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Air Seychelles has become a serious concern for the LDS government, one with an anchoring debt on the brink of collapsing. It is the more reason why President Ramkalawan was duty-bound to describe the state of the nation as a kales kase.

His frankness, however shocking, has produced a sense of solidarity in a country that now knows the true state of its nation and can now grasp the challenges that lie ahead.

 

Caught between ending an era of pride and patriotic emotions versus deciding what is best for Seychelles to successfully navigate out of this economic storm; President Ramkalawan has vowed his government will make the necessary decisions however tough  it gets when it comes to Air Seychelles.

 

Recently, the former CEO of Air Seychelles for 14 years until 2011, Cpt. David Savy gave a rare but insightful interview on SBC describing the type of atmosphere that existed between the previous administration and him. He acknowledged that a lot of bad decisions by the government at the time contributed to the demise of the airline. And as it happens, former President Danny Faure was the Minister of Finance between 2006 – 2012; which puts him in a very distinct position in all of these Air Seychelles calamities, United Seychelles would do well to acknowledge their part in the Air Seychelles saga.

 

During all of the shenanigans taking place and bringing Air Seychelles to the brink of closure, the 5th National Assembly led by the now US party leader, Dr Patrick Herminie, failed to play their role as an oversight institution that could have used their privilege to questions the actions of the government. Instead, we witnessed a rubber-stamp institution standing idly by as the government continued to make bad decisions contributing to the crisis for Air Seychelles and the economy.

 

Also part of the 5th National Assembly cohort were Honourable Sebastien Pillay and Honourable Chantal Ghislain who is the current Leader of the Opposition and a proportional member respectively and have been very vocal on the Air Seychelles deliberations in the National Assembly recently. To recall, they were both in a very good position to raise the alarm in the 5th National Assembly that could have prevented or, at minimum, raise some awareness of the risks involved, but instead they remained silent and the decision to partner with Etihad slipped through and was signed  without much due diligence.

 

Today, United Seychelles wants to play make-believe and pretend they have no idea how Air Seychelles got into this situation and that they are fighting for those who may have to lose their jobs. They should stop using cheap politics to score political points when in fact it was always their actions, or lack of, that has led to the current economic dilemma.

  

It only remained for the elephant to finally leave the room and sit on top of the house to be noticed since they refused to face reality and the consequences of their actions.

100 days in the office can be a time to look back at the progress and share the plan ahead. The first live press conference under the helm of President Ramkalawan afforded media houses and the public the opportunity to share these achievements and challenges.

 

As a man of principles and fairness amongst many other attributes, President Ramkalawan ensured all media houses had the opportunity to question his actions and that of his government freely without fear of reprisal, constantly promoting freedom of expression, an element missing in our democratic society for far too long until recently. The long and arduous fight in the name of freedom of expression has left its battle scars permanently etched on the president and Designated Minister, Jean Francois Ferrari, as well as many others who suffered the brutal  assault on that fateful day on the 3rd October 2006.

 

Contrary to what United Seychelles would have you believe, the LDS government does have a solid plan to combat COVID-19 and find solutions to the economic woes brought on by the pandemic, Politicians in the opposition today are selective in memory and neglecting their contributions to the current economic dilemma owing to their mismanagement of the country’s finances during their 43- year rule.

 

Most recently, United Seychelles staged yet another political manoeuvre criticising the deportation of a foreign national to her native country. In his press conference, President Ramkalawan has justified his decision that the deportation was according to the law and necessary.

 

The numerous warnings from President Ramkalawan about drug trafficking have been crystal clear without any ambiguity. Stop your drug trafficking into Seychelles or face the consequence. Some chose to heed the president’s warnings, whilst others ignored this invaluable notice.

 

The war to eradicate illicit drugs in Seychelles has begun, a promise enshrined in the LDS manifesto. United Seychelles (US) must be careful not to show support for drug traffickers, raising serious questions of why alleged drug traffickers have been allowed to live and operate in Seychelles freely under their watch. 

 

The plot thickens when SBC quoted an article from TODAY in Seychelles newspaper quoting the deportation to be illegal by the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission, Judge Bernadin Renaud. But as it turned out, the article was fake news created to undermine the fight of the LDS government against drugs traffickers. The continued baseless attack by a small group of people on the present administration is deplorable and callous at a time President Ramkalawan is calling for unity.

