Tuesday, December 30, 2014

PROTEST IN SEYCHELLES; OPPOSITION TAKES TO THE STREETS AGAINST NEWLY INTRODUCED TAXES

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

SEYCHELLES PROTEST MARCH AGAINST THE NEW INCREASED TAXES OF CAR OWNERS

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.

SEYCHELLES CAPITAL RUNNING OUT OF PUBLIC TOILETS

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.

SOURCE: TODAY

A SET UP FOR LAND SCAM IN SEYCHELLES?

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???

SEYCHELLES COUP D`ETAT CROOKS HIT JACKPOT; SR 7.7 MILION ALLOCATED FOR 2015 PENSIONS

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'état 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

SEYCHELLES RULED BY ARABS; SULLIMAN DEFIANT!

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.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

SEYCHELLES REAL NATIONAL FLAG THAT WAS BORN ON OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY

By George Chang-Tave

I fully support the motion to reinstate the 1976 Seychelles National Flag. I strongly believe this should get louder and louder and we should never give up on it. The 1976 Seychelles National Flag is the only true legitimate flag of Seychelles. No-one, no matter which government should ever be allowed to change or tamper with it. There is no question that the Flag our Seychelles flew on the day of its independence, the day of the birth of the Seychellois Nation, should remain forever its National Flag. Seychelles Independence Day is and should forever remain the greatest day in the history of Seychelles; there is no doubt about it.


Everything pertaining to this day of such importance should never be allowed to be torn apart from it. Doing so would mean tearing apart the very fabric of the Seychellois Nation. Furthermore, to tear apart any of the attributes of the Independence day 1976, amounts to the worst insult to the dignity of Seychelles. It is all part of the act of treason committed on Seychelles on the 5th June 1977. These were the first things, that were attacked and attempted to be distorted immediately after the coup d'état anyone responsible of such crime should be tried for treason. The Seychelles National Flag 1976 represents so much of Seychelles history and its people.

Albert Rene swearing allegiance to the First Republic; only to commit treason 11 months later
The National Flag should be the most sacred emblem of any nation. The current flag represents a political party. Just like the SPUP->turned SPPF->turned PL, they've changed the flag along as they've disguised themselves (it makes sense you see - there is consistency - the changes SPPF did to their party, they also changed the nations national emblems to suit their needs - everything may not have happened on the same day, but it transpires to be so). The National Flag should be far above partisan politics.


If you look around in the world, in most decent countries (democracies), like the US, UK, France, Holland, Sweden, Germany, India, Kenya, Jamaica even Mauritius, (except in some banana republics) whenever they make political changes, they NEVER EVER change their flag, because their flag is their nations' identity. When a country changes its National flag too many times, it suggests their nation's foundation is not solid. If you look around in the world, you will notice that the well established democracies have had their flags for centuries. Moreover, most of the countries that changed their flags after it was taken by force, are now returning to their original flags, like Libya, Tunisia, (the Syrian opposition use the country's original flag) the former eastern bloc countries that became part of the larger communist federations, such as Ukraine and Georgia, and all the former Yugoslav federation nations etc. to name just a few, have all gone back to their original flags. To return the Seychelles 1976 National Flag is one of the most important transitions Seychelles needs to make if it wants to make a first step to uniting the nation.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

SEYCHELLES PEOPLE SAY A RESOUNDING NO TO HOTEL AT CAP TERNAY

“Democracy at work”. After all the recriminations that characterised Saturday’s meeting at Port Glaud between the promoters of Emirates’ Cap Ternay resort project and members of the public, this was the only positive way government officials could described the exercise. A meeting overwrought with emotions and tension where members of the public clearly expressed what seemed to be a non-negotiable objection to the project.

To describe the meeting as full of tension and of animosity would be to fall short of all the emotions that were on display on Saturday at the Port Glaud community centre. But the authorities has prepared for such an eventuality – a police officer was on standby in case a riot broke. And back up was ready and waiting at the Port Glaud police station in case things got out of hand.

And getting out of hand, they did. The meeting started with murmurs of disapproval towards the project followed by loud objections whenever a member of the panel spoke. The panel consisted of principal secretary (PS) for the ministry of Environment and Energy, Wills Agricole, the director general (DG) for Wildlife Enforcement and Permit Division at the same ministry, Flavien Joubert, local project managers Dereck Rioux and Shane Kleinschmeit as well as the project team members Dene Murphy, Bill Pujin and Derreck Steinhobel.

Barely five minutes after the meeting started, an elderly man stood up and cried out to Wills Agricole “Mr. Agricole, you are the principal secretary of the ministry of Environment, you are government too, how could you let the Arabs do this to us?”

The frustration went crescendo after questions – albeit hostile ones – put to the panel found no answers. After a presentation by Mr Joubert to help the public better understand why the meeting was part of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) process, the public was told that issues put forward during the meeting will be included in a report which will be made accessible to the public for review and comments.

 At this point during the meeting, an inhabitant suggested that the report be uploaded online for comments and Mr. Joubert said that the 2008 version of that project was already posted but that he would make note of the suggestion.


