Saturday, 17 December 2016

Minister Charles Bastienne said “No fire, No smoke”

‘Innocent until proven guilty’

This newspaper has been following development in regards to the allegation of corruption made against the former Minister of Home Affairs, very closely. We have also spoken to the security company at the centre of this controversy to establish the facts about this situation because this newspaper is totally against any form of corruption. The editor quit opposition party politics because they had become corrupt like this government and when he left they targeted him to try silencing him, they have failed.

We are of the view that corruption in government and out is almost entirely responsible for the exaggerated high costs of living. This country is a very small country with a tiny economy and corruption is having a direct impact on the country’s financial matters and it is affecting the ordinary Seselwa the most, especially those on low incomes.

According to the local agency that did the recruitment for the Nepalese security guards for the Montagne Posee Prison; They also told us that the Minister was never part of any negotiation for money, other than the initial US500 paid for recruitment fees for the 19 Nepalese who arrived in the country. As far as the recruitment process was concerned. The Minister never received any money from the local agency or the Nepalese agency - there is no proof of that ever happening. If there any evidence to that effect this newspaper would like to see it and we will help nail the perpetrators.

However, all indications are that the recruitment agency in Nepal could be guilty of a serious case of human trafficking. They were charging an extortion fee of US8000dollars per head to the Nepalese security officers – who had to take out loans to be able to pay to come work in Seychelles. The allegations of corruption against Minister Bastienne were made without checking the real facts in this matter, with the full intention to create maximum damage to the credibility of the Minister and the government of President Faure. According to a comment made by an employee of the local security company involved in that matter,“the attack on Minister Bastienne was politically motivated by people who are known to have killed many people at Grand Police, maybe they should start telling the truth about their activities when they were the henchman for this brutal regime during the one party era”.

We are also of the view that Minister Charles Bastienne is being targeted because he had the guts to go after a big businessman (LDS benefactor) who scammed government of many millions of rupees in GOP fees.

Minister Bastienne has stated on National Television; “if I was interested in corruption, why would Charles Bastienne go out of his way and reduce the salary of the Nepalese officers from USD1,200 to USD700. The Government through the Police and Prison is employing around ... 200 Nepalese Officers, which would save the Government SR16 Million per year. Is this the corruption they are talking about?”

“Now that President Faure has asked me to work to reduce the cost of construction in the country in my new portfolio, and the fact that I have been told that there are cartels in this country, will I then be accused of corruption? If such is the case, then I am more determined to do it as I will be doing it for my country!”

As it stands now there is absolutely no evidence that Minister Charles Bastienne did anything wrong in this particular case, however, if fresh evidence do come to light it will be published by this newspaper. We are appealing to people with information on the matter and on corruption generally to come forward, your identity will be protected. We need to fight corruption wherever it exist in Seychelles; in the private and public sector. This is the only way to combat the high costs of living.

Independent

No Case to Answer for Minister Larue



The NDEA was on SBC on Wednesday night, to nullify allegations of drugs being found on the property of the Minister. According to the new head of the NDEA, Mr. Liam Quinn the drugs found on Praslin, which amounted to almost one kilo was not found on the property of Minister Larue and it is not connected to her in any manner or form as was being rumored by the LDS leadership – who had only one thing on his mind and that was to destroy the reputation of a government minister instead of establishing the real facts in that matter.

 It was clear that the accusation was politically motivated to cause damage to the government. The problem with this kind of strategy is that it is in fact helping the government because when there is a true story people have a propensity to doubt its authenticity. It is of paramount importance for influential people in society to verify the facts about any story before they pronounce an opinion.

Independent

Friday, 16 December 2016

Soundy V/s Ramkalawan



Dear Roger

 RESIGNATION – TREASURER AND CHAIRPERSON SNP WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION

I would like to thank you for your kind attention on Monday, and in understanding my position in respect of various issues which has left me with no other alternative but to resign from the above posts that I have been holding with the Party.

Sadly, this decision has been taken after evaluating and assessing my position, as an Office bearer, particularly in the post of Treasurer. I have therefore decided that this is the best option in order to safeguard my integrity, which cannot be compromised in financial transactions that I have no knowledge of.

The bye-election of Mont Fleurie district has shown me that the Party is not living up to its cause, which is democracy and transparency, and furthermore, our Party Constitution is not being respected.

I always believed that the SNP existed because the people who formed this party wanted a change from the dictatorship rule of SPPF. Suffice to say, my short time within the party has shown me that should the SNP win an election tomorrow, the Leadership will not be much different.

After Wavel came back from his fund-raising mission from South Africa, he never mentioned to me nor the executive members if he had been successful in obtaining any funds, but I will have to assume  that funds have been received. I personally asked him 4 days later and he replied that he will speak to me later and this of course never materialised. In an Office Bearers meeting I was told that money received from donors should remain anonymous, which of course I respected, since Maryse Eichler and myself received some donations too for the election of R10,000-00 and R5,000-00 respectively. This, was mentioned in the Executive Committee meeting and the sums were also disclosed. Unfortunately, the overseas funds were not disclosed and I can confirm that I have no knowledge of any details, although Wavel stated in that particular Office Bearers meeting, that R100,000-00 was received by him and Jean Francois from other donors. Wavel further stated that amounts received will not be disclosed and does not have to go through the account, because SPPF has created such a precedence and therefore we should do the same. Such a strong statement coming from our Leader who is fighting for democracy and transparency has left me disillusioned and very disappointed.

Our Constitution stipulates, we have to declare and record all donations received and when I encounter such actions within our leadership, I can only conclude that this may have occured in the past, without the Treasurer’s knowledge.

The other issue which has disturbed me, is that the Party and its Leadership can no longer identify who the opponent and the enemy is. Most members of the Executive Committee are seen as threats and our Leader is more determined to fight against them, than with SPPF. Trust in the executive members, are of paramount importance if the SNP wants to lead the country tomorrow. Unfortunately, this is not the case within the SNP. To name every details of what has happened will be too tedious, I will however mentioned two examples which have also led me to resign today.

( 1) The remarks made in a meeting with office staff by Wavel, about an article in Weekly, demeaned his position as our Leader, by stating that if Bernard Georges had voter appeal, he would not have won a district election by only 4 votes. He went on further by saying he could contest and win by 150 votes. This for me, was uncalled for and I just could not comprehend who exactly was Wavel fighting with.

(2) Another one worth mentioning is Jane Carpin. This woman who has been working so tirelessly for Au Cap is definitely not well liked within the Leadership. I cannot understand why she was not told in the first place that the Party will prefer another person other than her to run for Parliament. After the Parliamentary elections, the Au Cap activists insisted to have a meeting with Wavel concerning Jane’s position. He promised that Jane will be allowed in after one year. When a questioned was raised by Nigel Rosette sometime back concerning rotation, Wavel stressed that he is not contemplating any such moves yet. He and only he will decide when to do so. I have been asking myself if other members on the Committee have been wasting their time coming to these meetings every Monday. Jane is now 52 years old and has given the last couple of years of her life to work full time for the party, is it therefore fair that she is treated in that manner? The only pension she will receive is when she attains 63 years of age and that is in 11 years time! All that, because she was working for country and not for herself! Was all this worth it? What about what she succumbed in October 2006, hasn’t she also put herself at risk? This, unfortunately has never been acknowledge by Wavel in all his speeches or remarks and I have personally noticed he refuses to name Jane’s name.

I know that somehow I will be ridiculed, and I am not showing anyone how to do politics, which is a remark that has been made countless times whilst I have been in this office. Respect, as we all know is earned and not gained, but one will never get respect from colleagues if he/she does not have respect for himself and display dignity, humility and true leadership without forgetting who put him there and why he was entrusted in the first place.

Boisterous remarks about different persons have been openly voiced in an unprofessional manner. All these people big and small, rich and poor, businessman and labourer have assisted in different ways to bring the SNP were it is today, but somehow all this has been forgotten, and this, is very sad to say the least. I could go on and on stating facts, but the big question I have been asking myself lately is, do I still believe in this Party and its Leadership?

