Sunday, May 31, 2009

Seychelles Comedy - State House Anytime Now

Geopolitics and a clean pair of hands

The month of May was crowned by the ‘pop in’ visit of the House of Saudi Prince Al Waleed who stopped over from Mauritius in his big 747 (largest private plane in the world). As he swooped over Praslin to catch a glimpse of the massive hotel project close to our infamous ‘Pti Zil’, the stage is set for the welcoming of the Prince at State House about to receive its largest delegation including some lovely ladies. Natti was on hand to add a dash of colour to the presidential delegation. He puts on a final splash of his favourite eau de cologne, ready for the Royal handshake.

JenPa: Good Morning Sir! We have received news that Prince Talal will be making his way here from Mauritius and would like to call upon you later this evening. Pooh Bear from protocol advised all parties concerned and Dugasse will show up as well.

Mr. President: Very good! This is our most high profile visitor to our little State House. He is accustomed to high luxury but we will give him the Royal Welcome when he visits our humble abode. Make sure we have our First Lady to provide a beaming smile.

JenPa: Sir the Prince will on the way in swing by Praslin to check on his own Kingdom Raffles Hotel development there. We have advised SCAA for clearance. He will also eye a few more spots on the way in to landing in Mahé. This massive 747 swooping by should be a great sight to see, just like Air Force One did over New York city a few weeks ago.

Mr. President: How I would love to catch a ride is this big bird. I gather it is in the Guinness Book of records. He also has a beautiful yacht and a brand new one of 170 meters on the way in 2010. Pretty soon they will be gracing our marinas.

JenPa: Indeed Sir. The ex ‘Nabila’ is a super luxury yacht that used to belong to Khashoggi and was in port on the day of the coup. The Prince also owns a lot of stocks including shares in Citibank and the photocopy company Xerox. He can probably be generous to us and help to bail us out. The Prince will soon make our islands his second home just like Khashoggi wanted to do.

Mr. President: Yes! It was this yacht that relayed the news to Mancham when we took over. Is it a bad omen that we are now dealing with the guy who owns that very same boat? The Prince is a great visionary and believes in the potential of our tourism development. He can contribute massively to keeping us afloat. And if we cannot achieve this we can always borrow one of his yachts and sail to an outer island.

JenPa: He is also a very influential man and has met with several dignitaries across the world. He is well educated and is also strong on the defence of women’s rights. Now that we have a Four Seasons & a Raffles Kingdom Hotel, he might want to go for a Fairmount. He is no doubt a master in the real estate and stock market investments.

Mr. President: At least we have levelled the playing field to have a real Prince compete with our own little home-grown stock. No fat little Savy princes here!  We have been mandated to encourage foreign investment and we are knocking at the right doors JP. Hope that our people in our districts are watching these developments closely. I tried to show that I have a clean pair of hands and now have to live up to it. I will now ask all my cabinet, starting from myself, to be as transparent as a leaf and as clean as possible!

JenPa: This should be the new approach from now on. We have already showed much openness with the meetings and all the other shows on SBC. If we continue to convey this message of coming together, history seems to be coming at a crossroads with the Prince’s attachment to our islands. This is where we should appoint Mancham to be leading these kinds of fanfare.

Mr. President: Yes JP! I don’t need to be reminded that ‘mon pep pe soufer’ and I need to show them that I am sacrificing with them. The Prince has also handled an AK 47 and he knows how difficult it is to work for your people. Why are they not asking if he’s got dirty hands?

JenPa: He is from the highly respected Saudi family and owns a $100m sand-colored palace whose 317 rooms are adorned with 1,500 tons of Italian marble, silk oriental carpets, gold-plated faucets and 250 TV sets. It has four kitchens, for Arabic, Continental and Asian cuisines, and a fifth just for dishing up desserts, run by chefs who can feed 2,000 people on an hour's notice. Their royal highnesses can swim in a lagoon-shaped pool, or catch a film in the 45-seat basement cinema.

Mr. President: You see! And then they want to accuse me for having a small retreat on Desroches that I can use to escape the bombardment of questions from the district meetings occasionally. We are being commended for our reforms and diplomatic overtures. We now need to get the Prince to contribute to a fund that will help keep the pirates at bay so that he can enjoy his sailing trips around our islands in peace.

JenPa: We need a more rapid response and highly sophisticated setup to handle this and I am sure that we can get some nice flying machines such as F-16s and perhaps even a fast yacht to chase them on the waters. I gather that Topaz is a big gas guzzler and we cannot afford trips from Mahé to Praslin costing over 30,000 rupees of burnt fuel. If this is the case, it will be a costly exercise to be at the forefront of this pirates hunt.

Mr. President: You seem to be having too much of Seybrew lately JP! We have secured you will recall, mister Secretary of State, that we already have the Americans back on board (after we kicked them out with their tracking station). In our coup days we wanted to have the Russians now we are back to great cooperation with the Yanks. It is easier for them to cover us from their neighbourhood base of Diego Garcia. Don’t forget… they wanted Aldabra!

JP leaves the president in his thoughts of the coup d’état era which seems to be recurring flashes with him these days…oh, those ghosts of dead opposition people just won’t go away! Oh of course it is close to June 5th. That dreaded anniversary. The President needs to find another excuse not to go through this torture of laying a wreath at the feet of ‘Zom Lib’. Will he or won’t he? Bet you a devalued 500 rupee note that the shameless tralala takes place as usual….