 Mr. Murphy was next on the agenda to present the project to the public but he appeared to only frustrate people further. Many people said they could not understand the purpose of the meeting since it appeared that the project had already been approved. To which Mr. Joubert vaguely explained that his ministry was simply making the project a Class 1 one and that this had for requirement the elaboration of an EIA report.

This, however, was only one of the very few questions that actually got an answer. Faced with allegations that the project has already received approval from the powers that be, ministry officials affirmed that they were not aware whether or not the project had already been placed in the hands of contractors.

 Members of the panel could also not say why or how the dredging of the sea would happen except for “creating a bathing experience for the clients”. They also could not explain why access to the beach was presently restricted in spite of the presentation guaranteeing beach access to the public once the hotel was open. They could not say why they had to “restore strategic areas such as the marshes” even if there was nothing wrong with it in the first place, they could not answer where they will be getting the sand to re-profile the beach, they could not justify the destruction of marine life - with the dredging activity - and finally could not explain why those answers weren’t available.

 Notwithstanding this, Mr Murphy to whom TODAY spoke to after the meeting, told this newspaper that he remains hopeful that the project is one that will materialize and more importantly, said that “there has already been a commitment, an agreement between the Seychelles Government and the Emirates”.
Dene Murphy described the meeting as “a heated one with a lot of emotions”. He said he was “well aware of the objections on social media” leading up to the meeting as well as the hostility towards the project.

“I believe that we have to listen to what everybody has to say. I am only the developer of Emirates and I have been forthcoming with all the information I was in possession of,” he said adding that he could “understand the emotions but that is why we have these public meetings, in fact I won’t take anything negative out of it rather the positive.” He estimated that the project may be developed over a two-year period but would not reveal the actual cost of such an investment for “confidentiality issues”. He nonetheless confirmed that it was a substantial sum of money and the next step for him and the project team would be to complete the scoping exercise. “The real purpose of the meeting is indeed to get public participation, and to take note of what they have to say. From there we will include these in our final assessments to the ministry of environment,” he told this newspaper.

 Hence it is not known if the promoters and the authorities will go on with their plans of destroying private property to make way for the hotel.

 Dr. Nirmal Shah of Nature Seychelles is an inhabitant of the Port Glaud district and his property lies in close proximity to the project. He was particularly concerned that his property was very likely to be used as a “car park” in the eventuality that the beach access through the hotel was used.

 In this regard, Mr. Murphy said that the access road to the hotel needs to allow for easy transportation of building materials and will thus be enlarged by two metres. He also mentioned that there would be some walls that will be demolished to allow for the new enlarged road.

 Mr Murphy however ignored the fact that the enlargement would mean the demolition of some private properties including that of Dr. Shah. For his part, Dr. Shah said that “to come up here and say that you will demolish these walls when they are clearly private properties” was disrespectful to him and other owners.

 There was no reaction to the point made.

The panel unsuccessfully tried to convince people that the project should create jobs for some 400 Seychellois. But some people said it was “clear that these positions would be filled by expatriates”. Mr. Murphy guaranteed nonetheless that the operators would recruit and train as many Seychellois as possible as they have done in their other hotels in the Bahamas for example. Moreover, he said that the Dubai international airport had more passengers going through it than in long-established Heathrow in England. According to him this would be a great advantage to the Seychelles’ tourism industry. The point did not appear to calm people down as the main contention seemed to be the destruction of so many natural habitats.

“Restoration means making something better. What you are doing is called destruction,” one young lady said.

 The meeting adjourned on a very sour note. Kisnan Louise from Port Glaud district told the panel that they needed to come back with another presentation in another meeting since they had not been able to address any of the questions raised by the public. Mr. Joubert said that there would indeed be other opportunities to harvest other opinions. “Make it your responsibility to review today’s discussion and know that your points have indeed been noted,” he said.


 As for PS Agricole, he concluded that “what is important is that we are once again reassured of your commitment towards the environment of Seychelles. You have all raised valid points that the promoters should definitely consider. What we have seen today, this is real democracy at work.”

Source:Today

Monday, November 24, 2014

OFFICIAL ARRESTED IN POSSESSION OF DRUGS IN SEYCHELLES

The police have no prior information about man who was stopped after he bolted upon seeing a police vehicle.

The chief interpreter of the judiciary, Danny Michel was arrested on Thursday afternoon at La Promenade in the English River district, the police have confirmed. The man has been closely involved in the Charita case.


Mr Michel was in possession of an undisclosed amount of cannabis at the time of his apprehension. The arrest happened by happenstance when the police was conducting a random patrol in the area. They saw a man run the minute he saw the police. He also threw the bag he was carrying as he ran – behaviour that indicated to the police that something untoward was going on.

The police secured the bag and gave chase to the man. The bag contained an undisclosed amount of cannabis and the man was later identified as the judiciary’s chief interpreter, Danny Michel, 48, a resident of Port Glaud.

Unconfirmed sources say that it is suspected that the drug comes from the Charita case in which Mr Michel is responsible for producing drugs seized in the case as exhibits in court. Juliana Esticot, the Registrar, chose not comment on these allegations nor on the fact that a court official has been arrested. Mr Michel appeared before Magistrate Samia Govinden yesterday morning and was remanded to custody until December 2. He has not been formally charged yet.



