Friday, August 28, 2009

Press Release from President James R. Mancham - Seychelles


It is announced from Glacis-sur-Mer that Former President James R. Mancham yesterday 27th August launched his autobiography “Seychelles Global Citizen” at a special reception at Labourdonnais Hotel in Port Louis, Mauritius. The reception was attended by several leading personalities representing politics, diplomacy, civil society, business community and representatives of the media in Mauritius.

Mr Mancham said that as a global citizen he is organizing to launch his book in various world capitals – Pretoria, London, Washington DC and Berlin over the next few weeks with a launching in Seychelles planned for Saturday 12th September when his wife, writing under a professional name of Catherine Olsen will also launch her new novel “Sweet Seduction and the Third Mermaid” which is an intriguing fiction story evolving and revolving within Seychelles.

The Former President said that he had chosen to do the first launching in Mauritius because he was sure that within Mauritius democratic environment, his autobiography would attract a high level of media attention. This has in fact proved to be the case. Last night MBC TV news carried considerable coverage in their Creole, French, Hindi and English program whilst several national radio networks have broadcast several interviews. This morning Friday 28th Le Matinal which is today’s Mauritius most popular morning paper carries a full half page article under the bold title of “Sir James Mancham, l’autobiographie d’une vie…”

Following the launching ceremony Former President Mancham discussed world affairs with the Mauritius Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Arvind Boolell and later met with Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Navin Ramgoolam at his office in Port Louis. In his capacity as a special advisor to the Board of Directors of the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin, Former President Mancham invited Prime Minister Ramgoolam to deliver a keynote address in Berlin in November 2009 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the breakdown of the Berlin Wall.

Last night Mr Mancham was a special guest of the South African Ambassador to Mauritius and Seychelles H.E Dumi Madumane Matabanet at a special dinner he was hosting on the occasion of the annual meeting of the Mauritius Writers Association.

This morning (Friday 28th) Mr Mancham visited the Apollo Bramwell Hospital, a multi-million US dollar project which was recently opened and brought to this part of the world most modern and sophisticated medical facilities in the world today. The project was built under the directorship of Dr. Miodrag Todorovic who was for several years a leading surgeon in Seychelles. Mr Mancham was welcomed on his arrival at the hospital by Mr Bertrand Rassool (a former Seychelles High Commissioner in London) who is actually Vice-President of the British American Investment Group which substantially financed the hospital project besides being one of the leading business concerns in Mauritius and Southern Africa.

This evening Former President Mancham will be the guest of the Chinese Business Chamber on the occasion of their President Dinner 2009 which will be held under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Mauritius Sir Anerood Jugnauth.

Mr Mancham is expected back in Seychelles from Mauritius on Saturday.

28th August 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Seychelles Column - By Christopher Gill

IMF says it is up to the People of Seychelles to find out about the missing US$ 2.4 Billion

During the IMF and Ministry Finance of Seychelles press conference, it was easy to miss a critical point that has a material bearing on all our lives, if one was not playing close attention.

The casual switching of languages on the part of the Minister of Finance made the interview more dubious.

When a domestic rodent is cornered on one side of your kitchen, it will usually try to scamper about and make for another corner, hoping you will think it is in the first corner, hence trick you into his survival.

Brief History of Missing $2.4 Billion

The missing $2.4 Billion has had a dubious history itself. Here are some notes for the Fake History author Shillington.

When this figure was announced in closed public meetings by the IMF last year, the SPPF tried to bury the figure and hide it from the Public. I wrote numerous articles on this missing US$2.4 Billion.

The Weekly and the Regar wrote numerous articles as well. Businessmen in our community went into a state of shock when they tried to count that money, as they wondered how on God’s earth, could Seychelles produce so much revenue and not have it banked into our economy. Some businessmen thought they were the richest in Seychelles, only to then come to understand, they had been outsmarted by some heavy weights of world standard.

As word spread throughout the land from the airport, to the taxi stand, to the pig style and chicken farms down to the beaches on La Digue and the bakka clubs in the hills of North and South Mahé, that this money ($2.4 Billion) was in fact missing in our system, everyone placed the blame on the shoulders of SPPF and the ruling elite. After all , the money simply vanished under their watch.

Minister Danny Faure led the parade to defend this malfeasance. President Michel took refuge behind the gates of State House, but prepared for a march on it, as he increased security there by installing Chinese CCTV cameras, that we paid Pound Sterling for, but they do not always seem to be able to work. He added more special forces to the State House gates as well. But most of all, he was banking on poor leadership in the Opposition camp to protect him.

