Tuesday 28 April 2015
“Do the right thing”: Virgin founder Richard Branson to President Waheed thumbnail

“Do the right thing”: Virgin founder Richard Branson to President Waheed


Head of the Virgin empire, multi-billionaire Sir Richard Branson, has called on President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan to “do the right thing” and hold free and fair elections before the end of the year.

In an open letter to Dr Waheed, addressed to the “interim” President, Branson recollected his recent meeting with the former Vice President, who he said had told him about about the need for a truth and reconcilliation commission “to examine past misdeeds and the people who perpetuated them”.

It was, Branson wrote to Dr Waheed, “completely astounding that you have been part of an overthrow of a democratically elected government that has effectively let the old regime back into power.”

“Knowing you, I would assume that you were given no choice and that it was through threats that you have ended up in this position,” Branson said. “I do very much hope that was the case rather than you doing it of your own free will.”

Branson attended the Slow Life Symposium at the upmarket Soneva Fushi resort in October 2011.

The three day event brought together big names in business, climate science, film and renewable energy to come up with ways to address climate change.

Other attendees included actress Daryl Hannah, star of films including ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Kill Bill’ and ‘Splash’; Ed Norton, star of films including ‘Fight Club’ and ‘American History X’; Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project; then President Mohamed Nasheed; and an array of climate experts and scientists including Mark Lynas and Mike Mason.

Branson’s letter follows the Commonwealth’s temporary suspension of the Maldives from its democracy and human rights arm – the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) – and its call for  President Waheed and former President Nasheed “to commence an immediate dialogue, without preconditions, to agree on a date for early elections, which should take place within this calendar year.”

Sir Richard Branson’s open letter to Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, “interim President of the Maldives”:

Dear Mr Waheed

It was a real pleasure meeting you and your delightful wife when I was last in the Maldives. At that time there was a democratically elected government in the Maldives, after many years where that certainly wasn’t the case and where opposition members languished in prison and were even subjected to torture.

You personally said to me that the Maldives needed a truth and reconciliation commission to examine the past misdeeds and the people who perpetuated them, and asked if I would speak with The Elders to see whether they would set one up.

Therefore, forgive me for finding it completely astounding that you have been part of an overthrow of a democratically elected government that has effectively let the old regime back into power. From knowing you, I would assume that you were given no choice and that it was through threats that you have ended up in this position.

Anyway, I do very much hope that was the case rather than you doing it of your own free will. With the world moving towards democracies, how dreadful it is to see the beautiful Maldives moving in the opposite direction.

As interim President, you are in a position to do the right thing. We beg you to make sure that there are fair and free elections held this year, as the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group have called for. I look forward to renewing our friendship after those elections.

Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group

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    1. (Sheikh Ilyas Hussein on Wed, 29th Feb 2012 6:02 PM) The person who commented on this Artical is The Extremist is Maldives.

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    2. Who the hell is Branson to bother other people's business. Its none of your business you Infidel. We are Muslims we seek help from God not from Billioners the billioners also have money which belongs to God. When you die you leave everything and go.So leave us alone.Don't write anything regarding this in future.

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    3. dear Mr.Branson your such a great person who won all obstacles in your life.i highly appreciate that but in this case i think better to be silent it will keep your dignity .

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    4. It is really sad to see all these comments people has written using religion. Being a Muslim, i have learned from our prophet (SAW) that no matter what religion a person is in or what their belief is, we should respect them as a human being. Here in Maldives all i see now is Fanatics & extremist using religion for their personal & political gain... In my opinion these people are so repressed they don't know what is right & wrong anymore... Totally ashamed to call myself a Maldivian...

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    5. There will be no peace in the Maldives until Waheed -the Conspirator/Greedy man is chucked -out and put in jail for good.Or , get ready to HANG Waheed for Treachery.!!!!

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    6. Richard Branson dhaan veenu mahah dhoa business here is realy good number one business in the maldives reef fishing....and yeah talk about something else ur business man not a person to tell what we have to decide about our country :P

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    7. now, now lets see this is maldives not ur home country let us decide what we want here now what u think or like :P

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    8. I hear he (Virgin Branson) is one the people who got the share of the Resort Islands (3 not even one). Everyone have their own interest. There is no one who wholeheartedly support the people.
      I feel sad when the gullible people facilitate the power hungry to get all what they need.