Seychelles Comedy - State House Anytime Now

The unity dilemma & more outflows

Now that we have some pirates in our capture, it is time to see some hard negotiation from Morgan on the hostage issue. It seems that the unity meetings in the districts have taken a disastrous turn. Fingers are being pointed left right and centre. Now comes more of the ‘empty chair’ districts… On the “All the President’s’ men” (special advisers) front, it seems that RAN DOFF will be making off to an international posting in Kenya, while DOC ROFF is also seeking some greener pastures, we are told…

JenPa: Good Morning Sir! May the Jj Spirit be with you! The districts are proving tougher by the day and as Jimmy Cliff sings, ‘There are more, Questions than Answers’…I cannot foresee how we are going to cope with all the fixing and ‘get ladan’ for the forthcoming years.

Mr. President: Indeed JP. We have asked the people to voice their aspirations on the future of our country and they are telling us the truth. Despite us trying to tell them that we are honest and telling the truth, we cannot be believed. I did my show of hands at Port Glaud to try and clear my name and it has now become the talk of the town. But I was part of the Coup and cannot seem to shake this off.

JenPa: Sir, you have spoken. The Jj fever seems to have caught on. I thought we might have caught this H1N1 stuff upon our return from the last trip. I could not help the cramps when Mr. White last visited us…

Mr. President: Yes, I also summoned our good old Doc Roff to act as my personal GP and check on me. He did diagnose a mild form which he labelled “chronic, terminal Jj fever”. He then took off telling me that he has to go check his emails for a job application at UNDP. He is out of here before he catches this fever.

JenPa: Sir I think we are doing a great job at the play acting. Mr. White did have pity on us with this feverish demeanour and we have managed to secure the surveillance deal to better monitor the pirates. I also gather that Ran Doff is taking some sabbatical to land in Kenyan Tuna. He has realised that our shoals are heading closer to where the pirates are and we can appoint him as an informant.

Mr. President: Well JP, at least we have not done too badly on the diplomatic front. Ambassadors seem to put in the good word for our bold and resilient restructuring plan. I liked the delivery of my speech at the Finance conference. The lectern and the teleprompter worked well. I am starting to like this Obama style… I will take your recent advice and be more visible with my wife and family so that I can portray more the family man image.

JenPa: Sir, we should come to some form of compromise on the National Day issue this year. I am a product of the June 77 Revolution and I think that we should look at turning over a new leaf. This is an old era that we have to put behind us and honour Mancham’s pledge to amputate this dead leg.

Mr. President: This is precisely what I have been trying to do. Unfortunately we have committed mistakes and we need that honesty to come out. If we get everyone to sing to this tune (nou bezwen koste) then we will have a fabulous choir that will make our nation proud. It is a great idea to launch a song competition within the Jj Spirit framework. Then we have a song for the movement. Similarly to how we used to do it in the days of the NYS, Young Pioneers etc…

JenPa: Sir, Doc Roff gave “Sir James” a bit of a hiding with his 16 Point document to the National Day Committee. He is advocating that we bury the past and look to the future. It is the future that we have to focus on and who better than someone as experienced as you Sir. You have been in education, information, defence, finance, the longest serving member of the cabinet and can be trusted to chart our future course. We can still seek some steering lessons from Captain Uncle.

Mr. President: We can chart a good course out of these dangerous waters JP. I have total confidence that Danny can take us forward with gusto. He has good training in brain control and has revived the NYS memories. We are on the right track my man. Together with the Jj Spirit we can have a massive force.

JenPa: Sir but the pulse from the districts seem to confirm that the people are being neglected and they are noticing the gap between the haves and the have-nots. We are supposed to be running a clean, transparent government but we have this old ‘revolution’ legacy that keeps tying us down. Able bodied seamen are dropping dead around us like flies. We cannot explain all the mysterious resignations and the Central Bank saga is about to burst its big ‘sosis’ right in our faces.

Mr. President: Yeah JP. These district meetings are really proving to be a nightmare for me. It shows how disjointed and bare my cabinet is. We have no trophies to show and plenty of skeletons that we are trying to hide. Despite the overseas corps patting us on the back, our people have now realised that we have run out of excuses from our bag of tricks.

JenPa: And the inside information I have is that everyone seems to be running their own little side shows. We all know that it will take a good ten years to fix this mess. So the best strategy will be to call early elections and hope that the Jj fever has claimed enough victims for us to scrape through another mandate. Then you do a ‘pass the baton’ dance routine like Ton Albert did. Et voila, no more worries Monsieur le retired Colonel de la Revolution!

Mr. President: Brilliant idea JP. I got the baton in 2004 so I can retire in 2014. So I will not be held accountable for this ‘Stratezi 2017’ experiment anymore. That’s 10 years and two mandates at the ripe old age of 70! I will have my place in history as the longest serving politician. And what a career it has been. From rags to riches! I can then contemplate on my memoire like Obama. I will call it ‘The Audacity of Survival’…

The President opens his left hand drawer and pulls out a brown envelope containing bits and bobs that retrace part of his legacy (old Nation articles, old black & white pictures of the coup d’état gang, a copy of Albert Rene’s book ‘The Torch of Freedom’ etc..) and hands it over to JenPA. This will form the basis of at least the first ten chapters of this manuscript that will surely become a bestseller…


Seychelles NYS, 1980-1998 : R.I.P

The ‘Seychelles Nation’ recently featured two brief separate items, with photos, on the launching of ‘NYS-generation’ association.
At first, I found it slightly amusing! I mean, we are in a democracy, aren’t we? People are free to associate as they wish! In this regard, one needs only wish the new NYS-81 the success they seek, ‘to promote the greater involvement of their members in the economic and civic activities of the country’. Unless of course, this is all just another convenient veil behind which political and financial favours, both foreign and local, can be harvested!

However, it may also be worthwhile to remind us all and in particular, the members of the new association, of the fact that the NYS being celebrated, is to many of the 18 Seychellois generations between 1981-1998, an experience best forgotten, and a blur on the national social and educational landscape!

A national Youth Service is generally one regrouping youths of the country in a program of activities that seeks to promote self-development and some commitment towards the community arising from awareness that the youth develops, of his place and role in the community and the country. 
In styles and types of national Youth Services however, each country went their own ways. The Katimavik of Canada has little to compare to the Green Bombers of Zimbabwe, much less with our own little experience at educational reform.

The Seychelles National Youth Service of 1981 was the brainchild of the 1977-1992 single-party SPPF (Seychelles People’s Progressive Front, 1978) dictatorship to create the “New Seychellois” that the new socialist government sought after its 1977 coup d’etat.
It was the enactment of the socialist revolutionary vision of the time to force a break from Seychellois family tradition and education, and went far beyond the traditional mechanics of curriculum development and assessment that prepares a student for the world of work, and what normal families, communities and civil societies all over the world do to form “responsible, hardworking citizens”. It was no more, no less than a machine for political indoctrination into the socialist revolutionary zeal of the time. Full of patriotic fervour! Rich in slogans! 

One must however, always be careful about slogans that politicians spout.

In Europe of the 1940s, there were a number of camps where people of certain races from different countries were regrouped to “work”. ‘Arbeit Macht Frei" was the slogan that a certain class of German politicians of the time, had prominently placed at the entrances to several of these camps. We are still trying today, to reconcile our collective responsibilities in allowing, by silent acquiescence, the nightmares of such camps to exist.
While none of the four Seychelles National Youth Service camps during the period 1980-1998 had anything to compare with the likes of Auschwitz and Dachau, they were nonetheless places all run on slogans, by educators bent on political indoctrination, with a mission to ‘free’ the future generations from values of the past that the new masters of the land had deemed retrograde and counter-revolutionary. Seychellois families where legally obliged to surrender their children, in their delicate, formative adolescent years, to these camps! 

Lest we forget:

By virtue of the NYS Act 1980, any 16-18-year old Seychellois student who had successfully completed the compulsory 10-year primary and secondary education could “volunteer” for a period of service of two years into the National Youth Service. The successful completion of the 2 years’ of NYS, being an essential condition for admission to post secondary education, (to the exception of other nationals who could show proof of having lived outside the country up to the end of a normal secondary education and who satisfied requirements for acceptance for post-secondary education,) local, home educated students who aimed at higher, post secondary education and training had really no other option but to “volunteer” and spend the two years away from direct family care and influence.

With the NYS, the Seychellois One-Party SPPF State of 1981 declared itself fully, wholly and solely responsible for the social, moral and political education of the country’s youth. 
Education being the desired outcome of teaching and learning, the SPPF took upon itself the mandate to undertake its own, special kind of educational reform.

Students were supposedly to undergo a fully comprehensive education that encompasses all the frontiers of human development, while immersed in real-life situations of living in a community, without what were perceived then as discriminatory social, employment and professional rankings and classes. The new education was to be the necessary cursus, which would sweep away what the revolutionaries considered as the tarnished product of the country’s 200-year social, class-ridden history. From the new education, would emerge the New Seychellois, ready, willing and fervently eager to embrace the new socialist ideology and ride off into each recurring sunrise under the wings of the benevolent SPPF and its leaders!

There were those who found no quarrel with our NYS. Indeed, there were enough foreign experts, politicians, ambassadors and world leaders from Chadli Ben Jehdid, Indira Gandhi to François Mitterand, who all trotted by in praise of this brand of home-grown educational reform and offered their technical support and resources, along with those of international organisations such as the UNESCO. In 1993, even the Former and First President, recently returned from exile, likened the institution to a youth holiday camp! 

Despite the institution being abolished in 1998 and families retrieving their primal responsibilities in the education of their children, there are still many whose nostalgic reminiscence continues to strengthen their belief that the NYS was a bold and noble program! They proudly point to the generations of former NYS students who are now professionals and leaders in private business and in the public service. This, they claim, is proof of the success of their real-life, full-scale social and educational experimentation! 

That maybe their priviledge in a free society. 

It is also a convenient disposal of and accommodation with the fact that the country, like any other, before and after, with or without, the NYS, never failed to produce cohorts of leaders, professionals and everything in between that keeps a country turning efficiently. 

It is a view that comes from looking too much in a mirror!

Maybe it is time that one rubs off the patina that makes the glass a mirror, and look through the glass to see the other sides of the NYS. 

The one where, because of the dissenting political views of their families, the promise of a decent and professional future for hundreds of locally educated young Seychellois of the 1981-1997 generations, were blunted when they were deprived of their legitimate claim to post-secondary education. 

The one where the future of hundreds others, were chewed up by the, however well-intentioned, haphazard social and living conditions in the NYS camps while they were merely going through the normal adolescent pranks, peer learning and self-discovery.

The one where hundreds of families that arose from the shunted NYS generations, remain forever dulled, unable to offer an opportunity for their own children of the new millennium to shine in echo to the new national label of ‘Our children...our Treasure! 

The one where float in our deepest awareness, the skeletons of the millions spent during 17 years of wasted potential, misuse of resources and missed opportunities.

The one where the innocence of youth was violently ripped away under a barrage of fire-arms drills and revolutionary incantations to offer one’s life for the defence of the revolution, the latter when translated, simply turned out to be an invitation to face, AK47 in hand, one’s countrymen who dared to express their dissent towards the socialist ideology and policies of the SPPF! 

The one where after the systematic indoctrination in the merit of the socialist ideology, and in the personality cult of the SPPF party hierarchy, endured by generations after generations, the modern Seychellois, incapable of separating the wheat from the chaff in the climate of contemporary democratic pluralism, reverts to bovine subservience and acquiescence that has already been ingrained in his sub-conscious. What, in 1992, the 2nd former President called “political maturity”!

Any adolescent from any culture may find as a great attraction the opportunity to live for some time away from direct parental authority and care. Notwithstanding, a future sociologist may very well have to undertake a closer analysis of the social impact on modern families arising from the NYS generations, to determine whether or not, and to what extent the current drift in morals and norms may be attributable to the national rebellion against societal norms, morals and codes, so fervent during the period 1978-1987, and which culminated in the NYS experience!

There seems then, to be little tribute to be paid to whomever over the NYS! There was and is no glory to be reaped from the sad experience. It was not for nothing that it was abandoned!. Let it RIP!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Seychelles Comedy - State House Anytime Now

Cementing our African roots

The swearing in of the new South African President Jacob Zuma was an occasion not to be missed. The Seychelles President James Michel wanted to make his presence count at this lavish ceremony so that he could get an opportunity to escape the bashing he is getting in his district meetings and get to rub shoulders with dignitaries from his African roots. He will use the occasion to beg for a few pennies here and there and get the whole continent on board in the hunt for the pirates...

JenPa: Sir the agenda is all set for the inauguration of our friend Zuma but we have been given a back row seat. We have to play out our influence more and try to shake as many hands as possible – forget the swine flu virus for now. It seems that all the kingpin African leaders are around. Gadaffi is also present in his full military regalia. He looks pretty goofy - more like Michael Jackson as the King of Pop! I also note Mugabe and Tsvangirai are part of the feast.

Mr. President: We have to try and meet up with poor old Tsvangirai so that we can get some ideas from him on how to better cajole Wavel into some form of dialogue. We will not get anywhere by talking amongst ourselves. Marylou is already getting on my nerves and I can’t stand her monotonous voice! The pressure is on for us to form a government of national reconstruction. I have to figure something out JP as we are losing support fast. He can surely give us some ideas on how he has engaged with Mugabe. And he has befriended Wavel during the times he was being roughed up. June will soon be upon us and we will open this coup d’état wound all over again.

JenPa: Perhaps we should take a leaf out of Zuma’s book. He has appointed a cabinet that seems to go down well with everyone. He has a team of old friends and foes with a renewed spirit of working together. He is a Zulu man and we need to delve into the Zulu tradition to hopefully find some inspiration. I love this rainbow nation. I am a white Zulu at heart. Just like Johnny Clegg!

Mr. President: Great idea JP. I also find it amazing how he can have three wives at the same time. We need to find ways to incorporate some of these traditions into our laws so that I do not have to sneak around with the girlfriends. This results in cat fights which we cannot afford as it will tarnish my reputation even further. I want to be able to legitimately choose which ones to accompany me on which occasions.

JenPa: You don’t need to worry too much on that front Sir. The little lady at Anse Boileau who strutted her stuff at the last Miss. Seychelles beauty pageant is pretty switched on and does not allow herself to be bullied by Natti. Her little mansion is coming along nicely and she is in seventh heaven. She does not want the limelight and is happy to play second or third fiddle.

Mr. President: Indeed, Natti is in a pretty precarious position. We should try and keep her at bay from State House affairs. She has been a bit depressed lately and luckily she can still maintain her retail therapy sprees overseas to keep her sanity. She loves playing First Lady for all the official functions and cocktails but refuses to take on any serious working role. She prefers to stay in the confines of the Sans Souci mansion with the bambino, despite me giving her the patronage for these charities and an office at Bel Eau. We are not sending a good message out there. Sarah is still more active despite being a retiree. I want her to emulate Michelle Obama but it seems that she is from another lower league.

JenPa: Sir I think we need to have you guys photographed together more often, perhaps more shots of you as the family man with her and the child. You are no longer the eligible bachelor you pretend to be! I do not want to engage in any ‘cancan’ but it has been reported that she has resigned to playing it cool and milk as much as she can. She has now imposed an agenda of shopping trips and will be doing so every three months. She will not let anything go to waste and ensure that her whole family benefits. Even the leftovers from functions and last year’s flowers from Hu Jintao’s visit ended up on Cat Cocos to Praslin. Be careful Sir. Remember what Geva did to Albert too as she knew too much. That is why the Savy boys are still running around like little Princes who own the Kingdom!

Mr. President: We need to keep her entertained JP. If this is her favourite hobby, she needs to be encouraged so that she is kept quiet. She was my first torrid lover after these so many years of sacrifice as a militant. I owe it to her. I cannot be faithful but at least some admiration. She gave me back this youthful vivacity, even if I have to pop a little blue pill here and there to keep her happy if you know what I mean. She understands that as the nation’s president, I have so many responsibilities, so many more families to attend to and the need to spread this vitality around... a bit like Zuma I must say.

JenPa: Zuma is the master! He beats Mugabe by far. We need to extend an invitation for him to visit Seychelles soon so that we can further strengthen our close ties with South Africa. I am sure he will be able to give you a few lessons in good governance. Next year it is World Cup fever there and perhaps we can escape for a few matches – remember that some of the girlies are football crazy and this will be a trip of a lifetime. We can park them around – one in Cape Town, one in Durban and one in Joburg!

Mr. President: Yes JP, I will invite him soon as my guest on Desroches once the presidential villa is completed. He will see for himself that the South Africans are very much at the centre of our development as Glenny has managed to broker good deals with them lately for Desroches, Farquhar, Poivre and Alphonse. As you know, Zuma is one of the main brokers of the deal with the Nigerian government so that we can get all this laundered money pumped into the Pinnacle Ile Aurore project to get it off the ground before the next elections. Now that he is in the driving seat, he can further activate things. He was the key man in brokering the arms deal with the French via Mauritius as you might recall.

