Hardly, but a twit at the municipal council is vehemently opposing it for some farcical excuses, wrapped up in Class A Xenophobia. Here are some of Mr. Hameed Al-Basri brainfarts which he is using in the hope of putting the kibosh on the project:
it would result in the area being â€œinvadedâ€ by foreigners with different cultures and moral values
He also wants the land to be used for more “useful” projects which could benefit the surrounding villages:
â€œIt could be used for a public park, car parks for residents or a government housing project,â€ he said.
â€œBut the Northern Municipal Council members have taken the worst decision and thatâ€™s approving an investment project without properly studying it.
â€œI am worried that nearby neighbourhoods, whether in my constituency or Daih village, where the project would be built, will be invaded by people from different nationalities who donâ€™t understand our culture and moral values.
â€œThatâ€™s not all. The area will see more traffic jams, more than what is making people complain at the moment.â€
Aha. Okay, I agree that the country needs to revamp the road network and consider the traffic in 25, 50 and even 100 years from today, and they are doing a lot of roads network expansion now, much to the chagrin of a lot of drivers, but one hopes that with these developments we’ll be much better off in a few months’ time. But this ludicrous objection to a huge investment of over a billion dinars is, well, ridiculous. Having an elected councillor whose main job is to suggest solutions to zoning and the various other municipal matters object to such a lifeline in his area is insane.
He doesn’t stop there of course, he’s now dug himself a hole so he must proceed to dig even deeper:
Mr Al Basri said just because the investor was promising residents jobs, it did not mean the project should be approved.
â€œWhat jobs can the project offer? As security guards or ushers, or cleaning plates after the rich finish their food?â€ he asked.
â€œIn the end, the areaâ€™s unemployed will not get good salaries because the investor is not there to offer high salaries, but to make a profit.â€
He said that from his experience and the projects he has approved in the Seef District, Sanabis and Daih, only 100 Bahraini jobseekers had been employed.
While 100 jobs created is much better than none at all, and while his suggestion that of those 100 the majority received menial positions might be true, what he should be concerned with, especially in that area of Bahrain which is renowned for “skirmishes” with the police in almost every single weekend, he should be happy that projects are being considered for that area and that its local residents are receiving the benefit of coming out of unemployment. But he ain’t happy.
Mr Al Basri hoped other councillors would review their decision and stop the project.
Well, thankfully someone from his own party is rejecting his brainfarts wholesale:
However, Northern Municipal Council towns and villages development committee chairman and the projectâ€™s area councillor Sayed Ahmed Al Alawi said that Mr Al Basriâ€™s push to halt the project would not affect it.
â€œWe are both from the same municipal bloc – Al Wefaq – but Mr Al Basri has never given me a call saying that he has a problem with the project,â€ he said.
â€œI have talked with Al Wefaq bloc president and area MP Shaikh Ali Salman and he was in support of the project, saying that he would work on securing the benefits for the people, which I am also currently working on.
â€œSo far, we have managed to reach an agreement with the investors to have a public park and a mosque built.
â€œThe hotel will not offer alcohol and will abide by Islamic and traditional values.
â€œThe investor has agreed to our terms without any fuss, so why is Mr Al Basri – who is approving similar projects in his constituency – upset?â€
Mr Al Alawi said that the Royal Court had recommended the project and when it came to the council, it was just a formality to look at it.
â€œThis project has been supported by the government, so it wouldnâ€™t leave the area without a proper infrastructure and other services. On the contrary, it is an opportunity to have new roads, sewage networks and other facilities in the area,â€ he said.
â€œMr Al Basri should quit fighting the project because he will not change our decision. He should instead focus on getting public services from investors in his constituency.â€
In short, he’s told by his colleagues to shut the hell up and not to be such a complete eejit.
I hope he listens.
Incidentally, if you want to see some very nice pictures of current and future projects happening in Bahrain, scoot on over to my friend’s Fred Haentjens’ Flickr set. Well worth having a look.