Saturday, 27 August 2016

LDS candidates who live away from their districts

Now that Nomination Day has passed, it is interesting to note that most LDS candidates do not reside in the districts where they stand for election.

Unlike the other parties, notably Parti Lepep and the Seychelles Patriotic Movement (SPM) where most candidates are of proximity, LDS candidates live well away from the electoral areas they wish to represent in the National Assembly.

Thus, we have Wavel Ramkalawan, living at St Louis since he got involved in politics in 1992, standing at LDS candidates who live away from their districts English River; Sandy Arissol of BelOmbre standing at St Louis; Nicolas Prea of La Misere standing at Belombre; Patrick Pillay, who lives in his seaside villa at Port Launay, running for Anse Boileau; Wavel Woodcock from Beau Vallon, going for Grand Anse Praslin; Gervais Henrie, also of Beau Vallon, for Mont Buxton. Jean-Francois Ferrari resides at Au Cap, yet stands for Mont Fleuri. Nicolas Prea has since 2002 been elected twice for Belombre. Yet, he chooses to reside at La Misere. It would have been understandable had he owned the La Misere house. As it is, he is merely renting it. So why not rent one at Belombre and be at the side of his constituents?

The fact that LDS live as far away from their constituents as possible is presumably explained by the fact that they do not wish to get bothered by voters wishing to bring their problems or other issues to their attention at their door steps. They want to enjoy life to the utmost and not be bothered by people who have problems, expecting them to sort it out.

 They want the fat salary at the end of the month, but not the work that goes with it or to face the responsibility that comes with being an MNA.


“Help Clifford win, but you get nothing” says Ramkalawan

Long time SNP activist at Anse Aux Pins Danny Sopha (pictured), who has been dropped in favour of former SPPF MNA Clifford Andre, said he has had enough and is standing as an independent candidate.

Sopha, who is also chairman of the Seychelles Artists Federation, stood twice for SNP – in the 2002 and 2007 elections - and came close to winning.

“I have lived at Anse Aux Pins for over 20 years and struggled for SNP, and now I am being overlooked to please an outsider”, he told one journalist.

He had in the past never been offered a proportional seat, but was given a part-time telephonist job instead, as if he was a little beggar.

Outsiders like Gervais Andre came in from nowhere and was given a proportional seat on a golden platter. Apparently, though he knew since June that he was being dropped, Sopha was prepared to remain quiet and not to rock the boat. But one incident was to have a profound impact on him and change his way of thinking dramatically. That was when he was called to the office by Wavel Ramkalawan and told he must work with Clifford Andre and help him win.”

In the private conversation at Arpent Vert, Ramkalawan offered Sopha nothing, as if he does not matter either as a long time supporter or human being.

Sopha said that during both rounds of the presidential election, he campaigned hard for SNP. On two occasions, he was arrested by the police and detained at the district police station for being too vociferous.

The first time was when he reported a group of suspected PL activists giving money and the second time was after the vote count of the second round. He was among only two party agents - the other was Cascade who refused to sign the account sheet after the results were compiled.

Sopha was also a witness at the election petition case. All the while, Clifford Andre did nothing - absolutely nothing.

Sopha, who has stated several exhibitions, is well considered within the artistic community. He is also popular at Anse Aux Pins, where he has resided for over two decades.

The LDS is now scared of Sopha and has already applied pressure on Lucas Georges, another independent to back down after he had already paid his deposit of R1, 500 at the Electoral Commission.


Loizeau, A Bird With No Wings!

NP’s Big Daddy Norbert Loizeau, who was elected at Bel Air in 2007 after campaigning with the full backing of outgoing MNA Alain St Ange, now wants him out as a minister.

Loizeau, the biggest flower pot in the Assembly from 2007- 2011, is standing again and has sworn that if LDS gets a majority he shall press to have St Ange given the boot.

That is typical SNP mentality, always biting the hand that fed them!

 Until 2007, Big Loizeau was a mere lightsman at SBC television. He was not even a cameramen in SBC’s filming team.

 His entire demeanour points to a poorly educated man. He can hardly speak anything sensible.

 What he does not realize is that he owes his post to St Ange. In 2007, Alain St Ange, who had served since 2002, was appointed Hotel Manager of Denis Island Lodge, owned by his sister-in-law Kathleen Mason. Subsequently, he felt he could not stand again for Bel Air for SNP and he told Ramkalawan so.