Division in the Opposition breeds his survival in spite of being inept.

Minister Danny Faure took the battle to defend and stamp out the missing $2.4 Billion to the National Assembly. It was a moment that being trained and educated in Political Science in Cuba would pay off for him, as he egg beat the SNP brains into believing that the money belonged to offshore companies that were registered in Seychelles. The silver-tongued Minister Faure came out of the mess as a SPPF superstar.

SNP was either paid to shut up or they were in fact intellectually numbed by our Minister of Finance. Faure has the ability to hypnotize the Opposition in the National Assembly. It is a tool he will rely on to try and become President. The sooner, the better, for him at least.

The SNP said little in reply and the battle was taken to the press by Weekly and Nouveau Seychelles Weekly, and also via the popular internet blog STAR (Seychelles Truth Accountability Reality).

Leo the Turtle would stick his head out once in a while and mention the missing $2.4 Billion but never took the issue as critical.

When President Michel was confronted with the issue in a district meeting at Pointe Larue, he deferred the question and ordered Minister Faure, to dish out the explanation once and for all.

Faure ran over his off-shore company story that started to look like a Jack and Jill nursery rhyme. Faure would say that money $2.4 Billion exist and the IMF did in fact mention it. He says it represents money registered from clearing houses in Switzerland but the money belongs to offshore companies.

No subsequent questions were permitted and that is why perhaps the brain power of the nation does not attend these public fiascos. They remind us of the Bay of Pigs, and represent a complete slaughter of SPPF and it is ugly for a sitting President to live through. It does nothing to maintain respect for the structures of State. Ministers, Principal Secretary’s, Director Generals, Yes-Men, SPPF District Administrators and JJ Pioneers; all piled into the district halls with body guards and Police, taking up all the available seats possible. The charade is all theirs, and the play would make Shakespeare turn in his grave.

Wake Up To Missing $2.4 Billion

People of Seychelles, we must wake up to this missing $2.4 Billion. This money represents the money that was stolen from us over the many years of corruption in Seychelles, under the leadership of France Albert Rene and James Michel. Why do I say that? Simple. Read on. Next paragraph, please!

People of Seychelles, not once, did Minister Danny Faure or James Alix Michel, as caretakers of our benevolent interest, which is vested with all encumbrances, and multilateral obligations, externally, and all subsequent domestic obligations since June 5th 1977, call for a forensic audit of this missing $2.4 Billion from our banking system and accounts. Not once have they said, they will look into it, investigate, trace the funds, to determine the point of origin and conclude if these funds were not derived from corrupt practice in government, parastatal entities or protected business interests that operate under the colour of state protection.

In fact, in one National Assembly meeting, wherein the SNP were tempted to ask about the missing $2.4 Billion (thank you Honorable Ferrari as you are sometimes a light in a dark tunnel), the Minister of Finance, trained in Cuba, told us, “ in the next IMF-meeting in May, I will take it upon myself to publically ask Mr. Mathieu to clear up this matter once and for all and we can bury it”.

The May consultations came and left, and Mr. Faure did not publically bring up the subject to Mr. Mathieu. As usual, a promise buried in the sand. Ostrich steak anyone?

The IMF have now re-confirmed that this missing $2.4 Billion does indeed exist. IMF says that it originates from Citizens of Seychelles. But they also said, “it was up to the People of Seychelles themselves to do something about it”. Mr. Mathieu said that it is not IMF mandate to handle this matter. This is a very diplomatic way of saying throw the buggers in jail if you have the courage to do so. If not, the IMF will continue to deal with whoever is in power since its mandate is to deal with the failed state, and not with political parties let alone the country’s non-existant judiciary or the ineffective Police and Criminal Investigation Departments of Seychelles.

The Missing $2.4 Billion Issue Says One Thing Critical

It shows that the leading Opposition party (SNP) does not have all the answers, and it shows clearly why we must all work together to rid Seychelles of the SPPF scourge. It we do not, then the scourge will remain and the culprits who stole our country’s money will continue to enjoy their ill-gotten gains (or “aki” as Michel continues to echo in all his boring speeches).

It shows that a little light burning bright can provide sufficient light in a dark room.