It is true that every country is special to its citizens just like every child is special to its parents. However, a country is bigger and more important than one person or even a group of people. We also have a very stubborn leadership which refuses to respect views of its members and to accept change within its party. You cannot change the country if you cannot accept change internally and lead without being a dictator. Members who have dared to share a different opinion has been shut up or worse still have been made to feel small amongst his colleagues.

Seychelles’s economic regression has been caused by official neglect and the promotion of massive economic waste and corruption. We need a new vision and national rededication to halt this decline so that we can begin to take first steps in the direction of recovery. But is our party and its leadership ready for that?

If and when our economy is reawakened, there will be more for each one of us, as well as more security and stability. We have been making the point that Seychelles is not a lost cause. It can be rehabilitated. More importantly, the people of Seychelles will rally behind this country if Leadership shows the way. The most critical commitment by all of us must be that Seychelles will not be allowed to disintegrate. Today when our economy and the country is at its worst, SNP is not showing the people that it does care to come at the forefront with renewed conviction and gain mileage if we want to win the coming election. Instead, I have been hearing certain persons talk only about their pensions and what they will get at the end of each year, forgetting the labourer who is sweating every hour just to bring some food on the table. Pressure is not being applied on the Government by the leadership. Motions brought to the assembly is excellent work, but what about the extra effort, such as strong communiqués, press conference and so on?

 The political leadership that has brought Seychelles to the brink of ruin has shown near genius in its ability to understand the Seychellois character and to adroitly exploit this knowledge for political survival. Of course this elite leadership has helped to shape the Seychellois character in ways that facilitate authoritarian and corrupt rule. Seychellois are patient people and most are hard working and have a natural respect for authority and tend to believe what the authorities tell them. Seychellois have faith in authority, and expect the authorities to act honestly and in the best interests of the nation. But this does not mean that we are sheep and we are not scared to try out new ideas. Within the SNP, this has been the case, but often times the faith has not been respected. Above all, it is vital that we be faithful to the constitutional and legal reality of multipartyism so that we cease being a Jekyll and Hyde country with two conflicting personalities. The point must however be stressed that if multipartyism is genuinely practised it must contain the seeds of democracy and transparency. To conclude, I would like to thank everyone for the support given to me whilst in office and trust you will understand my position to that effect.

 Wishing you all, all the best in your work and dedication.

 Sincerely, VIVIENNE SOUNDY

Saturday, 10 December 2016

LDS majority voted against 13th month salary

It was a well thought out plan by Wavel Ramkalawan to satisfy his financial backers, by using delaying tactics. We are of the opinion, that his little plan to stall the end of the year benefit for private sector workers to please his paymasters has not worked to his satisfaction LDS majority voted against 13th month salary and the people are not fooled. The political backlash could be costly for the multi-millionaire Anglican priest.

Wavel along with all the other MNAs, will earn an end of year extra pay cheque each. The ordinary MNAs will take home an additional scr80,000 each (eighty thousand rupees) as end of year bonus. Being the leader of opposition, Wavel will earn himself an additional scr102,000 (one hundred and two thousand rupees) as end of year gratuity.

The MNAs doesn’t care where the money is coming from, or who is making the sacrifices for them to earn this kind of money. However, when it comes to giving the private sector workers the same benefits; a 13th month salary cheque – Wavel is very concern about where the money will have to come from, as if it’s his money. He is doing everything he can to protect the benefactors.

On Tuesday in the National Assembly, LDS voted against the bill that would have granted the private sector workers a mandatory end of year extra pay cheque each - brought in for approval by Employment Minister Wallace Cosgrow.

This week on Tuesday the Minister for Employment was before the National Assembly again - this time to present the Employment Bill, which contained the 13th month salary for private sector workers. Right from the start, the LDS majority led by Ramkalawan went looking for justification to postpone voting on the bill or to vote against if he couldn’t get the bill withdrawn. They tried every argument that they could possibly come up with - Minister Wallace Cosgrow refused to pull back the bill leaving Wavel Ramkalawan with no way out – he literally ordered all the LDS members to vote against the bill that would have given all Seselwa private sector workers an end of year additional pay cheque. This is how Wavel repay them, (private sector workers) for helping him win the National Assembly election.

This is not the first time that Wavel has shown resentment when it comes to the salary of ordinary workers; two weeks ago he said in the National Assembly that he was against paying STC workers an additional month salary on top of the 13th month. Can we trust that man? Is he on the side of the working class or supporting big business?

Independent

Monday, 5 December 2016

Ramkalawan refused to vote on BULLYING motion



The Elected Member for Baie St. Anne tabled a National Assembly motion this week in the asking the Government and all concerned to take steps to address bullying in our schools. The Leader of Opposition played down and trivialized the issue, saying that the problem of bullying is being magnified and exaggerated. This is not what the many people being affected by bullying expected from Wavel. He went on to state that his son goes to a private school and the problem is nonexistent at The Independent School. When it came to voting for the motion Wavel abstained – The Speaker without realizing that situation said that the motion had been accepted unanimously, when it was queried by PL members. The Speaker asked for a fresh vote to be taken and this time around Gervais Henri also abstained. This is an episode tantamount to an old story about Mr. Joseph Jeanmore and Harry Savy – every time Harry would fart it was Joseph who would excuse himself for farting. It was a slavish mentality, which is now being adopted by certain members in the LDS to kowtow to their leader.

Independent

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Gerard Hoareau Assassinated on whose order?

Many people over the years have tried to use the good name of Gerard Hoareau and his assassination on a cold winter’s morning in London on 29th November 1985 to advance their political agenda. In our opinion this is totally distasteful. Certain LDS top officials, in the run-up to the National Assembly elections used and abused the hero’s memory to try win the election. However, on Tuesday this week in the National Assembly, they failed to observed a minute silence to honor the memory of Gerard Hoareau and all who have been killed fighting for freedom in Seychelles. Speaker Patrick Pillay has full authority over proceedings he could have called for a minute of silence. Proving beyond doubt that they are all a bunch of hypocrites…..

The Speaker himself in an article written in his party’s mouthpiece earlier this year, insinuated that the editor of this newspaper might have played a role in Gerard’s killing. It was gutter politics at its worse, coming from a highly educated man. Where was he when Gerard was being gunned down in a street of London? Knowing what he knew why did he accept Ministerial positions in a Government that assassinated people? Does that make him a party to the assassinations and killings?

However, Gerard’s memory with all the other fallen heroes must be used as a powerful instrument with which to nurture and grow our democratic gains so far, but not to be abused by people seeking political power.

We have forgiven Pillay in the spirit of national reconciliation and the fight for democracy, in which he has contributed very little, and is bigger than him, in fact far bigger than all of us put together. The memories of our fallen heroes must not be used and abused by those seeking high political office ever again. Their (heroes) cause and that of their families must be advanced in a sincere manner to achieve meaningful closure, not political mileage.

Now, that LDS has the majority in the National Assembly why are they not pushing through a motion to ask government to allow the body of Gerard Hoareau to be brought back to his birth place and 29th November declared the ‘National Reconciliation Day’ in memory of all our fallen heroes. This could ignite and fuel the flame of genuine reconciliation, which are now merely spoken words without any sincere action to back up the rhetoric of rapprochement between the two (PL and LDS) halves of the political divide in the country.

Independent

Jean Francois speaking on Government Land

On Tuesday Jean Francois Ferrari was disrespectful to Minister Dogley in the National Assembly – he was calling him “Minis SPPF” several times and The Speaker failed to intervene to call him to order and to ask him to withdraw his remarks. The way that he was talking to the Minister clearly had a racist connotation to it; the white slave master speaking down to the black man. However, the Minister who is far too polite than JFF will ever be, took it in his stride. Jean Francois continued his shenanigan in the afternoon when he had another go at the same Minister this time about land that had been leased out to a construction company for a hotel development, allegedly. Even if Minister Dogley is not holding the land portfolio Jean Francois persisted with his assault on him encouraged by the Speaker’s hesitation to rein him back.