 

President Ramkalawan affirmed the deportation was enacted under the Immigration Decree. In Section 23, it states: (1) Any person who in the opinion of the Minister is, by his presence or his conduct, likely to be a danger to peace and good order in Seychelles may be deported from Seychelles pursuant to a warrant under the hand of the Minister.

 

The vulnerable Seychellois is another card often used to support United Seychelles’ political charade, play-acting the guardian of those more vulnerable when in fact they were instrumental in creating the situation in the first place through the maladministration of public funds. Their reckless decision during the last election campaign to give everyone a 25% reduction off their loan in the hope of securing votes has cost the government SCR42 million. The FA4JR scheme was riddled with abuse whereby everyone and anyone were getting paid without proper validation being done and at great expense to the taxpayers.

 

The Unemployment Relief Scheme (URS) and Social Welfare were political tools used to secure votes and decisively creating a large part of society dependent on the state passing as vulnerable. But there is a silver lining shining between the ensuing chaos as an extraordinary number of Seychellois are opting to leave the URS scheme and jumping into employment, a commendable effort on their part.  It is not the first time US has criticised the proposed revised scheme and the opposition party has yet to put any alternative plans or suggestions forward.

 

A shortage of methadone has caused a stir in the community and putting those receiving treatment at risk due to the shortage. But how did we get there? To recall the head of APDAR was none other than Dr Patrick Herminie, the current United Seychelles party leader who resigned as the head of APDAR in November 2020. It would appear Dr Herminie has failed to do his job when he was the Secretary of State for APDAR as he was unable to foresee or plan ahead to ensure adequate stock of the controlled drug was available. His failure may have been planned to persistently disrupt the current administration but their plan was short-lived as new stock of Methadone is due to arrive  on Saturday, 6 January 2020 and neighbouring Mauritius has pledged assistance to Seychelles with another stock of Methadone and effectively ending a possible crisis.

 

‘Kales kase’ is now the buzzword of Seychelles since President Ramkalawan used it to describe the state of the nation. It was a term which the opposition party didn’t like very much and have continued to protest.

 

Although upsetting to a few people, the true essence of the two words may have gone amiss when President Ramkalawan was describing the magnitude of problems inherited by the LDS government. It is a combination of actions and inactions by the previous administration that impelled President Ramkalawan to use such a term.

 

Within 2 weeks of taking office from President Faure, President Ramkalawan procured several tents from overseas to be used by the Ministry of Health for COVID-19, instead of renting them for SCR129,000 per day. After paying Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Hotel SCR4.4 million per month to use part of the hotel as a quarantine facility for over a year, his government was able to renegotiate this contract to zero.

 

It would not be fair not to mention the brand new Anse Royale hospital that had to close down and then ended up paying SCR400,000 per month in rent to a private citizen to use his building just around the corner as a hospital.  All these shenanigans happened under the watchful eye and leadership of United Seychelles. Their hypocritical and political tantrum will not change this fact.

The new leadership of United Seychelles (US) is harvesting fruits they did not sow and feeling proud of it. In fact they have had the nerve to take credit for things they were vehemently against for years up until the most recent past.

 

They have been accorded the privilege of uncensored live press conferences, something they denied the opposition when they controlled the executive. This year alone, they have issued more press releases and given more press conferences than government with the accompanying press coverage on prime news. Ironically, all their press conferences and releases were aimed at criticising government; no opposition has ever had it so good in the political history of Seychelles.

 

Dr Patrick Herminie, the newly elected leader of United Seychelles was, for the most part of his life, an active member of the machinery that stifled free speech and violently suppressed political opponents over more than four decades. The 3rd October will forever be remembered as a day when the US led government violently assaulted a peaceful assembly. President Ramkalawan and Designated Minister Ferrari were bloodied within the precincts of the National Assembly which was situated at the National Library building at the time.

 

Many who fought for the basic freedoms we now enjoy were forced to flee the country while others were unlawfully detained or imprisoned; some brutally murdered. Those who suffered under the regime have all the reasons in the world to be angry at the unlimited access granted by state media to those who went out of their way to reprehensively deny a nation its basic rights. They passed legislations which made it impossible for citizens to operate radio stations and censored state media. It is insulting to the great majority of Seychellois that US leadership should now be taking credit for the liberties we now enjoy.

 

Dr Herminie was unashamed to publicly acknowledge his constitutional right to make use of all means, including strikes, as an expression of discontent by his party. This is seriously irresponsible at a time when the country has to unite to face a common enemy; the pandemic. Sadly, oppressors throughout history have never understood the responsibility that comes with freedom: there are consequences. It was most unfortunate for Dr Herminie to be justifying the Coup d’Etat at a time when the nation is trying to heal itself from this unsavoury part of our history. His neo-Marxist attitude borders on fascism which poses a real threat to the stability of the country.

