Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Seychelles Column - By Christopher Gill

Mr. Governor Takes Us On Deep Dive Down

The Seychelles Governor of the Central Bank Mr. Pierre Laporte has been pre-occupied with making hotel establishments display Seychelles Rupee pricing. He has been vigorously implementing legislation, sending out published notices in the Nation newspaper, to direct the earners of hard currency how to participate in the economy. He even gave us a deadline.

Mr. Laporte’s attempt to legislate confidence in the Seychelles Rupee, also has a stiff cash penalty and term of imprisonment for non-compliance. That should get everyone to shake in their boots.

He could not have chosen a worse time to threaten the Public and the Tourism Trade with prison sentences, when the Judiciary has only one (1) magistrate, after six(6) resigned for want of better pay. An average drug charge can take ten (10) years to get to trial these days, according to those in the know. It will get worse if Finance does not come up with a lot of money fast.

Euro Strong on the World Market, but Weak In Seychelles Only

Under Mr. Laporte’s “hocus-pocus” central banking, the Euro is weak in Seychelles, and getting weaker everyday. Currently in the world, the Euro is enjoying an all time high against the Pound Sterling, against the US Dollar and against almost every other convertible currency on Earth.

In Seychelles, the Euro has lost over 40% of its value since Pierre Laporte started to implement his “hocus-pocus” banking polices. Since devaluation of the Seychelles Rupee last year, the Seychelles Rupee traded as high as 22.00 – 1.00 Euro. Now, it is trading as low as 13.00 – 1.0 Euro. Remarkable success for a country whose GDP is (minus) -25% for the same period. We are truly living in “Another World”!

How does Mr. Laporte pull off such miracles with the system? Divine intervention maybe?

Seychelles Not Paying Debt

A small part of the answer is that Seychelles is not paying its unsustainable debts. It has a moratorium on all its debts bilateral, multilateral, commercial, until January 2011. At that time, we will have to pay debts. It will be very painful for about Fifteen (15) years. Mr. Laporte has built up 2 months reserve of about $100 Million, which will be used in part to service debts. The President says it is for rice in emergencies. Well, we are in an emergency now and it is not for rice, try Seychelles Rupees. The people have none.

But the answer is more complicated than that.

Pierre Laporte’s Plan was focused on Inflation Primarily

The reason why we are in an economic grave hole, is that Pierre Laporte’s prognosis for our economic woes focused primarily on inflation fighting by empowering the Seychelles Rupee. He has been successful at that. Initially, after devaluation last year, Reuters reported Inflation in Seychelles reached 78%. Most recently, as the Seychelles Rupee built up muscle, inflation now stands at 31%, but still second highest in Africa. To get an idea how bad the Seychelles has been managed, we are second only to Zimbabwe. Frightful thought indeed.

Now he has proposed to buy up Euros and US Dollars from commercial banks to stabilize the rates. Of course, this a great way for Central Bank of Seychelles to buy foreign currency on the cheap seeing the Seychellois people have no rupees left to buy currency from the commercial banks, let alone rupees to buy food. All this is good and normal, but it is not enough. I hope Mr. Laporte will not be travelling over the next 60 days.

What He Did Not Do

What Pierre Laporte did not do while he sat in his leather chair at the Central Bank and plot the countries recovery is establish an early program to ensure that liquidity in the market was preserved to foster economic stimuli and activity. He ignored that and admits in the Sunday evening news, he was relying on the “good morals of bankers to do the right thing”.

Since when do central bankers rely on the good morals of bankers to run the economy? For that matter, the good morals of anyone? Did Mr. Laporte rely on the good morals of the Tourism Trade to establish confidence in the Seychelles Rupee? No, he legislated it, however improper it was. But why is Mr. Laporte treating the biggest profit centres in Seychelles, the banks ,like a club of toddlers who need a baby sitter?

What Mr. Laporte has not done, and he better do it fast, is establish a global banking standard in Seychelles instead of letting the commercial banks run amok like they are currently doing at the detriment of the Seychellois business community. Banks, lest we forget, are those little institutions that are in the business of earning money at small amounts at a time in the form of reasonable interests rates, and reasonable commissions, for money related transactions that make the economy of a country run efficiently and hence allow it to prosper and grow.