Why? Because I was the person who sent hundreds of emails out announcing the money was missing from our accounts, when everyone else remained silent and some stood in disbelief and even became overcome by fear. As I sent out hundreds of emails in Seychelles and the world over, the news spread like a wild fire. SPPF would be cornered indefinitely on this issue, and no matter what deals are cut to keep the issue silent, it will always roar! Give Back The Missing $2.4 Billion SPPF!

The issue also shows how the internet is changing how we deal with issues. As Bloomberg sounded in and Reuters looked on, Forbes magazine tuned in, and Seychelles mismanagement by SPPF became common knowledge the world over. Perhaps that is why they changed their names. I wonder what they will be called next year? How about the “Ghost Party” so that they can disappear into thin air?

A Solemn Appeal To Our Leadership

Having said that, it is for the sake of our Country, that I today, publically ask Honourable Wavel Ramkalawan, the Leader of The Opposition, to act now and to present a plan for a united opposition to remove SPPF from power. When we take our country back through peaceful means at the ballot box, we can go after the $2.4 Billion, recover it or what’s left of it, pay off our debts, and start rebuilding a successful nation that we can all be proud off. The alternative is to live another 3 decades of failure under a corrupt SPPF regime who since the 5th June 1977, the saddest day in our short history, have pilfered and ruined our beautiful nation while destroying every democratic institution we had in the country.

History will remember us, but only if we take the time to create it. The seeds of destruction was planted by Albert Rene and James Michel, and have grown out of control just like the creepers that are taking over our once beautiful forests. Let us dig those roots out and start planting the news seeds of democracy today. For we never have the time we think we have.... as we go about our human ways!

SPPF, give back the missing US$ 2.4 Billion. The World is watching, and the citizens of Seychelles are already restless and watching your every move. Trust me when I say history will soon catch up with you!

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

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Seychelles Column - By Christopher Gill

The Mess Takes On A New Dimension

Since James Michel has taken over the presidency from France Albert Rene, we have seen a lot dancing about the issues facing Seychelles. It’s time to double check the double steps in this communist inspired dance routine. Elections will be coming soon and we do not want to miss a step. We also do not want the Opposition to start believing they are in a state of emotional depression when they should not be. At this time, the Opposition needs to focus and focus hard, on a successful transition.

The Back Drop Prop

You will recall the early days of 2006, when Francis ChangLeng then Governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles, would dominate our TV screens and SBC would allow him to say what he pleased to manipulate the Public’s impression of what our economic situation was really like. Mr. ChangLeng defended the strong Seychelles Rupee, he said our debts were sustainable, and told us to hand in all our hard currency and furthermore, Government had everything under control.

One domino friend said he ran State House and Michel took orders from him. Michel dare not touch him, for he is untouchable.

When President Michel came back from visiting the Pope at the Vatican, he announced to us that he was happy to say all our debts had been paid. Only soon after, we learned that he had in fact taken out more loans in the form of risky bonds which later his own Government would default upon in 2008. Mr. Chang Leng of course was behind the BOND Loans in conspiracy with defunct Lehman Brothers financial house. The Bonds were unsustainable, and anyone with half a wit could tell you that.

The Blame Game Man

At the peak of the fuel crisis as oil soared to US$ 147 per barrel, President Michel blamed those high prices for the downward economic trend Seychelles had taken. Today, as the price of oil has dropped by more then 100%, he now blames the world financial crisis for our woes.

Another excuse for an ongoing problem, without ever addressing the real problems of corruption and mismanagement in the Seychelles economy.

It is important to highlight these points, because we now see a pattern being developed under the Michel Administration. It is in fact an administration that has not performed its obligations to its people, nor to its creditors. In the end, as the Michel Administration fails in its mandate, the Nation as well as the people suffer.

Instead of accepting responsibility, the Michel Administration has been engulfed in a full time effort of passing the begging bowl as if a person was being buried but funds were lacking to purchase a coffin.

We are under IMF management. All key controls have been removed from the Administration. No real plan is in place. When international organizations arrive to our shores and seek accountability, the Administration acts as if it is helpless and does not know what it is doing. They ask for advisors and assistance. To round off the stage act. They pocket the assistance, and send the advisors home sooner than later, before they find out too much.