Mrs Esticot told this newspaper however that she would not be making any comments on this latest development unless she has the “management’s green light”. Acting Chief Justice Karunakaran’s office would also not comment, referring this newspaper back to the Registrar.

Police spokesperson Jean Toussaint told this newspaper he not confirm whether the drugs actually came from Charita, saying that unless the court officially reported that drugs were missing from the Charita stock, the police could not make this assumption.


Court sources have told this newspaper that some of the drugs have indeed gone missing. If confirmed, it is not certain what effect this will have on the Charita case.

Source:Today

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

HOW JUSTICE WORKS IN SEYCHELLES

The brothers say they don’t understand why the police officer who killed their father has been released on bail while the man who killed a police officer has been accused of murder.

The irony is poignant. On October 30, Emanuel Malvina, 56, lost his life in a road accident as a police vehicle trying to overtake another car hit him head on. The driver, a police officer, was arrested but later released on bail. The police still have not confirmed the charge against the officer who hasn’t been identified.

On July 26, Constable Jules was fatally hit by a car while he was on duty. The young driver has been charged with murder – a very unusual charge for a road accident – and is still being held at Montagne Posee.


The children are still mourning their father and say they are at a loss to understand the way the police have treated this tragedy.

Ian Rose and Pascal Malvina both confirmed to this newspaper that they have not once heard from the police since their father’s death. “The last time we spoke to a police officer was when they handed over our father’s body to us for burial”, they say.

The brothers state  that a relative of the police officer involved in the accident, had approached them to ask them to consider removing the case, by speaking to an official at the Attorney General’s office.

“We don’t understand why he was released. Yet, the boy who killed the police officer in July is still being held at Montagne Posee prison. We hope the police officer will get the maximum penalty. All we want is justice especially since it was a policeman who didn’t respect the Highway Code and ultimately killed our father”, the brothers told this newspaper.

“The accident happened where there was an unbroken line on the road – a sign that says clearly that there should be no overtaking. Why is the police the only institution that gets away with not respecting the law?”, they ask.

The boys are even more aggrieved because they know that their father was generally very prudent on the road. “If you went to Takamaka on foot, you might’ve reached there before him!”, they say of their father.

Ian Rose also tells  that the driver who killed his father is well known to him. “He is about 74 years-old and he lives at La Misere and used to be an officer with the National Guard Unit. I cannot understand why a person his age would drive a police vehicle when I once approached this department for a part-time job and they said they didn’t employ part-time personnel”.

Source:Today


Monday, November 17, 2014

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS ABUSE IN SEYCHELLES?

Alleged beating of Somali prisoner by officer

According to reports, a gurkha officer assaulted an 18 year-old Somali at Montagne Posée. The authorities have been mute on the subject despite attempts to obtain their reaction.

A Somali pirate imprisoned at Montagne Posée, going by the name Abid–Assen, was reportedly assaulted on Monday by a gurkha officer. The prisoner is believed to be around 18 years of age. Very little information is available about the incident so far. The prison authorities as well as the ministry of Home Affairs have refused to comment on the allegations.



Lawyer Nichol Gabriel is currently involve in the case and has written to the prison authorities to ask for a report of the incident. Mr Gabriel had not heard anything from the authorities.

Abid-Assen was admitted to the Seychelles hospital for one night after the assault on Monday. Unconfirmed sources say the man was vomiting blood before his transfer to the hospital.

According to witnesses, a gurkha officer going by the name of Harry, slapped the young man after which he reportedly passed out. After this, the officer allegedly kicked the unconscious prisoner.

It is as yet unclear why this particular prisoner was singled out.

This incident came to the attention of lawyer Nichol Gabriel who wrote a letter to the prison authorities, requesting the medical report of his client as well as a report from the prison authorities on the incident. Gabriel had not received any report from either the ministry of health or the prison authorities.

Mr Gabriel stated that what happened was “really unfair” and a direct consequence of the prison authorities’ failure to protect inmates. The lawyer further said that he intends to sue the prison authorities to prove the officer in question was at fault.

Contacted, Prison Superintendant Maxime Tirant has refused to comment on the incident. The liason officer for prisons at the ministry of Home Affairs also declined to comment.


Seychelles is among 21 countries worldwide that detain Somali pirates through an agreement with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). According to an official document from the UNODC, the prisoners are supposed to follow a rehabilitation programme to prevent future crime at the Montagne Posée prison.

Source: Today

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE? TWO BROTHERS ACCUSE POLICE OF BRUTALITY IN SEYCHELLES

Ian and Mike Melle say that they were aggressed by law enforcement officers in Roche Caiman on Friday night. The police however affirm that their injuries were self inflicted.

There are always two sides to every story. This saying is particularly appropriate when it comes to the altercation involving Ian and Mike Melle and the police last Friday night near Fresh Cut at Roche Caiman. The two brothers accuse the latter of having brutalised and sprayed them with tear gas for no reason before imprisoning them for the night. The authorities, on the other hand, affirm that the siblings were fighting when they were “spotted by police on patrol who intervened to arrest them”. In addition, police spokesperson, Jean Toussaint, told this newspaper that, “no official brutality or assault reports have been formally registered to the police by any of the two men”. For their mother, Eunice, however, it’s a case of the police abusing their authority.



