Committed to the task: Alain St Ange relishes his new role
13th April 2021
Alain St Ange, the much-acclaimed former Tourism Minister for Seychelles and who as leader of the One Seychelles opposition party came third when he contested the Presidential election in October 2020... more...
Team spirit: (from left to right): Stephen Biscornet, Max Racombo, Ralph Volcere, Charles Alcindor, Vincent Confait, Colin Whiting, Lewis Betsy (standing), Terry Sandapin, Gilbert Servina, Pat Nanty and Tony Hoareau
13th April 2021
By Lewis BetsyStars from Rovers Football Club met up to talk about the old days and savour the time when they were the best in Seychelles.I was one of those players, and what an amazing day it was.Eve... more...
Top coach: Kevin helps youngsters in Seychelles attending a Kevin Betsy Foundation session
12th February 2021
Seychelles-born Kevin Betsy is now manager of the England Under 18 football team. The only Seychellois to play in the English Premier league, Kevin got his big break in football when Fulham manager an... more...
President Ramkalawan: Action in the war on drugs at last
12th February 2021
 By Lewis BetsyIt is always good when people live up to your expectations and so I was very impressed with President Wavel Ramkalawan when he gave his first Press Conference 100 days since taking... more...
Wavel Ramkalawan: Historic Presidential address
29th January 2021
 By Lewis Betsy It was a truly historic moment, and one that for years seemed an impossible dream.Wavel Ramkalawan became the first elected Opposition President to give a State of the Nation... more...
Back home: Lewis Betsy is once more enjoying the beauty of Seychelles
1st January 2021
By Lewis Betsy As we enter a new year I want to wish everyone a safe and happy 2021. The last 12 months have seen some massive changes in all of our lives. I hope that we can learn from them to s... more...
Honoured: A floral display and Gerard’s photograph with Lewis Betsy and Bernard Sullivan
7th December 2020
By Lewis Betsy When the life of Gerard Hoarau was publicly honoured in Seychelles for the first time it showed just how far as a nation we have travelled in the past few years.It was a superb ser... more...
Joy on the streets: Opposition supporters celebrate
5th November 2020
By Lewis Betsy Well, no one could have imagined that a result such as this was on the cards. We had hoped and prayed that Wavel John Charles Ramkalawan would do enough to become President of... 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

I have quit politics and look forward to my new challenge, says Alain St Ange
13th April 2021
Committed to the task: Alain St Ange relishes his new role
Alain St Ange, the much-acclaimed former Tourism Minister for Seychelles and who as leader of the… more...
The goals we scored, the lives we lived… soccer veterans meet up and recall their glory days
13th April 2021
Team spirit: (from left to right): Stephen Biscornet, Max Racombo, Ralph Volcere, Charles Alcindor, Vincent Confait, Colin Whiting, Lewis Betsy (standing), Terry Sandapin, Gilbert Servina, Pat Nanty and Tony Hoareau
By Lewis BetsyStars from Rovers Football Club met up to talk about the old days and savour the time… more...
England youth coach Kevin Betsy explains why he loves his job – I enjoy helping people become better
12th February 2021
Top coach: Kevin helps youngsters in Seychelles attending a Kevin Betsy Foundation session
Seychelles-born Kevin Betsy is now manager of the England Under 18 football team. The only Seychellois… more...
As Ramkalawan marks a milestone 100 days in office, I pray he continues the good work
12th February 2021
President Ramkalawan: Action in the war on drugs at last
 By Lewis BetsyIt is always good when people live up to your expectations and so I was very… more...
I admire Ramkalawan’s vision and Seychelles Life will do its best to help him achieve unity in our nation
29th January 2021
Wavel Ramkalawan: Historic Presidential address
 By Lewis Betsy It was a truly historic moment, and one that for years seemed an impossible… more...
This year Seychelles can learn from 2020 and make things better for all
1st January 2021
Back home: Lewis Betsy is once more enjoying the beauty of Seychelles
By Lewis Betsy As we enter a new year I want to wish everyone a safe and happy 2021. The last… more...
Tributes to the memory of Gerard Hoarau show how Seychelles is changing for the better
7th December 2020
Honoured: A floral display and Gerard’s photograph with Lewis Betsy and Bernard Sullivan
By Lewis Betsy When the life of Gerard Hoarau was publicly honoured in Seychelles for the first… more...
My great joy as Ramkalawan becomes President of the Republic of Seychelles
5th November 2020
Joy on the streets: Opposition supporters celebrate
By Lewis Betsy Well, no one could have imagined that a result such as this was on the cards. We… more...
April's News
News Archive