Drop The Plan, Now No Plan

The Strategy 2017 has been dropped and no one says anything about it anymore. This was Michel Administration plan to double our GDP in 10 years and make all Seychellois rich. In the plan there were dreams of US$ 4 Billion FDI, oil exploration, with discovery any day, opportunities were everywhere for every Seychellois. Now with no plan, there is no GDP, Seychellois are not rich except for the few, the rich gets richer, the poor gets poorer, our children, brothers and sisters are falling victim to hard drugs, left unfettered for 32 years. Today, over 10,000 addicts and soon-to-be-addicts walk our streets and fill our prisons. Prostitution is rife in the streets of Victoria as young girls sell their bodies to pay for their next heroin fix. A massive indication of failure on part of the Michel Administration. Six (6) addict patients are in rehab at Mont Royale when we need facilities for 6000 patients.

Reach High While You Drop

To hide this grave failure, Michel Administration under advice of his young wise Secretary of State, Jean Paul Adam, has reached high for the skies while they drop to the deep abyss like dead weight. Here are the charades one by one.

University of Seychelles

All is not lost. An idealistic non-starter up and going like the Seychelles University concept, which we now know is long distance courses applied locally through University of Seychelles network. With Cable and Wireless charges for downloading, and a slow unreliable internet connectivity, it remains to be seen how this program will pan out. Additional shortfalls include course limitations and professorial pool. Money will always be a problem, in a country that has a worse credit rating in the world. There is no such thing as a cheap education. The cheaper it is in the short term, the more expensive it becomes in the long run. Seychelles has already been put on notice through the Commonwealth of milling degree operations in existence in Seychelles. Ask Minister Sham-Laye. The Commonwealth cornered him on that little detail in a conference. He had little to say.

Realistically, a university to serve Seychelles micro population will be difficult to maintain. After all there are university systems in the world that have the same amount of students or more, than our entire population. For example, University of California system, which ranks amongst the best in the world is one such institution. Why not just send our students there SPUP Parti Lepep? They might get too smart for the system I suppose! Or I guess Cuba, North Korea, USSR and China are now out of the question!

Young Leaders Program

Another non starter in the background has been the Young Leaders Program. This program takes people with a university degree and trains them to be leaders. That is an oxymoron in and of itself.

If you can earn a university degree, you are already on your way to achieving leadership qualities. The remaining ingredients are integrity, fortitude, courage, determination, resilience and of course, you cannot be a “Yes Man” or “Yes Woman” to be a leader. If you have integrity, you would not join a program that psycho-analyzes you as a pre-condition to entry. You would think you would be assessed prior to graduation to see if you are in fact a “leader”. Theory is all good and well, but reality and the practical tests of life will not be replaced by it. You need both to excel, and you need both in a real way, not served in a glass box for one (1) year while big brother SPUP looks over your shoulders.

No wonder everything you have tried to do or tie together over the years have resulted in catastrophic social failure. Now you even have to change your name to LePep to go on existing. Does not take a University Degree or a Young Leader to figure that out!

Don’t Forget The Talent Show and Certificate

To keep the non leaders occupied and entertained, the Michel Administration came up with the Jj Spirit Foundation talent show contest. By the Foundation staging a talent show, it closed off talent from the opposition to participate. No one said anything about that. It is sad. What is even more sad, is that Michel did profess to be the “President for all Seychellois” after returning to office, but his talent show was born out of a political foundation which supports himself. If anything, this exercise only suffocates talent in the country. It is pitiful indeed, especially when participants are handed a certificate of participation in this purely political event. And with Jj Foundation forms on the reception desks of all Ministries in the country, I guess Michel still does not understand the Constitution and separation of powers. Public buildings does not belong to you Mr. Michel. It belongs to the people of Seychelles to serve the public. Putting your Jj foundation papers in Government offices is illegal and can only be seen as “CHEAP AND DIRTY POLITICS”!

What About The Depression of 2009

As the blame game has played itself out, JJ Spirit has given us some little projects to occupy our minds with, our economy went into a state of DEPRESSION according to IMF by registering below minus 10% performance in early 2009.

Michel did not go on SBC to announce this to the people of Seychelles to declare we must now call on all countrymen to rise, sacrifice to help Seychelles through this difficult time. He remained silent on the DEPRESSION status.

Instead, he called on us to help with the REFORM, whatever that is. I only recall the word REFORM coming up after we went officially BANKRUPT, as declared overseas, and never accepted by SPUP, SPPF, Parti Lepip, so he is still unclear about this reform program.