Banks must not be in the LOAN-SHARKING business, or in the business of charging exaggerated fees and interest, that go beyond what is acceptable trade practice in the industry. Not just in Seychelles, but in the entire World. After all, banks in Seychelles enjoy a sort of cartel. Hence, they cannot be the standard of proper banking business practice. And let us not forget that the Seychelles Government also operates 3 banks in Nouvobanq, Development Bank of Seychelles and the Seychelles Savings Bank!

Exxagerated Commissions or Simply Robbing The Seychellois Customer?

Where in the world does a bank buy a British Pound for SR 15.05, and then turn around and sell it at SR 19.25 rupees, making a SR 4.20 gain or 28% profit in less than a minute? Where in the world does a bank sell a US Dollar for SR 9.30 and then turn around and sell the same for SR 11.98, making a SR 2.68 profit or a 29% profit?

But tell us where in the world, other than Seychelles, can a bank send a wire transfer of Euro 100,000 and make a profit of SR 311,350? Yes, Mr. Laporte, that is THREE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN THOUSAND, THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY SEYCHELLES RUPEES profit, plus of course additional wire transfer fees to boot? That amount is more than what most Seychelles businesses make as a net profit in an entire year!

And while Mr. Laporte wants to put local hoteliers in jail for not following Central Bank’s par rates, the commercial banks are free to gouge their customers to financial oblivion! And Mr. Laporte has even suggested that if hotels don’t like it, they can apply to become an official money changer through a Bureau De Change. Pity the small guest houses and small hotels that will now be burdened with another license fee and running a bureau de change in order to satisfy their guests who simply want to pay their bills!

So, it is now up to Mr. Laporte to set the parameters for the commercial banks in Seychelles. That is his job. If he needs help, I volunteer my knowledge, free of charge, to get it right. Seychelles cannot afford to stay indefinitely on the wrong track. If we do, even Mr. Laporte will want a seat on Tiger Airways flight from Singapore to Perth, Australia.

What Is Wrong With Our System

Interest rates are not controlled or subjected to any controls. Banks and for that matter, any one with a license, can charge any interest rate they choose. Interest rates can mercilessly be compounded monthly under Seychelles laws or lack thereof.

This is a medieval business practice found in the days of King Arthur, the Patriarch of the Kingdom of England. If we are a civilized society, banks must come to the table all trimmed out and proper.

We must set limits to prime rates of interest and additional interest charged for risk analysis. Banks must then start working within those margins. After all that is what banks do. This will encourage them to lend more and spread their lending and business base; as opposed to restrict their lending base to 1.PUC, 2.Seybrew, 3. SEPEC, 4. Cable and Wireless, 5. SPTC.

The wider the base for loans is spread, the more penetration and impact money will have in the economy. It will be a critical tool to remove us from this stagflation status we are now living under.

But banks must direct capital to solid partners as well, and not toss their reserves to every one and anyone that has an idea, albeit a bad one.

As money circulates, and properties are placed as mortgages in real terms, then citizens will become active participants in the economy in a meaningful way. And more responsible citizens too.

Government must allow properties to be marketable to enrich its citizens. This means it will have to get rid of the “Gardette Law”, “no construction at or above 50 meter topography”, found on Praslin and La Digue. This type of policy is a disincentive towards economic prosperity. If we are to watch every fruit bat pass by as an economic principle, then SPPF-LP must say so. Then we will judge who is the fruit bat, or sick-bat!

I remember the quote in a meeting not so long ago where one smart intelligent businessman was explaining to an idiot about the fundamentals of business (without having to steal from his neighbour that is): “You cannot promote growth and restrict it at the same time”. The idiot of course answered: “Yes We Can”! Maybe he was an Obama groupie!