It must be stated that Jean Francois Ferrari is the eldest son of former Minister Dr. Maxime Ferrari – who was land minister in the government of President Rene after the coup d’état; Maxime Ferrari is responsible for taking land from many people out of revenge under the compulsory acquisition law, because these people were supporters of former President Mancham. Ferrari senior was a ruthless guy who took no prisoners dishing out just reward to those he didn’t see eye to eye with, maybe he could speak to his dad about land for more information. Jean Francois is also the cousin of Patrick Lablache who has been in the land sector for many many years, under Rene, Michel and now Faure – if JFF was so keen to know everything about government land and the way that and has been distributed his cousin and father have all the answers. By attacking Minister Dogley who is not the Minister for Land, Jean Francois was out of order, but maybe the Speaker was afraid of him because he is a white man talking down to a black government Minister. This is the state of the National Assembly in 2016 under the watch of Patrick Pillay.

Independent

Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Time Is When!

The National Assembly on Tuesday this week discussed the 13th month salary issue, a topic that has captured the attention of workers in the private sector. After damaging reports in this newspaper and on social media that he was trying to kill off the 13th month salary proposal to protect his ‘big business’ friends and financial backers, Wavel Ramkalawan, the leader of the opposition tabled an emergency motion summoning the new Minister of Employment Wallace Cosgrow to come and give details to the Assembly about the impending Bill. During the discussions on the subject, it was abundantly clear that Wavel Ramkalawan and all opposition MNA’s who intervened in the debate were against the idea of the 13th month salary which they had previously claimed was their idea.

The high profile members of the opposition were all struggling to support the idea of a 13th month pay cheque which their supporters see as a big let-down.

In their deliberations, National Assembly members, Wavel Ramkalawan, Sandy Arrisol, Ahmed Afif, Jean Francois Ferrari and Bernard Georges all came across as being against this proposal. This did not go down well in their constituencies. Afif, Georges, Arrisol and Ferrari represent the four poorest districts. People in their districts were angry listening to their interventions. One man from Les Mamelles who voted for the opposition said, “I cannot believe that the people I voted for are more interested in helping the rich than helping the poor”.

MNA Ahmed Afif of Anse Etoile, who represents the poor sub-districts of La Gogue and Maldives, was also reluctant to give his support to the thirteenth month salary proposal. Afif alluded to the fact that this additional payment to private sector workers will have an impact on inflation. He believed that it will release too much additional cash in the economy. What Afif failed to understand is that the 13th month salary is not new money that will create inflation. It is simply a redistribution of existing money from the rich to the poor.

Many Seychellois workers are now asking a simple question; why is the LDS opposition protecting the rich at the expense of the poor? Ramkalawan, Ferrari, Georges, Afif and Arrisol have given the Seychellois people a glimpse of who they will look after when they come to power. It seems that the rich and powerful are in for a good time!

www.seychellesindependent.com



LDS Members Of The National Assembly Protecting Their Rich Friends

Wavel Ramkalawan playing games with private sector workers.

Last week the Hon. Wavel Ramkalawan, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, had the following motion on the order paper:

With the aim to reduce costs of living in Seychelles and fight poverty, which continues to impact on the population, this National Assembly is appealing to STC and all other retailers to take it upon themselves to import essential commodities for sale at the lowest possible prices.’

 It is important to note at this stage that there was no mention of the 13th month salary for private sector workers anywhere in his original motion for last week order paper. And that he was appealing to STC and other merchants only to address the high costs of living - not the government. If the Honorable Gentleman was genuine in doing something about the high costs of living he could have asked for an increment in salary for all the workers to meet the high prices in the shops and the exorbitant prices of fish, legume and fresh vegetables.

It was clear that Ramkalawan is playing a political game with the livelihood of the private sector workers, especially, to protect business people with whom he has close dealings. However, after our front page article last week, which challenged Ramkalawan’s commitment towards people employed in the private sector, he had sleepless nights over the weekend and on Monday this week he was quick to have the order paper revised to include a Private Notice Question (PNQ – item 4 on the order paper) for the Minister of Employment, Mr. Wallace Cosgrow.


We bring you the PNQ below, which was in four parts:

1. Why is it that the Government of Parti Lepep has not come forward yet to place the bill for the 13th Month salary before this Assembly?

2.: Will all businesses, meaning small businesses and big businesses will all have to give their workers the 13th month salary?

3.What are the criteria being used by Government to implement the 13th month salary for workers in the private sector?

4.: According to your analysis and discussions, what effect will the introduction of the 13th month salary have on the private sector and the economy of the country in general?

A closer look at the questions will clearly reveal that Wavel Ramkalawan was trying to kill two birds with one stone. On one hand he wanted to please private sector workers by asking - where is the bill for the 13th month salary?

However, in the other three questions that followed - Wavel cast doubts on the justification to award the 13th month salary to private sector workers. This was done with one thing in mind to protect and please the business people that the LDS have close links with; businesses that gives money to the LDS. The thousands and thousands of workers who voted for the LDS in the National Assembly elections doesn’t matter anymore now until the next election.

It was clear that Wavel had one leg in the train and the other still on the platform and the train was about to leave the station. He was playing a game, which he has now lost because this newspaper called his buff and he took the bait – he should have remained silent and not react to our front page article like the leader of government business, who also came under attack in that same article.

All eyes and ears, so to speak, are now on the bill that will be placed before the National Assembly in two weeks. If the PL Government delivers on its promise to private sector workers to present the bill then it will be left to Wavel and co to do their bit to award the 13th month salary to private sector workers. This newspaper has done its part to force the issue back onto the national agenda before 2016 ends. Now, it is up to the National Assembly to deliver. We wonder who is going to have the last laugh on that matter. Will Wavel bury the 13th month salary to please his friends in business or will it be a Happy Christmas for the private sector workers?

Independent

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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Bernard Georges speaking like a Saint

Listening to Bernard Georges speaking in the National Assembly on Wednesday morning one would be forgiven to think that this man is a saint. Bernard said that he has been amongst those who had their hands in the mud fighting the system for social and political equality. In fact Bernard has done very little in that direction when compared to the Editor of this newspaper, who put his life on the line to fight the system and had to defend and fight many legal battles to stay out of prison, because of his political work.

We would like to remind the Honorable Member for Les Mamelles that he is up to his neck in mud and muck - it has nothing to do with fighting for the interests of the people, democracy, justice or freedom for the Seychellois. Bernard Georges was prepared to play his game with the system to get ahead and stay out of prison because of his illicit activities in his clients’ accounts. What was Bernard Georges doing launching President Michel’s book at State House in 2014 and WHY? The Chief Justice has tons of complaints on her desk about the attorney. We are prepared to accord Bernard Georges a break and not go into his past to humiliate him again. However, the Honorable Gentleman must also realize and accept that he cannot throw stones when he has been living all his life in a glass house.

Independent

Broken Promises by LDS

The 13th month salary for the private sector is being literally killed off by both the Government and the LDS. It is about a year since former President Michel brought in legislation to reward public sector workers for their hard work and devotion with an extra month salary at the end of the year. It was also promised at the time that legislation would be introduced to compensate private sector workers as well. This provided businesses with anticipation time. In six weeks 2016 will come to an end and still no legislation in sight for the private sector workers to benefit from the 13th month salary.

In fact, when the 13th month salary was first spoken about in 2015 both Government and the LDS said that it was their proposal and they fought over who was stealing the idea from each other.

It was kindergarten stuff; little boys fighting over a candy bar or over who should stand at the front of the class. Be it as it may former President Michel ploughed on with introducing legislation to award government workers the 13th month salary, with a promise that same will be done at a later stage for private sector workers. We know that the legislation is ready. Why is it not before the elected representatives?

During the National Assembly election battle the rhetoric was deafening about which party will deliver the 13th month salary, judging by the results of that election the LDS got the upper hand. The workers trusted them more to deliver for the workforce. They have so far “Let Down Seychellois”, in the sense that they have hardly spoken about the inflated cost of living. The ordinary working man/ woman is finding it extremely difficult to put food on the table to feed their family; prices are too high in the shops. The LDS majority in the National Assembly is fighting over creating numerous senseless committees and allegedly accepting ‘cash for motion’ to protect the interest of big businesses and their rich friends. The poor people’s interests have conveniently been placed on the backburner by the LDS majority.

This week the leader of opposition tabled a motion to appeal to STC and other merchants to sell essential commodities at the lowest possible price, too little too late. What about the 13th month salary for private sector workers? Why is it not included in your motion, Honorable Ramkalawan?

This newspaper sincerely believes that it is the private sector workers that generate the wealth of this country through their hard work - it is time to show them some gratitude. It is them that produce the income for the businesses to be able to pay taxes – the same taxpayers’ money that pays for the salary of all government workers and all the National Assembly employees including the MNAs. The National Assembly Members benefits the most (more than any other sectors) out of the hard work of private sector workers, which produce the funds for taxation. Why are they (LDS) not making a case for the private sector workers to be awarded the 13th month salary in 2016 like government employees?? This was a promised made by former President Michel.

The National Assembly Members (MNA) get monthly (SCR 31, 000) remuneration, with duty free cars, a yearly gratuity of SCR 100 000, this is followed by another hefty gratuity at the end of their five year term of office; SCR 1.5m for Honorable Ramkalawan and his counterpart. This is an unfair situation when the ordinary worker has to wait twenty years for a meager gratuity of about twenty thousand rupees or less.

The LDS majority in the National Assembly must fight for the workers of this country, all the workers; private and public sector. Why are they not doing it when it comes to the 13th month salary? Whose interests are they trying to protect?? Is it the interests of big businesses and their rich financial backers?? Are they trying to protect the likes of VCS, P&J, Eden Island Company, Vijay Construction, Cable & Wireless, Airtel, Seybrew, Pilgrims Security, etc……?

These are the questions at this stage of the conversation for the populace to reflect upon. We will have more on the matter next week and in all editions for the rest of the year 2016. After much reflection and soul searching The Independent newspaper is backing the 13th month salary for all the Seychellois workers! They deserve it!


Independent

Friday, 4 November 2016

LDS: Letting Down Seychelles

Paying for the services of a prostitute is not a prudent strategy. As an irrational one-time gesture this can barely be passed off whilst as a strategy it has grave consequences. The results of such an action are emotional satisfaction and financial blunder. Both these results LDS: Letting Down Seychelles were on display this week in the National Assembly.

In the first instance, emotional satisfaction was gained by LDS in the rejection of Dr. Patrick Herminie ministerial appointment on political grounds. It was a victory of grand emotional value but a Pyrrhic victory at most. Which candidate that was presented before the National Assembly can aspire to the professional expertise, qualifications and abilities displayed by Dr. Herminie? Not liking the man is an emotion that should never ever be allowed to cloud any rational argument. This is especially so when the argument is objective and seeks to address issues that have national, regional and international repercussions. Worse still is the fallacious illusion that the candidate’s political beliefs are a threat to the nation. Winning the battle to lose the war is on the cards - LDS will reap the fruits of the seeds of strife it has sown. The bitterness of the same can be seen in the LDS reaction when the rejected Minister, in fact all the rejected Ministers, was given super-Ministerial status: Secretary of State!
The new Secretary of State, Dr Patrick Herminie 

The second issue of financial mismanagement was aired in the manner that the Supplementary Budget of October 2016 was discussed and approved. LDS has time and time again publicly criticised the financial policies of the Executive arm of Government. Also not sparred have been the previous incumbents of the Parti Lepep dominated National Assembly. At a time when financial and fiscal prudence were lauded as campaigning issues by LDS; when given an early opportunity to rise to the occasion they failed. The failure was abysmal and a fresh “banbara” thrown on to the beach on an exceptionally hot day would have performed much better.

Given that the supplementation sought was for expenditure incurred in the 2015 Budget LDS made a significant error. The above appointments and those that they are now crying foul over, would not have gone through had they scrutinised the budget.

Another important fact is that all government finances are open to public scrutiny – by Gaston, Alois and Troukler - our own Tom, Dick and Harry! Scrutiny will commence in the form of the Auditor-General’s report. Given that LDS agreed to the extra expenditure: what happens if the expenditure is not above board?

 Common opinion made following the public debate on the supplementary budget is that it is cheese cake. A very rotten cheese cake that is fit for maggots and vultures. Given that LDS is the majority in the National Assembly they also form the majority feeding on the cheese cake. The supplementary budget was passed by a majority.

It follows on from the above that LDS as the majority that approved the budget will have to burden a larger share of the blame should the supplementary budget not bear up to the scrutiny of the Auditor-General. This shows that the Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) to be chaired by our own gospel-preaching “Kok Plastik” millionaire already has his work cut-out. How will they save face from a situation of their own making?

Chasing prostitutes are some people’s idea of fun but as a lifetime habit it leads to chaos and dereliction. The writing maybe faint but it is on the wall – it hints at failure and Letting Down Seychelles.

Independent


Afif contradicting himself again

The MNA for Anse Etoile, Ahmed Afif, who was once Principal Secretary for Finance, could not let the chance of scrutinizing the ministerial nominees last week, to show how savvy he is on financial and taxation issues.

Quizzing Dr Peter Larose - who has since been appointed Minister of Finance, Afif let out that he is against the new Progressive Income Tax System.

In the past, the opposition, notably the SNP has always advocated such a system and in fact when Government announced the new mechanism, it was quick to scream that “another of their ideas had been stolen”.

Yet, last Wednesday, Ahmed Afif told the National Assembly that the new tax laws would return the country to the old complicated system that the IMF had criticised at the start of the economic reform programme, which was in October 2008.

Afif said that: “The IMF said at the time that our tax system was too complicated and advocated a more equitable system by applying a flat rate of 15% across the board”.

Afif went on: “That made payroll easy and was a much fairer system.”

So that, according to Afif means that the low-income earners of just R5,000 per month should pay the same tax rate of 15% as those earning over R80,000 monthly.

In February this year, the Finance Ministry announced a new system to replace the old one - with a flat rate of 15% - which had been in force since 2010.

Under the new progressive tax system, no tax at all is applied on the first R8, 555.00 -whatever the salary.

A rate of 15% is applied on incomes of between R8555 and R10, 001. Incomes are then taxed progressively higher until R83, 333 monthly when tax is 30%.

However, the progressive tax system does not apply to expatriate workers.

Commenting on the new system, Finance Principal Secretary Patrick Payet said “it is a fair system as workers earning up to R35, 667 monthly will see an increase in the amount of money they take home, after their personal income tax has been deducted”.

Payet said that over 90% of Seychelles workforce will benefit under the new system.

Seychelles’ workforce is presently 46,000, of which 25% is expatriate labour.

Government stands to lose up to R 400 million yearly with the new tax system. Payet said Government plans to offset that by reviewing its process to make them more efficient. It shall also review the Business Tax and Customs Services to ensure the right tax rates are applied.

Independent

The stage is being set for national acrimony

The National Assembly is fast becoming the major source of rancor for the population. Many people who voted for change now doubt their decision. The National Assembly is descending along the path of what could easily be termed a dangerous situation. There is no way to know how it will end!! There is a real possibility for things to get out of control and instead of healing old wounds fresh ones will open up and the healing process stretch over a longer period.

There is no doubt that many many crimes against the people have been committed during the one party era and also several years into the Third Republic – and the truth is that thousands of people in one way or another is responsible for these crimes. So, how are we going to handle this very precarious matter? The way that the National Assembly Members are going about this business is like trying to put out a fire by throwing benzene at it. This will create a most volatile condition.

When the Editor of this newspaper was placed under political detention in 1982 under the orders of former President Rene – Philip Boulle was one of the detainees as well; Mr. James Pillay was the Commissioner of Police – Volcere was taken to his office one morning at around 10.30am, he was already drunk – he was red in the face like a bottle of Johnny Walker. He told Volcere that if it was up to him: “en larivyer disan ti pou koule” (a river of blood will be made to flow) – he pointed to a gun on his desk and said that he will not hesitate to use this gun if he had to…. He also pointed to a red telephone on his desk and said that if he lifted the receiver and make a call all the people involved will disappear.

“Gerard Hoareau, you want to see Gerard Hoareau, you will never see Gerard Hoareau again”, he said. Gerard Hoareau we know was assassinated in London on the orders of Albert Rene. Volcere was finally taken back to his holding cell at the Victoria Police Station and subsequently transferred to the Glacis Police Station for prolong custody.

One evening at around 10pm Bernard Racombo who is now working as driver/bodyguard to former President James Mancham came to fetch Volcere in a police van from the Glacis Police Station – on the way down to Victoria he warned Volcere, who was only 22yrs old at the time that they were waiting for him at the police HQ. When Volcere got there he was taken into an office where Ibrahim Afif and the police chiefs were waiting and Volcere was forced to give an interview to Afif. Part of that interview was broadcast over ‘Radio Sesel” to humiliate Volcere.

The father of Flory Larue was also in the police force at the time. He too persecuted his fair share of people – one of the sons of James Pillay, was also a police officer at the time, he too had his fair share of allegations made against him.

We have recounted this story here to provide a sample of the situation back then. In 2016 Patrick Pillay (brother of James Pillay) is Speaker; Stephan Pillay (son of James Pillay and brother of Jeff Pillay) is the MNA for Au Cap. Ahmed Afif (brother of Ibrahim Afif) is also an opposition MNA – so how do we reconcile this situation? How does Volcere get closure?

Of course the truth must be told, it will help to make sure that these kinds of things never happen again. Volcere is at peace with himself. He is already reconciled with the Pillay(s) and the Afif(s) he considers them to be friends and he is not looking for any compensation or retribution in any manner or form.

Note: The incidents recounted above are only a little fraction of what Volcere had to endure under the SPUP/SPPF/PL regime. He has forgiven them in the spirit of national reconciliation.

Independent

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Is Clifford Andre a honey Badger?

This is a legitimate question under the circumstances - during the interaction of Dr. Peter Larose with the National Assembly this week to talk about his nomination for minister. Clifford Andre singled out the IDC for special attention.

 It must be said that there are many companies, private and public, with overseas bank accounts. However, Clifford went straight to IDC he wanted to know if Dr. Larose would do anything to stop IDC from banking overseas or something to that effect. He could have said Air Seychelles. This is a remarkable situation and it shows clearly the intention of the MNA. Clifford is known for his ‘wheeling and dealing’ when he was a National Assembly Member for Parti Lepep, he was seen walking in town in the company of foreigners from all the corners of the world pushing their agenda aggressively for business and even for passports.

 Clifford Andre was also sanctioned by a judge of the Supreme Court for a fraudulent declaration at the Land Registrar. Clifford Andre should know that being an MNA doesn’t allow him to operate with impunity. We are watching him!!

Independent

Dr. Larose flattens Ahmed Afif

Dr. Peter Larose was before the National Assembly on Wednesday to interact with the Honorable Members to answer questions following his nomination as a cabinet minister. It is common knowledge that Dr. Larose’s forte is in the field of finance and banking. Following a question from Jean-Francois Ferrari Dr. Larose acknowledged that 50 million American dollars was transferred as a grant to the Central Bank for the Seychelles government from the UAE authority. He also stated that this money was transferred back to an account overseas in the name of a local parastatal company. Ahmed Afif decided to press Dr. Larose for specifications in an attempt to play cheap politics.

Dr. Peter Larose reminded Ahmed Afif rightly of the fact that he too was in government at the time and he (Afif) kept quiet about this issue as well. The corrupt nature of Ahmed Afif rose to the surface when he lied to the National Assembly and to nation on Wednesday by stating that he was told that the money had come in as an error and it was being returned. This is the first time that Afif has said this - in fact in the last twelve months Afif has been shouting the loudest about the 50 million dollars when all the time he knew it was an “error”. Ahmed Afif is as corrupt as those he left in government he remained silent over the issue when he was in government to protect his position he couldn’t care less about the national interest. He is only speaking out now because he lost his job and the privileges that is associated with being principal secretary of finance. He is corrupt and he needs to be investigated like all of them for corruption.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind Ahmed Afif that he has never answered the questions this newspaper put before him in previous editions. Ahmed Afif is a fake he has no credibility to ask questions - he needs to show that he is transparent by answering our questions first before we can take him seriously:

(1) Ahmed Afif have you ever lied to the Seselwa when you were Principal Secretary for Finance – when you said many times there were no corruption in government?

(2) Ahmed Afif did you lie when you also helped defend and cover up the loss of 4.5 million dollars intended for the housing project at Perseverance?

 (3) Ahmed Afif can you confirm or deny the allegation that foreign exchange confiscated by the currency police was given to you directly?

(4) Ahmed Afif did you apply for a duty free vehicle, namely a Ford Ranger (s5318) in February 2005 on the basis that you are a handicapped person?

(5) Ahmed Afif can you tell us what you know about the consultancy firm ‘White Oak’, who hired this company and how much was paid to them and for how long?

(6) Mr. Ahmed Afif during your employment with this “corrupt” government have you ever asked a supplier for Health Supplies for a commission of Euro 50,000 saying that it was for your superiors, “pour mes superieurs”?

 (7) Ahmed Afif will you be prepared to appear before the Corruption Commission when it is finally set up?

 (8) Ahmed why did you stay quiet over the 50 million USD and what part if any did you play in allowing it to leave the country?

 (9) Ahmed was it you who authorized the transfer of that money to a branch of the Bank of Baroda in the UK on the request of France Albert Rene?

 (10) Ahmed can you explain under what circumstances that your wife was able to acquire two plots of land from government?

Independent

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Fears over Political Instability

Concerns are growing in the country with regards to long term social, political and economic stability. After the win of the opposition coalition at the National Assembly elections, it was assumed that the political tensions and divisions now sweeping the country would subside. The expectation was that the political leaders call for calm would be respected and that the country would return to normal. But this does not seem to be happening to the worry of many people.

The LDS opposition leaders themselves have chosen to propagate this state of uneasiness by challenging the constitution at a time when political tension is high. Ironically this is the same constitution which they swore to defend and uphold only a week or two ago. They are now insisting that the Vice President cannot take over from the President who has resigned, that is in spite of the fact that the constitution makes provision for such an orderly transition.

The current Vice President was elected on the same ticket as the outgoing President. This in itself gives him a degree of legitimacy as people voted for a joint ticket. In trying to force the hand of the new incoming President, the opposition is playing a dangerous game of attaining executive power at all costs. While they are caught up in the euphoria of victory and the appetite for never ending street protests, they are oblivious to the fact that investors are watching developments with a degree of uneasiness.

The Seychelles has attracted a lot of investments under the Presidency of James Michel as he presided over a stable political environment. The risk of some people now pulling out or freezing their investments is starting to tax the brains of some in the business community. The Seychelles economy is extremely fragile and any sign of political instability inadvertently conveyed to the outside world, could prove disastrous for all of us.

Political instability can have an even greater impact on business and it may make them reluctant to invest in new capital or enter new markets. It may even encourage relocation of activities to a more stable and predictable area as business owners hate risk! Political instability in an area where a firm operates will mean that the firm has to be very flexible and adaptable; ready to change their operations at very short notice to reflect changes in the political environment.

Many of our citizens who have lived in unstable countries are fully aware that political instability causes uncertainty and at its worse complete economic breakdown. Extreme instability leads to poor economic performance, high level of poverty and low standards of living. While the LDS opposition leaders legitimately push their tunnel vision agenda of change, they must not allow themselves to be blinded by the past while reality stares them in the face; they still need to see the woods from the trees. In the pursuit for power under the guise of pursuing a perfect democracy, let us not give rise to a dead economy.

Independent

Two Ticking Time-Bombs

Change for the better is a good thing but Change for the sake of change is alarming. The two main protagonists for change in the National Assembly, Wavel Ramkalawan and Jean-Francois Ferrari are the two most angry and vengeful people in the opposition LDS; they are both former SPUP/SPPF and they both share the same fiery characters; they hate each other. Those two opposition politicians are blinded by their anger and their urge to seek revenge for events that happened many years ago. Both Ramkalawan and Ferrari are prepared to lead this country on the road to destruction in order to achieve their aims. Compromise is not a word that exists in their vocabulary.

Strangely enough, the two of them do not see eye-to-eye on a range of issues and given absolute power, they would be a disaster. Albeit, Ferrari is politically smarter than Ramkalawan and consequently he has a very low opinion of his boss. They have clashed many times in the past and Roger Mancienne has had to intervene and act as referee. Both these two men cannot stand each other but have come together purely to accomplish their mission of revenge. For the last five years, Ferrari did not speak to Wavel Ramkalawan but being the opportunist that he is, he could not afford to miss the political gravy train that was leaving the station. He came back after the first round of the presidential election, when James Michel had failed to win an outright majority. This was the move of a typical opportunist.

Ferrari and Ramkalawan both have their origins in the ruling party as stated above. Jean-Francois Ferrari is the son of Dr. Maxime Ferrari, who was one of the main architects of the coup d’état in 1977 which brought the Rene to power. As the Coup d’état unfolded in the early hours of 5th June, Albert Rene set up his control and command centre at Ferrari’s house. The two did not live too far apart in the secluded hills of San Soucis. That night, the 17 year old Jean-Francois was the tea boy for the two coup masterminds. In a sense he too has blood on his hands.

The next morning, once the coup had succeeded, Jean Francois was seen roaming around in Victoria with other armed men and holding a revolver in his hand. For years he enjoyed the good life and the power as the son of a minister until his father fell out with ex President Albert Rene. It is only then that Jean Francois started complaining about the system. The same system his father had helped to create and propagate. Everything was good as long as he was part of the privileged few and was personally benefitting.

On the other hand it is not known exactly what turned Ramkalawan against the party that he and his family supported. His mother was a head teacher who had been promoted not just because she was a good teacher but also because of her close affiliations with the ruling party. Ramkalawans’ father is the man who welded together the iron statue of ‘Zonm lib’ while Ferraris’ sister Pauline was the one who designed the statue.

Both Ferrari and Ramkalawan were educated by the Christian brotherhood at Seychelles College in the mid to late 1970’s. With the two of them now leading the opposition charge in the National Assembly, there is no doubt that they will aggressively hold the Executive to account. For the leader of the opposition, there is also no doubt that keeping control over Jean Francois Ferrari will be his biggest nightmare. The question is, will they let their volatile temperaments get the better of them or will the oxygen of publicity they now enjoy set off this double ticking time-bomb?..... Tick…tock…tick…… tock…..and on it goes.

Independent

Friday, 7 October 2016

LDS leader quizzed by the authority

An LDS leader was quizzed by the authority over the weekend in regards to involvement in laundering dirty money. This is not the first time that this lawyer has had to answer questions for allege involvement with trying to hide illicit proceeds for alleged drug dealers. The same person is known to have tried to buy a property with drugs money, only, in the recent past.

This is a fresh involvement where vehicles known to belong to people suspected to be dealing in drugs are registered in the lawyer’s name. The authorities have shied away in the past from pursuing the culprit criminally for fear of being accused of political persecution. This is an unfair situation by any standard if it was an ordinary citizen the law enforcement agencies would have jumped on his/her back with both legs, so to speak. It is corruption in the real sense of the word.

It goes to show that we will never get to the bottom of the drug problem in Seychelles – if we cannot deal with the people who are fronting dirty deals for the big fish. The LDS must act to show that they will not tolerate this kind of behavior in the top leadership of the party or will they? We will judge them by their actions!

Independent

Understanding the constitutional status

What does the Constitution say? Article 55(1) – “Where the President dies, resigns or is removed from office, the Vice-President shall assume the office of President for the unexpired term of the President with effect from the death, resignation or removal from office of the President”

James Michel announced his resignation from Office of President on 27 September 2016 to take effect on 16 October 2016. He also announced that Danny Faure will run the country as President for the unexpired term of his presidency.

Article 66 (11) – “Where the Vice-President assumes the office of the President under article 55 (1)

(a) The (new) President shall, with the approval of the National Assembly, appoint a person to be Vice-President;

 (b) The person who at the time is designated Minister shall immediately cease to be designated Minister and the (new) President shall designate a person, who may be the first-mentioned person, for approval by the National Assembly as designated Minister.”

The out-going President cannot dissolve the National Assembly because article 55 (3)(b) specifically removes the power to do so.

Article 66 (11) states: “The President shall, (mandatory) with the approval of the National Assembly…,” which means that the approval of the National Assembly must come before the appointment. So, if the National Assembly does not approve there can be no appointment.

So what happens next? Mr Faure can break the Check Mate situation by.

(1) Appointing as his Vice-President someone from the Opposition who is presently  an MNA, because under article 66A (5) “A person who is a member of the National Assembly or the Judiciary shall upon becoming Vice-President cease to be a member of the National Assembly or Judiciary.”

(2) Appointing as his Vice-President someone from the Opposition who is not an MNA.

(3) Resigning as President to leave the task of organizing fresh presidential polls to the Electoral Commission.

Article 66A (4) says “a candidate at an election for President shall designate a person as the candidate’s Vice-President” and if elected the candidate’s designated vice-presidential candidate becomes Vice-President.

Act 7 of 2000 allows the President to go back to the people for a fresh mandate before the expiration of the presidential term. And holding an election could mean getting around the need for the National Assembly’s approval of his Vice-President.

Except that Article 52A (2) states: “The President may, at any time after the expiration of one year from the commencement of the President’s first or second term of office, by Proclamation published in the Gazette, declare the President’s intention of appealing to the People for a mandate to hold office, by election for a further term.”

This means that even if Danny Faure wanted to call for new elections, the above amendment forbids him from doing so until after the expiration of one year of the Presidential term.

Independent

Cracks in the Opposition

Patrick Pillay has made a good start as Speaker of the National Assembly. In his deliberation during the second sitting of the new assembly, the speaker was gracious to the outgoing president and called for members and the population to show respect for the president. This change of heart has taken many by surprise when compared to the vitriolic he was spitting out before and during the election campaign; there was no love lost between him and President Michel. But things have changed and Speaker Pillay’s LDS coalition has achieved its stated aim of removing James Michel from power. So what now for the opposition coalition? This newspaper have previously pointed out that at no time has Mr. Pillay criticized Vice President Faure. In fact they had kept their channel of communication open in the background.

Now that Danny Faure will be the new President, it would not be surprising to see Mr. Pillay and company either go back to their old SPPF roots or collaborate closely with them. After all they are all good old friends who share the same political philosophy. So far all the signs point to collaboration and possibly re-unification between Pillay and his old SPPF colleagues. This could spell trouble and isolation for Ramkalawan. Pillay and his members are all one big red family who had a little misunderstanding with the head of the family. With Mr. Michel out of the way, this little misunderstanding is now resolved and the family can once again be reunited; all will be forgiven. Pillay and his team have more in common with the SPPF than they do with SNP. Their affiliation with SNP is viewed by many as only a means to an end and that end has now been achieved. They do not believe in Ramkalawan and see him as an impossible person to work with let alone one whose political philosophy they do not share.

It seems that the pawns on this political chessboard are slowly moving in Mr. Faure’s favour with a little help from Ton Pat. As the days go on, it is abundantly clear that Ramkalawan will end up being the loser once again. But, all is not doom and gloom for the Anglican Priest he has his plastic toys to keep him busy when he is not planning on how to destroy people.

Independent

Friday, 23 September 2016

A Vote For No Change!

After the euphoria of the LDS opposition win, now comes the stark reality of running a country. The complexities of political life in this small country of ours just got a little more complex. How do the two parties work together for the benefit of our country and all our people? Now that the celebrations are over, it is slowly sinking in that Parti Lepep is still in power. James Michel is still the President and that LDS in spite of its five seat advantage, got 226 popular votes more than PL. With just over thirty thousand votes each, it is pretty clear that the country is split down the middle and strictly along party lines. What does that mean for the rest of us?

The opposition does not have a big enough majority in the Assembly to effect change without the consent of the President through his power to ‘assent’ Bills. They are not in a position to sanction Ministers or indeed sanction the President. They cannot amend the Constitution. For those knife wielding powers, LDS would have needed a two thirds majority which they failed to get. The President does not have a majority in the Assembly either, to push his Bills through. To implement some of his programs, the President needs the goodwill of the opposition which he is unlikely to get bearing in mind the leaders in the Assembly are all after his scalp.