JenPa: I had a word with his private secretary and he loves these kind of invitations. It will also allow him a perfect getaway for his escapades where his private jet can land there directly. At least he will be away from the prying eyes of the ever critical SA press. His love for the opposite sex is very well known especially with his famous rape and HIV cases. He did have a shower to clean up though!!

Mr. President: Ooh hee hee ha ha ha! I love your sense of humour JP. But there will be no need for showers on Desroches! He has the wide open ocean to wash everything off. Perhaps you can escort him as a swimming buddy! That will show him our true, great hospitality... We can also round up all these youngsters trying to make a living in Victoria to get the royal Zulu treatment of a lifetime. Maybe he’ll give them a gold bar each for their services and they will all retire. We will then rid ourselves of our prostitution problems...

JenPa: Sir, I have already thought of a solution for this issue. The buzz word to deal with these types of crises is quarantine! Now that we have all these vices infesting our country, we should use the same strategy they have been using with the swine flu virus. We should broker a deal with Glenny and get one island to use for quarantine purposes – the island of the vices. We can promote it like Jamaica with all its gambling, prostitution, weed, candy cane and orgies... An island for the high flyers, rich and famous and definitely an ideal haunt for our great Dr. Zuma... Surely...Seychelles...Another World!

Mr. President: Brilliant idea JP. I am amazed by your powers of creative and lateral thinking. You surely surpass Orderly by far in these spheres. Let’s enjoy this colourful investiture ceremony to take some ideas for my own renewed mandate come 2010. By that time we will be a dependency of South Africa and all their gold and uranium wealth will bail us out of our mountain of debt.Do remember that we also helped them with illegal imported oil in the days of Ricci and the embargo, so they owe us one.

The President makes himself comfortable in his chair to get a better view of the proceedings and eyeing some of the scantily dressed dancers about to engage in a trance Zulu dance performance. It reminds him of the SPPF ladies in their leggings back home. He will ensure that his next swearing in (if all goes according to plan) is also a grandiose affair with a huge popular turnout. Ah, if only I was younger and more virile...I'd show them, just like Boss used to do....

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Seychelles Economics 101 - For Jj and SPPF Communists

Seychelles Economics 101 - Who needs this Government?

Seychelles is a small island nation in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  The holiday season is in full swing, but it is raining so there is not too much happening.

Everyone is heavily in debt and the country is bankrupt as well, and has embarked on an IMF program with a very large begging bowl and a repenting “we are so sorry to bother you” face, as Cuban-trained Danny Freckles, Golum Afifi, Pierre (not the rock but Saint Peter La Door) and the CBS-FEEnans Gang look for more loans to pay off the existing loans taken by Alberto Mangiare Torti Salezon, Jj Wizards, Ser Sang Goblins, Robin Hood aka Mookie, Danny Boy (not the Irish one) and Friar Tuck aka Gros Sosis.

Meanwhile, the Kings, Queens, Princes, Princesses, Maharajas, Ministers and PEE-S's in the Castles, All-Islands-Belong-To-Me Big Boy, Television Moguls and Casino Doctors fly around in their private jets and private helicopters to their private islands, and the previous Lords of the Ring fly off in First-Class seats with suited bodyguards to their Australian, Malaysian, Swiss, Dubai and American retreats!  Oh, how life is sweet as the stashed millions earn interest and grow by the day!  Isn’t the reward for Communism great?

Meanwhile, back to the local struggling economy….

A rich Russian tourist has just arrived in the foyer of a small local hotel.

He asks for a room and puts a crisp Seychelles Rupee SR 500 note on the reception counter, takes a key and goes to inspect the room located up the stairs on the third floor.

The hotel owner takes the banknote in a hurry and rushes to his meat supplier to whom he owes SR 500.

The butcher takes the money and races to his supplier to pay his debt.

The wholesaler rushes to the farmer to pay SR 500 for pigs he purchased some time ago.

The farmer triumphantly gives the SR 500 note to a fisherman he bought fish from the past couple of months.

The fisherman runs to the local prostitute who gave him her services on credit and pays his SR 500 sin debt.

The prostitute goes quickly to the same hotel, as she owed the hotel for her hourly room use to entertain clients and hands over that now dirty SR 500 note.

At that moment, the rich Russian is coming down to reception and informs the hotel owner that the proposed room is unsatisfactory and takes his SR 500 back and departs.

There was no profit or income.  But everyone no longer has any debt and the small townspeople look optimistically towards their future of their respective businesses with no Government interference whatsoever!  Refreshing isn't it?

P.S. Note that there is no Government, Tax Department, Licensing Authority or Jj involvement here!  Now, do we need this Government to help us eke out a living?  Do we need taxes, surcharges and GST on goods and services?  I think the answer is quite clear! This is a simple lesson in Economics and also shows the value of the tourism industry to our small economy!  However, it also shows that we don’t need Government intervention in business!  Do you hear that Jj? 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Seychelles Column - By Christopher Gill

Going, Going, Down Fast!

Seychelles economic situation under President James Michel is going, going, down fast!

All of Michel's projections since being elected to office are as good as trash in the bin.

Toss It!

Toss the Strategy 2017 Book of doubling GDP in 10 years. Only six years left and things do not look very pretty as we reach this milestone. Michel is going to say, everything would have been fine but for this, but that did not happen, this did not happen.

Toss the grand ideas of FDI of $2 Billion that Michel would throw in our face after a meeting with this sheik or that King. Those numbers are gone for Michel's remaining lifetime. As long as Michel remains now, no FDI will come our way since he is tagged with the flight of FDI. He will not reverse this trend.

Toss the oil rig and discovery of oil in Seychelles. The seismic data indicate only one thing, it is deep, deep down somewhere, where we cannot reach it with any reasonable amount of money in the $300 Million range to just start. Furthermore unless oil prices on international market hit over $90.00 and remain, this dream is not viable financially.