However, this put Ramkalawan and SNP in a predicament. Who else to field to retain Bel Air?

At a meeting of the party’s executive, Ramkalawan said: “Somebody should persuade Alain to stand and win Bel Air for us. Then he can go back to his island”.

This is an insult to both the people of Bel Air and St Ange himself.

It means getting Bel Air voters to back a candidate who shall not live among them. To St Ange, it meant he is disrespecting  the people of Bel Air by deceiving them.

St Ange refused to take up the offer, sticking to his principles.

 Later, Loizeau, who resides in the area, was proposed and accepted. St Ange accepted to do door-to-door with him and that was shown in the PPBs on SBC broadcast then.

Loizeau was elected by 80 votes against Wills Agricole of SPPF.

 Previously, SNP, largely thanks to St Ange,had captured the seat by over 200 votes.

 Loizeau shall now be standing against Richard Mathiot of Parti Lepep amongst other candidates. Mathiot, a Food and Beverage manager is popular among the youths of the district.

 He shall cause Big Loizeau to lose quite a few of the extra kilos on his portly frame.

 Last December the combined opposition, now called LDS, won by 137. So the race promises to be very close- all the more so as Loizeau is such a weak candidate.


Saturday, 13 August 2016

Pillay’s land deals under scrutiny once more

After several articles had been written about Patrick Pillay’s questionable land deals with the Government while he was an SPPF minister for 16 years, he, apparently under pressure from supporters, tried to explain them. But, Pillay has landed himself in a bigger mess trying to justify his corrupted actions.

He only succeeded in justifying the swap of land at Pointe Au Sel for Fairview. And even that was not very convincing. He also said he recently purchased a property at Morne Blanc for his son. That is correct. He paid over R1 million from an ex-British guy, Loveth Annacoura.

Pillay writes that he exchanged, in 1997, two plots at Pointe Au Sel, totaling 5.5 acres for land of more or less similar size at Port Launay. It was Parcel J1364, one of Seychelles most pristine locations- comprising of a massive plot of 4-5 acres of the Morne Seychellois National Park. He also had sole access to a very secluded beach.

On this particular plot he built a villa, almost on the beach, now hidden by a high wall running the entire length of the property on the seaside bordering at Port Launay.

In 1998 he added two more – plots J1702 and J 3391 - which he now says was for his son. He only paid R231, 000, that is peanuts, considering that land on prime beachfront such as Port Launay, Beau Vallon, Cote D’or, etc. sells for a premium; over several million rupees or dollars for that matter.

In 2004, Pillay sought to commercially develop the Port Launay property for tourism purposes on J1702. This would have multiplied the value of the property by tenfold. It was rumoured that the site had attracted the attention of an Arab investor.The application was rejected on the basis that it was a reserve for the “Zwazo Linet”.

It also emerged that Pillay had defaulted on paying his lease charges and that he was considerably in arrears. He had breached his investment agreement with SIB, his lease agreement with Government. Above all, he was displaying blatant greed by trying to commercially exploit a sensitively important habitat in the area for personal enrichment.To date; Pillay has opted to say nothing about the details of the swap for the Fairview property. That was for a house at Pointe Au Sel; for which he obtained over R700, 000. In return he purchased a house at Fairview, which is prime real estate for just over R300, 000 and went on to sell this property for 1.8 million.

And after the opposition weekly newspaper, “Regar”, wrote about “a good deal for Minister Pillay”, he sued the paper for R600, 000. He obtained R500, 000. In the process, Regar was obliged to close down for a few months.

In 1995, Pillay requested more land from Government. Only this time, it was agricultural land at Montagne Posee- plots C3849 and C3850 - on a long lease.

After obtaining the lease, Pillay sought permission to build a 3-bedroom house on the site overlooking the sea, which also has good mountain views.

Soon after building the house, he developed a farm called “Farm Breeze”. As if that was not enough, Pillay just wanted more government land and later annexed two more plots - C4758 and C 3851 - at the expense of the previous lessee.

In 2004, it was plot C5690- over 18,000 sq. metres of land - that was taken. It was obvious that he was just not developing, but amassing as much land as he could for speculative purposes.

