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It is now a year since the National Assembly was voted in. Has cohabitation stopped the big decisions being made?

14th October 2017

By Lewis Betsy


I have just got back from a short but fruitful visit to the beautiful Seychelles. As always, I  made a point of meeting up with many of my old friends and found a lot of things that were extremely interesting as well as some that caused me great concern.

Certainly, the political landscape is really changing at a rapid pace. Consequently, politics in Seychelles is dominating the day-to-day business.

The National Assembly has been inundated with a massive agenda and they are doing a good job, though sometimes you wonder how it is going to end. I see committee after committee being formed. Every committee member appears to be working hard but progress is minimal because no decisions are being made. This is the problem with committees: they all wait for each other and no one dares make the first move. 

It is so frustrating.

Cohabitation is a good thing, lack of progress is not. I urge you, committee members: you have now had 12 months to sort things out, please get on with it.

One issue dear to my heart is truth and reconciliation. This needs urgent action.

Many Seychellois want to see some of our previous leaders and politicians taken to task to answer questions concerning the disappearance of their fellow citizens. Those missing include Hassan Ali Umarji, Simon Denousse, Mike Asher, Michel Hoffman, an Italian by the name of Franco, Tony Elizabeth, Jill Carpin, Davidson Chang-Him, Pat De Silva, Alton Ah-Time, Gilbert Morgan, Jack Payet, Evans Hoareau, Andrew Betsy, Marvin Asba, Peter Zoe, plus those who have recently vanished.

I hope answers would also be given on the death of my good friend Gerard Hoarau who, while in exile, was assassinated on the streets in Edgware, North London, on Friday 29th November 1985. He died while working tirelessly across two continents to bring back democratic rule back to Seychelles. No one has ever been prosecuted for this brutal crime.

All the above named were true patriots of Seychelles who will never be forgotten. But their enduring legacy must be that we ensure their sacrifice is not in vain.

Today, when I look back and think of all that has gone wrong since the coup d’etat on the 5th June, 1977, I find it astonishing that it is only now we have a National Assembly that can properly deal with these issues.

Yet not a lot is happening. The smell of corruption is still rank in our public life.

They National Assembly has done an exceptional job by finding out that millions in State money have disappeared over the last 40 years.

No wonder that our country is in such a bad state.

But we need to shine more light on the culprits here. Someone knows who they are. Why are we still waiting for action to be taken?

I would like to think that the people of Seychelles can recuperate some of this fortune yet I fear that is a vain hope. The least we can do is make sure such corruption is made impossible so it can never be allowed to happen again.

Meanwhile, the cost of living is getting higher and higher on a daily basis; the poor are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer.

The drugs situation, as I have constantly reported, is getting out of hand and there are now more addicts than ever before.

I gather there are some 300 drug addicts on the archipelago and there is a row about how their rehabilitation programme will be affected by a change in administration. This is not good. We should have clarity on this situation.

Crime is worse. These days in Seychelles you cannot leave your house unattended. If you do, by the time you get back, it is more than likely that you will find it has been burgled.

Everywhere you go in town there are beggars, especially if you are going to the Victoria Market just at the back of the Happy Youth Club. At anytime of the day there are young Seychellois men and women drinking and begging.

It is a very sad situation especially when there are so many of us trying hard to promote tourism in our beautiful Seychelles.

There are other ugly spots.

Take Beau Vallon, which has one of our most beautiful beaches by the Beau Vallon basketball court. Every time I visit I see the place getting worse and worse. Can we get something done to improve this eyesore? At least, get the road resurfaced.

It is embarrassing to see Beau Vallon in such a state.

But back to politics. These days with everybody talking about the political cohabitation introduced by President Faure, it seems to me that there is confusion about tactics  among the National Assembly members.  

Speaker Patrick Pillay has attacked LDS colleague Bernard Georges over the effectiveness of cohabitation and accused his party, the SNP, of not having an ideology.

Georges says that “we are governing the country by consensus. At the end of the day a Bill is passed only if a consensus is found”.

Pillay doesn't believe that and has joined a protest group in demanding that Presidential elections be held as soon as possible.

Georges has said that SNP leader Wavel Ramkalawan “takes a more cautious position”. 

He added: “We want elections, but not just yet. There is one thing that we need to do first. We have to ensure that the country achieves normality as far as possible. Mr. Ramkalawan is not saying that the President should go the full term but he is not asking for the elections to be held now either.”

This is terrible. I just wish these divisions be healed. We should not be arguing. We need to work together to be able to rebuild a better Seychelles for everyone.

Still, it was an interesting moment in the National Assembly with the appointment of Kishnan Labonte as Chief Commissioner of Police to replace Mr Reginald Elizabeth.

We at Seychelles Life welcome Mr Labonte in his new role and we wish Mr Reginald Elizabeth a happy retirement and good luck for the future.

But the appointment shows how politics is changing. Mr Labonte, formerly the Chief Office of the National Drug Enforcement Agency, got 28 votes and no one voted against... now that's something that would not have happened before 2016.

Yes, things are on the move. And you have to keep an eye on the major players to be sure you are up to speed with what could be next. I note President Faure has been touring the islands and visiting all 26 of the districts. He is appointing a lot of CEOs everywhere. Is he preparing for the next Presidential Elections?

The footballers not playing the game

I went to watch the Airtel Cup Final between St Louis and Northern Dynamo.

I found great difficuly in trying to get hold of a ticket. Only two entrances were in operation, with the other gates closed.

I tried to speak to a member of the staff from the Football Federation to find out what was going on but got no response whatsoever. What a disaster.

No disrespect to any of the footballers playing, but I must say the game itself was a disaster too. The standard was very poor for a Cup Final.

The Northern Dynamo players had a plan – but it was not to play football. In the second half they were going down like flies every five to ten minutes by faking injuries. Some were even put on a stretcher and driven off the pitch, but straight afterwards they were back on, ready to play. 

Sadly, these tactics worked and the favourite St Louis came out on the losing side. The final score was St Louis 1 – Northern Dynamo 2.

The St Louis fans were disappointed because their team were the favourites to win. The team had a party planned for the night but it was flat.

I think the Football Federation should have a look at the video of the game and deal with the team concerned. I definitely want to see the standard of football improved in Seychelles. We need to start taking the game seriously.

Players should be prepared to put genuine effort into the 90 minutes. They should make it entertaining and sportsmanlike so the fans are eager to watch the next match. Lose the fans and in the end you will lose everything.

Still, on the plus side, I did meet a lot of old friends at the game.

Lewis Betsy, Publisher, Seychelles Life
Lewis Betsy, Publisher, Seychelles Life