Perhaps he is referring to the IMF Reform, or giving Chang Leng a fat pension and retirement golden parachute (millions of rupees as a parting gift) and not prosecuting him. This is his reform, but we are still Bankrupt and our debts are still unsustainable until 2022 at best according to not me, but the IMF. Meanwhile Chang Leng has gone quiet and not a word from Attorney General, Michel let alone the Police Department. Reminds me of Mukesh going into retirement with not much as a parting speech to remind us of the FIASCOS called SMB, MERP, Coetivy Prawn Farm, Orchid Farm and all the other farms and programs from the great architect firm called “Rene, Valabhji and Michel Bankruptcy Limited”!

There Is Progress In The Depression

There is progress in this period of economic depression in Seychelles. All is not lost. Recently, Paul Mathieu of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that the IMF programs in Seychelles were beginning to show signs of success, albeit painful. He adjusted the projected growth this year to be -9% instead of -11%. He commended this as a great success, and highlighted this improvement on the successes of the Tourism Industry.

Ironically, the Tourism Industry has just been given a free hand to run itself without the Michel Administration interfering in it. A standard that is worldwide in modern open economies, but took Seychelles the time it takes to build a world, by man, to accomplish. Imagine how far we would be today if we were on the right track 32 years ago and left on it?

Now that the Tourism Industry is on the right track, perhaps, Michel and his cohorts will consider getting the rest of Seychelles on the right track. After all, 32 years on the wrong track can take you down a long and dirty road, you can bankrupt you as well. But apart from organizing activities like Jj Foundation and talent contests to distract us, my advice is for them to step aside and just let the country run itself or at least have the decency to retire and enjoy their “aki” that they have acquired over the past 32 years in power. After all, it seems that the country runs better without SPPF-LePep interference. Surely the 32 years of being on the wrong track is proof enough!

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

Saturday, August 22, 2009

United States back in Seychelles - Beware of old Communists!


James Michel, the President of Seychelles who came into power with a Kalashnikov (aka AK47) assault rifle in hand, has now endorsed the setting up of a mini-base in Seychelles for US troops to carry out air surveillance with P-3 Orion aircrafts as well as “unmanned aerial vehicles” (DRONES) to patrol the Western Indian Ocean.

According to the US Commander of the US Africa Command General William Ward, this move is to “enhance Seychelles maritime safety and security” and to work in joint efforts with the Seychelles to “counter the threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean and the region”. After President Bill Clinton foolishly abandoned Somalia nearly 2 decades ago, it sure took the USA long enough to decide that it was time to play Big Brother once again in this part of the world. Nevertheless, I guess this is a welcome sign and shows that Obama is committed to “saving” his African brothers and to bring some semblance of peace to the region.

But while the people of Seychelles will rejoice that the Americans are back to our shores, one cannot believe the irony behind this strategic move. Let history recall that this is the same James Alix Michel, who together with ex-Seychelles President Albert Rene, overthrew the legally elected pro-USA Government of James Mancham in a bloody coup in 1977, and sided with communist regimes of the former Soviet Union (USSR), North Korea and Cuba during the Cold War era. This is the same pre-facelift James Alix Michel who carried slogans of “Yankees Go Home” and marched in the streets of Victoria shouting that the Americans who were stationed at the Seychelles US Tracking Station should leave Seychelles.

Quite a turn around for a Communist lover turned Capitalist who now wears Armani suits and Gucci shoes! Maybe Michel now understands the true value of the US Dollar, having amassed a small fortune himself during 32 years in power. Just like his predecessor Albert Rene who now owns millions in properties in Seychelles, Australia and elsewhere, let alone all their cronies who have helped the illegal SPPF party remain in power during 32 years of terror in those once peaceful islands.

As a patriotic Seychellois, I would warn the USA to be vigilant and to be extremely careful of the Michel Government. Just remember that Michel loves the Chinese more than the USA. Leopards do not change their spots and this Michel SPPF-aka LEPEP Government is still controlled by the nearly senile bitter old communist dictator Albert Rene. These two have never believed in true democracy for their people, and have used terror to manipulate and keep their population at bay. Thousands have fled their country in fear of their lives. These 2 monsters do not believe in freedom of the press. They do not believe in freedom of expression. They control the state media and continue to manipulate the news for their own benefits. Voter fraud is synonymous with their regime and they have lorded over the country and ruled with fear and intimidation for over 3 decades. They cannot relinquish power because if another party ever wins the Presidential election, they will be tried not only for treason, but for corruption and the disappearance of billions of dollars from the state coffers, as well as the death and disappearance of many Seychelles citizens who were brutally murdered under their watch. The people of Seychelles still live in terror today and victimization is still the order of the day under this oppressive SPPF-Lepep regime.