 However if their support is not forthcoming and if the President deems it serious enough, then he can always bypass the Assembly and seek the views of the voters in a referendum. The million dollar question is will the Executive and the Legislature be willing to compromise or will the historical hatred between those two groups of people come to the fore? The smart money is backing no compromise especially on major issues of which the private sector 13th month salary Bill is bound to be a hot potato for the LDS. This will be followed very soon by the budget. If LDS was thinking of abstaining, they better think again! PL will load a few scattered bombs in that budget which will explode in the opposition faces whichever way they choose to vote or indeed not vote. Damn if you do! Damn if you don’t!!

The other million dollar question doing the rounds is how will the dynamics in the opposition camp work out bearing in mind they are a coalition of four parties who do not trust each other? Will new Speaker Pillay seek to snooker Ramkalawan as revenge for not joining with him to oust Michel in the first round of the presidential election? Ramkalawan is well known for his fiery temper which begs the question as to how long will it take before the two men clash openly and Pillay pulls rank and throws him out of the chamber? It is no secret that Pillay and Ramkalawan despise each other but in the Assembly, the Speaker is Boss and whatever he says, goes!

The speaker has a heavyweight in the wings that he can bring on board to give him support and which may frustrate Ramkalawan even more. If ex-Minister William Herminie is chosen as the new Clerk to the Assembly as it looks increasingly likely, how will Wavel work alongside him? They don’t see eye to eye and Herminie has spoken openly about overthrowing Wavel as leader of the opposition. And how long will it take before Wavel and Jean-Francois clash? Jean-Francois is another loose canon who does not suffer fools gladly and has a low opinion of Wavel.

All in all, the theatre of the National Assembly just got a lot more interesting and Friday night will never be the same again. To add spice to our Fridays, the President has appointed Simon Gill and Basil Hoareau as proportional members for his party. Gill is a through and through political animal trained in Cuba and the nemesis of Ramkalawan. Hoareau is the lawyer who humiliated Ramkalawan in Court once or twice. The stage is set for sparks to fly. The best Reality TV show is coming to our living rooms!

Independent

Stella Afif ("Manzer Koson") the biggest foul mouth!

Stella Afif is now the undisputed Queen of sleaze with one of the biggest foul mouths in the country; not so long ago she wanted to know if former President Rene was in pampers. We just wonder if her sister would have said the same about the former president. Stella has now gone further with her latest insults directed at her brother-in-law and the Islamic faith, the spiritual faith of her husband. This woman has now stepped out too far with her insults and must be reined back before she does more damage with her lousy mouth. She has managed to push JFF, the King of insults, back down in second place a hard feat to attain.

However, Stella Afif is muted on the two pieces of land she bought from government, which this newspaper has been asking her to explain – when government policy only allow for one plot per person, without land. The way in which she executed this fraudulent activity goes to show that the lady a schemer and devious woman.

On the 25th March 1994 parcel No. H3013 (898 sq.m) was transferred in her name for only SR40, 000. It is clearly stated on the transfer document that: The Transferee shall before transferring the property to any other person within the first five years of this Transfer first offer the property for sale to the Transferor.

We have no knowledge if that was the case, but, what we know is that in the same year, in fact barely six months after; on the 28th September 1994, she transferred ½ of that property to her husband; Mr. Ahmed Afif, making him a party to that fraud - And almost twelve months before buying another piece of land from government on 4th August, 2006. She transferred the other ½ to Ahmed Afif. On 27th April 2007 she bought plot number H6296 (2,860sq.m) from government.

So, before Stella goes off to insult another member of her husband’s family or anyone else – she must explain the circumstances surrounding the purchase of the two plots of land from government. It is clear that her husband was also a party to the deception and he too must now offer an explanation on the matter, especially now that he is an elected member of the National Assembly – more than ever before he is accountable to the electorates of Anse Etoile. We will publish their response in the spirit of the people’s right to information; the people who voted for him to be elected.

Ahmed and his wife have been shouting the loudest coming up to the National Assembly election about corruption. This is an opportunity for them to set themselves apart from the corrupt people in government with a simple explanation on the matter.

Independent

Potentially Dangerous and Dodgy People In The Assembly?

The first meeting of the newly elected National Assembly has been called for Tuesday, 27th September 2016; it will begin at 9.00a.m. According to the Constitution the speaker of the former National Assembly remain in office until a new one is elected; Dr. Patrick Herminie will preside over the first sitting, which will see the swearing in of the newly elected members. It will be followed with the election of the new speaker and both the outgoing and the newly elected speaker will address the house, followed by a recess. There is a strong possibility that Patrick Pillay will be elected Speaker of the new National Assembly.

The second sitting will reconvene after an hour at 10 am on the same day - chaired this time by the new Speaker to elect a leader of opposition and a deputy speaker. The leader of government business is appointed by the President this will also be announced. This will set out the first ever parliament in our political history where the opposition holds the majority. It is going to make interesting viewing or listening for that matter, eventually, when they venture in unchartered waters. The electorates will be watching attentively to see if the promises made to get votes will materialise or if it will be a case of deal making between the two sides behind the scene. This newspaper is of the view that this will probably be the case more often than not.

Knowing what we already know about Wavel Ramkalawan and co, we can expect a lot of business being conducted out of sight, in the dark, so to speak. We will be watching!

This National Assembly is full of dodgy people; lawyers who have stolen from  their clients, former Ministers who have abused their position when they were in office – a priest who has ordered sex toys for him to play with - former MNAs who have involved themselves in selling passports and making false declaration to the Land Registrar. In fact it is a mosaic of sleaze and dishonest individuals which the people have trusted to map out the future of our country. They could well surprise us by putting their worldly experiences to good use. However, if they don’t, one thing is for sure they will not get away with it, surely not in 2016.

Independent

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Parti Lepep remains in power, despite LDS win

Despite the LDS win of 19 seats to 14 seats the ruling Parti Lepep remains in power with James Michel as President until their mandate runs out in four years time in 2020.

The LDS victory means however that it will nominate the Speaker of the Assembly, in addition to the Leader of the Opposition. They will be in control of the legislation making body of the country for the next five years.

For LDS to bring about radical changes in the Executive, it is necessary to have a 2/3 majority, in other words at least 23 seats. Even then, it could only vote out a President at a time of acute crisis, or gross wrongdoing by the Presidency which would have to be upheld by the Supreme Court. The Speaker is a crucial post as he or she decides what items, such as proposed legislation, motions and questions will feature on the Assembly’s Order Paper.

Since 1993, when Ramkalawan was the sole member of the United Opposition (UO) party, the Assembly has been meeting once a week, which is on Tuesday.

Wavel Ramkalawan of LDS said during the campaign that if his party wins, the Assembly will meet three full days every week. This was not done even when he was Leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2011. It remains to be seen whether the LDS will fulfill its commitment to the electorate - meeting thrice weekly will leave little time to attend to the electorate who voted them in.

The Parti Lepep has been more realistic in proposing two weekly sessions.

Despite the LDS having more seats, the overall votes tally is about equal for both sides.

Each side scored 49% of the votes, with the remainder going to the Seychelles Patriotic Movement (SPM) and the three independent candidates.

LDS scored rather heavily- 57% at Au Cap with Stephen Pillay, Beau Vallon with John Hoareau and Anse Etoile with Ahmed Afif...

Its traditional bastion of St Louis however went down to 55% or a majority of just over 200 votes.

Parti Lepep repeated its record of 70% with Noline Sophola at Inner Islands, while veteran Charles de Commarmond of Cascade secured a sixth mandate with 62%.

Parti Lepep also easily retained Pointe Larue, Roche Caiman, Grand Anse Mahe and Baie Ste Anne with scores of over 55%.

Independent

LDS - For the People & by the People?

History has shown over and over again that many election campaigns and manifesto pledges with all their promises made by the parties leading politicians have turned out to be downright lies and had been nothing more than gimmicks to win voters. When in power the wishes of the people, what they’re supposed to serve, are mainly ignored.

The general perception these days is that our political system is highly corrupt. Our leaders are pathological liars even when they are Priests, lacking in genuine caring, thoughtfulness and empathy. So are most other politicians, while remaining spineless, weak and like their leaders, too programmed, brainwashed, arrogant and self-centered to see outside of the grand deception.