As Ian, a 26 year-old cook from Roche Caiman, recounts the story, his brother and him were simply walking to the shops when the trouble started. According to him, the events unfolded between 9.30pm and 10.00pm when the siblings were intercepted by a red Terios. “The officers asked us what we were doing and wanted to handcuff us”, alleges Ian Melle. And when they resisted, they copped a face full of tear gas, he avers. Despite this, he continued to struggle against the officers who wanted to bundle him aboard the Terios. After having cuffed one of his hands, the police then proceeded to push him to the ground before “hitting me on my back and arms”, he says, displaying numerous bruises and scratches on his neck, arms and back to drive his point home, Eunice Melle avers that her other son, Mike, was hit in the face.


The police however affirm that, “during the process, Ian assaulted a constable in the face and damaged his glasses”. The marks on their bodies were inflicted during the altercation between the two brothers, Mr Toussaint states: “The police reported that as a result of the fight between Ian and Mike, a cut was observed on Mike’s lips while Ian had scratches on his neck. They were both under either the influence of alcohol or drugs”. A second patrol car came to assist the first one and the brothers were transported to Mont Fleuri police station (Mike was later taken to Central). Ian even alleges that he was sprayed again with tear gas in his cell later that night. The brothers were released the next morning after having been charged with “affray, damaging property and assault on police officer”.


Ian admits that Mike and himself had perhaps been speaking loudly, as brothers are wont to do, and had had a drink or two, but is adamant that the reaction of the authorities was completely unwarranted. He has been “depressed” since the incident. “All this because two kids were talking”, she states. For his part, Mr Toussaint reiterates that the police have an “Internal Affairs Bureau to investigate public complaints against members of the force”.

Source: Today

Thursday, November 6, 2014

THE SEYCHELLES NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION IS A TOTAL JOKE

The national human rights commission (NHRC) has taken a whole year to respond to a simple letter of complaint on human rights violation and illegal arrest. This shows the incompetency of the chairperson of the NHRC who earns over SCR70,000 a month. Her actions are highly detrimental to the promotion of respect for human rights in Seychelles.



On top of that the letter was dated 12th September; left the Office on the 24th October, received by the post office on the same date and delivered that very same day. From the moment the letter was typed on 12/9, it took the NHRC six weeks to have it posted on 24/10; an impressive record of inefficiency. If only the lawyers would be as efficient as the postmen. They are also unaware that for over a year The New Democratic has changed its name; although the two offices are practically next door. Thorough investigation!

The letter from the chairperson could easily be construed as a national joke. It devalues Seychelles society and it is a travesty to our nascent democracy. How does Dora Zatte get away with that kind of mediocrity?



The lady, a lawyer herself, makes a mockery of the interpretations of the law by stating that she is of the “opinion that the police were acting within the remit of their powers, more specifically that of arresting and detaining members of the public in the prevention of the commission of an offence” What total gibberish especially remembering the fact that the illegally arrested were in fact invited to the police station.

The people, who sat on the wall by the clock tower with banners around their necks reading “Annou repran nou pei” on the 30th September were exercising their constitutional rights-plain and simple. They had not broken any law and should not have been interfered with by the police. NO CRIME WAS COMMITTED.

The complainants were never approached for their version of events by the NHRC and yet they stated that it was a lengthy investigation; who did they speak to?

The stance as taken by the NHRC on this particular incident gives rise to the belief that Seychelles in 2014 is still being run by some like the days of the one party era.



SEYCHELLES MINISTERS IN BREACH OF PENAL CODE REGARDING CORRUPTION AT EDEN BLEU OVERNIGHT STAY?

Six scrounging cabinet ministers are being accused of cheapening their ministerial offices after it emerged that they had accepted an all expenses overnight stay at the Eden Bleu Hotel on Eden Island.

The ministers in question and some family members spent one night as guest of the hotel management on the opening night of the islands first business hotel.

Gossip about their overnight stay surfaced on social media after some relatives posted pictures of themselves in the hotel rooms and boasted about it.

Seychelles Ministers with Angolan General

It can be confirmed that other than the rooms offered to them personally, at least two of the ministers asked for extra rooms for their relatives, with one minister requesting three rooms!

The scroungers have been criticized for breaching Section 91 of the Penal code which covers official corruption which prohibits anyone employed in the public service to corruptly receive such favours.

Anyone found guilty of this felony is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

The public reaction found the ministers` action as an embarrassment to the government and to the country because it creates the impression that they can be easily bought.

“To me if those high officials had their country and people at heart they would have gone to the opening and then gone home. This would have made a point that they cannot be bought and that they are worth more than a night in a hotel” said a comment on social media.

It is not the first time that ministers have been embroiled in such scandals leading to critics labeling them as “scroungers”.

The only two cabinet members who did not accept the offer were Vice President Danny Faure and Minister of Tourism, Alain St Ange. Minister Pierre Laporte and his colleague Peter Sinon were not present at the opening of Saturday 18th October.

Source: Le Seychellois





Thursday, October 30, 2014

SRI LANKANS SWINDLED IN THE SEYCHELLES BY MARCO FRANCIS THE FORGER

Many Sri Lankans have reportedly been swindled in the Seychelles by two persons namely Robert Piksa and Marco L Francis of Seychelles.