      Wake up Maldivians

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    9. guys..I dont think that Branson would do us any harm...hehe...he had met with waheed, interchanged dialogues in which he withdrew conclusions,,so they both would be knowing each other to a certain extent..so pls avoid all those advocacy provided to Mr.Branson,,,,minivan news really does a great job!!

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    10. Mr Branson,
      You speak of democracy as if it's your god-given right to meddle in other's affairs. If so, no problem, had your words matched your actions, consistently. Where was your voice when Mr Nasheed as President abused all his powers of office and destroyed the very democratic foundations of this tiny little country? Where was your shout for democracy when Nasheed locked up judges, opposition leaders etc? Where were you when Nasheed locked up the supreme court and used his thugs to intimidate judges and opposition politicians? Where was your cry for western freedoms and democratic ideals then? In space? How do you justify this blatant hypocrisy? You are filthy rich and you are white, but that does not excuse you from double-standards! Or are you like the rest of little white men who benefit from Mr Nasheed's government? There were reports few months back that Nasheed's government agreed to give you not 1 but 3 islands of your choice, for you to have your little Necker Island in Maldives... shame really!!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    11. Believe or not, Islamic extrimists playing huge roll to end democracy in Maldives. They were paid by Qasim.

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    12. Richard Branson dont know whats happening in Maldivian politics. Anni never won the majority in the presidential election, and never had the bi election he promised. He is part of a coalition but ended up buying ppl for MDP. He never worked in a professional field his whole life, he was living off his father in law.. He is like a cult leader. We dont need to hear it from Richard Branson who Anni is. In his 3 years he managed to buy ppl, bribe people, appoint lots of political post, was favoring British white trash ppl and giving high jobs to them, supporting christian missionaries, economy was a bad stage, cut civil service salaries, threathened and arrested ppl for no reason, had a bad team of supporters with foul language, our morality was lost, had a lot of his family members in high positions, he lies alot, he is completely fake, he made the police work long hours under bad condition during the Saarch summit, owes alot of money to Addu city citizen, Rico Moosa managed to steal alot of money... etc..etc... God has protected us from these street rats...we dont need them

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    13. From the comments in this string is so disgusting. The so called religious scholars have spread so much untruth of our great religion Islam. There preaching have done nothing but deviding the nation and inciting hatred among we Maldivians, As for Dr. Waheed he has become a prisoner in the hands of likes of Gasim and Yaamin due to his own greed and ambitions. I feel sorry for the whole nation. The world has a right to involve itself in putting this wrong done by few businessmen with the help of a retired Colonal. Maldivians are not willing to give up the rights won by Mr. Nasheed who during his 3 years of rule never imprisoned any opposition rival. The curse in this country presently are the hate mongering fanatic preaching sheiks and the uneducated totally biased slaves in the hands of the opposition millioniors who we unfortunately call Judiciery and seperated as an independent institution without having proper guardians to oversee teir unfair biased actions. We shall have to live with this curse for a long time unfortunately.

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    14. A Heavy Dark Cloud Has Dropped on the Island Nation Of Maldives. There is Doom to Come. Corruption, Fraud, Crime is predicted. A Military Rule is on The Way to Control People. The Rich will Become ultra Rich. The Corrupt Will Thrive. February 7Th 2012 Was A Sad Day for The Nation Of Maldives And Its People. A Democratically Elected Leader Was ousted. Excuses Were Given Which Contained No Foundation Of Truth. Religion Was Used To Manipulate people's Minds. Hatred Was Invented. Suspision Has Started to Thrive. Maldivian People Lost The brotherhood-ness, The Love toward Each-other, Siting Religion/ Hatred.Its Clearly Shown In these Comments. Simple Truth, Justice And Understanding Is Ignored. Some Following Blindly: The path of trecherousness. Are These All ;To Get those Rich people Richer and More boisterous? Who is Kicking democracy out ? And To What Gain; I mean For Who's Benefit? Certainly Not For the benefit of ordinary people; they aregoing to suffer. In the maldives; As the Whole World Is Watching; Mr. Demo Cracy Has Died. Husband of freedom ,Father of truth And Justice. Grand father of anti-corruption, Hope and Future.

