Protest: Thousands take to the streets demanding a fresh Presidential election
13th November 2018
By Lewis Betsy There are growing public protests over the refusal of Danny Faure to hold a fresh Presidential election.But is he listening?I wish he was. The state of Seychelles needs someone to ... more...
13th November 2018
It all came as a bit of a surprise, she said, but Ketsia Marie has found herself crowned Miss Creole Des Iles Seychelles 2018.The 20-year-old student from Au Cap took the title at the the beauty pagea... more...
Big opportunity for sea viewing: The Calypso glass-bottomed boat with room for 30 passengers
13th November 2018
By John Lablache Seychelles’ tiny capital, Victoria, is sheltered from the Indian Ocean by a string of islands which also constitute the Ste Anne Marine Park, one of the archipelago’s... more...
Decision time for Seychelles: Dr Patrick Herminie
13th November 2018
By Lewis BetsyThe drug problem is Seychelles is becoming critical for the future of all its young people.I have long campaigned for action to stop a drugs culture which is today spiralling out of cont... more...
11th October 2018
The new Miss Regatta is Gabriella Gonthier from Beau Vallon. Gabriella, 20, took the title – and also won best creative wear – at a ceremony at Beau Vallon in which 14 contestants, above, ... more...
Response: Minister Myriam Télémaque and immigration officials at the FPAC hearing
11th October 2018
The sensitive issue of how Seychellois citizenship is granted to foreign nationals came up again at a hearing of the National Assembly.It had earlier prompted the Finance and Public Accounts Committee... more...
11th October 2018
Danny Faure has shown his gratitude to the men and women who represent Seychelles overseas. The President met with the nine ambassadors and one chargé d’affaires, for an hour at State Hou... more...
Welcome: President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka meets Danny Faure at State House
11th October 2018
Photo: Courtesy of Seychelles News AgencyThe special bond between Seychelles and Sri Lanka has been recalled during a visit by President Maithripala Sirisena.Mr Sirisena was on a three-day state visit... more...

Our nice-guy President who wants to put a block on our civil liberties

16th March 2018

Our nice-guy President who wants to put a block on our civil liberties
Our nice-guy President who wants to put a block on our civil liberties

By Lewis Betsy

 

President Danny Faure's State of the Nation speech was full of fine words. In a lengthy, wide ranging statement to the National Assembly, he pointed out the challenges ahead, the government's hopes and the great strength of the Seychellois people in working together.

But there was a sting in the tail. At a time when Seychelles democracy is finally growing in maturity there returned the shadow of the harsh one-party state. The right to make a public protest was being confined.

Mr Faure spoke of the many things the government is doing. The “positive” economic growth, care of the elderly, an increase in maternity leave, education, tax, employment, and the administration's “continual efforts to reduce the cost of living”. 

Then there was tourism, the environment, fishing, agriculture, small businesses, the water supply, and his plans to build tunnels between Cascade and Grand Anse Mahe, and between Beau Vallon and English River.

There was also “an ambitious programme” to build more houses.

His references to health spoke of drug and alcohol abuse and more exercise for everyone.

 He spoke of family values: “Family is the foundation of our society. The state of the nation depends on the state of our families, the state of our communities, and the state of our economy.”

There was also mention of the controversy oover Assumption island, which I comment on elsewhere in Seychelles Life, (We need a referendum to sort out the confusion over Assumption). 

It was all sounding so grand. But then came the part of the speech where I caught my breath.

Mr Faure comes over as an easy-going nice guy; a man who despite being President really wants to be thought of as a genial friend with some good, solid ideas. We should not be fooled. He is clearly a man who wants to keep a tight control on his people, a control freak who it appears will not tolerate any dissent lightly.

This is what he said: “Mr Speaker, our democracy has also seen an increase in the space for civil liberties and freedom of expression. 

“The media that represents the fourth pillar of our democracy plays an important role today. We also have several social media platforms. These are good, but what is important is that we use these resources in a responsible manner and maintain respect for others.

“We live in a free country, in a democratic country. Protesting is a right under our Constitution, but it needs to be done with responsibility, upholding order and peace. This is essential in the maintenance of stability, which is what allows the country to progress.

“We are working on a regulation under the ‘Public Assembly Act 2015’ that will establish what we would call a ‘Speaker’s Corner’ in Victoria. This is a place where our citizens will be able to express themselves and their opinion.”

So that's where he wants all public protests to be held. Just one small corner, out of sight of the general public and presumably, out of mind too. Is that what we deserve? I think not. We should put a block on that plan immediately.

Some commentators have said that his speech was really the start of his presidential campaign. It was an early attempt to woo voters to his side with a positive list of hopes and aims.

That raises several questions: Does it mean we shall soon get a date for an election, something I have long campaigned for.? Will it mean that Wavel Ramkalawan and Patrick Pillay will have to up their game?

In the meantime, we should keep an eye on this nice-guy President and make sure he doesn't take us back to the bad old days. We have fought too long to give up that easily.

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

Latest News

Thousands of protesters demand a fresh Presidential election, so why isn't Danny Faure listening?
13th November 2018
Protest: Thousands take to the streets demanding a fresh Presidential election
By Lewis Betsy There are growing public protests over the refusal of Danny Faure to hold a… more...
Surprise! Ketsia is crowned Miss Creole
13th November 2018
It all came as a bit of a surprise, she said, but Ketsia Marie has found herself crowned Miss Creole… more...
Seeing the wonders of the sea through a glass-bottom boat
13th November 2018
Big opportunity for sea viewing: The Calypso glass-bottomed boat with room for 30 passengers
By John Lablache Seychelles’ tiny capital, Victoria, is sheltered from the Indian Ocean… more...
Drugs, Seychelles... and the people looking the other way as dealers corrupt our young
13th November 2018
Decision time for Seychelles: Dr Patrick Herminie
By Lewis BetsyThe drug problem is Seychelles is becoming critical for the future of all its young… more...
Gabriella is Miss Regatta 2018
11th October 2018
The new Miss Regatta is Gabriella Gonthier from Beau Vallon. Gabriella, 20, took the title –… more...
Citizenship, the President and the National Assembly
11th October 2018
Response: Minister Myriam Télémaque and immigration officials at the FPAC hearing
The sensitive issue of how Seychellois citizenship is granted to foreign nationals came up again… more...
President thanks the envoys who fly the flag for Seychelles
11th October 2018
Danny Faure has shown his gratitude to the men and women who represent Seychelles overseas. The… more...
Cherished, the special bond between Seychelles and Sri Lanka
11th October 2018
Welcome: President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka meets Danny Faure at State House
Photo: Courtesy of Seychelles News AgencyThe special bond between Seychelles and Sri Lanka has been… more...
December's News
News Archive