Toss the idea of making us all rich with one man at the helm. Michel has misled the people of Seychelles. Worse to be hit are the poorest in terms of access to food and essentials over the coming years. But Business investors are also taking a beating of a lifetime, as Michel's Government drives Seychelles economy in four wheel drive reverse. This is the man SPPF said was competent, capable and would bring continuity to progress. By the time Michel leaves us for retirement, we will be fighting for coconuts. 


In his State of The Nation Address in 2009, Michel said Tourism Revenues will drop to -25% perhaps in 2009. He was wrong. Today, Tourism revenues are registering a -40% decline. As I responded to his SONA, I was on point asserted revenues will be down by at least, he was off base again. Testimony to SPPF why they should learn to listen to the Opposition and clear thinkers of the Country. We do not lap lick your boots, and we tell you like it is. You should get use to this free-minded style of thinking; it is a source of success the world over. 

In February 2009, I asked Michel to come up with an Emergency Plan to save the Tourism Industry. This could have included hard negotiations with the commercial banks to ease profits, cut interest and fees to business and allow reasonable grace period while we go through a severe downturn, reschedule loans, give new loans where needed at fair rates to stimulate the economy if viable ideas and projects surface.

Michel did nothing. No Emergency Plan exists. We are now in a financial emergency. 

Instead he only attacked the banks and alluded to them as profiteering on Seychelles situation. Well, did you speak to them? No! Now as banks move in on hotel properties, Owners, remember well, all that James Michel has done to save your hotel.

SPPF hoteliers took the biggest loans, so they will suffer the hardest under Michel. 

Pirates Infest Seychelles

As pirates infested Seychelles over the last 2 months, what did Michel do all these years to ensure that our territory was safe from pirates? I warned him of the impending threat of pirates in past articles. He ignored the warning. If Michel had listened to this Opposing voice, we would not have hostages today. Today it all sounds so obvious. But it was not so obvious to him one year ago, or two years ago. I sounded the alarm and red signals, he ignored them. People of Seychelles, note that! 

The Coast Guard has only 2 patrol boats. When I called for the diversion of resources from ground troops, Army which is used primarily as security for Rene, this call was ignored. Today, pirates are profiting over you ignoring a common sense appeal.

Now SPPF has to go make friends with India again and beg them for assistance, when not too long ago, when Communist China Leader was visiting Seychelles, you ignored the Indian High Commission and the only requirements you placed with them each year in the form of bursars, was the training of tank battalion officers and snipers, even those requests were always submitted late, SPPF. No requests to train Police either, but today, you call in the Irish, and fire our Police corps.

Fishing Going, Going!

As pirates infest our waters, chase our fishermen, threaten the European Fishing fleet, fishing is going, going and will be soon gone. This industry is -45% and counting SPPF.

What are you doing to turn this trend around? Have you reduced taxes on outboards, yet? Have you reduced taxes on hooks, lines and ropes?  Is it not YOUR SPPF criminal Government who is now profiteering on fishermen with the high fuel and engine oil prices?

In a phrase, my only regret when I bear witness to SPPF incompetence is that they are Seychellois, and SPPF incompetence makes very capable Seychellois look real bad!

Are you still thinking that fishing is our butter and not our bread, SPPF? How many decades did it take to get that piece of bait out of your ears? How much energy was wasted trying to make SPPF understand the value of the fishing industry to our national economy?  How much energy have we wasted trying to teach you the value of a fisherman to the economy SPPF? Do you still want to restrict the fishing of Bourgeois SPPF? Do you still want to export mackerel burgers to Paris, SPPF?

What Plan do you have when you are faced with a situation wherein there is no butter and yes, there is no bread either? Do you have a Plan SPPF?  

Air Seychelles Engine Failure or Fire!

This week on an outbound flight on another reconditioned 767-200 repainted with Air Seychelles logo now called Bijoutier, an engine of the Air Seychelles flight caught fire 20 minutes out of Changi Airport, Singapore. The plane had to return to Singapore with one engine. 137 persons were aboard. It is reported that passengers were frantic inside the cabin as they said their last rights.

How many engines will catch fire SPPF? How many planes will be disabled? How many times will we send another plane to pick up another batch of travelers. La Belle Creole was stranded in Bangkok, Mauritius, Johannesburg last year, what seems to be the problem with these planes that Captain Savy always says, there is nothing wrong with 20 plus year old planes?

Do you really think it is a good idea to use old planes to carry passengers when we are a Tourist destination,SPPF? Do you not think SPPF, for one moment, that you are going over board on the margins of risk analysis and that you are taking and jeopardizing our main income earner, when you allow Captain Savy to take on old planes, that ILFC is trying to get rid of because it does not know what to do with them, since airlines are trading them in for new planes since they have passed their safe use by date?

Is it not a wonder why in this world, would an airline CEO take a plane that is not fuel efficient, when it can take order of more fuel efficient planes? Is cost not a factor for Air Seychelles

I do not know how many times I have asked Captain Savy publicly, to stop using old planes. I ask him again, "stop using old planes"......and stop lying to the public....."nothing was wrong, just the engine did not work in air". Really now! Do we have to question all 137 passengers and post their comments on STAR to see if anything was wrong?

Maybe At Our “Destin” There is Gold

Rene told us in the last Election to make Michel President of Seychelles to "tenir...nou pre pou arrive kot nou destin". Really now. Maybe at our destin there is GOLD, SPPF?

Can SPPF come up with another story for us, aside from the James Michel Story? Surely you guys can do better then that. The finishing does not look very good from what I can see, and we have not even mentioned Lehman Brothers, the Central Bank, or bogus bonds! 