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    15. A lot of Maldivians don't really understand that when the world is going to reconsider teh Maldives as a paradise holdiay destination, our children will be, just like in many surrounding countries, be begging on the street, before we realise what has happened. Ok, who is Richard? Well, he is the kind of man who comes to cut off the electricity when you can't afford teh bills. And believ me, this man has a lot of electricity in this country!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    16. Thank you Sir Richard, for standing up for democracy and human rights in the Maldives. It will surely be something future generations of Maldivian will always be grateful, not to say that present generations do not... we do. Its just our community is so fragile and vulnerable; just like the islands on which we live.. we hope to be more mature and civilized in the future with the support of people like you.. and with the support of over a million tourists who already visit Maldives every year... we understand they will not come even if we harm the crabs running on our beaches.. by we, I mean most of us, especially the young and the more rational Maldivians.. its just that Old dictator and his family won't let the kids play...

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    17. Hmmm the snakes are slowly coming out of the borrows they earlier thought was safe, but have now come to realize is on a adrift piece of wood. Sorry mr. Branson you betted on the wrong horse this time

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    18. @mohamed: Very god comment.
      I can't believe these rich people think Nasheed is a saint while he is actually a devil with seven ugly faces.

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    19. Obviously, Dr Waheed is in the wrong chair and he got at it the wrong way. He was elected as the vice (president) and was expected to carry out his duties according to the Constitution. The Constitution does not allow overthrowing a legitimate government. Instead, it is the highest crime against the state. Now that he has committed the crime so he shall face the charges. Sooner or later, he and his accomplices will be brought to justice. He may wish to delay the election hoping to delay action against him only as long as the next presidential election.

      He is not a popular politician in the Maldives. He was looking for windfall gains and during the opposition protests sponsored by opposition politicians and businessmen he found the chance he was looking for and conspired with them to become the president if the need arises. He has said this publicly but the Nasheed's government did not realise that he and the opposition politicians could be so dirty as to stage a coup against the first democratically elected government of the country. But they have done it.

      They have robbed the people of their government that they elected in 2008. Robbing is wrong and robbing under arms is even worse. Dr Waheed and his accomplices did so in broad daylight with the help of the police worn out by just 21 days of political protests and the military that could not overpower a small number of policemen. These policemen and the army unit later joined in the coup that toppled the elected president and the vice (president) quickly moved in as president.

      The new government of Dr Waheed assumed office under the pretext that the president Nasheed has resigned. Under the circumstances, neither the speaker of the People’s Majlis (Parliament) nor the chief justice (of the Supreme Court) thought it was necessary under the Constitution to establish if the president’s resignation was valid. The Constitution requires the resignation to be voluntary in that it stipulates, “If the president ‘wants’ to resign…”, not “If the president ‘had’ to resign…” (Clause 121 (a). This is what is meant by interpretation of the Constitution or Law.

      The speaker not only ignored the establishment of the constitutionality of Nasheed’s resignation, but he said that it was not necessary. But then what is the meaning of interpretation of Constitution when it says in Clause 145 (c) that the interpretation of the Constitution by the Supreme Court and High Court is final?

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    20. Sheikh Imran, we don't see you doing even what the Islam (and Moslems) say if not what the infidels do. The right thing to be right and justice to be just have nothing to do with the religion.

      Basically, no religion asks its followers to do anything wrong and all religions are based on the general principles of good deeds. For good deeds the reward is heaven and for bad the hell. So, if the infidels tell us to do right what we do wrong we must do so if we follow our religion.

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    21. THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING; PRESIDENT NASHEED WILL COME BACK IN POWER WITH AN ABSOLUTE MAJORITY! THE CONSPIRATORS ARE AFRAID OF DEVELOPMENT; THEY ARE AFRAID OF PEOPLE-POWER; HEY, THEY ARE AFRAID OF D.E.M.O'CRACY, MAN! WHAT A SHAME!WAHEED IS A DOG -ON - A -LEASH !

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    1. THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING; PRESIDENT NASHEED WILL COME BACK IN POWER WITH AN ABSOLUTE MAJORITY! THE CONSPIRATORS ARE AFRAID OF DEVELOPMENT; THEY ARE AFRAID OF PEOPLE-POWER; HEY, THEY ARE AFRAID OF D.E.M.O'CRACY, MAN! WHAT A SHAME!WAHEED IS A DOG -ON - A -LEASH !

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    2. Sheikh Imran, we don't see you doing even what the Islam (and Moslems) say if not what the infidels do. The right thing to be right and justice to be just have nothing to do with the religion.

      Basically, no religion asks its followers to do anything wrong and all religions are based on the general principles of good deeds. For good deeds the reward is heaven and for bad the hell. So, if the infidels tell us to do right what we do wrong we must do so if we follow our religion.