In 2010, while serving as High Commissioner in London, Pillay tried to sell the entire farm to a Belgian national, having obtained a 60-year lease on the original two plots. It is alleged that the sale price was under-declared and the purchaser built him a house as part payment in such a way as to minimize the stamp duty (sales tax). In other words, Pillay had been use to having his own way in everything.

During the LDS public rally at Anse Boileau on Sunday Patrick Pillay tried but failed to justify his actions as far as the land deals were concerned. He said that he never bought land from government, but leased for commercial purposes. This is Ton Pat lying and playing with words to try fool his own supporters. However, he sold on the lease of the same properties to foreigners and made millions. Ton Pat is a liar as much as he is corrupt. He left PL only because he lost his privileges and for nothing else. This man doesn’t care for the people of Seychelles; otherwise, he would have spoken out ages ago against the abuses of this government. Why did he stay silent for all these years? This is the question for Ton Pat to answer.

We know that Pat Pillay has not taken the Government’s refusal not to use part of the Port Launay property for tourism purposes and for re-sale to an Arab buyer, lightly. He is out to destroy James Michel because of that- a man he had pledged his loyalty to on many occasions.That was in 2004, when Michel took over the Presidency from President Rene; in 2009 when he stepped down as Minister and publicly acknowledged that he told Michel he was “available for any service he might be needed”, and again in 2011, when he launched Michel’s autobiography “Distant Horizons, MyReflections”.

Pillay is now so full of hatred that he has turned out worse than Ramkalawan- if that is at all possible.

Prior to his decision to break away from Michel, Pillay had driven to town and attempted to park at the back of the police headquarters and also behind Victoria House. When he found all the parking taken up, he rang State House, requesting permission to park there. This was refused by the official he spoke to. He swore that he would take revenge for that. Pat Pillay is bitter like Albert Rene, which forced Rene to overthrow Mancham; Pat Pillay is hell bent on destroying James Michel and the country along with Michel if that what it takes. The electorates must be mindful of that situation!!


Norbert Loizeau to sack Minister St. Ange

At the LDS rally recently at Roche Caimen the former SNP MNA for Bel Air commonly known in the district as “flower pot” was given the microphone to say a few words. Norbert is not known for his vocal ability or articulation, hence the nickname “flower pot”. In the five years that he was in the National Assembly he barely spoke – he would have starved if he was being paid according to the number of words he spoke. In fact the few words that he did manage to say were written for him by someone else – even then he struggled to communicate his message. We would have thought that the LDS could put forward someone better to stand at Bel Air with more ability than the “flower pot”. This choice of candidate is the worse insult LDS could have thrown at the electorate in the district of Bel Air. We hope the voters in the district of Bel Air will respond in the same manner.

However, the “flower pot” had a few harsh words for the minister of tourism, Mr. Alain St. Ange. According to the big flower he is not like Alain, he has stuck to his guns and has remained an SNP, of course he has, and with little to no ability where else can our potty plant go? He is exactly the kind of guy that Wavel wants around him a ‘flower pot’ cannot challenge Wavel for the leadership of the party. Norbert didn’t stop there he went further, much further, he said that he will be elected to the National Assembly again and that the LDS will also win a majority of seats. “We will use our majority in the assembly to sack ministers like Alain St. Ange”, he said. This is a dangerous proposition coming from a man of few words – he could well have overheard a conversation between his leaders and repeating what he heard thinking it to be a smart thing to just sack ministers for revenge or for the sheer fun of it.

We agree wholeheartedly with the potty plant that there are a few ministers who should retire from active ministerial duties; however, Alain St. Ange is not one of them. Minister St. Ange has excelled beyond expectation his hard work and dedication have helped greatly to make Seychelles visible as one of the most sought after destination. What has Norbert Loizeau got to show apart from a fat bank account for the five years that he was a Member of the National Assembly?? Nothing!      


Anse Aux Pins is an electoral bellwether

The East Mahe district of Anse Aux Pins has long been viewed as an electoral bellwether in that it always votes for the winner at elections. Will it be so again this time?

At last Sunday’s regional meeting at Anse Aux Pins, President James Michel called it the cradle of the SPUP/SPPF.

According to him, Anse Aux Pins will once again remain faithful to the party and vote for the Parti Lepep candidate, Vicky Van Westhuizen (formerly Theresine).

