Andrew Harrison writes on the meeting with GoM, Maldives
I categorically refute the version of events being portrayed to the media in relation to the meeting this morning with GoM officials and outline the true meeting content as follows:
- I received a telephone call from a Colonel of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) at 1103 to advise me that the Acting Transport Minister who is also the Defence Minister is meeting with MACL at the airport and would like to call upon me personally. The meeting took place at 1145 in our Boardroom at Male' airport. The meeting was attended by the Acting Transport Minister, the Chairman of Maldives Civil Aviation Authority, our Lawyer in Maldives and 3 members of MNDF.
- The meeting was cordial and the Acting Transport Minister outlined the following:
- MACL would be operating the airport from Saturday morning in line with the Government of Maldives communication to GMR-MAHB.
- The Minister would like a smooth transition as the airport operations should not be affected and suffer in any way. Passengers should not be inconvenienced and therefore all activities including Duty Free would be allowed to continue as is.
- According to their legal advisors he injunction issued by Singapore High Court does not prevent them from taking over the airport and the injunction cannot be applied to a sovereign state.
- They propose offering 100% employment in MACL to all staff currently working for GMIAL and an announcement to that effect would be made tomorrow by the MACL Board. The offer includes both local and foreign staff at their existing terms and conditions including salary.
Our position, which I communicated to them, remains crystal clear. The Singapore High Court has issued an injunction which clearly prevents MACL or the Government of Maldives or any of its agents from taking any action that interferes with GMIAL operating the airport. The injunction clearly prevents them from taking the action outlined in their notice issued to us stating that the airport would be taken over at the end of the 7 day period. We remain resolute in our position and there is no question of an offer being made and certainly no question of any alleged offer being accepted as we will simply not agree to our rights nor the injunction being undermined in any way.
Our Lawyer further clarified that the injunction was to be honoured as their representatives and Attorney General were party to those proceedings and were present during the proceedings in the Singapore High Court. Further to this we have issued a communication to their lawyers to confirm that their client (MACL/GoM) will not ignore the injunction and outlining the consequences as well as the disturbing media reports that they will ignore the injunction and take over the airport as planned.
The Acting Transport Minister explained that he was not a legal person and he would therefore arrange for his legal team to meet our Lawyer tomorrow to go discuss the legal matters and in the meantime he stated that we should maintain dialogue. We will always maintain dialogue but our legal position is very clear and we will not compromise on our legal position which is clearly supported by the injunction.
Any version of the meeting being described any differently to my response is categorically untrue and we maintain that we have been granted the right to continue operating the airport in line with the injunction. There is and has never been any change in our position.
Chief Executive Officer
GMR Male' International Airport Pvt. Ltd.