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    3. Obviously, Dr Waheed is in the wrong chair and he got at it the wrong way. He was elected as the vice (president) and was expected to carry out his duties according to the Constitution. The Constitution does not allow overthrowing a legitimate government. Instead, it is the highest crime against the state. Now that he has committed the crime so he shall face the charges. Sooner or later, he and his accomplices will be brought to justice. He may wish to delay the election hoping to delay action against him only as long as the next presidential election.

      He is not a popular politician in the Maldives. He was looking for windfall gains and during the opposition protests sponsored by opposition politicians and businessmen he found the chance he was looking for and conspired with them to become the president if the need arises. He has said this publicly but the Nasheed's government did not realise that he and the opposition politicians could be so dirty as to stage a coup against the first democratically elected government of the country. But they have done it.

      They have robbed the people of their government that they elected in 2008. Robbing is wrong and robbing under arms is even worse. Dr Waheed and his accomplices did so in broad daylight with the help of the police worn out by just 21 days of political protests and the military that could not overpower a small number of policemen. These policemen and the army unit later joined in the coup that toppled the elected president and the vice (president) quickly moved in as president.

      The new government of Dr Waheed assumed office under the pretext that the president Nasheed has resigned. Under the circumstances, neither the speaker of the People’s Majlis (Parliament) nor the chief justice (of the Supreme Court) thought it was necessary under the Constitution to establish if the president’s resignation was valid. The Constitution requires the resignation to be voluntary in that it stipulates, “If the president ‘wants’ to resign…”, not “If the president ‘had’ to resign…” (Clause 121 (a). This is what is meant by interpretation of the Constitution or Law.

      The speaker not only ignored the establishment of the constitutionality of Nasheed’s resignation, but he said that it was not necessary. But then what is the meaning of interpretation of Constitution when it says in Clause 145 (c) that the interpretation of the Constitution by the Supreme Court and High Court is final?

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    4. @mohamed: Very god comment.
      I can't believe these rich people think Nasheed is a saint while he is actually a devil with seven ugly faces.

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    5. Hmmm the snakes are slowly coming out of the borrows they earlier thought was safe, but have now come to realize is on a adrift piece of wood. Sorry mr. Branson you betted on the wrong horse this time

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    6. Thank you Sir Richard, for standing up for democracy and human rights in the Maldives. It will surely be something future generations of Maldivian will always be grateful, not to say that present generations do not... we do. Its just our community is so fragile and vulnerable; just like the islands on which we live.. we hope to be more mature and civilized in the future with the support of people like you.. and with the support of over a million tourists who already visit Maldives every year... we understand they will not come even if we harm the crabs running on our beaches.. by we, I mean most of us, especially the young and the more rational Maldivians.. its just that Old dictator and his family won't let the kids play...

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    7. A lot of Maldivians don't really understand that when the world is going to reconsider teh Maldives as a paradise holdiay destination, our children will be, just like in many surrounding countries, be begging on the street, before we realise what has happened. Ok, who is Richard? Well, he is the kind of man who comes to cut off the electricity when you can't afford teh bills. And believ me, this man has a lot of electricity in this country!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    8. A Heavy Dark Cloud Has Dropped on the Island Nation Of Maldives. There is Doom to Come. Corruption, Fraud, Crime is predicted. A Military Rule is on The Way to Control People. The Rich will Become ultra Rich. The Corrupt Will Thrive. February 7Th 2012 Was A Sad Day for The Nation Of Maldives And Its People. A Democratically Elected Leader Was ousted. Excuses Were Given Which Contained No Foundation Of Truth. Religion Was Used To Manipulate people's Minds. Hatred Was Invented. Suspision Has Started to Thrive. Maldivian People Lost The brotherhood-ness, The Love toward Each-other, Siting Religion/ Hatred.Its Clearly Shown In these Comments. Simple Truth, Justice And Understanding Is Ignored. Some Following Blindly: The path of trecherousness. Are These All ;To Get those Rich people Richer and More boisterous? Who is Kicking democracy out ? And To What Gain; I mean For Who's Benefit? Certainly Not For the benefit of ordinary people; they aregoing to suffer. In the maldives; As the Whole World Is Watching; Mr. Demo Cracy Has Died. Husband of freedom ,Father of truth And Justice. Grand father of anti-corruption, Hope and Future.