May God Bless All Freedom Loving Seychellois and Our Beloved Seychelles!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Seychelles Comedy - State House Anytime Now

The grand exercise in democracy…or is it demagogy?

The Seychelles President has decided that he has been vested with new powers to give his people a grand exercise in democracy.  He obviously went to the best school in this domain and graduated with honours from a coup d’état, establishing a one-party totalitarian communist regime that muzzled all its citizens for more than 30 years. Today, Michel the demagogue is totally confused. He runs up and down the country conducting a circus that he calls democracy at work. It is more like morons at work, and JenPa is doing his best to mask the frailties of his demented demagogue of a boss…

JenPa: Salvē! Welcome to the Domus Civitas! From now on Sir, we need to start using Latin in our briefings so that we bring things to another level and few people around us can understand our drift. Mihī placet lingua latīna. By the way, we need to appoint a new candidate as Ambassador to the Holy See since Orderly is now out of our realm. An Adam fits the picture perfectly. Cīvitās Vāticāna mīrābilis est!

Mr. President: Nullum multum JenPa! It is more like a Status Quo. This is how we should call my reign at State House. We have maintained stability since I am here and we have done a lot not to upset things, despite some of our key members such as Orderly deserting us. I can confirm that there are cracks appearing in the party walls but we should stand firm where our humble abode is concerned. I have a great young team working for me. Adam and Michel are really up there in the annals of our people’s faith.

JenPa: Indeed Sir. We are the crème de la crème! Young, dynamic and committed to the teeth! We are determined to see the Seychelles University Foundation through before your tenure is over.

Mr. President: I will finally have my degree in hand – the first honorary degree will be mine. My new official picture for the next elections will see me in my graduation garb – satin gown, square hat and of course the certificate in hand.

JenPa: Sir I have arranged to meet with the new Irish experts from the Police Force and they will be here this week for your Private Presidential Questions (PPQs). They have a lot to update you about especially the new developments on the pirates’ dilemma. They reckon that we have too much cops in the force and this needs to be trimmed down.

Mr. President: Indeed, I need to get to the bottom of the incident whereby poor Appoo’s parents’ were attacked and their house raided by the NDEA. They are now traumatised and our protocol man has the shits and did not dare to inform me on this. He was scared he would have his feathers ruffled and that’s why he kept quiet. Luckily Liz took pity on him and brought this to my attention.

JenPa: You see Sir; it is good to have a lot of members on the team. It fosters solidarity. We need to take Natti on some of the district meetings. At least it will add some sparkle among those sad, morose faces we are tagging along. She would have surely turned things around if she came along to Praslin.

Mr. President: We are in the process of completing a grand exercise in democracy JenPa. India is known as one of the largest democracies in the world. But we can claim that we have the most open. Where else can you see gatherings such as the ones we are holding in the districts where we allow people to moan and groan about our frailties as leaders? The good thing is that we let them vent their frustrations and we tell them that we will look into it. At least they can let off steam. This is the best strategy. Get them to let off steam so that the lid does not blow off in our face at the next elections.

JenPa: Sir it is a good thing that we are experts at stage managing these events. Despite all the negativity, SBC has managed to throw a positive light so far. I gather that the Opposition is planning their own meetings in the districts and they might outshine us with their turnout. Remember that more than 50% are staying away. It would have been wiser and braver to invite the opposition supporters to vent their frustration. At least we would have found a way to neutralise them…

Mr. President: I have been told that I am too much of a talker. In fact I sound like a broken record at every meeting. I am paying too much lip service to all these issues raised and I know that most of these problems will never be solved for a long time coming. So the lip service continues. In fact, I had this horrible dream last night that my lips were swollen like I had been stung by ‘mous zonn’ after so much lip service!

JenPa: That’s because you have been mandated to do a lot of cover ups and deflect attention on the real issues that we are facing today. At the time of assuming office you did not realise that you would have to wiggle your way out of those rat holes to protect the rodents that have ran away with the cheese. It is time to try and get some of the stolen money back. You don’t want people to be pointing the finger at you and sticking the corrupt label on your back right? OK, you have a few assets such as your presidential villa on Desroches but these are the trappings that come with the status of a dignified head of state…

Mr. President: I know JP but the bank accounts and the paper trails is what I am starting to get worried about. We have taken too much and we cannot pretend anymore. Only if Albert would have a change of heart and go back to his socialist principles of the early days. Mind you at that time he wanted to take from others to share and now he will have to take from himself and family. I will not be able to heal this country – I have come to the conclusion that the country will always remain divided. The task is beyond me. We need help to go back to the coalition days. We have all squandered too much and we will never be able to repay back. But payback time seems upon us and I will soon retire to my villa on Desroches. At least the South Africans have been good to me and I will be under their protection if all hell breaks loose.

JenPa: Sir you do not need to worry yourself too much. The economic reforms are on track. The haves are not being affected at all. And these are the people who will continue to back us as long as we support them with the privileges. Democracy is about money Mr. President. We have loads of it and no one will be able to give a better lesson in democracy than the one who has the most money!

Mr. President: Well JP, I’ve always believed that democracy works with a stick. Just like when you are trying to train a donkey. If you wield the stick and give the donkey a good beating, then it learns to obey. Our stick has always been the AK 47. It is important to intimidate people. You not only get the respect – no one wants to mess with you – but you get them to fall in line. That’s why we have an exemplary democracy. Everyone accepts what we say and do and there is no chaos. We have perfected the art of a ‘disciplined democracy’. We control everything and everyone looks happy. All the visiting dignitaries see this entire subdued people and believe that all is well. After all, who can best administer democracy than those who took it away? By giving it back, we are the champions of this cause.

JenPa: But Sir, we cannot confuse democracy with demagogy! Freedom is the keystone to democratic principles. Choice is a key element in the fostering of a democratic society. People have to be able to chose which papers to read, which radios to listen to and perhaps an alternative TV station to tune in to...

