Gili Lankanfushi Resort fined for sandbank destruction

Trench dug in sandbank between Gili Lankanfushi Resort and K. Himmafushi by the luxury resort staffs to deliberately destroy the sandbank allegedly because locals from Himmafushi island were utilizing it for recreation and leisure | Photo: EPA

Malé, Maldives – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fined Gili Lankanfushi Resort for attempting to destroy the sandbank between the resort and K. Himmafushi.

According to the statement released by HPA, they had fined the operator of Gili Lankanfushi Resort, Promus Private Limited by MVR 562,980 after their staffs, including their General Manager at the time, David Stepetic was caught red handed while damaging the sandbank on January 21, 2021.

HPA had revealed that they had informed Promus Private Limited on May 27, 2021 to pay the fine within 30 days after their investigation with Maldives Police Service had confirmed that the luxury resort staffs had attempted to destroy the sandbank.

The videos which had circulated on social media showed locals of approaching and questioning staff of the Gili Lankanfushi resort after having come across them near the damaged sandbank. 

Some voiced concerns that the staff of the Gili Lankanfushi had deliberately destroyed the sandbank allegedly because locals from Himmafushi island were utilizing it for recreation and leisure, and because it was no longer viable as an exclusive location for guests staying at the Gili Lankanfushi Resort.

Speaking to RaajjeMV about the issue, Director General of EPA Mohamed Naeem had also told that deliberately destroying a sandbank was not an acceptable act at all, stressing that the EPA would not back down in taking action against perpetrators once investigation was complete.

The Environment Ministry in a tweet had also addressed the viral videos showing the destruction of a sand bank. The video shows some people digging a trench separating a sand bank in two. In their tweet, the Ministry of Environment informs that EPA Maldives is investigating and issue and that action will be taken against the responsible parties under the Environment 

The matter had led to immense public scrutiny and calls for action against Gili Lankanfushi management, questioning the current administration’s stance on environmental protection.