President Obama has called for African leaders to stop oppressing their people and to stop stealing state assets and abusing their power. Therefore, I would ask the US State Department to pay careful attention and stop being blind to the injustices of our country. The veil must be lifted and there should no longer be double standards on the part of the Americans. While US interests in the region is important, so are the wishes of the Seychellois people who by the way are extremely pro-American and would love nothing more than to see the end of the Rene and Michel regime. So I would ask the US State Department to look closely under the covers, and to realize that well over US$ 2 BILLION have been siphoned off by Rene, Michel and their SPPF cohorts during their 30 plus reign of terror and pilfering. And do not forget the state properties that have been acquired illegally and handed over to themselves and their accomplices.

James Michel, Albert Rene and their SPPF party will never be true friends of the United States. They will only play the game now because they have pilfered and let Seychelles into bankruptcy while filling their own foreign bank accounts. Now that IMF has been called in, the begging bowl has come out and all of a sudden, Michel and Albert are the two biggest proponents of democracy and good governance.

We the people of Seychelles are not fooled by these two Castro lovers, and the shame they have brought onto our country will go down in the annals of our short modern history which they continue to try and rewrite so that it portrays them in good light. But history does not lie and let this be a warning to the Americans. Keep those two old leopards on a short lease just in case they try to bite the hand that feeds them! And while their hands are tied, press them for democratic reforms. Ask them to allow new radio stations without exorbitant licenses, and ask them to ban the one-sided state media which they use on a daily basis to brainwash the people of Seychelles.

In summary, force them to repent and pay for their sins of 32 years and for telling you (the Yankees) to go home! At the same time, make sure that the Chinese and Indian intelligence agencies are not listening to your “Yankee” covert conversations! Because in the end, they will always be two despotic, communist tyrants!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Seychelles Cooking Competition Cartoon

Jj Seychelles Cooking Competion - Open only to members of the Jj Foundation and Brainless SPPF-LEPEP Chefs!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Youth of The Nation

As a Young Seychellois I have been guilty of enjoying a gently hedonistic and perpetually relaxed mentality. Two traits which are amply manifested on a daily basis in the home country and unequivocally define a true Seychellois!

However, in recent months, I have become curious of the true definition of a Seychellois. That is to ask, ‘What and why is the Republic of Seychelles as it is today?’

My curiosity led me through a long, but always entertaining, read of our history from the speculative snippets of the 18th century up to modern day Seychelles. The voyage was riddled with myriad emotional reactions on my part.

Intrigue from the tales of piracy and treasure;

Comedic splendor from Queau de Quincy’ stylish diplomacy;

Pride at our resistance to the British authority which attempted to mould our identity to their liking and ideals;

Contempt for the said authority;

Insulted at the fact that foreign African states meddled in our struggle for independence.

One striking observation made was the constant praise and wonderment of various authors through the years, at the Spirit of the Seychellois people.

Ever resourceful, always smiling and eternally ready to sate their carnal desires!

Having said this; what has happened? I look around and I can only assume that the Seychellois’ heart has hardened…

Resourcefulness has been replaced by dole hand-outs such as ‘means-testing’. A smile is rare. The carnal desires are now sated under Independence House for a price.

It is interesting to note that these historical accounts stop after 1976. Still, I realized that a massive gap in my own history existed in my mind, for the period shortly after WWI to 1976. From 1977 onward, any young Seychellois can regurgitate the events of the Coup d’Etat, mercenaries, mutiny and Mancham’s return along with multi-party elections.

A more sinister question now poses itself; “Vae Victis?”

Why is it that we are not taught about the bombing of Seychelles Club? Or the bombings preceding the arrival of the Queen?

Why are we not told of the role played by the OAU, whilst SDP and SPUP were still fledgling parties?

Why are we not told of the actions of politicians of the time and their role in our history? Why do we not learn about the works of Mr. David Joubert and obviously, Mr. James Mancham?

It seems that most of our history is whatever the present politicians claim on television, during their relatively well publicized retirement!

