Tuesday, June 30, 2015

29TH JUNE 1976 V/S 5TH JUNE 1977

The Birth
On the 29th of June 1976, as the Union Jack was lowered, the newly independent Republic of Seychelles was born. It was a joyous occasion heralded by carnivals, parties, fireworks and general festivities as a fledgling but proud nation moved “En Avant” towards a new destiny full of hope for a bright future. An enthusiastic People welcomed this new dawn and their new Democratic Republic by dancing and celebrating in the streets while enjoying all the freedoms that the new multi-party constitution guaranteed. There was no doubt whatsoever that the 29th of June was a happy occasion for all and the Seychellois people were intoxicated by happiness and hope on that day.

We were free! 1st Edition of the Nation Newspaper
On the 5th of June 1977, a group of armed goons led by a power hungry dictator led a military coup against the very coalition government of which he served as Prime Minister. They declared it as a new dawn for the Seychellois nation. This new dawn, unlike the 29th of June 1976 was not a joyful occasion. No one danced in the streets. Instead it was heralded by the murder of two Seychellois (Bernard Jeannie and Hassan Ali) followed by curfews; the first time Seychellois had witnessed such curtailment of their freedoms in their entire history. The traitors who perpetrated this heinous act of treason, all dressed up in military fatigues, patrolled the streets of our once peaceful country brandishing Russian AK47 assault rifles while intimidating the population. The fireworks that the Seychellois nation witnessed that day were not the beautiful dazzling ones that lit up the Seychelles skies on the 29th of June 1976 but rather, the fire spitting out of the muzzles of AK47 rifles as their bullets ripped into innocent Seychellois flesh and heralded in a new era of political murders and brutal dictatorship. There is no doubt whatsoever that the 5th of June 1977 was when the Seychellois nation was engulfed and suffocated by a veil of evil darkness that continues to haunt us all to this day.

The treasoners; Albert Rene, James Michel and others

Josette Hoarau

Thursday, June 25, 2015


By A.Pierre

The Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) has launched a partly coloured commemorative coin with a face value of R50. The commemorative coin weighs 28.28g. Mike Tirant, head of banking services division, said the coin is limited to a maximum production of 2,500 pieces worldwide.  However, initially only 500 pieces will be produced and made available for sale at the CBS. The selling price of the coin is R1, 000 per coin. The unveiling of the coin took place at the CBS headquarters with the Vice-President.

No mention of the type of metal is indicated in the Seychelles Nation newspaper report and it only mentions “a partly coloured commemorative coin”. One would assume it would be silver!

With the assumption it is a silver coin, silver coins globally are normally quoted in ounces. 1 ounce is equal to 28.35 grams. Therefore if it is silver, the new commemorative coin seems slightly underweight.  Currently a 1 ounce Silver American eagle coin cost $19.36 retail and converted to rupees at $13 would give a price of SR252. Naturally one would expect a small mark up; but not in Seychelles. The 1 ounce Seychelles commemorative coin cost SR1000 and the equivalent on the world market cost SR252. This is almost 300% more.  Please “inn tro tar pou fer Seselwa dormi boner!”

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Astove Island, situated some 1045 km southwest of Seychelles`s main Island, Mahe, is often described as having the most peculiar form. The raised coral island is a single stretch of land that almost entirely encloses a shallow lagoon with only a winding passage in the southwest.

The only settlement, on the western coast, has been abandoned since the 1980s, but now a group of some 20 Indian construction workers are currently working on a new development project on the Island. It is believed the men are employees of Green Island construction company Ltd; a construction company belonging to Island Development Corporation Ltd (IDC).

A source who visited the island a month back to transport construction materials including bricks, macadam and crusher dust were shocked that they were not allowed to disembark on the island. None of the 17 mariners onboard the IDC landing craft, Enterprise 2 were allowed.

“We were anchored for 2 days near the island whilst the construction materials were being offloaded; after spending 14 days at sea before reaching Astove. I can`t believe we were denied permission to go ashore” one of the mariners stated. He said the island`s manager who goes by the name of Dubois informed them that unless they have the expressed permission of the IDC Chief Executive Officer, Glenn Savy, they cannot set foot on the island. “As a matter of fact he said Mr Savy has ordered him not to allow any of us to go beyond the beaches”, he said.

The Chief
These incidents are very frequent these days and quite clearly contravenes article 25 of the Constitution which states” Every person lawfully present in Seychelles has a right of freedom of movement and for the purpose of this article this right includes the right to move freely within Seychelles, the right to reside in any part of Seychelles, the right to leave Seychelles and the right not to be expelled from Seychelles.”

He is of the opinion that IDC want to keep under wraps whatever construction is going on there. From his personal observation he thinks it’s a new tourism development citing what he called the near completion of 2 chalets. Astove which is part of the Aldabra group already has an airstrip.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015


The Principal Secretary (PS) for Investment, Entrepreneurship, Development and Business Innovation, Marise Berlouis, looks set to lose a plot a land sold to her by the state, since the latter failed to give proper regard to the Constitution in selling the land.

The plot is situated at La Misere and was bought by the PS back in 2010, in the midst of negotiation between its original proprietor and the state, to have it returned to its rightful owner.

The country’s Constitution, and with it the application of the 7th Schedule which covers issues relating to land acquisition, dictates that the government has a constitutional obligation to return land acquired during the one party rule to the people that held ownership of these lands prior to July of 1993.

Besides limiting the free reign the government exercised during the one party state to acquire land for whatever purposes it deemed fit, the 7th Schedule implied that land acquired prior to 1993 should be returned to rightful owners, or in the event this is not practical, that owners be compensated for losses incurred. The Constitutional Court reminded the parties before it that the 7th Schedule was the subject of much debate leading to the adaptation of the Constitution, noting that the approval of the Charter was rejected at the first time of asking, because of the level of importance attached to the issue of land acquisition.

 It said the underlying principle of the 7th Schedule is to assert that no more land is acquired by the state unless it is in the public interest; and to correct injustices of the past when those whose land was acquired could not seek recourse.

The action of the government in this particular case however failed to pay any regard to the Schedule, with the court stating that it blatantly ignored the Constitution when it transferred the plot of land in question to PS Berlouis for a sum of R175,000 in 2010.

 The issue with the transfer is that in awarding the land to the PS, despite the act being illegal, the state placed itself in a position to later claim that it is not in a position to return the land to its rightful owner, as it no longer held the deed.

 But seeing that the land was undeveloped, one of the terms laid down to exact the return of land acquired under the old system, means the transfer was merely a ploy for the government to contravene the Constitution.

Land cannot be returned in only two instances according to the Constitution, when it is in the public interest, or when it is developed or there is a future plan for development. The sale of these lands for commercial gain is strictly prohibited, and since none of the above reasons applied to the plot in question, the petitioner was entitled to have the land returned without hindrance. Regardless of the red flags, somehow the government transferred the land to PS Berlouis, who resides on the adjacent plot together with her husband, former minister in the René Administraion.

The petitioner’s lawyer, Frank Ally, said the transfer was not just unlawful and done out of bad faith, but denotes a lack of respect the regime tends to show towards the Constitution. He said the deed is a case of one PS rendering a favour to another PS, inferring that the PS for Land Use and Habitat at the time, rendered a favour to PS Berlouis, the Principal Secretary for Industry then, in allocating her the land. “People of her status should not be in position to purchase land from the government”, he interjected, noting that she was already a land owner.

 He emphasized that since the government paid no regard to the Constitution the transaction should be declared null and void, and the land consequently transferred back to the petitioner. The court concurred insisting that if it allowed the transfer to stand, it is inviting the next government that comes in power to continue to acquire land and to retransfer these acquired land to cronies. The state’s response, led by State Counsel Chinasamy, is that it had offered compensation to the petitioner, in the form of another plot of similar value at Glacis. The court said the offer should have been extended to PS Berlouis, for the petitioner holds the supreme rights to the land, and not her.

Chinasamy also proposed compensation in the form of money, to which the court responded that every time the offer of money is proposed, it means something wrong or unlawful has been committed. It likened the offer of money to an instant when the police have beaten up an individual, and then offer money in compensation for the person to keep quiet. Against the wall, Chinasamy unreasonably suggested that the land was inconsequential, since it represented a small portion of the total being returned to the petitioner in the same case. Amused, the court laughingly reminded the lawyer that it is unlawful to trample on the rights of others, even if at a minimal.

Lawyer Basil Hoareau was representing PS Berlouis at the hearing and he stated that his client is a bonafide purchaser of the land whose rights should be protected. Mr. Hoareau’s claim that the PS was unaware of the dispute hanging over the land at the time of the purchase was counteracted. Mr. Ally pointed out that Mrs. Berlouis was well aware of the negotiation a year prior to the purchase, as dictated in an affidavit when the approach was made for the land. Furthermore he said PS Berlouis’ husband had purchased a house from his client previously and was very well aware of the petitioner’s situation with the government.

Monday, June 22, 2015


By A.Pierre

A top insider source confirms concrete allegations that President James Michel possesses a private jet like many of his African counterparts; he doesn’t like to be left out. The insider who claims to have been on the aircraft is however unsure whether this luxury private jet was a gift or was purchased. The insider confirms apparently that the jet has to be stationed in Abu Dhabi for fear of being discovered if stationed in Seychelles; although when called upon arrangements are allegedly made by Captain David Savy.

The jet setting billionaire President has been photographed on some occasions with this expensive toy. In the photo he is seen disembarking at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport for the 2013 AU summit and being greeted by Ethiopian Minister for Women, Children and Youth; Zenebu Tadesse.

The aircraft built in 2008 is an Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy model equipped with 37 VIP aircraft seats and registered as N63AG. It was air worthy and delivered on the 3rd of September 2008. Strangely enough the last action date is stated as the 4th of September 2014. Was that because a local newspaper got too close to the real story the year before? The Embraer fixed wing multi engine aircraft list the owner as Aircraft Guaranty Corp (AGC) Trustee, from the city of Onalaska, Texas in the United States. AGC, the Trustee service provider, is just the front. On AGC`s website it states “AGC provides its clients, whether U.S.-based or international, with ownership entities and structures that offer maximum anonymity of ownership, protection from liability claims, and tax reduction benefits.” Therefore the true owner is hidden and it is hidden for a reason; many drug lords and mafia types are afforded this set up. Could  James Michel`s  secret British Virgin island offshore company, Soleil Overseas Holding Ltd that was created on 22 October 2007 , be the vehicle holding this asset?

Airports where the multimillion dollar aircraft has been photographed before include Singapore Changi International Airport, Dubai International Airport, London Stansted Airport and Zürich Airport.

It would appear that the good James Michel wants to vote out the bad James Michel. With earthquake shattering political mistakes made through statements such as there is “non-existent opposition” and “there`s only perception of corruption”; the President if he loves Seychelles should do the country a favour and resign into retirement immediately as the corruption evidence train is headed straight for State House.


After grabbing the two plots (LD756 & LD757) of land in August 1997 on La Digue by orchestrating a sale to his father through L’Union Estate, Dolor’s appetite and greed for government land overwhelmed him again and in an audacious move he went for the most historical piece of land in the history of this country. V1 was the first plot of land ever surveyed in the Seychelles. It had a big house on it in which the Governor of Seychelles resided, during colonial days. This piece of land was subdivided and again Dolor by using an elaborated exchange deal took possession of that property right under the nose of President James Michel, who was a cabinet minister at the time. He was living next door to that property.

Dolor stole that piece of land along with two others on 31st December, 1998, according to the land transfer document, which was registered with the Land Registrar on 13th January, 1999. Dolor even got himself an exemption from paying stamp duty - three pieces of government land (V10131, V10143 & V10331) worth many millions of rupees at Sans Soucis was gifted for peanuts to the corrupt Parti Lepep central committee member, who should be under investigation for stealing from the poor people of Seychelles. Some people think it’s just a perception. Lepep pe note!!


Source:Seychelles Weekly


Rumours that Roman Catholic Bishop Denis Wiehe had resigned in reaction to the celebration of Seychelles’ first gay wedding last week, were denied yesterday by the Diocese in Mauritius.

Bishop Denis Wiehe has written to the Vatican asking to be relieved of his responsibilities as Bishop of Victoria, the Catholic Church has confirmed. Pending the Vatican’s approval, Bishop Wiehe should step down. This approval has not been granted yet.

The news however surprised many in the Catholic Church in Seychelles. While the diocese says Bishop Wiehe made an announcement on the radio last week-end, Catholic priests we spoke to say they had not been informed of Denis Wiehe’s decision.

This has led to rumours that Bishop Wiehe’s decision was linked to his displeasure at Seychelles’ first gay wedding celebrated on Saturday 13 June by British High Commissioner Lindsay Skoll at her residence.

Seychelles first gay wedding
 But sources at the Diocese in Mauritius said Bishop Wiehe had told them the gay wedding had nothing to do with the Catholic Church and that it was the Anglican Church that was more concerned by this.

“When they reach the age of 75, all Bishops are required by Church law to send their resignation letter to the Vatican where an ecclesiastic committee will study the request before approving or rejecting it. If they do grant approval, then Bishop Wiehe will step down as Bishop but will continue to act as a priest”, a source at the Diocese in Mauritius said.

Asked whether the Vatican has already approved the request, our source replies in the negative and adds that as at now, the issue of Bishop Wiehe’s replacement does not arise. But sources in Seychelles say it is doubtful Bishop Wiehe will be replaced by a Seychellois.

Denis Wiehe, this newspaper was told, turned 75 on 21 May. His secretary also confirmed that he is still acting as Bishop. The Bishop himself was unavailable for comment.

Denis Wiehe was appointed Bishop of Victoria on 1 June 2002 and will have completed 13 years as Diocesan Bishop on his retirement, if approved.

It was in November 2014 the Vatican confirmed that the retirement age for Bishops will be 75.


Thursday, June 18, 2015



On the day of the birth of the Third Republic, 18th June, the public is informed of the official launch of the Party`s website.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015



Although I have had the desire for high political office in Seychelles for an infinitely long time it was not until last year that I called at the office of the electoral Commission for the forms to get the ball rolling.

If truth be told I waited with the hope that one day our political leaders will give democracy a chance to take root in Seychelles. I was still in the UK when I came across a Parti Seselwa leaflet that touched me enormously and made me decide to be a part of the vision I read about because I could not push for the thrust to democracy if I was on the outside.

 I returned to Seychelles briefly in1992 and then intermittently but I remember voting in the first multiparty election, and every other election except for the last one in 2011. In 1993 I hoped that with the New Constitution, Seychelles would finally function as a democracy. With the same old leaders I did not expect it to be an overnight democratic success and slowly I began to realize that there was no political will to change the old one Party State mentality.

I now think that when Mr. James Michel was handed over power in 2004 it was already obvious to him as Vice-President and Minister for Finance and Mr. René that the economy was on the verge of collapse. The powers that be, did not expect Mr. Michel to win in 2006. “Sa gato” imminent economic collapse was prepared for the opposition, at the time the SNP, but of course with a two year head start, Michel won, and so he was forced to admit economic failure and call in the IMF.

I have since heard stories of harassment, killings, disappearances, victimisation and detention meted out to those who were fighting and pushing hard for Multi-Party democracy. Today I salute and honour all those who suffered for justice, democracy and freedom in our country because without their courage and determination I would not have been empowered to proudly stand up as a Seychelloise on the verge of participating as a Presidential candidate in the forthcoming Presidential election.

I also salute and honour Dr. Hilda Stevenson Delhomme Seychelles’ First Female Politician. I am aware that today Wavel Ramkalawan is being demonized but we cannot erase history and he was the one who single-handedly opened the eyes and ears of the people when he was the sole voice of the opposition in the National Assembly. I may not agree with one or two of his decisions but I salute and honour him and members of his Party for their persistence, and bravery often in the face of open animosity and State sponsored violence, because without their conviction and belief in the ideals of democracy I would not be standing beside him as a Presidential candidate.

Despite divisive words being spread by the ruling party that the opposition is in disarray I will say this. We are united in or collective desire to remove the elective dictatorship that has ruled Seychelles since 1977 from power. We are united in our collective desire to give Seychelles a President whose mandate starts at the ballot box. If South Africa could emerge as one nation after years of apartheid, we can too.

At the end of the day that is all that the opposition Parties want, and if the people of Seychelles want the same things, they will have to choose whom, among the opposition Leaders they can place their trust and confidence in to deliver, by deciding which leader has the combined qualities of “honesty, integrity, credibility and compassion.” During the 29th Congress of Parti Lepep President Michel said that “Las I dan zot lanmen” and I say “fer sir zot pa kapot ek las”.


The ruling party has grown financially richer and morally poorer every year; they have been real parasites. It has become a formality that the ruling party identifies prime land owned by government, acquires the plots and makes money out of the transactions. It is a highly corruptive practice that needs to stop and the land returned to the people of Seychelles where it will be better utilized for the prosperity of each and every Seychellois.

The parasitic Parti Lepep sucks blood from the Seychellois enriching themselves at the expense of the state. In 1996, Parti Lepep bought three parcels of land on La Digue from the state; Parcels LD 730, LD 704 and LD 702 for the meager sum of SR 110,000. All three parcels are situated at La Passe, La Digue; prime estate. On parcel LD 730 are kiosks believed to be managed by SENPA and the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) office building.

In 2001, Parti Lepep, then SPPF, signed a lease agreement with the La Digue Development Fund Board for parcel LD 730 over a period of ten years at the rate of SR 25,000 per annum to be disbursed in 12 monthly installments  payable to Parti Lepep La Digue Branch. It effectively means that after ten years, Parti Lepep had recuperated the cost of buying the three plots of land from the lease of one plot only; it fact, guaranteed revenue over the ten years amounted to a quarter million rupees. This is a crime against the people of Seychelles. It is a transaction in which only Parti Lepep makes money; La Digue Development Board has to pay the ruling party whether or not it makes a profit. The same applies to other government agencies caught in the vicious web; most often they are subsidized by the same government that is asphyxiating them financially through weird arrangements and agreements of funneling funds to the ruling party.

Government agencies continue to be used to enrich the ruling party. As per the lease agreement, a building to be used as an office has indeed been built, but the details of who really invested in the building is not yet fully understood but the SPA has taken over the management of the building and the conditions attached remains a state secret. While it is believed that SENPA has management control over the kiosks, details of rent and lease of the property remains a totally different story.

The same land could have brought in revenue for government and the people of Seychelles which would have gone to the state coffers but Parti Lepep has decided otherwise. The party that claims to have the interest of every Seychellois at heart is bankrupting the country, while amassing sufficient funds to buy votes, distribute bags of cement and five rupee notes. The people of Seychelles is being bought by their own money; what a shame!

James Michel has vowed to cut off the head of Mr Corruption but he heads a system that has elaborate plans to institutionalize corruption at the highest level of government. As Seychellois, there is nothing to be proud of when ruled by such a corrupt regime. Supporters must review and make a deep analysis of their support for the ruling party.


The real truth about Maison du Peuple has to be told so that the younger generation really knows what transpired; the building belongs to the people of Seychelles and every Seychellois has a right to lay claim to it. In fact it is the one thing that needs to be done as soon as possible. Since Parti Lepep has tried to falsely justify their ownership of Maison du Peuple, this newspaper has retrieved archival evidence to prove the contrary.

The Maison du Peuple, in President Rene’s own words, was to be ‘a hyphen between government and people’. The building was designed by Mr John Dunlop Stewart, a local architect. As the building was built by volunteers from all walks of life, the architect took charge of the supervision while the technical drawings was done free of charge by the local engineers, Associated Consulting Engineers (ASCON). ASCON’s contribution was evaluated at SR 150,000.

The financing has also been well documented. The Algerian government contributed 7 million rupees; the major financial contributor. The former Soviet Union contributed 13,050 tons of cement, North Korea contributed 2,000 tons of cement while Belgium donated 59 tons of steel.

The whole Seychellois nation contributed in one way or another towards the construction of the building; from businessmen to schoolchildren. A fund raising committee chaired by the late Minister Philibert Loizeau set as target to raise 3 million rupees which was surpassed. Fishing competitions and other fund raising activities were organized; the most famous being a State House banquet organized by President Rene where all present had to pay SR 250. It was rumoured that Rene actually cooked the food that night. The red granite that gives Maison du Peuple its unique character was donated by the people of Praslin. In June 1979, the foundation stone was laid and by April 1981, 8.5 million rupees had been spent.

Tragically the building that is hailed as being the cultural, social and political venue for all Seychellois citizens in the National Monuments brochure was transferred to Parti Lepep (then SPPF) in February 1996 as part of Parcel Number V 8013. The building which in 1982 had cost more than 10 million rupees to build and in which every Seychellois had contributed was transferred to Parti Lepep for the meagre sum of 900 thousand rupees. This is but one case of national assets being transferred to Parti Lepep at a fraction of the actual cost. It remains doubtful whether the money was actually transferred. This is robbing the Seychellois people.

On its opening by former presidents Rene and Chadli Benjedid of Algeria on the 5th April 1981, a plaque was also unveiled which spoke volumes. It read “Don du Peuple Algerien Au Peuple Seychellois” meaning “A gift from the people of Algeria to the people of Seychelles”. The plaque was later removed and is yet to be seen. However, it remains documented in a book written by the incumbent president in the early eighties. Maison Du Peuple was never a gift to Parti Lepep but to the people of Seychelles!



It is 2 years this month since the story broke on James Michel’s secret offshore company and bank accounts in the British Virgin Islands(BVI), from the International Consortium of Investment Journalist (ICIJ) through the offshore leaks database on his Soleil Overseas Holding Ltd. The story first broke on the facebook group, Seychelles Daily and was then picked up in the local press.

Just prior to that, the Seychelles Government took on a massive Bond Debt with Lehman Brothers in 2007 which totalled over $300 Million at an interest of 10% per annum. And shortly after James Michel of San Souci, Mahe Seychelles, registered an offshore company called Soleil Overseas Holding ltd. At the time, Seychelles had foreign exchange control laws. No citizen of Seychelles could depart from the country with more than $400.00. No transaction, could take place, to transfer funds overseas, unless the Central Bank of Seychelles approved the transaction. We need to know where every single cent of Lehman Brothers Bond money went and what the finance charges of these transactions were. Which as citizens of Seychelles, we will have to repay, commencing in 2015 for Ten (10) years.

This was the first time ever that public information had emerged about the country’s head of state assets overseas. Why does our head of state need a secret overseas offshore company and bank account when we have an offshore industry right here? Why has the President completely ignored this legitimate request for transparency by local newspapers that reported on the matter at the time? He has stayed mute on this for the past 2 years! Transparency, is this not one of his beliefs, along with “Judge me by my actions”. His action of no action over the past 2 years speaks volumes. Is the President hiding land or business assets? The real owners of Fishermans Cove Hotel and H Resort hotel are ultimately traced to an offshore BVI company called Hotel Properties Ltd and so is the Four Seasons Hotel through Petit Anse development Ltd and Maritime Property Holdings ltd over in BVI. What does the President expect the people of Seychelles to think?

By A.Pierre

Monday, June 15, 2015


One of the worse man made environmental disasters is taking place at Anse Cachee in the district of Takamaka with the approval of government; police officers are even provided to guard and protect the disaster.

The raping of Anse Cachee
A group of foreigners have established base at Anse Cachee and have made use of heavy machinery to inflict irreparable damage to the environment and the disgust of the residents. Heavy machinery was used to remove the vegetation from the beach front; something that is punishable by law. Furthermore, they have destroyed the corals which gave the beach its unique identity and piled up boulders onto the beach. It is atrocious. The turtles that nest there are now being obstructed by a huge container.

What is even more disturbing if that the activity is taking place right under the nose of one of the most ardent supporter of the environment, the well-known Miss Lena Desaubin. It may well be that the foreigners are using part of her property for their activities. If that is the case, she will be guilty of colluding with them in destroying our environment. Though the beach in question is secluded, the residents of Takamaka are extremely upset. Though access to beaches is a right to every Seychellois, access to this particular beach is being denied by a very elaborate security detail.

The supposed Environmentalist; Lena Desaubin
A very well-known lawyer of the ruling party has been spotted on site talking to the foreigners; they are setting up base for filming. The same lawyer is busy campaigning for Parti Lepep; promising that our environment will be protected and our right of access to our beaches guaranteed; yet he fails to put an end to the destruction of our pristine environment. Can there be something we do not know about?

The government must conduct an immediate enquiry and inform the public why this atrocious act is permitted to take place; breaking all laws. Why is it that the police is guarding the place?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


La Digue land scandal revisited

Mr France Bonte without shadow of a doubt is a household name in Seychelles. He is an accomplished Attorney at law with a sound legal mind and a big reputation. For many years France Bonte has also been a Central Committee member for the ruling Parti Lepep. France Bonte lives at La Misere where he has his stately home. In the last few years he has been building an even bigger house just next door.


However, as far as Mr Bonte was concerned the policy is not worth the paper it is written on. It was confirmed that the famous lawyer was indeed granted a plot of prime property out of the 40 plots allocated to L`union estate company ltd for ONE Seychelles rupee. LD708 was transferred to France Bonte on 28th January 1999 for SR250,000. It was money well invested by the maestro. On the 21st September 2010, the said piece of land(LD708) was sold to one Gregoire Payet for SR1.3  million rupees.This is like winning the jackpot when one considered the price Bonte paid for the land originally.

This is another highly unethical transaction conducted by people with connections for personal gains. It is the raping of the people and country with the full backing of the government. When the scandal became public; the Minister for Land Christian Lionnet never reacted – he remains silent on the matter. Why? Does he also have something to hide?  Many people saw his silence as highly inappropriate under the circumstances. It must be noted that the land transfer from government to L’Union Estate was conducted long before he became minister. But, this was no excuse to stay muted on an issue which the whole population wants an explanation. It is his responsibility and he is duty bound and accountable to the people. His long silence will not make this problem go away.

The 40 plots of cake

Christian Lionnet and his team of advisors will have to deal with this problem because the people are looking for answers and he is the man who has them. He assumed the role of minister willingly without needing much encouragement. It is now time to deliver. This is what the people want from the Minister responsible for land!! Or has he got something to hide himself??



“I will tell people to forgive the people that preceded me”

Lawyer Alexia Amesbury is this week’s guest. She launched her party, the Seychelles Party for Social Justice and Democracy, last month and says she is the best candidate for the Presidency. Here’s why she believes she’s the right person for the job.

You’re the Seychelles’ first woman Presidential candidate as well as a reputable lawyer. Do you think the country’s ready for you?

I think the country is ready for a change and not just a change in the sense that they want a woman or a man but in that it needs a person that is totally removed from past politics: a person who has no connection with what has happened in the past. But I think it’s fortunate that I am a woman and it makes it even more historical.

How long did it take you to decide to go for it?

Truth be told, it’s been in my mind for the longest time – 20 odd years, maybe more. I was going through my CV in preparation for this interview and one of the things that I said 15 years ago, under “achievement” is the following: raising the awareness of Seychellois women so that they know that they have rights that are legally enforceable. Under “ambition”, I wrote: to serve in a high public office in Seychelles, combat human rights violations wherever they occur. Little did I know then that the moment would come for the fulfillment of that prophecy.

So you felt there was a void and that the SNP, the SUP and others did not provide a viable alternative?

Yes and no. We all want to get rid of what we see as a corrupt regime and to have a new system in place because the system has failed us. We are united in that.

But do you not feel that your battle might be too philosophical for people to understand where you are coming from? In a Letter to the Editor published in TODAY, you yourself say that some people on social media have accused you of freeing criminals. Doesn’t that show that your battle for human rights is not understood?

At the moment, that is not the feedback that I am getting from people and I speak to a lot of people. They do not see me as someone who releases criminals or drug dealers but they see me as someone who defends people who, under our Constitution, are innocent before being proven guilty. That is the way I am seen – doing my job and doing it well. But I think that what they appreciate a lot more is that I also challenge government on issues that are perceived to be not only legally wrong but that are causing people to suffer. For instance, this law that recently gave a high increase to political appointees. That is morally wrong. Why? Because in a country where we have people on the breadline, for the government to legislate for itself and its cronies, such an increase in earnings is an abuse of power. I have calculated that just the increase in salary is costing the State SCR10 million annually. Now those SCR10 million could be used to give the pensioners a better life, to give the low earners a substantial increase in salary without costing the State anything more because the money is already there.

Is that why you say in your manifesto that the battle you have been leading in the courts can’t be led there anymore and that it has to be led in the political arena?

In the court, you fight cases one at a time but many of our problems need a political solution. And the only way to get a political solution is to go into the political arena. For example, I am so convinced of the illegality and the immorality of this huge increase that I feel that if I were in government, I would legislate away those increases and if I were President, I would not give myself an increase unless there was enough money to give the people of Seychelles a salary increase. Because in my book, when we have only one plate of food, it is not just the parents that eat that plate of food; they ensure that their children are fed first. This is why I see this law as a grave abuse of power and it is one that impacts directly on people and is directly linked to social injustice. And this is why the name of my party is very important because it has relevance for the local community because they all know and understand what a party for social justice is and democracy is about. And it also has relevance for the international community because I don’t need to explain to them the concepts of social justice and democracy and we must not forget that today we live in a global village and that we have international partners who when they see a new party in Seychelles, will go behind the name and try to find out who is behind that name and when they do that, they will find a party leader who is an attorney, a barrister of Inner Temple, qualified to practice in England and Wales, who has studied at the prestigious London School of Economics. They will see that as a referee, I have a judge working at The Hague. They will see that I come with a solid package of credibility. And that I am a breath of fresh air when compared to what we have now – a bunch of kleptocrats.

I hear you but political leaders aren’t elected because of their CVs! You say that you don’t have to explain what social justice and democracy mean to the international community but what matters are the people who vote. Do you not think that you need to speak their language?

The people who vote already know the meaning of social justice and the meaning of democracy. Because they have been victims of social injustice for so long. For example, the President goes up and say “now lafours inn mir” and they all want a part of it. The fact of the matter is, the people of Seychelles are tired of living in a country where the President tells them “lafours inn mir” when they did not even know there was a “lafours” tree. Nor did they hear the bats who are eating the lafours. We are tired of living in a country where we need closure because of events that have happened in the past and, if I am elected President, the very first thing that I will do, will be to tell the people to forgive the people that preceded me because you will need to build and to do that we need to be unified. Without closure over what happened in the past, we can’t be unified. I will not seek revenge but we have at some point to have an amnesty.

Since we’re on the matter, do you think it’s possible to get that closure? We’ve just “celebrated” another 5 June and although there have been talks of national unity and national reconciliation, they remain just that – talks.

We need the political will. Remember that the same party that created the 5 June nightmare is the same party that continues to be in power and the only way a healing process will begin is if a new government comes to power. And then we’ll see whether the 5 June should be a national day or a national day of mourning where we fly the flags at half-mast.

But mourning for whom? The coup d’état happened and then the government that perpetrated the coup d’état has stayed in power since and was later democratically elected. So how can it be a day of mourning when a majority of the voters have voted for this government and given it legitimacy?

We were talking earlier about how having a woman candidate would be a historic thing. But there’s something else that’s historic in Seychelles. If we win, the next elections will be the first time in Seychelles’ history where we will have a President whose mandate has started at the ballot box. James Mancham was not elected to be President. Albert René’s mandate did not start with an election and James Michel’s mandate did not start with an election. This time, we want the people to choose their President through the ballot box so that that mandate starts at the ballot box and not through any other means. And it is not just a day of mourning because people lost their lives. Yes, people lost their lives but to me it has a bigger significance. It was the day that our Constitution was abrogated. It was the death of the Constitution, to be replaced by a Constitution that was also the Constitution of the SPPF. There was no demarcation between the party and the State. This is an abuse and this is why today we have an authoritarian dictatorship in place despite the fact that we have a codified Constitution created in 1993. But we have a government who still has the mentality of the “parti unique”.

If it were true that we have an authoritarian dictatorship in place, there would be no democratic elections, you would not be able to say what you are saying and we would not be able to publish it!
 What is democracy? Is it just for us to be able to participate in elections? Do you know how many battles have been fought in court to be able to do exactly that? Do you know how many Constitutional battles have been fought for us to be able to have that freedom of expression right now? The government is in abeyance because we have just asked for the abrogation of the Public Order Act in court. Had we not challenged it and had the government not been waiting for a decision from the court, we might not be here. For the moment, it is a stalemate. Despite the fact that the Constitution says you have the right to assemble and you have the freedom of expression, the government keeps eroding those rights. And finally it did the big one. It took all our rights away in 2013 and had we not challenged it in court, god knows whether we would be here.

But this fight is led by people like you and you form part of a minority. Why don’t more people protest? Is it the fear or do they not mind?

People were scared and the minority are still scared but when you have hunger in your belly and the hunger is such a pressing issue and you need things to change because you need a better salary, you need housing, you need a scholarship for your children. At some point you have to put the fear aside. But why are we so fearful? Because we are the victims of a government that in years gone by and even till now, has not been opposed to using terror or violence. We are a peaceful nation but we have been terrorized over the years. And you know, there are several ways to kill a man. If you take away his livelihood, have you taken his life? If you take away his house, have you taken away his shelter? If you refuse to give him a license to do business, have you killed a man? And nowadays these are the more subtle ways the government uses to victimize the people. It might not be putting a bullet in your head but they are still killing the people of Seychelles in vast numbers.

I’ll give you an example: My husband is a fisherman amongst other things and he applied for a license to operate an ice plant on Praslin for fishermen but he wasn’t given permission to build an ice plant. They would rather have their ice plant operate at minimal capacity or not at all, they would rather have the fishermen from Praslin come to Mahé to get ice but they would not give him a license to operate an ice plant because he’s perceived as being an opposition person.

But this is not new, is it? My question is: why do you think people will react differently this time round? Weren’t they hungry in 2011?

 The Seychellois were very hungry then but now the abuse is more pronounced and we’ve had it for so long that people are saying enough is enough.

Do you think social media has helped?

Enormously. In 2011, we didn’t have “Seselwa Annou Koze” on Facebook and SBC and Parti Lepep had control of the media. As a result of social media, Facebook and “Seselwa Annou Koze”, the Seychellois have found a voice. They have been able to mobilise the masses and agitate the issues and today everybody is more empowered to come forward. This is the revolution that Seychelles needed. Not the kind that comes from the barrel of a gun. We have been given a voice and we are ready to make it heard to the end.

And you believe that the elections, when they will be held, will be free and fair?

No. I don’t believe so and I’ll tell you why. In Hendrick Gappy’s possession is a master disc of the voter register and we also believe that the Parti Lepep has a copy. Although they tell us that it is one of theirs and not one they got from the Electoral Commission. Political parties in the opposition have asked for a copy of that disc because we believe that there is manipulation of the register because they are people who vote both in Praslin and Anse aux Pins for instance. But unless we can digitally access it, we are at a disadvantage to prove it.

But under the new law, isn’t the Electoral Commission required to provide you with a copy of the voter register?

No, we are only being given access to the hard copies. Mr Gappy absolutely refuses to give us access to the soft copy and this is why political parties in the opposition have filed a case asking the court to order Mr Gappy to give us a soft copy. This is where we believe the rigging takes place.

Mr Gappy said during a meeting with the press to introduce the new electoral law that some 72 000 people are registered on the register of voters. Isn’t that a bit much for a small country like Seychelles?

It’s definitely a lot when you consider that Seychelles has 92 000 inhabitants! But unless we prove that it is strange, we cannot just establish that it is strange. You know, just like President Michel says that corruption is a perception, that it’s not real. Well unless we can prove that vote rigging is real, they will continue saying it’s a perception. But for us to prove that, we need the documents in their possession.

