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!


Anonymous said...

This article is well written. At least it shows someone is keeping an arrucate watch on Michel Administration.

Article is well balanced.

We need more people like Mr. Gill to come up front and save our country. Afterall, there are not many people left who have not been bought sold, corrupt or are being offered to be sold.

Anonymous said...

The young leaders idea under the command of the President Office can only come from a stupid retarded mind.One should look around to find where this program has been suceesful to know the truth.. perhaps in World War times... The University of Seychelles as revealed is going to be another major lab test for our students and this will satisfy the ambitions of the few who are looking for attention...

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