They have allegedly cheated many Sri Lankan businessmen promising deals in the Seychelles and obtaining funds, starting from exporting fish to Sri Lanka, opening up offshore companies and bank accounts for money laundering were some of the rackets the duo were allegedly involved in.



Robert Piksa a Czech Republic citizen has reportedly cheated many people around the globe starting from Europe, Thailand, Russia and now Sri Lanka and is on the verge of getting de ported from the Seychelles.

It is learnt that he pretends to be the consultant of the Czech prime minister and has cheated Sri Lankan businessmen in various deals mainly in exporting fish.

A senior official at the Bank of Ceylon Seychelles branch has reportedly fallen prey to Robert Piksa’s wheeler dealings.



The official from the Bank of Ceylon Seychelles branch had reportedly started business with Piksa in exporting fish to Sri Lanka as well as working on money laundering businesses with Robert and his partner Marco L Francis.

According to reports, Marco L Francis a prominent figure in the Seychelles and the president of the Seychelles chamber of commerce is one of the main culprits in forming offshore companies and bank accounts for money laundering and providing illegal dealing for rouge companies around the world and Sri Lankan politicos.

With Marco L Francis position in the Seychelles chamber it has been easy for the duo to promote themselves in attracting foreigners (Local Sri Lankans) to send them money with no agreement but only on trust to start off businesses.

Rober Piksa had always been the front end and Marco playing a silent role from the back to make sure the investors money dossiers.

It’s also understood that Peter Sinon the Minister of Natural resources and Fisheries of Seychelles a very close friend of Robert Piksa has ‎promoted Piska by attending business meetings with the businessmen from Sri Lanka and other countries to give more confidence in trusting the duo and going in to partnerships.


We will continue to update on any new developments in this regard.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

ALLEGATIONS OF MONEY LAUNDERING?

The mystery behind BMI’s unexpected closure does not dissipate. A press communiqué yesterday from the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) confirming that the BMI Offshore bank in Victoria was currently under “examination” due to an “operational issue”. Yet the CBS seems unable to expound what exactly is the problem.
 

 The BMI Offshore bank unexpectedly closed down on Thursday following an “examination” by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of its data. While the BMI’s staff has vanished and documents have been seized by the authorities, the FIU maintains that an “examination” is not an “investigation”.

Yet the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) confirmed yesterday via a press communiqué that it was, together with the FIU, conducting an “examination on BMI’s transactions and records due to an ‘operational issue’”. According to the CBS, BMI’s correspondent banking relationship has been discontinued since last week which perhaps was the reason why the CBS and FIU decided to carry out an “examination”.

The communiqué also makes the following point - that the offshore bank was financially sound and that the depositor’s interests were safeguarded even though they will not be able to access their deposits until the problem is solved.

Naddy Marie was contacted, economist and communications coordinator at CBS, for further clarifications - what was the “operational issue”?, When will the depositors have access to their funds?, What happened to BMI’s employees? But Mr Marie said he was not in a position to enlighten us further.

 Rumours of a possible interdiction of BMI’s managing director Frank Hoareau could also not be confirmed.


 It is to be noted that the FIU’s Declan Barber stated that the FIU never instructed BMI to close or interrupt their daily activities. The CBS is mute on this matter as well.

Source:Today

Friday, October 24, 2014

SEYCHELLES MNA PENSION CHALLENGED IN THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

A case was mentioned in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday. The petitioner, Mr Ian Delorie, prays that the court passes judgment declaring that the National Assembly Members Emoluments (Amendments) Acts 2008 and 2013 are violations of Article 105 (1) of the constitution and must be declared null and void.

The massive life pensions voted into law by the MNAs in 2008 and 2013 have angered the population and as a responsible citizen, Mr Delorie has decided to make it his duty to ensure that Seychelles is governed in accordance to the rule of law and that the consolidated fund from which the pensions are paid is managed in strict compliance with the Constitution.



The Constitution adopted in 1993 makes provision for payment of salary, allowances and gratuity for MNAs but not pension. Since the coming into force of the present constitution, the National Assembly Emoluments Act has been amended four times to give a pay hike to members of the National Assembly. However, in 2007, the National Assembly passed the National Assembly Members Emoluments (Amendment) Act 2008 in which provision was made for MNAs to benefit from a pension; that was and remains unconstitutional. From then on, each serving MNA is entitled to a pension. It was initially restricted to MNAs under the present constitution but lately the parliamentarians who served under the Second Republic were also added to the list.

Interestingly, the Constitution permits MNAs to decide on laws that will determine their own salaries but not pension. In many countries this right has been abused and Seychelles does not seem to be an exception. Incidentally, the public had been kept in the dark for years regarding the perks being enjoyed by retiring MNAs. Focus was kept mainly on the executive. When the real facts came to light and the figures revealed, the population was shocked. MNAs retired more than a decade ago are pocketing more than SR 15 000 a month in pension; simply outrageous.

The sum paid monthly from the Consolidated Fund for payment of pension is phenomenal; the country may not be able to sustain it for long. When the current National Assembly is dissolved next year, most of the MNAs, some still tender in age, will enjoy pensions till death while the hardworking citizens strive to earn a daily living. The pension of the MNAs exceeds the salary of university graduates. The pension of the Former Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of Government Business  and the Speaker is much more than the highest paid civil servant; is this what politicians have always wanted?