 What is sure is that there is a plethora of candidates in that constituency.

 LDS is fielding its Secretary Clifford Andre, like Mrs. Van Weshuizen, he has long lived outside the district, before moving in with his in-laws.

The other candidates are Sandra Sultan of the newly formed Seychelles Patriotic Movement (SPM), Dave Jeanne from the party led by Martin Aglae, until recently called Linyon Sanzman. They are both rather newcomers to the political arena.

 According to reliable information, there are also two independents that will contest the Anse Aux Pins parliamentary election. One is the artist Danny Sopha, who has stood for two previous elections for Ramkalawan’s SNP and has now been dumped in a humiliating manner in favour of Clifford Andre; who is regarded by most at Anse Aux Pins as a corrupted lawyer, according to Danny Faure it took him seven years to be called to the local Bar. Apparently he struggled with his examinations.

Sopha was initially telling people, including our journalist that he was feeling very hurt and bitter, but was unwilling to do anything against the party. It appears that he has since changed his mind, especially now that SNP will no longer be a bandwagon for a long time.

Another independent is cyclist Lucas Georges, who like Sopha is not new. He stood as independent in 2012, after the resignation of Jowla Manoo of Parti Lepep over a sex film scandal.

At the time, Georges was backed by SNP, whose activists campaigned for him all over Anse Aux Pins. His score was 650 votes or about 30%. Will he be able to replicate the exploit, now that the SNP turned LDS is contesting the election?


Why did Wavel not join with Pat Pillay For the first round of the 2015 presidential election??

We have finally located the frying pan that Wavel said its wooden handle was getting too hot. This was just after the 2006 presidential election when he had lost yet another election and he had gone to State House to connive with SPPF\PL to provide the National Assembly members with a rise of more than 100% in salary with other benefits. It is important to state that Wavel instructed all SNP National Assembly members at the time to vote in favour of the national budget, which followed in 2007 containing the increment. This was the first and only time that Wavel and co had voted in favour of the budget.  Wavel has since played all kinds of political games until the exorbitant benefit in terms of pension before retirement age provided to him and the others were pulled earlier this year. This move by President Michel has incensed Ramkalawan to the extent that he is now easily comparable to a mad dog.

The electorates are starting to doubt the loyalty of Ramkalawan when it comes to removing Parti Lepep from power – many are of the view that Wavel could be throwing the elections. Political observers are still questioning the motives behind Wavel Ramkalawan’s decision not to join with Patrick Pillay in the first round of the 2015 presidential election. If he had - James Michel would have been out of office.

However, now that Wavel is happily tucked in the LDS bed with Ton Pat he needs to come clean and tell his supporters at least, what stopped him from doing the same thing in the first round of the 2015 presidential election. He must also explain the buying of a jeep for cash (SCR450, 000) from an Air Seychelles pilot, just after the second round of the Presidential election, where did the money come from; apparently the money was delivered in two plastic bags! Wavel must also provide a public statement to explain why he is still refusing to pay, as ordered by the court the money that is owed to his sister and brother. At the start of the year Wavel had to appear before the court to answer to a case brought against him by his siblings, because he had abused his position as executor of the family estate. He transferred the family house in his name for a declared sum of only fifty thousand rupees; the house was worth at least 1.2million rupees. He had also mismanaged funds in the bank account. These are legitimate questions that Wavel must address before the National Assembly election if he wants people to vote for his new political party (LDS), which is being fronted for him by his longtime friend and political ally, Mr. Roger Mancienne, who is also his business partner in the printing trade. 

Source: Independent

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Who has taken the 12 Million Rupees?

No one is admitting at this stage to have taken the 12 million plus rupees to sell the
presidential election to Parti Lepep. However, after a political broadcast recently
on SBC, two candidates in particular have been jumping up and down and the
other three have kept silent over the matter of 12 million rupees. In order to get
to the bottom of this allegation we are appealing to the Electoral Commission to start
an investigation on political funding for the last presidential election, especially.
This newspaper will provide some information that can help with the investigation.

It is clear that some leaders have come into money, big money during the
presidential election of December 2015; a few of them have bought news
cars just after the election for themselves and the people around them. An
investigation by the Electoral Commissioner is the only way forward. The
people need to know the truth in this matter. It is now common knowledge
that Seychelles politics has been turned into a very lucrative business by some
and the people’s interest has been pushed aside, completely!!!


