Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION; RAMKALAWAN ASKS COURT TO ORDER A THIRD BALLOT

A first petition contesting the election results was filed yesterday with Wavel Ramkalawan asking the Constitutional Court to declare null and void the result of the Presidential runoff and the subsequent "election" of James Michel. The Seychelles National Party (SNP) alleges that the Electoral Commission wrongly calculated the results and that there was no winner in the second round.

The Presidential candidate of the Seychelles National Party (SNP), Wavel Ramkalawan yesterday filed a first petition under Article 130 of the Constitution, contesting the results of the Presidential runoff held on 16, 17 and 18 December.


The petition filed by lawyer Bernard Georges yesterday morning, averred that the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Hendrick Gappy was wrong to award a certificate of election to James Michel, declaring him the winner of the 2015 Presidential election, since no candidate won more than 50% of the votes in the runoff.

 The SNP is therefore asking the Court to order the Electoral Commission to hold "further ballot/s until such time as a single candidate receives more than 50% of the votes in the election".

This argument is based on the premise that the announcement of the percentage of votes allocated to contender James Michel was incorrect; therefore the certificate of election issued to Mr Michel “was erroneous, improper and illegal”.

The petition explains that based on the calculation of votes cast, Mr Michel received 49.319% and not 50.15% as stated by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Hendrick Gappy when he proclaimed the results.

The petition says that the total votes cast were 63,893 and that the total votes cast in favour (valid votes) were 62,831 while 1062 votes were rejected. James Michel won 31,512 votes while Wavel Ramkalawan was said to have won 31,319 votes.

"The Chairman of the Electoral Commission immediately thereafter publicly announced that the petitioner had received 49.85% of the votes and the second respondent (James Michele) has scored 50.15% of the total votes cast", paragraph 14 of the petition averred.

Following this, the petition says, Mr Gappy "acting purportedly under paragraph 9 of Schedule 3 of the Constitution, presented the second respondent with a certificate of election, declaring that the second respondent was duly elected to the office of President".

But Mr Ramkalawan avers that "the said announcement was incorrect and the certificate was erroneous, improper and illegal"

 Speaking to TODAY, Mr Ramkalawan’s lawyer, Bernard Georges said that "we want the Constitutional Court to interpret clearly what the Constitution says regarding the calculation of percentage of votes in the runoff of the Presidential election”.

The issue is that the Constitution makes mention of "votes" and the Elections Act makes mention of "votes cast" and is explained further in the petition.

"Based on a calculation of the votes cast - whether rejected or not - and the figures compiled by the first respondent (the Electoral Commission) itself, (...) the second respondent (James Michel) has in fact only received 49.319% of the votes cast in the second ballot".

Mr Georges told TODAY that "we are alleging that if the percentage had been calculated correctly, none of the two candidates would have received the amount necessary to be elected President, in this case 50% plus one, therefore the elections should be declared null and void”.

The petition is asking the Court to declare that the Constitution has been contravened, to declare that James Michel has only received 49.319% of the votes, to declare null and void the certificate of election issued to James Michel by Hendrick Gappy and to order the Electoral Commission to hold further ballots until a candidate obtains more than 50% of the votes cast.

The petition which will be heard by the Constitutional Court has to be served on three respondents, namely the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, James Michel and the Attorney General.
Lawyer Bernard Georges explained the choice of respondents by saying that it was “Mr Gappy who made the mistake in the calculation”. James Michel is also a respondent as "he stands to be affected by the ruling”.

Mr Georges said he expects the court to serve the petition on the three parties today at the latest. “Naturally I do not expect them to accept the petition and they will surely prepare their defense to counter our claim”.

The timing of the case is at this point uncertain as Mr Georges explains that under the law, the respondents would need to be given time to prepare their defense. He said that it will only be then that a date will be fixed for the hearing and a panel of judges chosen to hear the petition.

“We have been informed by the Court that the case will be given due consideration and we expect it to be given priority although we cannot confirm at this point when the hearing will start”, said Mr Georges.

To note that all courts are presently in recess and will resume during the second week of January.

Mr Georges also confirmed that a second petition will be filed next week requesting that the results of the Presidential runoff be declared null and void, based on irregularities recorded on polling day. “The Election petition will have two components; firstly it will outline all the irregularities which took place and secondly it will call for a recount of the votes”, he said.

Mr Georges added that the legal team was still gathering evidence for the second petition and will be ready to file it on Monday 4 January.