In the event that the Constitutional Court rule in favour of the petitioner, the National Assembly still retains the power to amend the constitution and insert the word pension where appropriate. Will the people of Seychelles allow them to do so?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

LETTER OF THE YEAR; SEYCHELLES IN 13 TABOOS

Dear Editor,

In response to your article a few weeks ago regarding the National Forum and the request for your readers to write in with their list of “taboo” subjects, please find my contribution.

National Forum - Speak up now or forever hold your peace

Prelude

At day break on the 5th of June 1977, I woke up to a radio announcement that a “coup d’état” had taken place and a group of people who called themselves “liberators” had deposed the democratically elected government of James Mancham. At the time coups d’état were commonplace and fashionable on mainland Africa.



What we had been liberated from is to this day still not clear because a little less than a year before, we had obtained independence from the United Kingdom and had become a free sovereign State.

Members of this group went on to form an illegal government and to this day, the same people are still in control. Prior to independence, times were not exactly that quiet in paradise. We had sampled what this group of people and their sympathisers were capable of. They had subjected us to violent strikes, countless demonstrations, bombings and fires.

These and this act of treason provided the best indicators of the kind of future the people of Seychelles faced. And looking back this view is firmly proven.

Now in their twilight years, some members of this group are showing signs of remorsefulness and want to be forgiven for what happened. Others, it is reported, would prefer to take what they know to their graves.

The call for the truth has always been there but has always fallen on deaf ears. It seems times are changing and the braver ones are asking for “taboo subjects” to be discussed openly. Therefore for this reason alone, I respect President Michel for having the courage to table the subject openly.

A National Forum

One of the reasons cited by President Michel for establishing the National Forum is the need to remove the elements that have divided our nation for so long, so that we can make progress on most fronts on a bipartisan basis. He has invited us to speak up in an unreserved manner.

Below is the list that I have compiled to help the chosen members of the forum do their work as I believe this is an important opportunity for them to make history and bring about meaningful changes to our country.

The Original Sin: The source of the division and Taboo Subject Number 1

Unquestionably, the source of division and polarisation of our country as we know it today, are the tragic events which happened on the 5th of June 1977, and prior to this, the mysterious disappearances of a few Seychellois which up to this day remains unexplained. More than half of the population viewed the 5th of June event as an act of treason while others considered it a “liberation”.

Deprivation of Human Rights – Taboo Subject 2

The treatment of other people who were in politics when this sad event occurred and subsequently, remain sore wounds for those affected, to this day. Imprisonments, seizure of assets and killings were the order of the day and we were told these were all done in the name of improving the lot of the Seychellois people. How could depriving people of civil liberties and human rights improve the lot of others? Is killing one’s own countrymen justified?

Victimisation – Taboo Subject 3

Under the one party State, government ruled with an iron fist subjecting individuals and businesses to all sorts of scare mongering tactics to the extent that there was an exodus of people fleeing Seychelles and businesses going bankrupt, simply because their owners would not tow the same political line. People were scared to talk openly about politics in case they were victimised. Even to this day, you can lose your civil service job if you criticise the government and the reason for dismissal would be that you are a security risk.

Mismanagement and Corruption – Taboo Subject 4

The mismanagement of funds and the corruption on the large scale that has happened has been entirely under the watch of the only government this nation has known since the 5th June 1977. The Mancham government had not been in power for one year. The government must stop blaming the opposition for any misdoings because the opposition has never been in power. It must recognise that it has been solely responsible for the economic mess which led to the IMF bail-out and only it can get us out of it. Furthermore, allegations of corruption must be investigated and those responsible be brought to justice. Lip service to this is no longer acceptable. It is time to randomly audit the assets of government officers past and present and the envelopes which they declared their assets be opened for verification.

 Leave the Judiciary Alone – Taboo Subject 5

The government has always exercised undue influence on the judiciary and has interfered with its independence through various tactics including appointment of foreigners who have sucked up to the system so that they could be conferred the Seychellois nationality. The government must stop this practice and must allow the judiciary to do its job unhindered. It is only through an independent judiciary that we can achieve meaningful outcomes and justice will triumph in all instances.

In a Democracy the Opposition Deserves Respect – Taboo Subject 6

The government must recognise that people have different views and will always differ on policy matters. The opposition is there as a check on misaligned policies and has an important role to play in pointing deficiencies in policies. For this reason, its members should not be victimised whether for: 1. belonging to the opposition, and 2. speaking out against bad policies. If the government was in the opposition, it would claim exactly the same respect.

What Happened to “Sesel Pou Seselwa”? – Taboo Subject 7

The people who coined this phrase at the time of the movement for independence have totally forgotten about it. When the Opposition and the public speak out about the protection of State assets, especially land allocation to foreigners, they are speaking on behalf of the entire nation regardless of party affiliation.