Why Spread The Access To Loans

Because that is what banks are suppose to do. Make money available and not hoard it. Banks must make reasonable profits from involving others, and this fosters greater stability. When banks restrict access to funds unreasonably, banks in turn foster greater instability themselves. In fact, they will be in a big way, responsible for high risk they assess to borrowers when they say Seychelles is a high risk lending jurisdiction, hence the 10%-15% clip above what should be charged for lending fees.

Now that we are in a stagflation-depression, our Rupee is mighty again, hotels are cutting costs, freezing hiring, unemployment will rise, occupancy rates will drop further, total receivables will drop further than -25% as Seychelles will structurally get more expensive then any 5 star investor ever imagined, to the point that goods in warehouses will rot, the public will suffer greatly. I ask Mr. Laporte and the LP, wake up and seek a second opinion my friends, for you have made a royal mess of an ordinary communist mess.

I suggest you provide the business community a few seats on your board Mr. Laporte. Then make the Central Bank Governor present bi-annual plans to the board. Once approved, implement. If a crisis arises, call for an emergency meeting and resolve the matter. But do get a bit more serious over the affairs of our economy because we are now in a truly royal mess.

That means we are in a royal communist mess......nothing moderate about that, huh!

May God Bless Seychelles and All Freedom Loving Seychellois!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: A man for all regions - By Lelei Lelaulu

BOOK REVIEW: A man for all regions - By Lelei Lelaulu


By James R. Mancham

Paragon House, $24.95, 352 pages

Reviewed by Lelei Lelaulu

Generally, after distinguished careers, internationally recognized political leaders from the developing world descend gently into well-deserved rest from the strobe lights of the politico-paparazzi. Sir James R. Mancham, K.B.E., is an intriguing exception. His helmsmanship of the Republic of Seychelles, a tiny group of islands off the African coast in the Indian Ocean, was rudely shortened by a violent coup that ended democracy on the tiny island nation.

Undeterred by the brutality of the Tanzanian-supported coup on his isolated archipelago, Mr. Mancham, traveling in other regions, plied his "smiling philosophy" of dignifying the views of political opponents, gaining the respect of leaders in the nongovernment firmament.

In his accounts of negotiations to gain independence from London, Mr. Mancham details a litany of encounters with duplicitous British officials who could have populated a lesser John le Carre novel of bungling and betrayal by the guardians of the Establishment.

Mr. Mancham, who originally pushed for integration with Britain, soon realized colonizers could not be relied on and were even downright deceitful dealing with their charges. He writes, "[T]he word 'colonialism' had become synonymous with oppression, injustice and brutal exploitation."

Even when the Union Jack was lowered for the last time in the capital Victoria during the independence celebrations in June 1976, the first Seychellois president looked out to the harbor at warships assembled to respect the new nation from India, Australia and Iran. He rued that there was "not a single name from that never-ending list which constituted the Falkland Islands invasion armada."

Educated in London and Paris by parents of Chinese-French extraction who wanted their bright son to be "a man of letters and culture," Mr. Mancham did return as a Middle Temple-anointed barrister, but he used his legal training to enter the political arena with calls to repeal laws such as one protecting the "almost feudal privileges of the island's planters which made it an offence for an ordinary Seychellois citizen to be in possession of a coconut without a written permit."

It was also at the time when nationalist fervor in Africa had been excited by British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's "winds of change" speech committing London to the dismantling of its empire as quickly as possible. Mr. Mancham wryly suggests decolonization was Whitehall's way of preparing the United Kingdom for entry to the European Union.

However, the colonial practice of divide and rule, the denuding of resources and the dumping of territories accelerated as spent colonies were ejected from the chilly bosom of Whitehall. And, without adequate training and appropriate aid, former colonies descended into civil strife and dictatorships.

Looking across the English Channel didn't help, as Mr. Mancham was subjected to the perfidy of a Paris trying to wrench cultural dominance from the English, who vanquished them in battles for control of the islands in the 19th century. In fact, it's a wonder Mr. Mancham didn't swoon into the welcoming arms of the Soviets after his subjection to the double-dealing of Paris and London.

