Committed to the Greater Good for the National Interest: The National Consultative Forum MeetsPresident James Michel opened the first meeting of the newly created National Consultative Forum this morning at State House, where members participated in a frank exchange of views and an open dialogue on the future of Seychelles.
Thu, 31 July 2014
In his opening remarks, President Michel said that this unique and unparalleled forum would have a role that no other national consultative body presently has.
“This is to serve as body for high level discussions concerning the promotion of national unity and solidarity, social and moral values, ethics, and for addressing other issues which have no established outlet for discussion, and which can impact on the future of Seychelles as a whole, not just during the next few years, but perhaps for generations to come. It serves as an avant-garde think tank that crosses political boundaries, and that seeks to prepare Seychelles in the best way possible for the future,” said the President.
He said that the forum can serve as a venue to advise on remedies to certain grievances of the past as well as considering major constitutional reforms.
Mr. Michel said the members represent a large cross-section of society and are known to have a great diversity of views, opinions and interests as well as being men and women of integrity who have distinguished themselves by their knowledge, their experience, their goodwill and service to the nation.
“This matters. It is of utmost importance. Yet of greater importance is the fact that the national interest comes first. There can be no greater cause than this. And we are all united in that cause. We are all committed to the greater good. To the moral and spiritual upliftment of the people of Seychelles. To the material wellbeing and the happiness of our nation. To national unity. To reaching out and building bridges. To healing old wounds. To building a resilient, God-fearing and confident nation.”
During the meeting the members of the Forum also spoke of their expectations of the Forum, and raised issues of national concern which they thought should be addressed in greater detail in forthcoming meetings.
Many Members spoke of the need for greater attention to the education, training and apprenticeship systems in place, because the success of these systems were crucial for the continuous supply of qualified Seychellois manpower at all levels to service the needs of the Seychelles economy. Indicators of student achievement needed careful scrutiny with the aim of improving the quality of education.
Improvements in the various economic sectors were also raised, in the context of productivity and competitiveness, especially in the tourism and related areas. The need for accurate statistical information and indicators of performance was highlighted. The strengthening of financial services and their oversight was considered vital.
The importance of effective mechanisms for ensuring law and order was raised. Members felt that law enforcement was generally not effective.
The elimination of unnecessary bureaucracy was highlighted, as well as the need for authorities to process applications for various services, licences or planning permissions in a manner that was fairer, faster and more efficient.
The importance of environmental protection was strongly highlighted.
Members advocated emphasis on the growth of moral and spiritual values, and good parenting, with the protection of families being taken into account in the ongoing revision of the civil code. It was felt that there a need for better understanding by citizens of their individual rights and responsibilities.
Members felt there was a need for greater balance in the news coverage of the SBC, which it was felt was dominated by reports on Government related activities.
The need to overcome political differences was considered vital to the success of the Forum. importance of developing trust and stronger bridges between Government and the private sector was also strongly advocated.
The Cabinet would be briefed on the deliberations of the Forum, so that appropriate measures could be taken by the Executive in response to the issues raised.
Members agreed to meet on a monthly basis for the time being, with each meeting dedicated to a selected issue.
The President expressed his satisfaction with the successful outcome of the first meeting of the Forum. He said that the Forum would play a crucial role in building a new Seychelles where everyone give of their best for their country.