Make no mistake, I am not in support or disapproval of any political party, past or present. I am simply a citizen with a message to his fellow citizens;

“Let us lift the dark pall of ignorance off our eyes. Let us find out what really happened in our modern history. Let us learn from it; more importantly let us fix our Nation.

One need not read history books to see the situation is dire. In fact, one need not even be in the Seychelles to realize this since international media agencies have been releasing grim reports in print and audio-visual format.

Much noise is made about missing funds, misappropriated funds, victimization, explosively increasing costs of living, the scourge of hard drugs to mention a few.

Yet, it seems these are all symptoms and not the actual ‘pathogen’.

The fact is;

Seychelles has no food security. With rising international demand for food, this is frightening at the very least.

Reckless and ill-conceived government control on the market and industry has caused a Black Market to flourish. At the very least this represents money which could have been taxed and re-circulated through the system.

A lack of education, in general, about the value of work, industry and entrepreneurship. Also, the lack of support for small business in terms of commercial, economic and financial expertise. This is crucial for a nation which has essentially not yet reached its ‘Industrial Revolution’.

A crippling trade deficit which has always existed since the time of the French colonists still exists today! Why has our ‘modern’ government of the past 40 odd years still not solved this issue?

As I pen these few words, I cannot but feel that Seychelles has, for the better part of the past 40 years, stagnated; somehow ‘arrested in development’. Hardy as ever, the Seychellois simply adapted.

Perhaps this ability to quietly make-do has been mistaken as political apathy of the electorate, by the leaders of Seychelles. I think not. I believe that Seychelles has been severely disappointed and let down by her leaders, both in power and in opposition. The power wielders go about their business with little or no regard on poor, sub-par, outdated policies and the widespread personal poverty which is clearly emerging among the people. The opposition first appeared with childish, angry rhetoric for change. It seems that 18 years down the line, no-one is bothered to even question the government anymore or even present a willing, alternate Presidential Candidate.

Shame and disappointment, I say.

But Man can often shine the best of Humanity when the night is darkest. This is why I implore you, my brethren, look at each other in the eye and discuss amongst yourselves; ‘What do WE want?

More empty government promises? The only thing we can count on there is cheap beer every five years!

More of these weak, fickle politicians who contradict themselves in useless, irrelevant rhetoric, in government and the opposition?

Rest assured Seychellois, the 21st Century has knocked on our door and our leaders have failed to open. Instead, they slap band-aid solutions on obsolete systems and policies which should by all rights be discarded and re-worked to better suit our situation today.

At least give us Hope! Donn nou en lespwar!

A Nation without hope for a future is in fact a Failed State. In modern times we have seen this in Somalia and Afghanistan.

Is that hat we want for Our Nation? To become a hotbed and breeding ground for obscenely wealthy rogues, criminals, pirates and terrorists?

As ludicrous as it may sound, the regions of the world today which play host to these undesirable elements initially collapsed economically, socially and at least partially, administratively.

The vacuum created by unsatisfied needs and wants quickly attract these ‘malfaiteurs’ to a People who have no choice but to passively submit, if for nothing more than a meager sustenance.

This cannot be allowed in the Seychelles. As I have previously said, the 21st Century has arrived. The Winds of Change are galing! There is no more Cold War. Communism and Capitalism are hollow labels of a by-gone era. Globalisation has arrived. The various countries of the World wish to unite in peace and properity.

Even in Iran where the government takes a hard-line stand which is unreflective of its own People’s opinion, the Voice of the People can be heard thanks to technology and modern facilities; internationally at that!

Let us take an example from these valiant people, my friends! Our leaders no longer reflect us. Truth be told, they are only there since there appears to be no-one else to replace them.

Earlier on, I had mentioned the famous ‘happy-go-lucky’ attitudes of the Seychellois. Unfortunately, today seems to be the day where we must break this pattern. We need to start assimilating our younger, fresher generation into politics as a People, give them the support they need to make the right choices for the future.

It is time for the youth which has not known the old vitriol of the 1977 events and thereafter, to start standing up and up pave the way for Seychelles.

If nothing else they will at least be saving themselves…

So I implore you, let us seek to know ourselves, let us seek to educate ourselves, seek solutions to the problems we notice around us.

For it is clear, no-one else will.

A Nation is like a machine which is made up of many parts working in unison. The State Authority is like the mechanic-in-charge, carrying the charge of maintaining this wonderful machine.

