How Stingray Beach Inn screwed Me

Stingray Beach Inn. Purpose built mid-market boutique hotel (10 rooms – SME) in Maafushi, Maldives.

Working on this project I;

  1. Developed brand identity for hotel
  2. Developed Business concept,
  3. Did all marketing works,
  4. Created and managed social media presence,
  5. Built and administered website,
  6. Listed with booking agents (Agoda.com, Expedia.com, Hotels.com and Venere.com).

I also did the following works;

  1. Developed management framework and organizational structure,
  2. Developed an administrative systems

All these works were done in the space of less than 3 months.

Estimated cost of work = Appox. MRF 100,00

During this time I did not receive any payments for the work I did.

 

MY STORY – THE DEAL

I began working on the hotel project with Ibrahim Musthafa (Ibbe) and his brother Ali Muruthala (Ayya) upon their persistent request to help them out with the project. I agreed once they offered me a pretty good deal to take on the job.

The deal was; I manage the property and for that I was offered 10% operational profits to be paid monthly for a period of 1 year. After which it was supposed to be reviewed.

I was also supposed to be provided with accommodation, food, and basic daily expenses. Happy to tell you that this part of the agreement was honored by the owners somewhat reluctantly. The total sum of which comes to MRF 4700 which was paid by both the owners on various dates after constant “gentle reminders”.

During this period myself and my wife spent thousands of our own money to travel to Maafushi, and other basic necessities required to live.

 

HOW IT ENDED

The agreed date for the opening of the hotel was June 20th 2012.

On the night of 19th June (the night before the scheduled date of opening) Ibbe approaches me very solemnly in a secluded spot on Maafushi Island. He wanted to meat alone on the holhuashi (a seating arrangement on the beach for people to gather and discuss issues and basically hang out as well).

At the meeting he informs me that his brother Ayya feels that it is no longer possible to be working with me. I was shocked and felt almost as if someone had pulled the ground from under me. I had given up other employment opportunities that came my way to work with my presumed friends whom I have known for more than 3 years by now. During this time that I was in Maafushi island, I had no other income source and all my time and effort was committed fully to this hotel project that has become very dear to me.

In shock and disbelief at what I was hearing I asked calmly, what are the reasons for this unbelievable decision. Ibbe tells me that he has no say in this, and that it was Ayya who was deciding this.

At first he was reluctant to tell me what was the reasons for this decision.

At this point I asked Ibbe if it had anything to do with;

  1. My working abilities – Reply => No
  2. The level of attention that I was paying to the work => No.
  3. The amount of attention I was paying to the task => No.
  4. My speed at doping tasks => No.
  5. My overall performance on the project => No.

So it was non of these. So it must be something else and much more relevant to the work we were doing. I must have really fucked up, I thought. Upon further insisting, Ibbe tell me that I might think the reasons Ayya mentioned might be trivial but they are not for Ayya.

And then he tell me, very reluctantly and softly – I can barely hear his voice. That I had not turned off a light one time. And another time I had left the ashtray in the office. And that this was not all the reasons, and that there were more. Which he wouldn’t say regardless of however much I insisted.

I asked to meet Ayya to discuss what Ibbe has just told me. I called Ayya on his phone and he did not answer. I left an SMS on his phone requesting to discuss certain things that have come to light recently. He did not answer that either.

The following morning. The date where we was supposed to declare the hotel ready for business, I go and meet Ayya. He tells me that he has no time right now to talk with me, and that he would talk to me that evening.

A little later, I over hear Ayya talking with his 20 year old son. They were both making fun of me and my wife. Gloating as if they were the most cleaver people in the world proud of what they have done.

Come evening, Ayya has not had “time to talk to me”. Ibbe tells me later that Ayya has told him that he is “not angry” (Why should he be angry at me? Shouldn’t I be the one who should be angry?) with me, but Ibbe should figure out a way to part ways with me. Ayya was not going to see me at all.

At this point heated exchanges or argument did take place, I must admit. After all I have not done all my work for a place to sleep, food and coffee money.

Ibbe refused to stand up for me and fight for me with Ayya. He was not being my friend. I came to realize that I had been used and abused. And they have a hotel all ready for operations that would potentially earn somewhere around 4 million MRF annually.

 

SPECIAL MENTION

All interior design works and concepts developed by HamyLathyf.

She did;

  1. Designed the hotel brand logo
  2. Hand painted 3 wall murals (8 feet by 6 feet each)
  3. Made all the bed linens in the hotel – 44 single bed sheets, 44 pillow cases, 22 cushion covers, 10 bed bands (double bed) and 22 single bed bands
  4. Picked the fabrics used for the linens in the rooms.
  5. Picked color scheme for all colors used in the interior of the hotel. (Note: Exterior of the hotel color was chosen by Ayya)
  6. Odd jobs here and there.

Estimated cost of the => Approx. MRF 50,000

She was also not paid for the work.

 

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

I am demanding that I be paid for the work that I have done in making this hotel operational.

Until such payment is made, I am holding on to following items;

  1. Stingray Beach Inn Facebook Page
  2. @stingrayinn Twitter account
  3. Company Blog – Originally hosted here http://blog.stingraybeachinn.com/
  4. Agoda.com listing
  5. Expedia.com listing
  6. Hotels.com Listing
  7. Venere.com listing
  8. Tripadvisor.com page
  9. Company email accounts

I do believe its my right to be not taken advantage of that and that my work should be paid for. Its against the Constitution of this country to not pay for somebody for work that they have done.

Until Ibrahim Musthafa and Ali Muruthala makes payment to myself and my wife for the MRF 150,000 owed to us for work that we have done, they are guilty of criminal abuse of the employment law in this country and guilty of breaking the constitution.

 

WHO IS THIS IBBE?

Ibrahim Musthafa is the ONLY MDP Councillor in Maafushi island. He got elected to the island council under the MDP banner promising justice, equality and development in his island. But he was the only MDP member in the 5 man council and he found it difficult to work in that environment. So he stays home and takes the salary and does nothing on his elected job. Now that he gets paid by the people, he stays home and is developing a hotel as a private business. And even at that, he had me (his supposed friend) come and help him do all the work (he walks around the project mostly fiddling with the electricity – he did the electrical work at the hotel). And then screw me in the end. Its people like him that give MDP and hard working Maldivians a bad name.

More on this story:

Update: I have since handed over control of the things that I kept control of.

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