December 20, 2015
Male’ – The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has expressed concern over the ethics and integrity of consultants Cherie Blair, Toby Cadman, and BTP Advisors after it was revealed that they first pitched President Nasheed to represent him months before they were hired by the Government.
The UK’s Independent newspaper, and the Maldives Independent, revealed yesterday that, in March 2015, Toby Cadman and BTP Advisers attempted to secure contracts to represent President Nasheed, backing off when they found out only pro bono work was available.
At the time, President Nasheed had already begun hiring Amal Clooney, Jared Genser, and Ben Emmerson QC as his counsel – all of whom work pro bono.
Later, the consultants approached Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon, and Cherie Blair and Toby Cadman secured a lucrative contract to represent the Maldives government. BTP Advisers were cut into the deal later on.
Omnia Strategy LLP, an international firm chaired by Cherie Blair QC, was hired in June 2015 to – according to the official press release – “strengthen the legislative framework of the Government as part of the government’s broader strategy for democracy consolidation in the country.”
But it has turned out that “strengthening the legislative framework” really meant helping justifying the wrongful imprisonment of President Nasheed and acting as international apologists for President Yameen’s increasingly authoritarian regime. In November 2015, the Government hired BTP Advisors to further their efforts.
In early March, Mr. Cadman and BTP Advisors submitted joint written proposals to President Nasheed, and Mr. Cadman committed orally to pulling Cherie Blair into the representation.
According to Cadman’s proposal, he offered to lobby the international community, write newspaper articles and give media interviews on President Nasheed’s behalf, advocating the following suggested messages:
• “Mohamed Nasheed took the Maldives on a first step toward true democracy – his arrest and trial is a politically motivated show trial aimed at cementing further an already authoritarian regime.”
• “The government of the Maldives must immediately release Mohamed Nasheed or face international isolation, both diplomatically and economically.”
• “Tourists must boycott the Maldives until the government releases Mohamed Nasheed – it is morally wrong to support a government and country intent on using a highly compromised judiciary to eliminate political opponents. This includes the resort owners, who themselves back the current government.”
• “The international community cannot allow the Maldives to drift towards a pariah state – there are already clear signs of a military dictatorship, rising Islamic fundamentalism and the abuse of women. This is a return to the dark decades of dictatorship under Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.”
These messages were mirrored in BTP Advisors’ “Free Anni” campaign proposal (also attached).
Commenting on the revelations, MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said:
“Cherie Blair, Toby Cadman and BTP Advisors have singlehandedly proven that the only people supporting the Government’s position are those who will literally say anything for the right price.”