Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Opposition supporters converged on the normally sleepy Seychelles' capital, Victoria to make their voices heard against the Michel Administration's decision to hike taxes on vehicles, road tax, alcohol and cigarette amongst others. Protestors say the burden of taxes are too much, that the Government is punishing middle income earners but that the increase will spiral the cost of living domestically.

One of the protestors John Servina who is a truck driver expressed his concerns regarding the increase in taxes especially the 67% increase in road tax. "Next year, I will have to increase the fees that I charge for my trips and pass on the taxes to the consumers," he said.

“Today marks the beginning of our political involvement. We’ve been quiet for the past three years but we intend to start mobilizing at district and national levels. We are back at the forefront!”, the leader of the Seychelles National Party (SNP), Wavel Ramkalawan, stated  after his party’s demonstration against this year’s budget speech yesterday.

The objective of the peaceful march, which saw the participation of more than 100 people yesterday afternoon, was to denounce the increase in a raft of vehicle-related taxes introduced earlier this month. Mr Ramkalawan announced that this event was the first in a series of activities his party intends to conduct next year. In January, the SNP will pronounce itself on whether or not it plans to take part in the next presidential elections. But if yesterday’s declarations are anything to go by, it appears likely that the party will contest the 2016 electoral joust.

Despite having granted permission to the SNP to conduct its demonstration in Victoria, the police offered no traffic management support to the marchers brandishing placards with messages like “Too many taxes in Seychelles”, “Reduce transport taxes” and “Stop making Creoles suffer”. This did not appear to faze them in the least however and the march proceeded in an orderly fashion from its starting point at the Stad Popiler car park, past the Victoria Clock Tower and Central Police Station before veering right towards the Immaculate Conception cathedral, then past Camion Hall and back to the car park. The demonstration drew smiles and comments from onlookers who captured the event on their mobile phones.

As Mr Ramkalawan explained at the outset, the march wasn’t solely for the benefit for those who will be handicapped by the rising cost of purchasing and owning a vehicle. Indeed, higher transport costs will doubtless be passed onto consumers who are already suffering from the depreciation of the rupee and attendant inflation.”We’re not just defending vehicle owners. These transport taxes will trickle down. The cost of living will increase. The people of Seychelles as a whole will feel this increases”, the SNP leader railed. He denounced the wastage of public funds which, he believes, is at least partly responsible for the introduction of these new fiscal measures. “It’s not because we own vehicles that we have to pay for bad planning!”, he declaimed.

 At the end of the march, his speech took on a more political dimension. “When we look at the direction the country is going, each of us should become leaders. If we all stand up for what we believe in, things will change. It’s not just about a new government; what’s more important is that whole population is treated with dignity and respect. There shouldn’t be the need to satisfy politicians for one to get ahead in life”, he boomed before warning that Seychellois run the risk of becoming second class citizens in their own country. “Next year the message will come out. We will go all out starting in January”, he announced. Among the issues the SNP will address in 2015 are pensions and social security disbursements, which Mr Ramkalawan deems inadequate in the face of the rising cost of living.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Car owners are being punished for their hard work, the SNP leader has indicated. All car owners and the public in general are invited to join in for us to protest on Monday 29th December against the new taxes on cars. It will start at 4pm at the Stadium Carpark going towards the clock tower, Central Police Station, Quincy Street, Immaculate Conception, Albert Street and back to the Stadium Car Park.

The leader of the Seychelles National Party (SNP), Wavel Ramkalawn, has notified the Commissioner of Police, Ernest Quatre and the protest march is on. The public procession will be a “protest march against the new increased taxes of car owners”, Mr Ramkalawan said in his notification to the Commissioner.  A 67% increase in road tax is set to come into effect on the 1st of January 2015 as well as a 50% increase in levy of new cars. All Parti Lepep National Assembly members voted for the increase without consulting their constituents that elected them.

Mr Ramkalawan`s call was heard and debated on Social Media and if support his posts have received is anything to go by, there will be a good turnout; even some coming all the way from La digue.  “Let`s show them that the Seychellois people are not afraid”, he called.

“The budget for 2015 targets vehicle owners in a nasty way” Mr Ramkalawan opined, saying it was important to “make our views known. We cannot be punished for having invested in a vehicle. We have done that for our families. We have to stand up against such discrimination”, he said.

The people who will be affected by this are “all workers who have made well-calculated sacrifies”  Mr Ramkalawan stated this os how new taxes will affect car owners. “Today a person who has a 1200cc vehicle is charged the following: SR150 at the testing station+ SR1800 for road tax=SR1950. As of 2015, the person will be charged: SR300 at the testing station and SR3000 for road tax = SR3300. A difference of SR1350”

“Is that fair? How many car owners will receive a salary increase of SR 1350 in 2015? Mr Ramkalawan said.


Closure of public toilets in Victoria causes anger whilst the buck is being passed; taxi drivers and tourists are getting impatient.

Last week complains from taxi drivers, tourists and members of the public about the shutting down of the public toilets at the taxi terminal in Victoria ignited. The public toilets were a donation from the Regatta Seychelles Round Table in 1983 and for many years these amenities served their purpose well. But about five months ago they were shut down. Davidson Madeleine, the taxi association chairman, confirmed that three months ago he evoked the issue during a meeting with Vice President (VP) Danny Faure and his secretary Jeanne Simeon.

The VP apparently promised to help but nothing has been done so far. But upon arriving at the taxi terminal last week, taxi drivers were very frustrated and demanded that government, through the mayor’s office, give them access to public toilets. Mr. Madeleine also added that in early November he met with the Minister of Home Affairs and Transport, Joel Morgan, and discussed about the issue.

He stated that the government has failed to give the taxi drivers and other people a toilet in Victoria and yet they are decorating the town with lights.

Several taxi drivers called from security cameras to be installed in the vicinity. “Our government has failed to take action. They want visitors but cannot provide simple toilets in town. I don’t know who is responsible and why they have shut down these facilities. If there is a problem, why don’t they provide us with mobile toilets” mentioned Mr. Madeleine. “Tourists are complaining and asking for toilets”, another taxi driver complained.

The secretary of the Principal Secretary of the ministry of Land Use and Housing (MLUH), Yves Choppy, explained that there is a board comprising representatives from the public health sector, environment, the Seychelles Land Transport Agency (SLTA), and more. He added that it was difficult to identify who is in charge of such facilities in Victoria. But the executive director of the office of the mayor of Victoria, Lydia Charlie, confirmed in the absence of Jacqueline Moustache-Belle that all public toilets are the property of MLUH.



The monolith at North East Point has been standing for several years till the government decided it should be demolished.

The reason given was that the structure had weakened considerably and posed a danger. However, when the demolition work started, a small excavator was brought atop the structure with hydraulic hammer installed. The excavator weighing more than seven tons hammered away at the concrete.

Later a heavier excavator was brought in weighing in excess of ten tons to work atop the structure. It is inconceivable that a structure considered a danger to the public could sustain these massive weights and not crumble. 

Could there be another reason why the monolith had to be demolished???


The Constitutional Posts (Special pension) Bill that was passed by the National Assembly will cost SR7.7Million in 2015. This Bill was supposed to extend life pension - a privilege, already enjoyed by former politicians of the present Third Republic to those having served since Independence.

A proviso contained in the bill, which stipulates that such constitutional appointees must have held office for a minimum of 48 months (4 years), however, it effectively barred ministers and Legislative Assembly members in the coalition Government era or those who served in the First Republic. Since they were there for less than a year - since Independence on June 29, 1976 and were removed the by a coup d'├ętat on June 5 1977, they do not qualify. This is a complete disgrace and a final nail in the coffin for national reconciliation.

Most members of the First Republic's Legislative Assembly are no longer around. In those days, we had a parliamentary system whereby Ministers were also members of parliament, since they were elected in a constituency. Few of them are around today. Besides David Joubert and Gonzague D'offay, who were both ministers. There is also Philippe Jumeau, elected for Victoria South in the last multiparty election before the June 1977 coup; Rita Savy , nominated member of the SDPSPUP pre-independence coalition and Holden Pierre , another SDP member, twice elected for South Mahe. Danielle Belle was also nominated , like Mrs. Rita Savy, but already benefits under the Third Republic's entitlements.

Another former MP in the Second Republic still around is Bernard Elizabeth - retired from SeyPec and now CEO of the Seychelles Credit Union. He is also a member of the Electoral Commission and draws and salary as a Constitutional appointee. The question of the 2 Republic is more problematical, since members of the People's Assembly earned no salary at all during the one party state era.

Obviously many - like Archange Michel of Anse Aux Pins, Rita Gappy of Mont Buxton, Christie Fred and Armantal Lesperance of Praslin have passed away. But, given that there were three elections held in 1979, 1983 and 1987, in 23 electoral districts, there are still many former MPs around that were uncontested at elections.

 Since members of the People's Assembly did not receive a salary, it appears that their pension will be based on the present MNA salary which is R31,000 monthly. A complete farce and a waste of taxpayer’s money already burdened with many tax increases in the suffocating 2015 budget.

Their pension will be worked out according to the time served, on the condition that it is four years or more. So, many of them are in for a bonanza. But… can the country, already plagued by serious financial difficulties, including an ongoing depreciation of the rupee, afford such largesse?

Thursday, December 11, 2014


The Kempinski Resort at Baie Lazare has a private compound under the management of Lazare Properties Limited headed by one Aldakhail Suliman; a man much feared by many working in his employment. For several years, he has employed local personnel on an ad hoc basis to work for the company he heads; he hires and fires at will. The major activity of the company is to offer administrative services to VVIPs, better known as “The Prince” to the workers. Very few people actually know the real name of the VVIP. Whenever the VVIP is at the Kempinski private compound, security is heightened and even the adjacent beach is closed to the public; in fact Suliman informs the district police of the visits and the controlled access to the beach adjacent to the private compound.

 The main task of the casual workers is to serve “The Prince” whether he is at his villa, the Capo Club or the Pavillion; once he departs, there is no job available till the next time he visits. Once he leaves, all the staff is paid by Suliman. They work in two shifts; day shifts from 7 to 4 and night shifts from 5 in the afternoon to 4.30 early morning the following day and paid SR200 per day worked. Two weeks ago, the casuals went on strike as they had not been paid for one trip and an additional six days they had been requested to come back to work. The strike was short lived. They were called in and paid promptly before the media could make it to the gate where they had gathered except for one journalist; Martin.

Following this incident, Suliman has taken remedial action warning the casual workers that any disclosure of what takes place at the private residence will have its consequences. As a punishment for the strike, the casuals claim they have been informed there would be no bonus this year. Many insist there are employment issues that need to be addressed; they are afraid to forward any plaint fearing reprisals. They insist Mr Suliman is well connected and will sue any newspaper that writes anything about the private compound.

 It is also alleged that Mr Suliman acts as the host to top shots from both government and the opposition at his residence but the Seychellois are never used as helpers; Philipinos are used instead. To many residents of Baie Lazare, this is not much of a revelation.

 The private compound has been through much controversy; from electrical fencing to using security detachment to physically prevent the public access to the beach.