So you chose to go to court. I’m assuming, being a lawyer who has recourse to the courts often, that you have confidence in the independence of the judiciary?

To tell you the truth, I do not think it is possible for any country to have a judiciary that is 100% independent because of the way State systems work. However in Seychelles, there is perceived lack of independence and at times there is actual interference. Partiality or lack of impartiality have much to do with the way judges are appointed. And when judges are rewarded, they tend to be more severe in their judgments. This is how for instance that Seychelles now has a record of two things – the most indebted country in the world and the country with highest number of prisoners in the world per capita.

You say that Seychelles is one of the most indebted countries in the world. What are your plans to make the country solvent?

 Seychelles is indebted to the tune of USD1.8 billion. I believe there is a reason for this. I think – even though I cannot prove it – that the money the country borrows somehow finds its way in private accounts belonging to individuals or entities. The only time that we will know exactly how those things are being done is when we are in power.

But what if you get to power and you realize that it’s not that people are stealing, it’s just that the country is spending more, much more, than it is making?

Seychelles has vast resources. I’ll give you just an example. We have 115 islands. For whatever reason, it has been decided that 14 of those islands should be given to IDC for 99 years for SCR1. Now there are instances where IDC has subleased islands to people or entities. If it is leased to Ithe DC and IDC decides to sublease the island, then where is the money? To whom do the islands belong? Another one of our islands, D’Arros, belongs to the Palavis and was valued at 1 billion euros. This is just one example and we have 115 of them. St Anne is another example. It was transferred for SCR1 but the annual lease to Beachcomber is USD1 million for 60 years. Where is the money? Where is all this money going? This shows you that Seychelles has the resources. Don’t forget that Marie Louise and Coetivy have also been leased to IDC for SCR1 but we also know that those two islands are now prisons. So what is the agreement between the prison authorities, the government and IDC? Is it leased for nothing? Or for SCR1? We also know that every time prisoners need to come back to Mahé that they have to charter an IDC plane, it costs SCR300 000 for a trip. Who pays and to whom is it paid?

As soon as you launched your party, you published a public notice about a rumour that nobody seems to have any confirmation of to the effect that government is getting ready to amend the constitution to change the mode of election of the President. What is this about?

In law, failure to deny means you acquiesce and an acquiescence is an admission. The fact that State House has not denied the rumour means they have admitted that it is on the cards. Maybe because we have outsmarted them for now, it will take a while for them to come with the amendment. If that one goes in, who is to say that they will not amend the constitution further to the effect that the President can have a fourth term?

But it doesn’t make sense for government to do the first amendment because it would be an admission of weakness, would it not be?

Of course, it’s an admission of weakness but we have a government that is not into recognizing the need to make admissions. Even when the State failed in 2008, until today the President still hasn’t come out and said that there was a meltdown and we failed and the IMF had to bail us out. They are incapable of facing the truth, incapable of acknowledging where they’re gone wrong and they cannot say sorry. The inability to say sorry shows the inability to show compassion and a leader that lacks compassion is a cruel leader. And I’ll tell you why I say President Michel lacks compassion. He’s been in power for 11 years and he is the only person who has the power of pardon and, in 11 years, he has not pardoned a single prisoner. To me, that is a terrible record for a person who wants to be seen as the father of the nation. A father doesn’t do this.

Patrick Pillay said that the opposition parties need to get together to strategize. Is this something that you would be willing to do?

 We are in discussion with a few people as well as people who are not active in politics. For us, it is not only important to remove this government, it is also important that we give the people of Seychelles a viable alternative. The Constitution does not allow for coalitions but we are definitely talking ad strategizing and whatever comes out, will definitely be something that will benefit the people of Seychelles.

Would you be willing to step aside for somebody who you believe can do the job?

(Hesitates…) If it was decided by my party and as a consequence of our discussions with the others, that it will be in the country’s best interests that I step aside for a better candidate, then it will be the democratic thing to do.

But I sense that you believe you are the best candidate for the job?

 (Smiles…) Yes, absolutely!


Monday, June 8, 2015


In this evocative piece, the Founding President recounts how he felt when he found that he had been deposed and the lasting effects of the coup d’état on him and the country.

By James R. Mancham

In early June 1977 things were going extremely well for Seychelles under the coalition government which had been brought about to rule the country as an independent sovereign nation with myself as President of the Republic and France Albert René as Prime Minister and Minister for Housing and Land Development.

Albert Rene swearing allegiance to the First Republic on Independence Day
 The bitterness which had prevailed over the infighting on the issue of independence had almost disappeared and Seychellois were back into festive mood with the Blues and the Reds once again socialising together as in the good old days before the birth of party politics in the country.

Seychellois families who had emigrated to Australia and Canada were returning home to work for the new government and build up a happy and prosperous Seychelles with our government having come out with a serious development plan which included, as a matter of priority, the building of houses for the less fortunate members of the community. I felt personally confident and happy with the golden future I saw on the horizon and I was proud to have been invited to attend the Queen's Silver Jubilee in London on the 5th June 1977.

At a Cabinet meeting which I presided over a few days before my departure, Prime Minister France Albert René spoke eloquently about the way things were progressing and wished me good luck and bon voyage. He also accepted an invitation to dine with me on the eve of my departure and to officially see me off at the airport at departure time.

Against such a background, I was unsurprisingly utterly shocked when early morning on the 5th June I was woken up by a phone call in London informing me that I had been the victim of a coup d'état and I that was deposed as the President of the Republic of Seychelles.

I had been engaged in the islands politics ever since I returned to the country in 1963 as a young qualified lawyer. A majority of the people of Seychelles over the years had come to love and respect me and to support my leadership of the nation. I had been the leader of the majority party and an elected member for the Victoria constituency in our Legislative Council before serving as Chief Minister and Prime Minister over many years. Seychelles being a small nation the people certainly knew what James Mancham was all about when they elected him President.

And now I had just been deposed by a violent coup d'état in absentia by none other than my Prime Minister France Albert René who at the time of the coup disclaimed any connection with it and alleged that he was only assuming the position of leadership at the request of a group of people who were unhappy with my presidency.

