Sunday, September 28, 2014


 A proposal for a special pension for constitutional posts holders of the second Republic was gazetted in “an extraordinary official gazette” on Wednesday 24th September.

The Attorney General’s office has published in the Official Gazette of Wednesday 24 September, a bill which provides for a special pension for those persons who held constitutional posts between 1976 and 1993 – a time frame that covers the Second Republic or the one party era . Among the criteria to qualify for this special pension, the person must have held the post for least 48 months. This requirement means that those who served under the First Republic do not qualify as it did not last for more than one year.

 The Constitutional Posts (Special Pension) bill 2014 will be tabled and eventually debated in the National Assembly and it is expected that the debate will clarify certain points which at the moment appear to be confusing to the layman.

The seeming confusion arises from clauses 4 and 5 as they appear to negate each other. It could also be that something may be missing somewhere to make the reading of the proposed law clearer.

In Clause (4) (b) the bill makes provision for any relevant person benefitting under this special pension to not lose out on his or her right to a pension under Seychelles Pension Fund (if they have contributed to the fund) or any other pension under any other written law. On the other hand Clause (5) states that: “A relevant person shall draw only one pension, at any given time, which is the highest that the relevant person is entitled to.”

Thus it appears that the two clauses negate one another and it will be up to the National Assembly to have this point clarified when the bill goes up for the second reading.

Experts in pension systems have interpreted the proposed law as meaning that while a relevant person still has the right to his or her pension fund pension if he or she qualifies and that person is already benefitting from a constitutional post pension under the Third Republic, he or she will only qualify for the highest of the two pensions.

While there are very few people who will fall in both categories, for those who do, they will only be able to draw the highest pension.
 One example would be former MNA for Port Glaud, Ginette Gamatis. Mrs Gamatis is currently eligible for a pension under the Third Republic so she will not be able to draw one for her contribution in the People’s Assembly. The same applies to former Minister – and current Judge - Jacques Houdoul, former President René and current President Michel who all served under the one party state.

On the other ]hand those who qualify for this special pension but who are still in employment in the civil service can only qualify after they retire.

Among those few who could qualify would possibly be former ministers Ogilvy Berlouis and Dr Maxime Ferrari, both of whom held office during the Second Republic. However this will only apply if they fulfil the requirement in Clause (3) (b) which makes it compulsory for a relevant person to have: “…ceased to hold office as such on the expiry of the term of office or on the commencement of the present Constitution.”

All in all, the bill, if passed, will come into force on 1 January 2015 and will apply to only a very small group of people because of the set criteria.