Both petitions will be heard by the Constitutional Court.

Meanwhile, Wavel Ramkalawan has called on all opposition supporters to “remain calm and let justice take its course”.

Mr Ramkalawan said that the Union for Change movement will be keeping supporters updated and called on them to be ready for the hearing once the case starts “as it is not just us leaders who should be participating and following the case, but all the 31,319 persons who voted for the opposition in the runoff”.


The result of the Presidential runoff was declared in the early hours of December 19, giving SNP, 49.85% of the total votes cast and 50.15% to Parti Lepep. Mr Gappy has so far refused to comment on the allegations of error in the calculation of votes.

Source:Today in Seychelles

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

SEYCHELLES PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DEBACLE; MAURITIAN LAWYER DEPORTED

The deportation is believed to be politically-motivated as the lawyer is friendly with colleagues working on the petition to contest the Presidential election.

A well-known Mauritian lawyer, Sanjay Bhuckory, was refused entry into Seychelles on Saturday night and deported back to Mauritius yesterday morning. This is believed to be a politically-motivated act as Mr Bhuckory, who is better known for having led Mauritius' only legal case that rendered null and void the election of a Member of the National Assembly on the basis of electoral bribery, was also here to visit lawyer friends involved in the opposition's petitions to contest the Presidential election.


Immigration authorities have confirmed the deportation of the lawyer to TODAY but have refused to say why they have refused entry to Mr Bhuckory and his two children who were made to sleep on a bench at the airport.

In an immigration decree handed to him and which the lawyer refused to sign, the reasons given for refusing entry to a citizen of neighbouring island Mauritius which is also a member of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) were that "you have failed to comply to a lawful requirement under the Immigration Decree and you have made false representation and concealed information to an Immigration officer which is relevant for your entry in the country".


A travel agent who had arranged for Mr Bhuckory and his family's trip said she was told by the immigration officer that "the order to deport him came from above".

The travel agent said she contacted Home Affairs Minister Charles Bastienne and asked him not to involve politics in this but that "he never replied to me".

The Immigration Department said they will officially comment today, adding that Mr Bhuckory had "misled Immigration officers at the airport".

Friends of Mr Bhuckory insist that the lawyer, who was planning to spend a few days in Seychelles with his children, has nothing to hide. "Their hotel was booked, they were on a private visit. There was no reason not to allow them in".

Sources say however that people in government had caught wind of the lawyer's visit and that the decision to stop him from entering the country was already made "because they want to hinder the preparation of our petition".

"Except that a person does not need a GOP to come on holiday and that people are supposed to be free to discuss and exchange ideas with one another", the travel agent said.

Rendering an election null and void

In 2008, the Privy Council, which is the highest court of Appeal for Mauritius, upheld a Supreme Court judgment that rendered null and void the election of Ashock Jugnauth to Mauritius' National Assembly. It was a first in the country's history. Electoral bribery is rather common but it was the first time that the matter was taken to court. The plaintiff was a defeated candidate of the Labour party, Raj Ringadoo, who was represented by Sanjay Bhuckory and they sought to prove that Mr Jugnauth’s (who is the half brother of Mauritius' current Prime Minister) election was a result of benefits he gave to people in his constituency in his capacity as a Minister and were in fact acts of electoral bribery. Mr Bhuckory won the case in the Supreme Court and again before the law lords of the Privy Council and Mr Jugnauth's election was duly annulled.

Source:Today in Seychelles

Monday, December 28, 2015

BEL OMBRE SKULL; NOW WHAT?

Now that the election is over, will there be an update on the results of the DNA tests done on the skull in Mauritius?

Reliable sources have told this newspaper that the police now know the identity of the person the skull belonged to and are getting ready to send an officer to Mauritius to collect the results.
 This has not been confirmed by the Commissioner of police who nonetheless told TODAY that the "enquiry is ongoing".


This enquiry has been controversial since the very beginning. Previously the police had announced that the results had been inconclusive but that they were still awaiting the results of further tests on the samples sent to Mauritius six months ago.


The skull was officially disinterred on 16 May following claims on social media that workers of the then construction site of the H hotel in Bel Ombre had found and then reinterred a human skull, lower jaw and bullet casings.

Source:Today in Seychelles

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

THE LEGAL BATTLE BEGINS; 2015 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

The SNP says that it will leave no stone unturned as it contests the result of the election with the support of the other members of the Union for Change.