When you grow up in a colony, it is hard to think of any Big Power initiative that was based on altruism. Indeed, when London and Washington acceded to Mr. Mancham's push for an international airport, it was clear the oil-consuming West needed an "unsinkable aircraft carrier" like the powerful U.S. base in neighboring Diego Garcia to monitor and protect the oil lanes. So, the Seychelles got an airport big enough to land military aircraft, and the airliners bearing high-end tourists and their tourism dollars.

Mr. Mancham noted the base was moved to Diego Garcia instead of another preferred island because of a small colony of booby birds. There were, however, no displayed qualms when the native human inhabitants of Diego Garcia were removed to make way for the fortress.

After the start of his forced exile, Mr. Mancham started to really play on the international stage. At the Universal Peace Federation, he was thrust into the international limelight in New York alongside the likes of former Prime Minister Edward Heath, former Secretary of State Alexander Haig and other luminaries. He joined the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, which placed him in the company of religious leaders of diverse faiths and regions.

His wanderlust contributed to his political ouster, and the coup leaders used his many absences as excuses for toppling Mr. Mancham, but through his exposure to other lands, he was also able to see that without aid from the colonial governments, the best way to generate income was through their citizens' desire to travel to faraway islands.

Ignoring the colonial masters, he went to the people. Recognizing tourism as the largest voluntary transfer of resources from the colonizers to their ex-colonies in history, it was only a matter of time before British and French tourists were taking and leaving in the Seychelles more money than their governments gave in aid.

So, yes, Mr. Mancham had a taste for the sweet, fast life, trotting the globe in style, watering with the jet set, but he also almost singlehandedly lured the high-spending glitterati of the early 1970s to the Seychelles. And, as we know, where celebrities go, so go the paparazzi, whose pictures of half-naked celebs and royals relaxing on beaches beamed around the world - priceless branding gifts for unknown destinations.

It wasn't long before the seductive charms of the Indian Ocean island nation of some 85,000 souls was drawing 75,000 tourists a year to the airport that Mr. Mancham built. He put the Seychelles on the world tourism map at its richest layer where well-healed elites stay longer and spend more money.

Mr. Mancham is the father of his country, and with his superb PR skills, he transformed an obscure backwater into a destination synonymous with the good life. Because of that, he bequeathed to the Seychelles tourism-generated income far beyond what even the most benevolent former colonizer could have offered. And he did so by energetically and skillfully being a man for his nation in all regions.

Lelei LeLaulu writes on the linkages between development, climate change, conservation and food security for the Development Executive Group.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

US Ambassador Needed - By Sir James Mancham

Printed in the Washington Times - 23rd September 2009

No country is small if it is surrounded by the sea. If you need to ask someone why that statement is true, I suggest you ring up the director of national defense of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maj. Gen. Qian Lihua. On Sept. 1, he visited the Republic of Seychelles, an archipelago of some 110 islands scattered in the western part of the Indian Ocean. He arrived at the head of a high-level military delegation to sign an agreement of military cooperation.

"The Chinese Ministry of Defense and the Seychelles People's Defense Forces (SPDF) have since 2004 been working together to develop and build cooperation between our two forces," he said. "We have laid a good foundation for the future development of our bilateral and military to military relations."

Or you could ask Stuttgart-based commander of the U.S. African Command, Gen. William E. Ward. A few days after Seychelles signed the military agreement with China, the United States rushed him to Seychelles to assure the nation's leaders that the United States is committed to "a partnership toward the common objective of peace and security in the region and around the world."

No American ambassador was present at that meeting, because unlike China, Russia, India, the United Kingdom, France and even Cuba, the United States does not maintain an embassy in Seychelles. So instead, a military general was sent to mollify us while the Chinese strengthen their relationship with the leaders of Seychelles.

Of course, as the founding president of the Republic of Seychelles, deposed by Marxist rebels in 1977 and forced into exile for 15 years, I knew the strategic and global importance of the islands that have now become a vacation paradise for wealthy visitors from around the world -- many of them American celebrities and movie stars. After the end of the Cold War, I was allowed to return home and did so in the spirit of national reconciliation with a view to bring unity in the country and to work for world peace. Now, I am in the United States this week to pose the question: How can the United States say, in one breath, that its relationship with Seychelles is important, but not important enough to maintain an embassy and full diplomatic status?