Mr René of course attempted to justify the treasonable and unconstitutional takeover of the country by force by making the following allegations:

1. That I was an international playboy. Well history has certainly put into proper perspective this allegation as Mr René's lifestyle since he took over and started behaving as a dictator has shown that he has been a far greater playboy than myself.

 In this connection, I am reminded of the remark which James Earnest Thomas LLB, a former Attorney-General of Seychelles one evening made to some friends at the Seychelles Club: "What is this business about Albert René calling James Mancham an international playboy? I James Earnest Thomas, ever since I was 15 years old, I have been dreaming to become an international playboy but frankly don't we know that Albert is also a great playboy. The only difference of course is that whilst Jimmy is playing on the international stage, Albert is playing in the chicken yard."

2. The second allegation which Mr René made was that I was busy selling land to Arabs.
 What he made a point not to disclose to the public was that he was, at all material times, the Minister of Land and Housing and that no land could have ever been bought by any foreigner without the sanction of his ministry and his ministry's recommendation to the cabinet.

3. The third allegation was that I was always for the interests of the business class as I belonged to a successful business family. After "the killing" of Richard Mancham and Co. Ltd. through a policy of refusing the company import licences over a whole range of merchandises, the Seychelles saw the growth of the Seychelles Marketing Board (SMB) under Mukesh Valabhji and the birth and growth of the gambling business under Dr. Ramadoss who was Mr René's personal physician.

Of course, I was also accused of being "an imperial lackey" which formed the base for Mr René's regime to receive financial assistance from both Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein and Kim Il-Sung who sent North Korean soldiers to Seychelles to assist René to consolidate his takeover.

Of course I could see the need for Mr René to indulge in all these false allegations in an endeavour to lower the level of esteem and affection which the people of Seychelles held for me.

Aware of all the good work I had done for the Seychelles amongst which was the buildup and opening of our international airport and a new port, I decided not to lose faith in the future - "Albert, I said to myself, you have taken the Seychelles away but you have given to me the world." Of course, Mr René was soon to introduce a one-party dictatorship in the country where he prevailed for 15 years by a rule of fear which reigned over the nation which suddenly found its police force replaced by the political army. Some 20 000 Seychellois fled the country after the coup.

There is too much to write about concerning the conspiracy behind the coup d'état. You can read some bits and pieces in Paradise Raped, in Seychelles Global Citizen and Seychelles - The Saga of a Small Nation Navigating the Currents of a Big World. There are still stories left for a fourth book.

Finally, one thing I am trying to understand and to forget is the fact that at the time of the coup d'état, those friends I thought would run away, ran away very fast. Amongst those I thought would stay, some still did run away. Hence the coup d'état enabled me to determine who were the true friends of Jimmy Mancham and who were the friends of the President.

 No one of course should forget that Mr René's coup d'état was not a coup d'état against James Mancham but a coup d'état against a government in which he was serving as Prime Minister.


Berard Jeannie was a police officer, working with the paramilitary unit (PMU). He was off-duty on 5 June 1977 but his shift was changed, without explanation. On that day, he was shot in the head while eating his lunch at his desk.

Last year, the “celebrations” to mark the coup d’etat of 5 June were marked by the removal of the Zomn Lib monument from 5th June Avenue earlier in April. This year, 5 June was marked by the 29th National Congress of Parti Lepep, a function that was followed by a “special political event”.

But for many like the Jeannie family, 5 June remains a day of mourning.

Last year, reacting to Albert René’s call for national reconciliation, the brother of late police officer Berard Jeannie - killed on the day of the coup d’état while he was on duty- , called for the truth to come out about his brother’s assassination.

Albert René’s call for national reconciliation in parti Lepep’s mouthpiece The People, was followed by his predecessor James Mancham’s warning that “speaking about national reconciliation is one thing but achieving national reconciliation and consolidating it, is certainly something else”.

James Mancham cautioned that before the country was able to go down that road, “there must be the establishment of the truth concerning the coup d’état of 5 June 1977”. This is exactly what Roch Jeannie is asking for, again today.

Last year, Parti Lepep’s Member of the National Assembly (MNA) for Cascade, Charles de Commarmond, mentioned the family name in Parliament while debating the State of the Nation Address (SONA). After hearing this, Roch Jeannie, a 63 year-old man from Anse Boileau, decided to speak out. “It was the first time I heard a politician from the majority party speak of my brother. I have waited 38 years for an explanation and time has not eased the pain,” he told TODAY.

“Government must tell the truth and stop celebrating 5 June. Only then can we begin the process of reconciliation,” added the heartbroken man.

MNA Charles de Commarmond explained then to TODAY why he mentioned Mr Jeannie’s name. “Those who organised the coup did not want bloodshed. It was unfortunate that there were three deaths and I think that the authorities and families concerned should come together and talk. It is not healthy for those families to carry on facing such a dilemma. They seem ready, so it would be the right thing to address this issue and move on,” he added.

 Berard Jeannie was a police officer, working with the paramilitary unit (PMU) at the time of his death. He was off-duty on 5 June 1977 but his shift was changed, according to his brother. “My brother knew nothing of the coup. It was on that fateful day that he was shot in the head while eating lunch at his desk,” Roch Jeannie recounts.

His was one of three deaths that occurred during the coup d’état orchestrated by former president France Albert René on 5 June 1977. For the next two years, he ran the country by presidential decree until 1979 when a new one-party state constitution was enforced, until the introduction of the Third Constitution and multi-party democracy on 18 June 1993.

 According to unverified reports, Mr. Jeannie says that “the evidence was tampered with to protect the guilty and the police have remained tight-lipped on the subject until today”. More than three and a half decades have passed since the events of that fateful day, but the dead man’s brother is still waiting for closure. For that to be possible though, he needs the truth to finally come out. He describes his elder brother as “a hardworking person with a strong sense of integrity”, adding that his family has been victimized for 37 years. “My brother was innocent. As a Christian I am willing to forgive – if those responsible are willing to apologize,” he says.