Two days after the results of the Presidential election were proclaimed, the opposition is maintaining its stance that the process was not free and fair and will therefore contest the outcome in the Constitutional Court. The party scored 31 319 votes compared to the 31 512 for Parti Lepep, a difference of 193 votes. During a press conference on Monday, the SNP’s Presidential candidate, Wavel Ramkalawan, vouched that the opposition will leave no stone unturned in its pursuit of the truth. “We owe it to our supporters. We are not making a fuss for nothing, we want the truth”, he said. Mr Ramkalawan promised that the opposition will explore all legal avenues, both locally and internationally, to resolve the matter.


He said that the opposition does not accept the results as the election was marred by “a dirty campaign where state resources were abused and ID cards were bought to prevent voters from exercising their right and the ruling party used scaremongering tactics to influence voters into voting for them”.

He maintained that the election did not take place in “normal” circumstances: “If Mr Michel had won the election fair and square then we would not be meeting today and we would have accepted the results. This election was ours and we are not going to give in without a fight”. In fact, the SNP, in concert with the other political parties which backed it during the second round under the banner of the Union for Change, on Monday filed a petition requesting a recount of all votes cast during the runoff.

A letter to that effect was presented to the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Hendrick Gappy, right after the results were announced. Mr Ramkalawan said a recount was needed as there were “confirmed” irregularities in three districts, “meaning voting did not go well”. He cited the example of Anse aux Pins where two extra votes were unaccounted for and at least two votes were marked with a pen instead of a marker as required by law.

He also mentioned two other incidents of irregularities in Cascade where one vote was unaccounted for and in Glacis where the station was short by one vote compared to the number of people who had voted. Mr Ramkalawan said the opposition is positive that if there is a recount more discrepancies will be uncovered. He added that if a recount proves the results proclaimed did not tally then “we hope there will be a third round or fresh elections”.

The second petition, Mr Ramkalawan said, concerns the Constitution and he questioned whether “Mr Michel won 50% plus one vote as stipulated by Schedule 3 of the Constitution”. He cautioned that people should not draw parallels with the 2011 PDM case when the party led by David Pierre won a seat in parliament after contesting the results based on valid votes cast. “The Constitution and the law make different provisions for Presidential and parliamentary elections and we should not let ourselves be confused by this”, explained Mr Ramkalawan.

He also announced that the opposition will submit an election petition which, according to the Constitution, can be filed within ten days of the election, and 14 days according to the Elections Act. “In this petition we will outline all the illegal practices that took place prior and during polling day”, he said, adding the document will contain evidence of vote buying and other illegal practices which were brought to their attention.

In the event that the petition is accepted by the court, the election will be declared null and void making way for a third round or fresh elections. Mr Ramkalawan said the election petition will seek fresh elections so that Seychellois people can “express themselves freely in a clean campaign without the illegal practices that were observed in the second round”. When asked why the party is filing so many cases, Mr Ramkalawan said the opposition is making use of all the legal options to show how serious it is about the issue.

On the issue of whether the swearing in should have taken place on Sunday Mr Ramkalawan said that although the opposition does not accept the outcome, they recognize that the Constitution states that the winner must be sworn in within 48 hours after the results have been proclaimed. Mr Ramkalawan used an example of an athlete to explain what can take place if the results are declared null and void. “When an athlete is accused of doping, his or her results are maintained until evidence is finalized and then the athlete is stripped of his or her medal. So this is the state we find ourselves in today”.

As to how long the case might last, the former presidential candidate and leader of Seychelles Party for Social Justice and Democracy, Alexia Amesbury, explained that such cases are usually fast tracked and dealt with in a swift manner. The press conference at Arpent Vert was attended by the other former Presidential candidates who backed the SNP in the runoff, namely Patrick Pillay, Alexia Amesbury, and Philippe BoullĂ©. Also in attendance were the SNP’s Vice Presidential candidate, Roger Mancienne, Roy Fonseka and Ahmed Afif from SPSD and Lalyans Seselwa respectively, as well as representatives of the British High Commission and the American Embassy.

Source:Today in Seychelles

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

AN IRREGULAR AFFAIR; SEYCHELLES 2015 PRESIDENTIAL RUNOFF

Despite the fact that James Michel was sworn in as President yesterday, the battle is far from over.

By Deepa Bhookhun

Never has a Presidential election been so problematic. The international observers yesterday refused to say whether the election was free, fair and transparent, adding that they will defer the announcement of their findings until after the Constitutional Court determines whether the election is valid or not. The Union for Change is expected to petition the court today.

While the observers’ refusal to endorse the election, speaks volumes in itself, they actually went as far as to suggest that the swearing in ceremony of the new President should not have taken place until the court has validated the Electoral Commission's decision to announce James Michel the winner of the 2015 Presidential election in the early hours of Saturday.

Honourable Justice Mahapela Lehohla from the ECF-SADC said yesterday during a meeting with the press that "there should be a neutral person to assume the power of State during the time that the election is being petitioned in court. In most countries, it is the Chief Justice who assumes this responsibility".

Mr Lehohla was reacting to a question on the number of days a person has to petition the court on the validity of an election. At the moment, a person has ten days to contest.

In Seychelles however, the law makes no provision for such a scenario, making it hard to question the legality of yesterday's swearing in ceremony. The law needs to be amended to further enhance the democratic process, SADC's Honourable Fezile Bhengu said without giving any specifics.

Another issue which has cropped up threatens to complicate the matter further. Alexia Amesbury told this newspaper yesterday that the Electoral Commission has "violated the law by declaring James Michel the winner".


The lawyer's argument is that Schedule 3, section 5 of the Constitution says that “subject to paragraphs 6 and 7, a person shall not be elected to the office of President unless he has received more than fifty percent of the votes in the election and the necessary number of ballots may, subject to the election being discontinued and recommenced in accordance with an Act, be held in accordance with the direction of the Electoral Commission to achieve that result.”

Read in conjunction with section 37(1) of the Elections Act, this, members of the Union for Change say, would suggest that the Electoral Commission should have calculated the candidates' results on the number of votes cast rather than the number of valid votes. Had they done so, neither of the candidates would have been declared the winner as the latter would have needed to obtain at least 31 947 votes. James Michel totalled 31 512 votes while Wavel Ramkalawan totalled 31 319 votes.

The Elections Act Section 37(1) says: “Where on the statement of the result transmitted to the Electoral Commission in respect of a Presidential Election, no candidate receives more than fifty percent of the votes cast, the Electoral Commission shall not declare the result of the election and the provision of paragraph 8 of Schedule 3 of the Constitution and sections 17 to 36 of this Act as applicable to the election shall apply to the second ballot”.

Does this mean that the results announced early Saturday morning are not valid? Was it right to take into account only valid votes or should the EC have taken into account the number of votes cast? This matter can only be settled by the Constitutional Court.

Some lawyers argue that the matter was settled in 2011 when the Constitutional Court declared that it was the number of valid votes that had to be taken into account and not the number of votes cast but others such as Alexia Amesbury say that this interpretation only concerned the matter of proportional representation in the National Assembly and not a Presidential election.

The leader of Seychelles National Party (SNP) Wavel Ramkalawan has already announced that the results will be contested. He refused to concede defeat and yesterday the Union for Change movement announced that it will petition the court today and ask it to declare the election invalid.

The Union for Change will be contesting the results based on a number of irregularities it says it noticed during the election. Sources tell this newspaper the irregularities have to do with "election rigging as the number of votes cast did not tally with the number of people who voted, some ballot papers were marked with a pen instead of a marker and some people voted twice and the fact that the total number of votes changed after counting". There has been no official communication of the specific grounds on which the election will be contested.

The international observers' findings would have helped open the way for the challenge but yesterday's meeting with the press shows that they are being very cautious in their official remarks. Their final findings will be issued in 90 days, they announced yesterday at the meeting at Avani hotel in Barbarons.

Bishop James Wong did not take kindly to this manoeuvre and said that "90 days is too long for the country to wait for the report as people want to know whether the election was free, fair and transparent right now". He added that there were rumours that there could be riots in the country and that there is much tension in the country, something that the Seychelles Interfaith Council (SIFCO) is trying to diffuse.

Judge Bernardin Renaud who was also present at the meeting, said that while it was normal for the observer missions not to declare if the election was free and fair as the matter was subjudice, "unfortunately for the people of Seychelles, this is not good as they want answers".

Mr Renaud also questioned the use of election terminology such as "casting", "polling", "valid vote" as well as who has the authority to declare that a vote is rejected. He said that these words are being used "loosely in our Elections Act and this is serious".


The number of votes rejected totalled 1 062 while the difference in votes between the two candidates was just 193 votes.

Source: Today in Seychelles

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Friday, December 4, 2015

MORGAN CORRUPTION; LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK!


The president of the Republic has always reiterated that corruption is a perception though proofs of constant corrupt practices are hurled into the public domain every day. Let us review one more case involving Minister Joel Morgan.


On the 8th of August 2006 when Joel Morgan was Minister for land, an elaborate scam was concocted to attempt to mask this corruption. A company was created called Skyline Investments (Proprietary) Ltd with his wife as a 50 % shareholder; the other shareholder has since vanished to Africa in hiding. Two plots on Marie-Jeanne estate (PR 3256 and PR 3257), Praslin, was allocated as part of the scam. The annual rent payable is 1 Seychelles rupee for both plots on a 99 year lease; a clear case of daylight robbery of the people of Seychelles. The premium that was paid on the lease is a matter of national embarrassment.


Here is the proof Mr Le President. The people of Seychelles will judge you by your actions. Either you have lost control of your government or you are part of the corruption by pretending it does not exist! You have failed to investigate this incident when it was brought to your attention. You too, Mr President, is corrupt because of that. You must resign.



By A.Pierre

ALEXIA GERTRUDE AMESBURY ; THE UNIFYING FIGURE

A golden opportunity awaits us all, a golden day will dawn on us all, a golden era is in the making.  Many have slogged, laboured and toiled for what is to come, for what this country deserves.  We have all been pilgrims on this long journey to break from our dark past.  Some are no more with us whilst their beliefs live on.  We salute them.  We will remember them!  Some began their mission for change from when the blazing star was eclipsed.  Some started a little after.  Some well after, and some very recently.     But the purpose remains the same.  To right what was wrong and what is still wrong.   Finally, our nation have rediscovered its moral compass.


Along the journey, men showed their true colours.  Some have cheated from what they once preached.  Some have succumbed to the lure of what shines.  Some have discovered their weaknesses which they hardly thought existed within them.  Not everyone can keep faith with ideals.  Those are the ones who will never know victory, nor defeat.

But the true stalwarts plodded on, never giving up.  Stalwarts are born and not made.  And like a solo climber summiting a mountain, he/she who really qualifies to be a stalwart is truly known only by him/her. 

We have all travelled through the storm and we must focus on the future.    The past will be taught as history lessons to our children of tomorrow.  They should and must learn from that.  It's a powerful lesson that will cement how our country will be shaped for future generations to come.

Now comes the unforgiving minute.  The moment of decision.  You will arrive at your decision based on what has previously been uploaded in your hard drive.  You would have heard, seen, experienced, and most importantly, sensed.

Alexia Gertrude Amesbury has certainly demonstrated the strength of character as a person ready to take on herculean tasks.  This she accomplished six times taking President Michel's government to court, and won.  Uncompromisingly, she continued with regular court appearances during the campaign period demonstrating her unique ability to deal with numerous matters of urgency and importance.  The only politician who had to share her time between politics and service.  Her personal story makes her an indispensable leader in tackling the prevailing challenges of social justice that our country faces today.  As a leader at this crucial turning point, Alexia enjoys a lean team allowing her to build around her a cabinet of highly qualified individuals.  She owes no-one any favours.  As the Commander in Chief of our armed forces, Alexia will benefit in having close support and advice from her Vice-Presidential candidate, Roy Fonseka.  Alexia is a unifying figure, a useful ingredient in ensuring a smooth transition.  Above all, Alexia presents a team and 'A CHOICE YOU CAN TRUST.'       

We now await the final hour, for ‘Our Refreshed Seychelles’ -  ‘A Seychelles for All.’  God Bless Seychelles Our Beloved Country. 



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

DEAR JAMES

We are aware you have not been at your best lately but we understand. You see, Sir, we haven’t been at our best for years either because of you. We have been constantly tormented by an elevated cost of living and our land has continually been occupied by strangers. Once we had all the money and all the land; now we have neither money nor land. All have been taken away from us by you and redistributed; we never featured in the redistribution list. What a pity!

Constitution killers
We now have to squeeze for space on what is left of our beaches as we discuss the plight of our brothers and sisters sardined in overcrowded prisons. You promised our youth light but they trod the path of darkness; prostituted, drugged and drunk. You promised us freedom but mothers weep as their sons and daughters are whipped and chased because of the white powder you said you would eliminate. You guaranteed us expression but assented to laws that prevent us from being what we want to be.

