To open foodstuffs shop one requires quite some time, which may take up to six months and this period includes finding a place, money, rent and getting approval from the concerned authorities, in addition to other accompanying complications.
But there is a society affiliated to a radical religious party, and there was a great argument about the behavior of most of the Board members concerning an undisclosed sum of money being embezzled running into millions.There is no dispute on all the pre-requisites of the ministries of Commerce, Health, Municipality, before opening any food store in order to avoid any risk to public health.
That society had managed to open more than 140 cafes, restaurants, cafeterias, and even shops to sell gift items and flowers inside health centers, polyclinics and hospitals belonging to the Ministry of Health, without a penny being paid to the State, or obtaining a licence to run the business.
In spite of the fact that this society is supposed to help patients and not violate state laws, they have opened business centers worth millions of dinars in strategic areas in the reception halls in all centers and hospitals affiliated to the Ministry of Health, without paying rent.
This society also gets all free of charge from the state electricity, water supply and the cleaning services and other facilities for its employees and laborers!
This society does all its business without licence. This is in addition to selling all kinds of foodstuff made on site without the supervision of the concerned authorities.
To add insult to injury, its employees do not undergo the mandatory health tests and gets the approval from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor for the required number of employees, is not subjected to Municipal inspection and remains largely outside the control of the concerned government authorities.
Is this the morality or religion?
Some might be under the impression that the purpose of establishing these food stores and restaurants or other shops to sell merchandise is not to make profits or that the profits go to charity, but I tend to think otherwise.
A majority of these shops, or all of them as rumored, have been outsourced and the management is affiliated to the society and all foodstuffs are purchased from select points.
It is regrettable to note most of these cafes and restaurants sell poor and unhealthy food and most often than not are in conflict with the health centers.
The society may have felt the danger of losing its monopoly or that a day will come when it will have to give account about its activities so to avoid all this they have given English names to some of these establishments, perhaps to divert suspicions about its activities. One such restaurant is located inside one of the hospitals.
If the situation continues, it will be a serious indication that this sick society wants to achieve its objectives. It is time for the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor to act and stop this tampering.
It is noteworthy to mention here that when the concerned department in the Ministry of Health cut off power supply to these restaurants and cafes, the Minister of Health who is the most senior and responsible official who should be concerned with the health of the citizens, ordered the reconnection of the power supply.
The danger lies not only in the violations of the laws of the ministries of Commerce, Health and the Kuwait Municipality, but also the negative impact of its activities on public morals.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf