Friday, February 26, 2010

The Seychelles Column - By Christopher Gill

Human Excrement in Drinking Water!  What Next Party Lepep (P.P.)?
The residents of La Misere are in a rage over the contamination of their drinking water, which was reputed to be one of the best water sources in Seychelles for decades. The contamination affects over 1000 residents and 300 households. The contamination has been ongoing for a number of months as Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates builds a palace the size of a small town atop the once beautiful and tranquil La Misere mountains.
Destruction of the La Misere mountains

The properties have devalued substantially, many residents will ask for total purchase and full relocation cost as part of the settlement. The health of many will continue to be troublesome for many months or even years.  And PP and Waven William MNA of Grand Anse, PUC chlorine is certainly not a panacea.  Shame on you all for not standing up for the rights of your citizens when it is you who have brought this catastrophe onto the peaceful residents of La Misere.
MNA Waven William - Not protecting his constituents

Michel Administration Goes On Defence To Protect Sheikh Khalifa of UAE
In its defence, the Government of Seychelles quickly shifted the blame to the building contractor ASCON.  The ineffective Minister of Environment Joel Morgan says that it will make the contractor bear all costs and that they will be fined under the Environmental Protection Act. But that law has such a puny fine that this is nothing more than a slap in the face of the Seychellois people given the magnitude of this ILLEGAL project. 
By blaming the contractor for the contamination of the public water sources, the Minister deliberately shifted blame away from the Government of Seychelles who has not monitored the project every step of the way or scrutinized its magnitude in such a sensitive area of La Misere. What is worse, by placing blame on the contractor, they have deliberately, with intent, protected the developer and Owner Sheikh Khalifa, who is the final owner of not just the project, but of the consequences the project bear upon us all as well.
Sheikh Khalifa - No respect for Seychelles

P.P. Lie Again
Minister Morgan said on SBC that the Contractor has to brief itself of all laws and regulations of Seychelles and it must follow those laws and regulations. This is true of any contractor registered in Seychelles.
Minister Morgan addressing the audience during the closing ceremony
Minister Joel Morgan - an expert liar

However, according to Mr. Didier Dogley Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, who himself went on SBC, the contractor was not licensed to carry on any business activity in Seychelles. So behind the smoke screens Minister Morgan is sending us, we have an illegal contractor building a massive project. It goes without further logic, that if a contractor is illegal, than the project it has built is also illegal. With that, a STOP WORK ORDER for this project should have been issued by the Government of Seychelles.
The Planning Application, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Public Hearing process is lacking    lacking, lacking. Perhaps by now the Sheikh has submitted some plans drafted by architects from UAE or elsewhere, or an “action team” is quickly preparing backdated documents that will soon be presented with fanfare on SBC to show that the project was indeed legal.  Anyone remember the Ste. Anne Island SCR 1 rupee lease documents that were quickly drawn up for Francis Savy and his partners?
But in the end, how many visits has the Planning Authority paid to this site over the last 6 months?  Not many, as they spend most of their time squeezing little Seselwa Rasin into compliance to please the Michel Administration or forced to declare their allegiance to the PP party and James Michel.
One (x 1) Illegal Contractor and Seven Hundred (x 700) Illegal Workers on Site
According to Mr. Dogley, the illegal contractor had over 700 illegal workers on the site. An unbearable amount of faeces and excrement would be expected to overflow at some point if holding tanks were not utilized or pumped out. But beyond the faeces, there are other problems like gross intentional violation of the Republic of Seychelles laws and our sovereignty.
It appears that the Department of Immigration does not have entry papers and supporting papers for the 700 workers.  Said simply, they do not have GOP’s. That would make perfect sense, since the company, “ASCON”, by not being licensed, would not be able to approach the Ministry of Employment and Department of Immigration of the Republic of Seychelles, to apply for work permits.  After all, legally, under Seychelles law, ASCON does not exist, it is only a mirage.  Unless of course the Immigration Department has been given orders by some higher body such as State House to ignore this project and the workers completely.  Or maybe they are busy back-dating the documents as we speak to be presented on SBC shortly. 
How Did 700 Illegal Workers Get Into Seychelles?
Now that the shit is flowing, and the People of Seychelles are getting sick over the incidents, as the spread of infectious water borne diseases take form in our children’s bellies, I ask P.P. this simple question.  How did the 700 illegal workers get into Seychelles in the first place?
Michel’s Australian Customs Agent Sees No Evil
The most likely source of entry without detection would be the Seychelles International Airport, where Australian Simon Hannaford is running the Customs operation. I have seen with my own eyes how Mr. Hannaford is ineffective, although his Australian boss Mr. Rene Nusse has professed, in a letter to the Editor of Seychelles Weekly, that he comes from Australia where he served with distinction as a Customs Officer. Mr. Nusse, an expatriate worker himself who can easily be replaced by a qualified Seychellois, seems to have overlooked the details of his fellow Australian’s inefficiency at the Seychelles International Airport.  How does Mr. Simon Hannaford overlook the arrival of 20 containers at a time? Pretty difficult to miss this, unless of course Mr. Hannaford is blind, or has been given the green light by someone much higher not to search the containers arriving on the Antonov aircraft that lands at the Seychelles International Airport on a daily basis.
Australians are very nationalistic, and they will protect their own kind any day, at the expense of what is in Seychelles interest first and foremost: our sovereignty.
Mr Nusse, newly appointed commissioner of revenue
Rene Nusse - Not doing his job

There is no surprise here, coming from Messrs Rene Nusse and Mr. Simon Hannaford who are earning huge salaries and perks while our own qualified Seychellois people remain unemployed. However, before our conflicting interests get out of hand, these gentlemen should simply pack a 40 foot container and head back home down under, before they become inhibited from writing about their Seychelles work experience on their CVs.  We will follow them until we see the heels of their shoes stepping back on the plane that brought them here. Make no bones about it gentlemen.  Your jobs can be done quite well by qualified Seychellois.
Red They Are In The Containers-Dummy
It is most likely that the Antonov cargo plane lands in Seychelles with the illegal workers on board for the illegal construction company. The plane arrives in Seychelles and it appears that it is not inspected.  I wonder if they even spray the planes like they do with all the other commercial airlines coming into Seychelles. After all, the last thing we need is some new desert rats or scorpions released into our already fragile environment.  We already have enough rats in this country, and not just the rodent types!
The 20 odd containers on board the Antonov are not inspected. It appears there is no Customs declaration of the contents of these containers. The forklift comes by, with a container side loader, and just takes the containers away. The containers make way up to the La Misere site, where the former US Tracking Station was located years before. No security checks, no stamps, no paperwork, no torches, not even a peek inside the Antonov or the containers.
Michel and P.P. might say, “Where are the workers, in the plane?” No, inside the containers. To leave them in the plane would be too messy and raise too many eyebrows. Hence, they are placed in the containers prior to landing. Upon landing, they are trucked up to La Misere, possibly. Am I sure? No. Is it likely? Yes.
What Other Options Are There To Bring In Illegal Workers?
Well, they could come in on Sheikh Khalifa’s private jet, but then, he would not risk soiling his fine leather chairs on board or fine linen bedding with human excrement all over the plane as they have done to us in La Misere and Grand Anse Mahé.  It is alright for us to take the shit, but the Sheikh would not have any of that inconvenience him. Michel of course, just turns the other cheek and lets our sovereignty get trampled upon.
Along the way, Mr. Hannaford and Mr. Nusse by seeing no evil at a port of entry, help Michel betray the sovereignty of Seychelles that cause great indignation towards the People of Seychelles, especially the residents of La Misere and Grand Anse Mahé.  No tax is collected from Mr. Sheikh while we Seychellois people continue to pay out of you know where!  Roads are being destroyed on the way to La Misere, and we Seychellois people must pay the tax to fix the potholes and broken barrier walls.
But what about sending the illegal workers by boat? Yes, that would be possible, but it would take too long and Sheikh Khalifa would have to feed these illegal workers for too many days while at sea, and they would not have to work during that time. Hence they would be defecating on his food provision bill without corresponding work.
Arabs do not like workers defecating without a counter balance of work product in return that offsets the workers personal consumption of provisions. P.P. if you do not know that, you will learn soon enough. Be prepared when you cannot deliver. But be warned P.P., I did not tell you to go work for Arabs. Mr. James Michel dragged you along in a search of a quick financial fix to our debts. Now Mr. President Michel, do you not think for a moment that the Arabs, in the back of their minds, do not know that you are licking their boots for a resolution to your national debts? But of course they do and will continue to milk you just like they milk their goats and desert camels.
Arabs now milking Seychelles
Where Was the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Department of Immigration?
Throughout this national outrage, we have not heard from the Department of Immigration or the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The P.P. have confined the public focus of issues to the environmental concerns, where the fines are small, and on the health issues, that are hard to quantify in value. Basically, P.P. has only focused on the illegal shit-flow in our water source, without addressing the illegal workers, the illegal contractor, and the illegal project.
If the workers are illegal, why does not the Michel Administration or the Department of Immigration deport them?  Just imagine for one minute if we could all import illegal workers that easy!
Is Michel scared or too coward to face Sheikh Khalifa to defend the sovereignty of Seychelles over Khalifa’s money, wealth and power he wields in the region of the Middle East? Is Michel setting a precedence that says, if you have money and you are rich, in Seychelles we will give you land for SCR  1.00, we will give you a free hand over our Immigration, a free hand over our Customs, and we will even let you shit on our children? Is this the message James Michel is sending out to the World?
If this is indeed the message Michel is sending, how can Michel live with himself? How can Rene live with Michel’s failure? How can even P.P. live with such a pathetic leader? Simply put, what kind of party are you P.P.?  Is that what you meant when you said you have a heart for all Seychellois?  Looks like you have your heart set somewhere in Abu Dhabi and certainly not La Misere!

President or Traitor? Seychellois or Arab?

La Misere Land Illegal Sale
Because this State Land at La Misere was not tendered out as per the laws of Seychelles, it is an illegal transaction. The next Government must cancel this sale to Sheikh Khalifa, no exceptions. We as a people will get over it. We are strong and courageous people when our children’s lives are compromised.  UAE was once poor like we are today, and their people managed to eke out a living even if they had to eat their few goats and camels.  But their people survived and are now thriving as an oil, commerce and tourism state.  But just because of their newfound riches, it does not mean that we need investors who shit on our constitution, our laws and more important our children while they entertain our President with offers of a few trinkets and modern gadgets so we can forget about the flowing shit that is causing indignity towards the People of Seychelles. It may be ok in the Arab culture, but not in the Seychellois culture as we are the proud people of Seychelles
Now Michel, please tell us what you are. An Arab or a Seychellois?  Do you condone this behaviour from your Arab friend?  And if you prefer to be an Arab, then let us know immediately so that we can start preparing our old shoes to throw just like the Iraqi man did to President George Bush!  You have sacrificed our honour and our dignity as a people with your actions, or inactions for that matter.
Our Coco De Mer Is A Source of Great Pride
We do not need friends who do not know how to sit properly in our living rooms. You offer them a chair, they want a carpet.  When real friends sit in your living room, he takes the chair you offer him, as you would take the carpet he offers you when you visit him.  This is a true friend but then you would not know that Mr. Michel.
We do not need friends who tell us our national symbol of uniqueness the Coco De Mer is sexually offensive and must be removed as our entry stamp of arrival at the Seychelles International Airport and replaced with a square because our new friend finds our Coco De Mer offensive. The Coco De Mer is not square Mr. Michel.  Just ask your wife who hails from the lovely island of Praslin.
The Great Coco-de-Mer Seed

The Michel Administration and the PP may be too coward to say so, but we Seselwa Rasin must say no to Michel’s cowardice. We love our Coco De Mer! It is part of our unique national heritage and our Pride as a People. The Coco De Mer is not just a seed, P.P..  It is the famous “coco fesse”, and is not an ass (English), a “fesse” (French), “en fes” (Creole) or faeces (SHIT) from the Arabs!  It is a unique Seychelles tree which is admired by our people, our friends and our tourists. 
And Mr. Michel, since you are President of Seychelles, I urge you to look carefully at the Seychelles Coat of Arms that you are supposed to use on a daily basis.  In case you did not learn in primary school or Head Coup D’Etat architect Albert Rene forgot to tell you, let me remind you that the Coco-De-Mer tree is in the centre of our elegant national insignia.  Here it is in case you have forgotten the great words “Finis Coronat Opus” or “The End Crowns the Work”:
Again, just to jar your memory, let me add some quotations relating to this Latin saying on our national emblem:
“For the ende crowneth”. [1509 H. Watson Ship of Fools Dd1]
“The end doth crowne the worke. La fin couronne l'œuvre.” - [1592 G. Delamothe French Alphabet ii. 29]
“The end crowns all; And that old common arbitrator, Time, Will one day end it.” - [1602 Shakespeare Troilus & Cressida iv. v. 223]
“As the end crowns the work, it also forms the rule by which it must be ultimately judged.” - [1820 Scott Abbot I. xiii.]
“Proof, sir, proof, must be built up stone by stone. As I say, the end crowns the work.” - [1870 Dickens Edwin Drood xviii.]
“That the end should crown the work, that I had given no more lies than I had been told made no difference. You either played it straight or you didn't.” - [1961 J. Webb One for my Dame iii.]
So there you have it.  You either played it straight with the people of Seychelles or you didn’t! And no money in the world will make us forsake the Coco De Mer’s rightful place in our Country. While the Sheikh may say it is sexually offensive, we Seselwa Rasin are proud of our Coco De Mer and it brings us great pride and joy to see it on our passport and on our national emblem. 
Seychelles Passport Stamp

Every time we get an entry stamp with the Coco De Mer, we feel as if we have come home to a proud Nation, made up of a proud people, in spite of being subjected by you and your predecessor Albert Rene to 33 years of Communism. How many people in the world of nations can say that P.P.?
But today when we see a square stamp, we know that our President has cowardly said yes to the demands of a supposed leader of the Arab world who does not respect Seychelles sovereignty or our people’s dignity. So next time you see your Sheikh “friend”, tell him that if he finds our coco-de-mer offensive, then he should simply return to his desert inferno.
In conclusion, and just in case age is catching up with you, let me remind you that this infamous tree and its nuts will always form part of our national heritage.
Oh, and one last reminder.  Sesel Pou Seselwa!  If you don’t believe me, just ask the great architect Mr. France Albert Rene.
May God Bless All Freedom Loving Seychellois and Bless Seychelles!
Christopher Gill (writing from Praslin where the Black Parrot sits proudly on our Coco-De-Mer trees)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Open Letter to President James Michel of Seychelles by Paul Chow

Last night (22 February, 2010) the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), the state owned and funded broadcasting media, gave you 20 minutes of prime time television coverage just on your visit to the their establishment.  In your public statement relayed by SBC on the occasion, you praised the workers and staff for their good work and professionalism, and offered them more support in the future. You also exhorted the youth (the generation next) to take up a career in broadcasting. It is good when our leader publicly bestows recognition on the good work of those tasked with delivering an important service to our community, especially in the vital area of public information. As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and empowering the people to be able to make good decisions is the purpose of government in the era of the internet, a notion that you also alluded to last night.

After listening to you last night, I could not help but issue this open letter to you, to point out a serious flaw in your slick image, bordering on high level hypocrisy and worse.  This is because you have signally failed in your duty not only to the staff of SBC but also to the people of Sey chelles when it comes to this organisation. More seriously, you have also in the process failed to keep faith with the oaths of office that you twice took when you assumed the presidency of our country.  This dereliction of constitutional duty in my view is worthy of impeachment.

You may be wondering what on earth I am talking about, which won’t be surprising. As a point of reminder, you and I are two of a privileged few among the citizens of our country to have their hand  written signatures on the original document that became the Constitution of the Third Re public after being approved overwhelmingly by the people in a referendum on June 12th, 1993. We both arrived at this position (which the Irish judge Michael Riley called the “distinguished consti tutional commission”  ) through an open election process in 1992, which I and many of our citi zens then, would not characterise as fair principally because SBC, as well as other organs of state, were working entirely for your party. Ironically, SBC acquired its current name and legal status that very same year from the authority of your party alone (the one-party state) and constituted in such a way to be at the beck and call of your party.

But that is water under the bridge or should be, except that in the document that we signed which became the fundamental law of the land, there is an obligation for the government and parliament“to within twelve months of the coming into force of this Constitution, bring the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation Act, 1992 into conformity with article 168.” Article 168, for its part reads(1) The State shall ensure that all broadcasting media which it owns or controls or which receive a contribution from the public fund are so consti tuted and managed that they may operate independently of the State and of the political or other influence of other bodies, persons or political parties. (2) for the purposes of clause (1), the broadcasting media referred to in that clause shall, subject to this Constitution and any other law, afford opportuni ties and facilities for the presentation of divergent views.”

It is now 17 years since the Constitution came into force and throughout that time it has been only you and your predecessor who have occupied the post of Head of State and Chief Executive.  You are now seven years into a second mandate as Head of State and Chief Executive of our country, and this vital constitutional provision has yet to be implemented.  It is your overriding and signal duty and responsibility to do so.

That is why I find it hypocritical as well as insulting when you claim on the precinct of SBC yes­terday, that its management and Board, as currently constituted, are discharging their true respon­sibilities since both you and I agreed in 1993, that SBC’s legal status was not in conformity with the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the Third Republic which bore both our signatures
Moreover, at the time of announcement of the appointment of Irish Judge Michael Riley to chair an independent inquiry into the incident of October 3, 2006 when the police fired tear gas and rub ber bullets at a small and peaceful demonstration, you also promised to fully and equivocally im plement his recommendations. 

This year would be 3 years since Judge Riley delivered his report to you.  Just to remind you, among his recommendations are the following:
Recommendation: - Since the provision in Schedule 7.2(5) of the Consti­tution was made following consideration of the issues by a distin guished Constitutional Commission and included in the text of the Con stitution the Inquiry recommends that the requirement contained in Schedule 7.2(5) be implemented forthwith.
Recommendation: - A new system for selecting persons to serve on the Board of the SBC should be introduced.

On a further note, in case it may have passed you by, under current law, the President (you) alone appoints all the members of the board of SBC, and worse you also appoint and has the authority to fire, the Managing Director of SBC (as well as any member of staff). I could see and feel  the em­barrassment of Mr Antoine Onezime on screen, as he showed you around. I consider Mr Onezime a professional broadcaster (equally esteemed are many members of his staff). Please cut him loose and allow us enjoy the benefit of his professionalism. He dearly wants to show respect to the rest of us just as he shows respect you, but unlike us, you literally hold his career in your hands under the existing SBC Act. Indeed, Judge Riley has recommended a way to create a truly independent board for the new SBC to appoint someone like Antoine Onezime, which you are obligated under the Constitution to create but has so far failed to do so.  

On a final note, perhaps at this juncture I should remind you of the oaths that you took on assum ing office (and I was honoured and privileged to be there on the lawn of State House watching you taking them):

I James Alix Michel do swear/solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm/that I will be faith ful and bear true allegiance to the Constitution of Seychelles and that I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of Seychelles. SO HELP ME GOD

I James Alix Michel do swear/solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm/that I will faithfully and diligently perform my duties and discharge my functions in the office of President of Seychelles, that I will be faithful to the Republic of Seychelles, that I will uphold the Consti tution and the laws of Seychelles and that I will dedicate my abilities to the service and wel fare of the people of Seychelles without fear or favour, affection or ill will. SO HELP ME GOD.

On the question of SBC you have so far failed to uphold the Constitution which bore both of our signatures. That is why I say that this dereliction of duty is worthy of impeachment because it is not just an oversight on your part. And I hope you take this criticism in the spirit it is written.

Paul B Chow