ali Waheed has found himself on the receiving end of heavy criticism for comments made regarding the service charges earned by resort employees.

The Minister’s comments stating that the service charges earned by employees were adequate and proper, poked the proverbial bear in the employees of the resort industry, whon were quick to comment against the Minister.

The Minister stated yesterday that the policies of how service charges are given in most resorts were visible and that the service charges are given appropriately by local and foreign companies during a news conference held in the Ministry yesterday.

“Our inspection showed us that parity levels in most resorts in the country are maintained. We have the values on which service charges are provided by employers, the government does not intend to impose rates on these key businesses, when compared with foreign companies that have invested in the country, local companies are maintaining (the service charge levels) at a proper level.” said the Minister.

The Minister’s comment sparked a backlash from those working in the resort industry who questioned the rates of service charges on which the Minister’s comments were based on. One user on Twitter commented that the Ministry was intent on protecting the interests of businessmen and complained that resort employees are often mistreated.

Other users reminded the government that it came to power on promises of protecting the rights of resort employees, and bashed the government for the absence of work on these promises. They also barraged the Minister for standing by the businessmen who restricted the rights of these employees.

Taking to Twitter to address the backlash, Minister alI Waheed claimed that his words were taken out of context by some news agencies. He also claimed that when an employee is dismissed, the version of the events by the employee is the only version that is often publicized. The Minister also claimed that most of the criticial tweets originated from fake accounts.

Minister Ali Waheed stated that the government would work to maintain the rights of all stakeholders in the industry and noted that the work on minimum wage was also going according to the pledges of the government.