Sunday, September 18, 2005

Saag paneer and the Budget Deficit: Maldivians go to the Maharajah with urgent request for help

They have a great dinner bargain but you are advised to stay away from the saag paneer. The "Sampler" for 12.95 +tax includes an appetizer, one meat dish, one vegetarian dish, nan, rice, papadum, AND even a small dessert. Waiters could be better though. But they take the corp amex. Thats what they say about the Maharaja restaurant in New York where tonight President Gayoom of the Maldives is hosting a dinner for Maldivians.
This is a kind of ritual with Gayoom. Where ever he goes he invites all maldivians living in that country so that he and his team can check them out. This time the word is that only Gayoom and his coterie are dining at the Maharaja.
Insiders say that Gayoom and his team believe that invitations would be refused by almost all Maldivians living in the Land of the free and the Home of the Brave and they do not want the humiliation of rejection. Meanwhile here in Male' people are shuddering in disgust and anger watching Gayoom like a Maharaja with his son Ghassan and daughter-in-law in the UN General Assembly meeting.
The Statesman, a respected indian newspaper is reporting that last week, two surprise guests from a neighbour in the Indian Ocean landed in Delhi with barely a days notice.They were Maldives foreign minister, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, and finance minister, Mr Qasim Ibrahim, with an urgent request - to ask for money to fix the Maldives’ budget deficit. Before they left on 8 September, India had agreed, in principle, to give Maldives a grant of about $2 million in aid.
Maybe the Indians who are now Gayoom handler's figured that $ 2 million was enough for now and refused to pick up the tab for a bigger dinner at the Maharaja Restaurant in New York.


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