People voting for the major parties describing it as exercising their so-called ‘democratic right’ while calling abstainers apathetic intending to induce guilt are just plain wrong: Electing one of the major political parties is a way of not only giving your power away, allowing to be governed by fascist tyranny, but also supporting it (knowing or unknowingly). Most big political parties are controlled by rich businessmen who call the shots from the comfort of their armchairs.

As for those abstainers, they cannot be blamed for anything because if nobody turned up to vote then no party could claim ‘tax or draft.’ That is, no one could get in office “by the power vested in them by the people.” Elections continue to reach all-time lows because many consider that voting changes nothing. Less people are turning up to vote during elections because more and more are seeing right through the whole charade.

The only way out of this disempowering fascist dictatorship is to look at the independent candidates. If they are not supporting the major political parties but genuinely willing and conscientiously caring enough to serve wethe-people, the voice on the street for freedom and justice and keep promises, then this is a real solution albeit that our people are yet to get their head around this concept.

A build up of independent candidates may take years, but if the investment in time, effort and risk starts to pay off by getting results then more and more candidates will be encouraged to follow in the footsteps. The window of opportunity for change is here, to create a new paradigm experience using different political approaches from different ideas.

The elections might be over this time but take note that there is another one just around the corner and when this happens, independents will be the way to go. The unholy Union now enjoying a majority in the National Assembly is set on a collision course with the Executive and it is only a matter of time that they fragment if not dissolved by a shrewd calculating President who will get them to shoulder all the responsibility of policy failure and public frustration. Watch this space!

Independent

Friday, 9 September 2016

Not a word from Stella Afif or Ahmed

According to a reliable source from within her circle the wife of the erstwhile PS for finance Ahmed Afif is now a very angry woman following our article exposing her as a cheat. The lady with a big mouth has gone silent on us and has not said one word to explain her acquisition of more than one plot of land from government and/or to explain the manner in which she did it. We are bringing you here the full story on how Mrs. Afif and her husband executed a devious little plan to fool the system or was it all orchestrated with the full collaboration of their friends in government at the time. Be it as it may Stella is known to be the one who is wearing the pants. In fact she is the one leading the campaign at Anse Etoile for a National Assembly seat for Ahmed. Will the electorate be fooled on the 10th of September by her wicked charm?

On the 30th March 1994 Stella bought parcel H3013 from government under her maiden name; later in that same year (28-09-1994) she transferred ½ of that land to Ahmed and on 4th August 2006 the other ½ was transferred to Ahmed and Mr. Afif became the proud owner of parcel H3013, which comprises of 898 Sq. metres of land. We believe that Stella made that move (transfer to Ahmed) in preparation for her deceitful assault on another piece of land from government.

Barely a year after transferring H3013 to Ahmed; on the 27th April 2007 Stella Afif bought again from government; H6296 was transferred in her married name this time of Stella Agnes Afif Didi comprising of 2860 Sq. metres of prime property. We are of the view that both Stella and Ahmed planned and executed this move together with the clear intention to break the rules and to deceive the system This is not the action of an honest person it goes to show that all the shouting and crying that both Ahmed and Stella has been doing over corruption in the last twelve months is hypocritical to say the least. They are both corrupt! They are no different to those in government who have been stealing from this country. They too will have to face the anti-corruption commission when it is finally up and running or will they be protected if LDS wins a majority of seats?

Independent

Monday, 5 September 2016

How many plots of land did Stella Afif buy from government??



Mrs. Afif has been very mischievous – she has been playing a naughty game with Mr. Afif, since 1994, however, maybe not in the sense that you are thinking. They have been swapping more than they should between themselves and now it is out in the open and we are all looking at them stark naked. We are publishing here two titles for two plots of land, which shows that Mrs. Stella has bought two pieces of land from government, when the policy is one plot per person. Maybe there is a good explanation, so we are providing Mr. and Mrs. Didi with an opportunity to provide the public with their version of the story in the name of transparency, accountability and good governance. We will have the full story next week:

Source: Independent










More Questions for Answers for Mr. Afif or maybe for Mrs. Afif too!

As we head into the 2016 Seychelles National Assembly elections an extract from the wikileaks concerning Mr. Afif the Principal Secretary of Finance states:

“In 2006, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance (MOF) explicitly told a USG-funded debt management advisor that GOS would not consider currency devaluation in the immediate future. Furthermore, despite the exasperating effects that overvaluing the rupee had on foreign exchange and GOS’ ability to pay off foreign debt, the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) and MOF Debt Management Team encouraged the USG advisor to focus on domestic debt only…”

The cable from the wikileaks. org describes a situation of chronic corruption within the civil service headed by the Ministry of Finance with the Principal Secretary of Finance at the forefront of managing our finances or as in the case pointed out by the wikileaks cables mismanaging our finances.

It is important to note that Afif wants to go into the National Assembly on the promise to work for the betterment of the condition of Seychelles. On what do we judge Mr. Afif as to whether or not he will keep his promise? If it is from past performance Mr. Afif will surely fall far short of what is required to meet expectations. This is because he is part and parcel of the problem – and by shifting sides he wants us to believe that he is now part of the solution.

An ominous scenario that beckons over the horizon is that the evil gangrene of corruption has made inroads in all the political fabric of our society. By playing across the board (Koup de kote), the corrupt are sure to always be on the winning side. Having sounded the warning remains for us to only see the fruits of the seeds now supposedly being planted.

The basis of the above is that all the anti-corruption legislation produced by the Government of Seychelles had Mr. Afif as the technocrat supervising its drafting. Given his deep involvement in all of the above, how will Mr. Afif proceed to guide Seychelles out of the clutches of the kleptocrats and save his neck at the same time?

Ahmed Afif has so far refused to answer any of our questions, he has remained quiet without any reaction, however, his wife has not been so calm; on several occasions she has attacked  the editor of this newspaper on Facebook. Ahmed is a shrewd guy he knows that we might have something up our sleeves, but the lady is not so clever. She has been barking at the editor senselessly to show that she can bark. Now it is her turn to answer some questions, because she too is corrupt like her husband and we have evidence: Can Stella Agnes Afif Didi nee Morel, please tell us how many pieces of land she has bought from this government? Can she explain under what criteria she bought parcel H3013 on the 10th January 1992 and additionally under what criteria she bought again from that same corrupt government parcel H6296 on the 27TH April 2007? Mrs. Afif we also know of the unethical transactions that took place in regards to parcel H3013 – that is another little story for later. We can safely state that Ahmed and his wife (Stella) were in cahoots with the clear intention to manipulate the system for personal gain.

You see Stella when you live in a glass house you don’t throw stones to someone who fought for your freedom and democratic rights – when you and your husband were enjoying the trappings of this corrupt system, which you were part of and you are still corrupt to the hilt for supporting another corruptive political party (LDS). The editor was doing jail time for you be able to “pil lo li” today in 2016.

Questions that Ahmed Afif  has not answered so far:
(1) Ahmed Afif have you ever lied to the Seselwa when you were Principal Secretary for Finance – when you said many times there were no corruption in government?

 (2) Ahmed Afif did you lie when you also helped defend and cover up the loss of 4.5 million dollars intended for the housing project at Perseverance?

(3) Ahmed Afif can you confirm or deny the allegation that foreign exchange confiscated by the currency police was given to you directly?

 (4) Ahmed Afif did you apply for a duty free vehicle, namely a Ford Ranger (s5318) in February 2005 on the basis that you are a handicapped person?

(5) Ahmed Afif can you tell us what you know about the consultancy firm ‘White Oak’, who hired this company and how much was paid to them and for how long?

 (6) Mr. Ahmed Afif during your employment with this “corrupt” government have you ever asked a supplier for Health Supplies for a commission of Euro 50,000 saying that it was for your superiors, “pour mes superieurs”?

(7) Ahmed Afif will you be prepared to appear before the Corruption Commission when it is finally set up?

 (8) Ahmed why did you stay quiet over the 50 million USD and what part if any did you play in allowing it to leave the country?

 (9) Ahmed was it you who authorized the transfer of that money to a branch of the Bank of Baroda in the UK on the request of France Albert Rene?

Independent