The Seychelles has always been a sleeping strategic giant. In fact, during the Napoleonic War, the British and the French for many years fought over the islands until the Treaty of Paris of 1814 recognized that the Seychelles had become British.

After the Falkland Islands war, the late U.S. Adm. Robert J. Hanks of the Institute of Strategic Studies here in Washington came up with a report of limited circulation. Adm. Hanks said that were it not for the fact that the United Kingdom controlled the island of Ascension, Britain never would have been able to recover the Falklands because the friends of the United Kingdom were also friends of Argentina. Furthermore, Adm. Hanks was of the opinion that strategically located islands had the potential of being regarded as "unsinkable aircraft carriers."

The growing competition for power and influence in the Indian Ocean, the world's primary energy and trade seaway, has certainly put the Seychelles at the center of superpower rivalry, not unlike the position held by another island resort in the 1950s more familiar to Americans than our nation -- Cuba.

The signing of a military collaboration agreement in peacetime or in the fight against piracy is one thing, but how such an agreement becomes effective in a moment of crisis and confrontation is certainly a matter for serious concern and conjecture.

While on the "military basis" both the United States and China could consider the situation "balanced," the Chinese appear to be winning diplomatically. The Chinese are operating with full ambassadorial presence and are extremely active in day-to-day people-to-people diplomacy.

Sadly, at the end of the Cold War, after Seychelles had hosted a U.S. tracking and spying station on its main island of Mahe for more than 25 years, the United States withdrew its ambassador from Seychelles on the grounds that the State Department had to make budgetary savings in order to find the necessary funding for new embassies it was opening in Eastern Europe.

By acting in this manner, the United States sent the unfortunate signal that its presence in Seychelles was purely motivated by its perceived "national interest" rather than respect for the sovereignty of the Republic of Seychelles and the pride of the Seychelles people. For this reason, when Chinese President Hu Jintao made an official visit to Seychelles some months ago, he was very much applauded when he told the people that China will not be a "fair weather friend."

This provokes me to ask: What weather conditions need to be in place for the United States to reopen its embassy and play its own role of people-to-people diplomacy?

Sir James Mancham, K.B.E., is the founding president of the Republic of Seychelles.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Seychelles Cartoon - The Curse

"The Curse"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Seychelles Column - By Christopher Gill

Central Bank Governor Introduces “Wobble-Nomics” To Seychelles

Our mild mannered Governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) Mr. Pierre Laporte has been grappling with his new legislation to require that local establishments publish rates in Seychelles Rupees and when converting currency, they must use a median rate that the CBS issues from time to time. What about our commissions? What about our risks of taking fake notes? What about our profits? What if we have to buy and sell to complete multiple transactions? Are you really serious and have you not heard of letting the market find its own balance?

Here Comes “Wobble –Nomics”

In the meantime, the President of Seychelles, also the new Chancellor of the University of Seychelles, has taken to the districts throughout Seychelles to meet with hard core supporters in “tet a tet” meetings that are meant to discuss the future of Seychelles. But instead, complaints about coconut grass growing to light post tops, lack of street lights, drugs in schools, gutters over flowing with rubbish, prostitution and lack of public buses occupy the President’s time with the people. The future of Seychelles is indeed bright with so many great ideas emanating from these smart, propped-up Lepep supporters!

One of the key points the President relies on to show his programmes, (the IMF Plan) is working is the ever powerful Seychelles Rupee that has gained over 20% in value against major world currencies like the United States Dollar and the European Market Euro of course.

Poor US Dollar is now USD 1.00 = SCR 11.62, lower than the last figures to come from the Black Market. One mighty Euro trades only at SCR 16.62. President Michel says that is a success and it will curb inflation and reduce the cost of living for us poor Seychellois.

CBS Governor Pierre Laporte and George Thande (an embedded Nation newspaper journalist) tell us that inflation in Seychelles has gone from 78% to 31%. President Michel back in the Districts argues to the old ladies and pension-aged men that the cost of living is coming down and that everything is fine, to stay the course, to have courage, to back his Lepep party reforms and to continue supporting his Jj spirit. According to the Emperor, all is well in the land of the Emperor without clothes!

Meanwhile, and in my opinion, Governor Pierre Laporte’s stance is a little like acting like he is a muscle man economist when he looks in the glass of the Central Bank building before entering the office for a days work. Nothing could be further from the truth or this perception.

In fact, they are all relying on the “wobble-nomics” Pierre Laporte has brought to the Central Bank to fake a little more success. Why wobble? Because Mr. Laporte’s move to increase Treasury Bill’s interest to 32% soaked up most of the Seychelles Rupees in the system. While the Seychelles Rupee is strong against the USD and Euro, our receivables as a country are down – 20% and our GDP is – 10 % according to IMF. How can your currency gain when your economy is in free fall and no jobs are being created? Big question but here is the answer. What he has done is a little like a body builder taking steroids to build muscle. Steroids is cheating and the cheating comes back to destroy a bodybuilder’s health, even reducing the size of you know what!

Black Market Wobbles Back from No Supply High Demand to High Supply No Demand

The Governor of Central Bank has created a dangerous situation. Now that traders have over stocked goods in warehouses on a convertible Seychelles Rupee at the banks, these goods are too expensive to unload to the consumer who has a contracted supply of Seychelles Rupees. There is no new money and FDI coming into the system. Tourism is -20% according to Mr. Loustau-Lalanne of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), and tourism spending is lower than previous years.

In the past, traders purchased hard currency on the black market and passed the cost on to consumers. Now, they purchase currency from banks at high rates including excessive bank commissions and do exactly the same; that is to pass the cost on to consumers. This time around, the goods stay with the Traders. Why? Because there are Reserves in hard currency, but there are no Seychelles Rupees out and about town. No one trusts the Seychelles Rupee enough to convert hard currency held in accounts beyond what they must. The only winner is the commercial banks who are making those large commissions that were previously being made by the “Black Marketers”!

With Mr. Laporte’s policies in place, we have wobbled along from a Black Market where there was no hard currency at the banks, to where now there is hard currency, but demand is stifled, activity brought to a grinding halt, while banks also charge exorbitant rates and commissions. Why?

Because Mr. Laporte let the banks do what they want including charge high commissions, while at the same time, he spends all his time and energy trying to legislate confidence in the Seychelles Rupee instead of legislating a favourable business environment to allow the Seychelles Rupee a fair chance in due course, to acquire its credentials.

He Dare Scare The Goose

Mr. Laporte’s legislation to impose confidence in the Seychelles Rupee has done nothing more than frighten the Tourism Industry players into freezing many future developments in Seychelles for fear of instability at the ships helm. Many are now putting properties up for sale to cut losses. Enough is enough. Where is Emirates, Qatari Diar, Beachcomber and many others with their promises of billions of dollars of investments? Where are the new jobs and new businesses? Are businesses expanding or contracting? No jobs, no new businesses mean less taxes collected by the Government. That is called a contracting economy!

With that said, Seychelles has had enough of freak show central bankers. Central Bank policy must be set by a Board made up of Trade, Government, capable, sensible, economics –finance expertise. A Central Bank Governor must not remain independent and in isolation any more, but must become answerable to a bona fide Board. And please Mr. Michel, not one of those boards like Air Seychelles with the same old faces or puppets of the master!

Bonuses from the Minister of Finance for doing a good job at royally screwing up our economy each year must come to an end. Golden Parachutes must be packed and stacked once and for all. Finally, Central Bankers and their staff must become accountable and face criminal charges when found guilty of manipulating the system for their personal gain or the gain of their masters. This must be retroactive to include former Governors not because it is right, but because we need the money that has gone missing. Sadly, ex-CBS Governor Mr. Aboo Aumeeruddy has recently suffered a stroke in his home country of Mauritius, and of course the last controversial CBS Governor Francis ChangLeng is now enjoying his large exit cheque and a fat monthly pension paid for by Seychellois taxpapers! How ironic that we reward those who fail us!

Now that the goose has been scared to a fright, the industry freezes the conversion of hard currency as much as possible and holds. As the rates Mr. Laporte dishes out become unfavourable and compound the cost of doing business in Seychelles by 20% -30% overnight, be warned, wobble-nomics will always blow up in your face, Mr. Governor. And the Black Market very soon will pay you a visit… in fact, it has already returned as consumers are getting tired of being ripped off by exorbitant bank rates and commissions! A free market indeed!

Today, the Black Market lurks behind the closed doors of the commercial banks. Supply of goods rots and expires in warehouses because the people cannot afford what Mr. Laporte has done. Our old people beg Mr. President to bring down the cost of living and he has nothing much to say. Prices in the shops are up, fuel prices are up, PUC rates are up. And yet, prices according to Mr. Michel is down. But then, maybe the containers of goods and freebies that come in for the elite, the army, the connected and the upper echelon of Seychelles are not taxed and are delivered straight to the homes like always.

So while our moderate communist leaders continue to speak with forked tongues and continue to deceive the masses with their promises, the people weep tears of pain and continue their daily struggle to feed their children, to find a job and to pay their bills.

So here is to our strong Seychelles Rupee “MODERATE” Lepep....all failures as usual, despite the name changes.

May God Bless All Freedom Loving Seychellois!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Seychelles Cartoon

Jj off to the Moon

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Seychelles Comedy - State House Anytime Now


The relentless begging continues as The President of Seychelles plays all his diplomatic cards to scrape a few bucks here and there under the banner of protecting our vulnerability from the pirates. After the Americans and the Arabs, he now woos the Chinese. More slush funds to wield the big stick on his people when we get closer to election time. Meanwhile, he has decided that there should never be any little empires in his government. James Napoleon Michel he is and will remain!

JenPa: Good Morning Sir! We have the top Chinese military officials visiting today and they have agreed to grant us close to one Million US Dollars. This is great as it will be added to the defence kitty and no one will complain. Such grants go a long way towards our own personal security as this is the time where we need it the most.

Mr. President: So the Opposition cannot accuse us of using the Seychelles Army budget as slush funds. We can use the money to reward the loyalty of those protecting us. Our security detail has more than doubled since I assumed the presidency and we need to pay for this – especially in these dire economic times. We do not want an army rebellion like we had in Madagascar on our hands. We will have a major problem if the people start taking to the streets. Right now, it seems that our strategy of hearing them out in the districts is working and we are giving them ample airtime on SBC. Even if it is a small group, it can influence the rest. And Onezime is now my man at SBC.

JenPa: Indeed Sir. We are pursuing a similar strategy as the Chinese. We encourage all foreigners to invest in Seychelles to bring in the wealth, distribute this among the preferred clan and hand out a few services and basic housing to the population. This is Capitalism a la Communist style. When we have a revolt on our hands we do not condone such attitudes and we keep everyone in line. They are really clever these Chinese. They give us 2 buildings for the pillars of our Constitution and provide the Executive with the stick to keep total control.

Mr. President: This is the strategy my boy. I learned this well from the old man from Barbarons. You let the country run into a bit of chaos, then you take a tough approach towards everything and you annihilate the opposition in the process. Everything is done for a reason. I am an old fox at this. While the drones and Atalanta forces watch over us and help us out of this IMF economic mess, we secure ourselves, I call early elections based on the premise that things are getting better and I’m in for my third term. Now that we have started cleaning up with the NDEA, things are getting a little clearer. Cannot catch the bigger fish yet as they are a vital part of our funding for all our election campaigns.

JenPa: Clever thinking boss! By this time, I will hopefully be able to take over old Pat’s seat and run a fine diplomatic institute that will make us proud. I will surely include you on some of the key trips of course. With the Jj Spirit foundation having taken root, I can ride on this tide to succeed you in this humble abode of the State House.

Mr. President: Yes, I had to retire some of these old dead heads and reshuffle some others. This is a great way to show that we are moving ahead and making progress even though it is the same old inefficient bunch that we are tossing around. It gives a semblance that we are working even though it is only marking time! We do not have any new people to appoint in these key positions. So the excuse is that in order to eliminate complacency and to stop them from building little empires, we shuffle them around. Incidentally, there are a few such as cowboy Maurice and Fat IDC Boy who will soon ride into the sunset. Or perhaps retirement will be the most appropriate word.

JenPa: It is a good idea Sir. But real little empires are still there for us all to see. Some of them like Mukesh have disappeared behind empires such as Intelvision and hotels, Ramadoss has got so much on his plate that he cannot chew anymore. Gros Sosis is nowhere to be found and left us with the massive hole that IMF is trying to fill. The list is endless. Too many emperors, too little subjects Sir! Or shall I say too many Chiefs and a lot of Indians!!

Mr. President: Yeah. And then there is the eternal problem of the infamous Savy brothers that will be with us until the old man goes to meet his Creator. Little Francis took a few years at STMA and came out with a massive empire that even I do not know where it starts and where it ends. Our own Air Force Captain David has made our national airline his own property and big boy Glenny is the main island man and thinks he owns our whole EEZ while he sells our islands and island villas to South Africans and Mauritians. I believe that he was the target of the Somali pirates. That would have warranted a big fat ransom indeed.

JenPa: We also need to start rotating the ministers around or bring in some fresh blood. Our people are tired of seeing the same old faces on their TV screen every night singing the same old tunes. Joel got himself entangled in the PUC saga and Danny tried his best to cover the holes that Joel made after the Perseverance fiasco. Blaming Barclays Bank Seychelles was not too clever. Do you think this reflects well on your administration Mr. President? These guys are a bunch of clowns when it comes to handling some simple explanations to the media. Even our little Serbian press secretary does a better job with her lovely accented Creole. Despite the fact that the new media commission is a load of baloney, she managed to sweeten it out. I’ve told her to continue wearing those low-cut dresses when she’s on TV as our people will not focus on what she is saying.

Mr. President: Smart boy JP. She is definitely a good asset for us and we should use her a lot more. From now on, she will be doing all the press interviews that I do not feel comfortable about. It is a good cover. I can take on all the stuff that brings me the credit so that I can get my ratings up. Incidentally, we now have a much tighter grip on the media situation. No more of this Face a Face Jacqueline comedy which was threatening to let the cat amongst the pigeons. Onezime has been the key element in our strategy at SBC and he has been duly rewarded. He will keep the lid tightly shut and will continue to ask only questions that make us look good.

JenPa: I fully support the view that young people have to be given the chance to shine. This is what the Jj Spirit mantle is all about. As long as the old heads are around, we will not make much headway. Remember that this regime has been around for far too long Sir. There are some long serving members who need to shed their dead weight. Politics is about new ideas, new visions. I am grateful that you have recognised this and have made a case for empowerment.

Mr. President: I love this word “empowerment”. It shows that we are becoming more democratic doesn’t it? How do you empower people? Well you give them power right? If you give them power they might topple you one day. So the empowerment has to come from within. We provide our people with the resources for them to empower themselves.

JenPa: Indeed Sir. This empowerment comes at the right time. We will soon have our own university and our people will be able to grab these opportunities to follow your vision for a better tomorrow. By the time you are ready to hand over the reins of power, you will be respected as the man who empowered the Seychellois people after so many years of absolute power and control.

Mr. President: Now don’t you try to get too funny JP. We did this coup d’etat for a cause. Look at where we are today. Back then, we did not want Mancham to be laying the foundations of what this modern Seychelles is today. He was going all out to broker deals with the rich and famous but today, I can go down in history as the one who accomplished this dream.

JenPa exits the President’s office and shakes his head as he realises that all this has come a little too little too late! The Seychelles Empire has been divided and shared amongst the emperors, princes, maharajahs and princesses, and now whatever is left is being auctioned off to the Sheiks and other fat cats who have finally woken up and found their own little piece of Paradise. The poor Seychellois who believed in the famous struggle and “la revolution” will now have to contend with a mean little job at the beck and call of an emperor...