 

Without the effective oversight role of President Ramkalawan when he was Leader of the Opposition and chairperson of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee, the country’s reserve would not have been at the current levels. Dr Herminie would do well to acknowledge those facts and give credit where it is due.

With the election excitement well and truly over and the country gearing towards rescuing itself from the catastrophic pandemic, John Hoareau, the elected LDS MNA for Beau Vallon has vowed to keep the momentum going as he shares some of his plans for Beau Vallon with The Weekly newspaper.

 

Hoareau won the Beau Vallon Constituency with 60% of the 2879 valid votes cast in what turned out to be a landslide victory in both the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

 

What would you say are the short, medium and long term plans for the Beau Vallon district?

 

It is good to note that BV is different from the other districts because of the large number of tourism establishments as well as many people who are employed in the tourism sector be it watersports, fishing, diving, vendors of artisanal crafts. Therefore, our medium-term objectives are to push forward district projects associated with tourism as well as the safety of pedestrians such as the promenade between the Boathouse and Mike's shop at Mare Anglaise which is long overdue.

 

We need to identify a place to construct a marketplace to sell fish and veg. There is a need to construct bus shelters and a pavement along the main road going towards Mare Anglaise.  Several small roads must be completed to give motorable access to their homes. Long-term objectives include pushing the Beau Vallon agenda into the Bazar Labrin redevelopment project. SSI will start the redevelopment of the area very soon which will span over 18 months.  This will include a sports complex, toilet facilities, food and craft vendor facilities and others.  Secondly, my effort will be laid on the redevelopment of Pascal village for social housing.

 

It has been 3 months since the historical election victory for LDS, what are the feelings amongst the Beau Vallon inhabitants?

 

As you have seen, we pulled off an overwhelming victory in the polls. The people have placed their confidence in me for what I have promised them.  They are fully behind the developments, which I am bringing to the district. Perhaps they are a bit over excited and over-ambitious to see things moving in the right directions, which the LDS leaders proposed in our manifesto. They are giving us their full support but at times want things to move at a super-fast pace, this is understandable but we have to give time for our leaders to put the right structures and the right people in place.

 

Have you identified (any issues) delaying your work for your Constituency? And how are you planning to overcome these issues?

 

Yes, I foresee that it might be a bit difficult to get everything on my wish list done as the COVID-19 situation persists but the determination and willingness are there to ensure we soldier on regardless of the pandemic. We also tend to have difficulties with some Principal Secretaries who themselves are responsible for any delays in dealing with issues in the past and these have been mainly housing-related issues. I hope that they do a self-assessment and focus on the philosophy of LDS as being the party, which has formed the new government thus giving everyone the opportunity to prove themselves and contribute towards their country. If they can't deliver, I am sure and trust that our leadership will deal with such situations.

 

Is there a concrete plan to tackle the continued beach erosion at Beau Vallon?

 

Beau Vallon is on the list of areas prone to erosion due to climate change, as such the ministry of environment has an important project to start soon where a wall will be constructed between the open-air gym to the La Plage area to prevent further erosion of the area.

 

I have also discussed with the headteacher of our Beau Vallon school to organise an environment club to help replant veloutye along the beach. This is a natural high salinity tolerant plant that grows on the beach to prevent sand from eroding.  I will play a key role in organising such a project, as this will also bring awareness and educate our youths on the subject.

The members of Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) in the National Assembly has donated a sum of SCR100,000 to the Ministry of Health in supporting their fight against the pandemic.

 

It will be the fourth collective financial contributions made by the LDS caucus in the fight against the deadly disease. To recall, the LDS members donated ten percent of their salary for three consecutive months in 2020, directly assisting non-profit organisations; such as the Nurses Association Republic of Seychelles (NARS) and the Red Cross Society of Seychelles (RCSS) amongst others in their fight against COVID-19.

 

The cheque was presented to the Principal Secretary for Health, Dr Bernard Valentin by the Leader of Government Business, Bernard Georges in the presence of the Minister of Health, Peggy Vidot and other guests and invitees. During the presentation, Georges thanked all the health workers and those on the frontline for their admirable devotion in keeping the country safe from COVID-19. Georges also pronounced the continued support from the LDS caucus as he also appealed to the general public to continue to heed the important health guidelines being issued by the health authority.

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