Government has a duty on behalf of the entire nation to put in place legislation on how assets of the state are disposed of in a transparent manner. No asset can ever be offered to anyone privately, especially to foreigners. When assets are identified for disposal, a public tender must be published and only Seychellois persons can be allowed to participate in the tender. The recent Bel Ombre hotel proposal is a case in hand, where the government has sprung a surprise on its people. This practice is wrong and must be stopped. If the government is calling on its people to unite for nation building, the same people must be given priority to participate in this process and preferences not be given to foreigners.

Public Scrutiny is Normal – Taboo Subject 8

Ministers of the government, political appointees and civil servants who accept almost quasi political roles, must understand that in accepting these posts they are subject to public scrutiny and must accept criticisms from all angles except in cases of defamation. Frivolous court cases entered by these people who know that they can exert influence on the judiciary to get unjustified outcomes in their favour must stop.

Tell Us What You Are Doing With Our Money – Taboo Subject 9

Whenever money is collected from the public for special reasons, these should be subject to the same control as funds/taxes collected under the appropriation act. We need to have full audits of the use of the Corporate Social Responsibility funds as well as the Children’s Fund. In the case of the latter, the responsibility for allocation of funds collected under its name should be enfranchised to a body made up of responsible members of our society and not by a government officer or agency, let alone the President’s Office or his appointees.

Enact Balanced Laws – Taboo Subject 10

The electoral laws and public order act must be revised and the views of the entire nation reflected in them.

 Our Environment – Taboo Subject 11

The government of President Albert Rene was very conscious of the fragile environment of Seychelles and did its best to protect the environment while creating reclaimed land for development. Today, we see just the opposite happening under President Michel’s government, with foreign companies being given permission to build whatever they want, wherever they want, with total disregard and respect for our environment. A few cases of note is Sheikh Khalifa’s palace at the top of La Misere mountain which is considered not only an eyesore, but a scar on our landscape, the proposed hotel development at Bel Ombre which has just been announced out of the blue and linked again to Abu Dhabi, the proposed hotel at the only remaining wetlands at Grand Police, and of course the Emirates Airlines proposed project at Cap Ternay, an area of unrivalled beauty and a haven for the marine environment. These are crimes against humanity Mr. President, let alone against your own people! Beau Vallon Beach is now so overcrowded that it has become nothing more than a cheap commercial tourist spot. Port Launay is now the home of the huge Ephelia Resort Hotel and the Seychellois people are now pushed into a small section of the beach and no longer welcomed. A lot of beaches around Mahé and Praslin are now out of bounds to locals; the people have simply had enough of large hotels on the islands. To top it off, our outer islands are now being sold off to rich foreigners rather than kept as national treasures for our future generations.

 Our Citizenship – Taboo Subject 12

 Government has sold and given away our passports to foreigners from all over the world, from criminals who have paid for favours, to judges who are in favour and to “friends of Seychelles” who have greased the palms of many politicians. It is time to take this power away from the President and State House, and the recent change of laws has done nothing to stop the abuse of power.

 Hear the Entire Nation Out – Taboo Subject 13

 And how can the views of the entire nation be heard, if the main avenue for its people to air concerns is controlled by government? For too long now, the SBC Radio and TV have been used as tools by government to indoctrinate and broadcast the government’s position only, while the Nation newspaper has been used as a tool for State House to spread its own propaganda, philosophy and lies. Recently, a new Seychelles News Agency which clearly is another arm of the State House media machinery has emerged and is housed in the new Jj Spirit Espace building. Worse, it is being funded by taxpayers money. Aren’t NISA (Nation) and SBC enough?

 It is the same SBC which has been used all along to lead the nation to believe that the all the taboo subjects were the creation of the opposition. Now the new SNA regurgitates everything that State House spouts.

 Half of the population views these subjects as very real and sensitive ones. It would appear that for the other half, they were “taboo” subjects which should never be discussed at all costs and which SBC should suppress discussions on. It is time government and State House to get out of the media business once and for all. Only an independent media without ties to the government can bring freedom of press and expression to the fore. As long as State House controls the media in the country à la “En Moman Avek Prezidan”, the country will never move forward.

 Where Do We Start?

 But now that we have been told we can discuss these “taboo” issues, we need to make a concerted effort to table them, or at least the chosen, “distinguished citizens” must ensure that the true voice of the nation are heard. If we are uncertain as to where to start the discussions to bring our nation together then we can start the dialogue with subject 1 above, the Original Sin. If we cannot agree on this, then it is back to the subject 1 again, because it will not go away. Will the perpetrators of this sin be brought to justice? We think not, at least not for a while. Possibly posthumously, some truth may come out about who did what. But in the end, we are a forgiving people due to our Christian upbringing, and most believe that forgiveness is better than retribution.

 For a lot of Seychellois the hurt can only start going away when the truth is exposed about a lot of sufferings which have taken place so that all those affected can start the healing process in a dignified manner.

 It is only after the skeletons have been removed from the closets that perhaps the pain will start to fade into history, and not the phony history as written by Shillington!

 Summary

 Seychelles is at a fork in the road, or at least this government is. President Michel can either accept that he and his party are the true cause of the polarization and that only he and his party can rectify the situation by openly discussing the issues as listed above, or he might as well dissolve the National Forum now. He himself owes the Seychellois nation an apology, if not for taking part in the coup d’etat which he absurdly believes was needed to liberate the people, then at least for all the lives that were lost during and after the coup. Yes, a lot of people still alive today are guilty of various sins and they know that putting their hands up could end them in jail. But the families who lost their loved ones are ready for closure and are the only ones who can pardon the sinners. And moving “Zomn Lib” a few hundred metres down the road and replacing it with a new “national” monument concocted by the President himself is a slap in the face to all Seychellois with an iota of common sense.