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    9. From the comments in this string is so disgusting. The so called religious scholars have spread so much untruth of our great religion Islam. There preaching have done nothing but deviding the nation and inciting hatred among we Maldivians, As for Dr. Waheed he has become a prisoner in the hands of likes of Gasim and Yaamin due to his own greed and ambitions. I feel sorry for the whole nation. The world has a right to involve itself in putting this wrong done by few businessmen with the help of a retired Colonal. Maldivians are not willing to give up the rights won by Mr. Nasheed who during his 3 years of rule never imprisoned any opposition rival. The curse in this country presently are the hate mongering fanatic preaching sheiks and the uneducated totally biased slaves in the hands of the opposition millioniors who we unfortunately call Judiciery and seperated as an independent institution without having proper guardians to oversee teir unfair biased actions. We shall have to live with this curse for a long time unfortunately.

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    10. Richard Branson dont know whats happening in Maldivian politics. Anni never won the majority in the presidential election, and never had the bi election he promised. He is part of a coalition but ended up buying ppl for MDP. He never worked in a professional field his whole life, he was living off his father in law.. He is like a cult leader. We dont need to hear it from Richard Branson who Anni is. In his 3 years he managed to buy ppl, bribe people, appoint lots of political post, was favoring British white trash ppl and giving high jobs to them, supporting christian missionaries, economy was a bad stage, cut civil service salaries, threathened and arrested ppl for no reason, had a bad team of supporters with foul language, our morality was lost, had a lot of his family members in high positions, he lies alot, he is completely fake, he made the police work long hours under bad condition during the Saarch summit, owes alot of money to Addu city citizen, Rico Moosa managed to steal alot of money... etc..etc... God has protected us from these street rats...we dont need them

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    11. Believe or not, Islamic extrimists playing huge roll to end democracy in Maldives. They were paid by Qasim.

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    12. Mr Branson,
      You speak of democracy as if it's your god-given right to meddle in other's affairs. If so, no problem, had your words matched your actions, consistently. Where was your voice when Mr Nasheed as President abused all his powers of office and destroyed the very democratic foundations of this tiny little country? Where was your shout for democracy when Nasheed locked up judges, opposition leaders etc? Where were you when Nasheed locked up the supreme court and used his thugs to intimidate judges and opposition politicians? Where was your cry for western freedoms and democratic ideals then? In space? How do you justify this blatant hypocrisy? You are filthy rich and you are white, but that does not excuse you from double-standards! Or are you like the rest of little white men who benefit from Mr Nasheed's government? There were reports few months back that Nasheed's government agreed to give you not 1 but 3 islands of your choice, for you to have your little Necker Island in Maldives... shame really!!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    13. guys..I dont think that Branson would do us any harm...hehe...he had met with waheed, interchanged dialogues in which he withdrew conclusions,,so they both would be knowing each other to a certain extent..so pls avoid all those advocacy provided to Mr.Branson,,,,minivan news really does a great job!!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    14. I hear he (Virgin Branson) is one the people who got the share of the Resort Islands (3 not even one). Everyone have their own interest. There is no one who wholeheartedly support the people.
      I feel sad when the gullible people facilitate the power hungry to get all what they need.

      Wake up Maldivians

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    15. now, now lets see this is maldives not ur home country let us decide what we want here now what u think or like :P

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    16. Richard Branson dhaan veenu mahah dhoa business here is realy good number one business in the maldives reef fishing....and yeah talk about something else ur business man not a person to tell what we have to decide about our country :P

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    17. There will be no peace in the Maldives until Waheed -the Conspirator/Greedy man is chucked -out and put in jail for good.Or , get ready to HANG Waheed for Treachery.!!!!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    18. It is really sad to see all these comments people has written using religion. Being a Muslim, i have learned from our prophet (SAW) that no matter what religion a person is in or what their belief is, we should respect them as a human being. Here in Maldives all i see now is Fanatics & extremist using religion for their personal & political gain... In my opinion these people are so repressed they don't know what is right & wrong anymore... Totally ashamed to call myself a Maldivian...

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    19. dear Mr.Branson your such a great person who won all obstacles in your life.i highly appreciate that but in this case i think better to be silent it will keep your dignity .

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    20. Who the hell is Branson to bother other people's business. Its none of your business you Infidel. We are Muslims we seek help from God not from Billioners the billioners also have money which belongs to God. When you die you leave everything and go.So leave us alone.Don't write anything regarding this in future.

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    21. (Sheikh Ilyas Hussein on Wed, 29th Feb 2012 6:02 PM) The person who commented on this Artical is The Extremist is Maldives.

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