Mr. President: Our people will never be satisfied. I try to open up to them and they are fearful of my good intentions. I am disgusted to have been part of this revolution that has led us to nowhere except a bankrupt country that I now have to salvage. And on top of it, I am the one mandated to preach about democracy. All I have been used to is dictatorship. One voice - many followers! Too many voices lead to chaos...

I am starting to get fed up of dealing with these local situations JP. I desperately need to open up my mind to the outside world to maintain my sanity. Can you look into the planning of another overseas trip? Perhaps a summit with one of the Somali Pirate Kingpins or Warlord for us to discuss on the trade off between our hostages and the pirate captives we are holding. We will show the world how we are masters of demagogy… or is it what you call diplomacy... no, democracy??

JenPa leaves the President in his wayward thoughts and tries to hatch a plan on how to resolve this hostage vs pirate captives’ dilemma once and for all. Perhaps we can use one of the captured skiffs and head into the sunset towards Somalia to meet up with King Galeeb who is prepared to extend the Somali welcome to the Seychelles high level delegation. A request for a swap between Andromache and a mother ship is high on the agenda as one of the conditions of the release of our captive brothers... But King Galeeb also wants a Presidential Villa on Desroches or another remote island where he can also retire!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Koste Seselwa (Come Together Seychellois)

“....paradise cannot be divided against itself. God did not give us this most beautiful of all countries for us to behave like cats and dogs conditioned by Red, Blue or Green parties which have lost all relevance under the conditions of today. 
Today we must live on our own resources, not on polemics and slogans. Today we must face the truth and the realities and not be manipulators of divisive propaganda.
Through the philosophy of reconciliation we must destroy partisan, political polarisation and bring about a happy and equitable society where Seychellois will think about Seychelles First…….It is therefore important for today’s government to start thinking in this direction if its policy of working together is to be seen as sincere and serious.
Civilisation would be impossible without forgiveness. Life would be nothing but an endless cycle of vengeance, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, until we became a blind and toothless world…..”

This is what the Nation of 9-4-09 printed as a letter from Mr J.R.M Mancham, to share views he expects to elaborate upon before the national ‘Koste Seselwa Committee’

I wholly agree and applaud the Former and First President’s stance, consistent during the past 17 years since his first address on 12th April 1992, after 15 years in exile. 
It also echoes similar positions recently taken by Mr. W. Ramkalawan, the Leader of the Opposition :
“... the leaders of this country need to come forward and acknowledge the wrongs that have brought so much hurt, seek ways to heal and from there we shall be able to live as a nation in unity. Too many hearts are still bleeding. There will never be peace as long as we have a nation with too many unsolved issues……. The other side of unity is indeed reconciliation. At a time when Mr. Michel is calling for the people to come together in those difficult times, is it not also the time for him to show initiative and lead by example? Should he not, together with the other leaders of this country for the last 32 years put finality to those issues? Is this not the way forward?.....” (Rebuilding Seychelles, SNP Leader's Message, 27-02-09) 

Sadly, as with other similar past initiatives, this new call will likely fall on deaf ears. 

For Mr. Mancham’s part, this will be simply because he is known to be from the Blue corner and the Reds in power have never shown the least inclination to seriously seek and work for National Unity other than in speeches that sound nice but that the wind has a nasty habit of ripping and carrying away until the next speech.

Fact is, after 32 years of holding the reins of power herding our 80K souls, the Reds just went and simply erased from memory, their own denunciations of not being given a fair chance at charting the way of the nation when they represented 46% of popular vote after the last pre-1976 winner-takes-all election.

The 1976 version of ‘Koste Seselwa’ was the platform that contributed to facilitating their forceful 1977 power take-over. 

‘Chat chaudé craint l’eau froide’. 

Despite the shift of forces in the local political arena and the systematic brainwashing by the incumbent Red Government since 1977, we remain deeply and enduringly split, along the lines of partisan politics. The Reds who used to be a big 46% minority are now the small majority (58.8% in 1993, 65.3% in 1998, 54.2% in 2002, 53.04% in 2004 and 56.2% in 2007.) The others, who were the small majority, are now the big minority, and the ones who clamour for the consideration they are deprived of.

Just as cats refrain from dipping in water, so do the Reds disdain power sharing. They are therefore most unlikely to revisit any form of government of National Unity, despite the calls they often regurgitated over the years, whenever it made good politics to be thus seen and heard. 
A serious ‘Koste Seselwa’ call suggests that all children of the land is invited and welcome to come together and each take his rightful place in the task of nation-building.
It carries with it the unequivocal condition that when we come together, we do so with the trust that national interest is what we are all working for. We must not be expected to put aside our individual differences of politics or religion but recognise that these, and other differences, must bow before the greater importance and interest of our country. 
It accepts that while we go about the business of nation building, we can each permit ourselves to express dissent and objections over the course we follow, as we may find cause to, and as is perfectly admissible in a democratic society. Dissent is healthy. With Objection, it contributes to keep our focus on consensus on what is best for the country. "Nobody has a monopoly on ideas", as the President J.A.Michel, said so himself. 

The Reds have shown that they will never grasp this concept. They seem to find dissent and objection as redolent of the ghosts of dissatisfaction, power hunger and subversive overthrow plots, as they were in 1977. Coming together today is synonymous with rallying behind the one position that finds favour in their eyes. Theirs! 

The current ‘Koste Seselwa’ drive seems therefore to be another slogan behind which they will, once again seek to manoeuvre, trying to stir patriotism and harness popular support. It is light-years away from a serious quest for National Unity, of the short-lived type the country basked under, from June 1976 to May 1977.

Let me hope I am wrong!