 The question is that with elections around the corner, will the President fast track this process of truth? This is highly unlikely and therefore, this forum would well prove to be another waste of time of the ‘distinguished’ members of the National Forum, let alone another golden opportunity to move the country forward, lost amidst the haze of the original sinners’ narcissistic blurred visions of leadership.

 Sincerely,


 C. A.

Source:Today

Monday, October 20, 2014

AFRICA JOURNALISTS’ ASSOCIATION CONDEMNS SEYCHELLES GOVERNMENT

 The Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) has reacted to the announcement this week that Ahmed Afif will no longer be allowed to participate in Revi Finansyel, a popular weekly phone-in show on Pure FM dedicated to demystifying some of the economic and financial issues affecting Seychelles. Its secretary general, Alexander Niyungeko, wrote in a statement that the move is “a drawback to press freedom and freedom of expression”, and called on government to promote an environment conducive to a free press.



In an interview earlier this week, Mr. Afif told our newspaper that he believed it to be “a political decision” and described the situation as “a big blow to democracy and press freedom”. Mr. Niyungeko said that the EAJA considers the discontinuation of Mr Afif’s participation as “an attempt to limit access to information” and condemns “any pressure that may have led to it”. Also on the website was a quote from the Association of Media Practitioners (AMPS) which expressed its disappointment over the dismissal of Mr Afif. AMPS remarked that the move “would intimidate local journalists and stifle the growth of a free and independent press in the country”.



The EAJA stressed that the establishment of private media houses in Seychelles in recent years has been a positive development. “However, this new development is viewed as a roll-back on the recent opening up of media freedom and liberalization of the local media” in Seychelles, it added. Social media was also abuzz with indignation and there is speculation that Facebook users and fans of the radio show intend to create a petition to signal their opposition to the decision.


Source:Today

Saturday, October 18, 2014

UB40 RE-IMPORTED IN 2014 AFTER BEING DEPORTED IN 1990; ONLY IN SEYCHELLES

Many young people in Seychelles are unaware that in 1990 five musicians and two technicians from the British pop band UB40, who was on a tour in the Seychelles, were arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana. This was announced by Mr. Raymond Louise, who was then Seychelles Deputy Police Commissioner (DSPC) at the time.



According to Mr. Louise, the police had enough evidence to charge the seven members of UB40, but the Seychellois authorities decided to deport them instead. Being disgraced after a failed tour, the group did not want the matter publicized, and again the police had to intervene when UB40 members scuffled with a British photographer trying to take their pictures as they boarded an Air France flight to Paris.



According to Seychelles Law, anybody who is deported cannot be accepted back into the country, unless the deportation order has been lifted. We have no information to say that this has been the case - since deportation has given them the status of undesired visitors. However, in the case of UB40 the rules are being relaxed, since the British pop band will be here in the Seychelles as guest artists during the official opening of the Eden Blue Hotel.




We hope that this time around they will behave themselves and show respect to their host at Eden Island. We wish them a successful tour in Seychelles. This time the NDEA with its Irish contingent will be there to deal with them. The band has English, Scottish and even an Irish as part of the group - it might make things interesting if they clash with Skully, Quinn and Burke. We are looking forward to this adventure.

Source:Independent

Friday, October 17, 2014

THREE SEYCHELLOIS EXPECTED TO BE EXECUTED

Government is pursuing “all possible diplomatic and legal avenues” to spare the prisoners the death penalty.

Time appears have run out for the three Seychellois - Ronny Jean, Yvon Vinda and Dean Loze - imprisoned in the oasis town of Qena. Indeed, the highest appellate court in Egypt has upheld the death sentence handed down to them in April last year, despite efforts by government to have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. In a statement issued yesterday, the ministry of Foreign affairs indicated that this decision “implies that execution orders will follow”. The rejection of their appeal means that, barring a last minute miracle, the execution of the prisoners seems all but inevitable.


Along with the skipper of their South Africa flagged boat - a 75 year-old Englishmen named Charles Ferndale -, Messrs Jean, Vinda and Loze were arrested on the Red Sea in April 2011 with three tonnes of cannabis.In an interview with The Telegraph in 2013, Mr Ferndale affirmed that he thought he was ferrying incense between Yemen and Jordan when he was caught, not cannabis. Earlier he had sailed from Seychelles to Oman and had recruited the Seychellois sailors after his original crew had abandoned ship “for fear of rampant piracy in the Gulf of Aden”. He claims to have been framed by an Egyptian named Gamal who had paid his fuel costs.


At the time of the interview Mr Ferndale and the three Seychellois seamen were being held in solitary confinement in Qena prison. The article also stated that “in nearly all cases, death penalties for drugs cases in Egypt are commuted to life imprisonment”. Tragically, this case appears to be the exception, despite government taking all “all measures practical and feasible to ensure that the Seychellois obtained the required legal and consular representation”.

Source:Today