Both Pillay and Ramkalawan are jumping up and down!!

Ramkalawan and Pillay have issued a joint statement calling on SPM leader
Regis Francourt to come up with evidence of them having received R12 million
from a prominent construction company late last year. This is a strange development
because the accusation was not directed to any of the candidates in particular; in fact
it was aimed towards five persons. Three of the candidates have just ignored the
comment made by the SPM Leader during a press conference at the Chilli Bar.

However, the two who have been shouted the most about other people taking
money to work for PL it seems are most offended by his statement. Pillay
and Ramkalawan should be the first ones to back up their allegations with
evidence, considering they are hurting not just one or two people but several.
Regis Francourt stated what was already in the public domain as far as money
taken not to unite the opposition against James Michel in the first round of the
presidential election. This newspaper has been very vocal on this issue for the last
six months.

At the press conference to launch his party recently, Francourt was only answering
a question about political party funding, which brought up the issue. And he said that
about a dozen companies in Seychelles fund most parties at election time. Though
the ruling party gets the lion’s share - at least half of the cake, the rest is also divided
among other political movements. He said that new parties getsome, even though
 this constitutes “crumbs” compared to what the main parties receive.

Source: Independent

Is LDS another Dictatorship?

The current brutal election campaign has sparked life into this semi autocracy
which we call a democracy. In doing so, it has also given us the voters the
opportunity to unmasked all the political parties. While voters know all there is to
know about the ruling Parti Lepep (PL), they are now learning about the alternative
which on paper seems to be the (LDS). What do we know about the LDS and how
scared should we be?

LDS is mainly an unholy alliance of the Seychelles National Party (SNP) and the
Seychellois Alliance (LS) of Patrick Pillay. They hastily came together in round
two of the Presidential elections with the sole intention of toppling James Michel.
Statistics show that they could have won the December elections if they had agreed
to unite in round one but strangely they could not come to an agreement. It is known
that privately, all the leaders of LDS dislike each other.

We have since learnt that one opposition leader accepted a bribe of twelve million
rupees or more to ensure that the union did not happen in round one thus doing a
favour to the ruling party. These allegations seem to have pricked the conscience
of two of the LDS leaders. Although their names or theirparties’ names were never
mentioned, they were quick to react which raises suspicions and gives weight to the
old adage of ‘who the cap fits, let them wear it’.

One question that people are asking about the LDS is, do they really believe in
democracy or do they have a different interpretation of democracy? This question
has arisen in view of the behaviour of their paid activists on social media who tends
to abuse anyone who has a different political opinion than them. It is known that
some of their leaders, using fake profiles, are also writing derogatory comments
to shoot down anyone who disagrees with them, and to attack their opponents.

The print media associated with LDS has also been merciless in attacking other
opposition parties and denigrating their candidates and leaders but leaving the
ruling party alone. It seems that their new ‘bĂȘte noir’ are other opposition parties who
have dared register to participate in the democratic process. They have taken to
deliberately tarnishing the reputation of their opponents for political gains instead
of putting their program forward for voters to digest.

The ferocity of the LDS attacks on people who hold different views has taken
the countryby shock and creating confusion for the electorate. What the LDS
negative approach is doing is shining a positive light on Albert Rene who ruled with an
iron fist for more than twenty seven years.

LDS seems to be starting their dictatorship while in opposition by not recognizing
multi-party democracy and trampling on our freedom of expression rights. It seems
that if anyone disagrees with them, you are automatically labeled as an enemy. This
attitude is a stark reminder of the bad old days of the SPPF. Is this really the change
we seek and the change we struggled for? Is this party really a Democratic Union or
more like a Dictatorship in the making?

With this level of animosity and negativity that LDS press and leaders are displaying,
we should all worry about the retribution that they will dish out if ever they are in a
position of authority. It is already known that Ramkalawan is a Priest with a heart
full of revenge. Pillay himself has let it be known that he has a few scores to settle
with a few people. God help us if LDS ever comes to power with Wavel
in charge!

This newspaper will do all it can to stop Ramkalawan – it is safe to say that he
present a menace to society. Don’t allow Wavel to “Pil Lo Sesel”!

Source: Independent