It seems that the Chief has gone for a rather long tea-break! The other potential chiefs are too scared to mention the poor performance of the suffering contraption. Thus it is time for the parts to say; ‘Enough!’, and cease to function in protest.

If change will not be given to us then we must take it…

Maybe then the Chief will awaken from his siesta. When the machine is on the verge of exploding!

A friend recently explained the benefits of a liberalized platform for commerce using the example of taxis operating as companies as well as sole traders. The benefits would be for everyone.

Large scale competition helps lower prices and competes with the Black Market.

Current sole-traders can open large to medium scale operations to generate personal wealth.

Consumers have a real choice.

Employment created since it is no longer one-car, one-employee.

Finally, large scale business relationships can be forged within the private sector which would boost the cash flowing through our economy.

I have come to conclusion that surely someone must have realized this by now. Yet, nothing is done regardless of the obvious benefits to taxi operators and the general public. None of the political flock has truly pursued this idea.

Well then; we must.

Further on the topic of the transportation industry, the government has allowed a ‘micro-boom’ in the car hire business. The growth in it surged as cars became expensive to own ‘full-time’. The market for it rapidly super-saturated and today, many who invested now see their precious savings vaporize.

Clearly, the Seychellois wants to do business. Help him then, our Fearless Leaders!

The problems do not stop at mere mismanagement. Lack of opportune stimuli from the State is a deafening silence.

Why does the government not propose projects, invite tender from local business and foster support for the best tenders? Fostering support does not necessarily mean throwing money at the projects thus placing them in the debt of the Public sector. Support can be given in terms of favorable loan conditions to would-be entrepreneurs, who tangibly demonstrate the ability or the will to procure the ability, to effectively and successfully run a commercial enterprise.

This not only stimulates interest for the Public to engage in economic activity, but also increases the likelihood of success of the ventures. Hence, good and productive debt is created rather than economic poison. Any banker will tell you; “Protect your investment.”

Our People are our investment. Their best protection is education, young or old.

It is a matter of realizing that lump sum aid injections do nothing but push the problems down the line and they will soon resurface. That is, our children will also suffer.

I listened to a young economist from Zaire, as she lamented the ‘curse’ of foreign aid money to Africa, on the BBC World News. The idea seemed absurd!

The bright lady explained that the aid was mostly misappropriated upon receipt and whatever was left was just enough to keep things going, no matter what the conditions. The corruption hoards power whilst everyone has to remain quiet and no real opportunities ever emerge.

I was incredulous! Aid in the form of cash injections actually exacerbated poverty, in a vicious cycle. I researched the young lady online. She held several degrees including a PhD and had worked in the upper echelons of the World Bank. My heart sank as I thought of Seychelles.

This idea of trying to obtain money or value in one fell swoop is not new to Seychelles. In the 1970s the Aldabra atoll along with certain Amirantes islands were supposed to be ceded to the BIOT (British Indian Ocean Territory) in return for the airport to be built. The leadership of the time had to, somewhat comically, remind the ‘forgetful’ British of their promise. Nevertheless, the airport was built and we remained with the question; “How many more times could we possibly do this?”

Rest assured! These ‘get rich quick’ schemes are hollow mirages at best. For us to earn our wealth, we must produce, we must export we must toil! Therein is our future.

Yet, we look around today and persistent echoes linger. These echoes hint at the fact that no real changes were brought about in the past 5 decades.

It is all fine and good to say that the Economy needs to be fixed, but we must also consider the fact that the Society needs to support it as well as reap its benefits. That is to say, we must be industrious and take a serious look at our work ethic. The mentalities of the past have landed us here; let’s change them!

Let us mature as a Nation and seize our time. Carpe Diem!

Seychellois must realize that they are masters of their own destinies, no matter what anybody says or promises. It is our own Responsibility to ensure our prosperity and growth.

Integration with and the intelligent exchange of information with the International Community are essential for this. As I have said, we are a young Nation and must learn from the precedents in Global History.

We have a chance to learn from our own and others’ mistakes. Many Nations of the World do not have such an Opportunity.

The ones that have seized the Opportunity are demanding a re-think of their status quo. Good examples are Iran and Zimbabwe.

Although the Change varies wildly in pace and ferocity, it is common to all cases of true Change, that it came from the masses. The People themselves demanded it even if it meant some form of reprisal.

We must face the fact that we too must enact our cry for help clearly, loudly and above all, peacefully.

We are not thugs after all!

A Young Seychellois