Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Dear Sir,

I hope you will grant me some space to respond to your article “George Thande is a Conspirator and Wife Beater” in your Weekend publication 11 September 2015.

I write to you as a shareholder and Founder of The Victoria Times Ltd and on behalf of several other shareholders who have contacted me over the weekend in response to your article. We are extremely disappointed and distressed to see The Victoria Times has descended into such a low grade newspaper when it should be publishing news on issues that are of interest to a large number of readers instead of concentrating on throwing abuse and accusations at another newspaper or individual. When an individual does something that the Editor perceives to be against or in the interest of the public then the newspaper is there to bring out these issues. It was never our intentions that our company The Victoria Times Ltd which originally published The Victoria Times newspaper but later changed the name of its newspaper to Times of Seychelles to be an avenue for individuals to promote their personal views and attack other individuals who in most cases do not have the same avenue to respond. This is very cowardly because a man should have the guts to say to someone’s face what he has on his mind and not hide behind a publication where the people he writes about have no right of reply or at least they are not given a right of reply.

George Thande
The first thing I did when I started The Victoria Times was I created a Code of Practice which I presented to the Media Commission at one of their Board Meetings and by which I ran The Victoria Times as CEO and later as CEO and Editor before the company was handed over to the new management. We have written to the new Board of Directors and we have asked for George Thande to be replaced. The Victoria Times’ success was due to the professional marketing activities and interesting contents that propelled the paper to be well respected and we captured advertisements from companies like Cable and Wireless, Intelvision, Seybrew, Air Seychelles, Seypec and a few other major advertisers because we published a respectable newspaper. We were dynamic and we fought our corner well. I recall one time Ralph Volcere, then Editor of Weekly, tried to run down The Victoria Times and George and I gave him back a response that concluded the duel. We did it in a way that maintained our respective dignity and today Ralph and I can sit down and have a cup of coffee and no harm done. This is the way professionals behave in any industry but in Seychelles we seem to want to hurt each other to make a point, that’s the old way.

 George Thande is fully aware that in Seychelles we do not go round brandishing our long knives (panga) in the street when we are aggrieved. We live in a more docile society than in Kenya, his homeland, and he has been in Seychelles long enough to know our way of life. It seems that the forth coming elections is bringing out the “animal killing instinct” in some of us and they will go to any extreme to try and win even to the point of losing their self respect and perhaps their self-esteem if they have any.

The other aspect that many people seems to forget is that President Michel, the Ministers, the MNAs, the Judiciary, the AG’s Office and all Civil Servants are servants of the people of Seychelles and not our masters. They have been employed to serve us and we are their masters. Just because our hard earned tax money is used to chauffer driven them around in top range black BMWs with tinted glass, so we do not see who is really in the car, and we pay expensive body guards to protect them against phantom enemies, it doesn’t make them our masters. They are supposed to deliver what they promise and what the nation needs not buy up media houses and employ editors to rubbish members of our nation. I personally find this to be alien to my up-bringing. The forthcoming elections will be something we have never witnessed before because of the freedom of the Social Media and we know our rights under our Constitution.

The document you refer to in your article exists and I am the co-author and it is a model of how greed can change a person and how untrustworthy some people can become in their quest to acquire material possessions. It also shows how Government Agencies allow themselves to be used to please their masters and the depth to which they are prepared to descend in their attempt to try and frighten people with their vindictive threats. Lucky for me I fear no one and in battle I like to look at my enemies in the eyes. With every article I write I always publish my email address for any reader to communicate with me if they have differing views or anything else to say to me directly.

We have always chosen the path of resolving our differences in peace and harmony but the material being written by the editor of Times of Seychelles is likely to change the way we settle our differences and we clearly cannot let this happen.

The Media Commission has tried very hard to bring all the media houses and journalists together in a number of seminars and journalists, including those from SBC, who have attended these seminars, four in all recently, appear to have a degree of respect for each other as professionals but The Times of Seychelles failed to attend all these seminars which would have created a better atmosphere for their journalists. People in the street stop me and ask me to do something about the way Times of Seychelles is degrading in contents which means I am not the only one with the perception of degradation.

Let us go into these highly-contested elections with some dignity and respect for our fellow human being. We have the right to belong to more than one political party if we choose to do so. It is not written anywhere that a person can belong to only one political party and why should it be so? President Michel said “our democracy has matured”, well let us behave like matured people and bring everything in the open then let us deal with all issues good and bad because nothing can be hidden any longer. The apparent mistakes by the Electoral Commission (EC) is a starting point because they were entrusted to look after our election laws and if they have allowed phantom voters on the Register then let us replace all the EC members before the next elections. All this should give George Thande plenty of issues to publish and bring Times of Seychelles back up the competitive ladder because there is plenty of news around today. Again it is not all bad because George has done some good work at TVT and it is so easy to think that a person is all bad, not so, I believe he is being used as a mean to an end.

Barry Laine
All nations have a lurid history and our small islands are no exception and we can deal with our past with a high level of professionalism and maintain the dignity of our nation. Some of our compatriots are grieving and they want to bring closure to their grief so let us give them the opportunity. If we can achieve this then we can continue to live in peace and harmony in this beautiful part of the world God has bestowed on us, after all each one of us is a temporary guest of Mother Nature.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to respond to your article.

Barry Laine FCIM, FInst SMM, MCMI, MBSCH