HH Sheikh Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the and Ruler of , never ceases to amaze. He has taken the dreams and aspirations of his late father bin Saeed Al Maktoum to a whole new level with ambitious projects in just about every field that most of us would not dare to imagine, let alone implement.
His all-consuming love of country and the people he serves is the driving force behind his determination and his plans to succeed no matter what. ’s futuristic outlook is alive and well today. There were those who laughed when he proposed constructing a mega port, a dry dock and a trade centre premised upon ‘build it and they will come’. And come they did in droves, putting the doubters to shame.
was my guide and mentor. He not only infused me with the will to succeed, he helped me achieve my goal of owning a hotel in a practical sense. is cut from the same cloth. There are no limits to his vision and no matter how many ‘sorry no-can-do’ experts shake their heads, he proves them wrong in the end. Today, he is making us proud by literally taking our country, the , to the stars.
It seems hard to imagine that our nation just half-a-century young could achieve so much in so little time. Fast forward to today… and the world watches us in awe.
Just as we conquered a dire economic situation post 2008 when mean-spirited media pundits issued gloating predictions that would become a desert wasteland, we are poised to conquer space with an imminent mission to the Red Planet — scheduled to take off on the 15th of July and expected to reach its target in February 2021, marking the ’s 50th anniversary.
The , which follows in the wake of two successful satellite launches and journey of an Emirati astronaut to the International Space Station, is a giant step for the (MBRSC) and a first for the Arab World, whose youth are in desperate need of positive news during these troubled times of plague, poverty and conflict.
I have known for most of my life. As boys, long before life’s concerns or responsibilities entered our minds, we sharpened our competitive spirit racing camels and horses. I remember him as a young man of powerful strength of character and a natural winner, determined to excel in everything he took on. Over the decades, I have seen him grow seamlessly into his responsibilities. He has a rounded character, he is a poet. He never ceases to impress me with his creative thinking, his hands-on management skills and the wisdom of his judgments.
One of my personal experiences with His Highness underscored his acute sense of justice. I met with him in his to discuss the possible retendering of the International Airport Terminal 3 construction project, which my company had already won. I was shocked and yes angry, to hear that the project was liable to be retendered, which made no sense at all and felt obliged to register my complaint with .
After the usual pleasantries, I began by asking: “If you and I were to race our camels and I win, would you accept that I had won the race or would you request a rematch?” “Of course not,” he answered. “You would be the winner”.
I explained to him then that I had won the Terminal 3 tender fair and square, so why is the project being retendered? “It is not. The project is yours,” was his immediate response. He did not need to consult with anyone. His priority was to do what was right.
is a natural born leader, clear, determined and firm in all his decision-making. Unafraid to take a decision even in the toughest of times, he is confident that he is on the right path and has the strength to complete the journey, unmoved by foreign critics or media negativity. He has always been our safety net during in troubled times and he always maintains confidence in , which in turn offers comfort and a sense of security to its citizens, residents and investors alike. If only Arab States could take a leaf out of ’s playbook of positivity and endless possibilities.
Thanks to the courageous innovations of , who always rejects anything less than the best, stands tall as a regional template in terms of living standards and lifestyle opportunities; a place where Emiratis and expats from all over the world coexist harmoniously.
The stunning architecture that graces is beautiful, but more beautiful is the respect and friendship between peoples of all faiths and ethnicities as evidenced by the smiles seen on our streets. has worked to create a society where everyone is treated with respect and equality.
I pray that the Creator continues to bless Sheikh . It is my hope that ’s Ruler will continue to amaze and surprise us for the years to come.