We entrusted you with our parastatals but you used it to suffocate private enterprises. You have failed to exercise good governance by ensuring that the accounts of the parastatals are made public and subjected to our scrutiny. Sir, you have forgotten that we, the shareholders of Air Seychelles, Seypec, SPTC and PUC demand some respect. You pleaded us for the job and we gave it to you but you forgot that you are the employee and we are the employer.

NATION DIVIDERS
You called on us to judge you by your actions; we have. We concluded that the actions you took are detrimental to our health, communities and the nation as a whole. You have compromised our sovereignty and integrity. We have unanimously decided that you must be fired from your job. We will recruit someone who understands the job better. YOU ARE OUT!!

TOP 13 MOST INFAMOUS LIES OF THE PRESIDENT


1) 5000 houses to be built in 5 years-1000 per year, the man promised back in 2006. He lied! At that time, he held the portfolio of Finance Minister and knew that the country did not have the capital to embark on such a massive project in the space of 5 short years. To date, more than 9 years since that statement was made, even a mere 1500 houses at Perserverance have not yet been completed.

2) IMF, the monster, which will make Seychellois live “dan la mizer fernwar” is never going to be invited in Seychelles, the man promised. He even claimed in 2006, weeks before the Presidential elections, that if the opposition coalition (SNP/DP) came to power, they are the ones who will invite the IMF on Seychelles soil. He lied, of course! Just two years after winning the  election, he was the one who begged the IMF to come to save his…you know what, after he had almost singlehandedly bankrupted the nation.

3) IMF will be in Seychelles for ONLY 3 years (2009 to 2012) and then it will go back to where it came from, the man promised. He lied! Today, in 2015, IMF is still here and looks certain to be here for a very long time indeed!

4) The Seychelles rupee will never be devalued, the man promised. He lied! Today, the rupee has lost 80% to over 100% in value against the major hard currencies!

5) With the IMF assisted reform program, no worker in the civil service will lose his/her job, the man promised. He lied! Shortly afterwards, over 5000 civil service workers either lost their job or were forced to resign!

6) In an interview with Marie Claire Elizabeth on SBC, prior to the IMF intervention, the man claimed that Seychelles had paid up all its debt and owed nothing to anyone. He lied! The nation later learned that not only had our debt in the space of 4 years almost tripled, but we had been unable to fulfil our repayment obligation because the country had no money to do so.

7) The excess tax revenue derived from the increase road license of one rupee per CC will be used to repair the roads, the man promised. He lied! Because today, not only are most roads in a deplorable state, with more pot holes in them than a million colanders put together, but the excess tax revenues collected are being channelled for other purposes unrelated to road repairs!

8) GST will be in place for 2-3 years only, the man promised. He lied! Not only did GST survive for almost a decade, but was actually increased from 12% to 15%. It has now metamorphosed into VAT of 15% and obviously here to stay.

9) I will put all “Escobars”big time drug traffickers) behind bars, the man promised. He lied! Today, all the “Escobars” are free and enjoying their ill gotten gains freely and peacefully. It is even alleged that certain of them have state protection. The “escobars” business concerns keep increasing day by day and consequently their ill gotten money gets easier to launder. It sometimes baffled the imagination to see how easy it is for the “escobars” to get license and planning permission to start a new business. This is in sharp contrast to the bona fide businessmen who most of the time finds the going through SLA and planning authority a really tough road to travel, with several impediments that they have to overcome before they can start their respective business. Those that are behind bars serving time today are the small time traffickers and pushers, dubbed the “pti makanbale and pti ziblo” by a well known Catholic Priest.

10) There will be no increase in electricity and water tariffs under my charge, the man promised. He lied! Since then, there have been more increases in utility tariff than the number of times a cock crows at dawn.

11) In 2006, shortly after coming off an oil research vessel and wearing a yellow helmet, the man promised that in two short years (2008) Seychellois pockets will be filled with petro dollars. He lied of course! Not only was that promise the stupidest one ever made( Assuming that Seychelles at that time had discovered oil, which, incidentally, it has not up until now), because after  oil is found offshore, it takes up to 5 years before the product can be commercially viable. The only person or persons whose pockets are filled with dollars now are those who sucked up to wealthy Arabs, Russians and South Africans. And who have secret offshore accounts to off load all their gains into them, as a way to escape the scrutiny of the poor members of society.

12) Shares in government owned banks will be sold to the public, the man promised. He lied! To date, government is still the major shareholder in all its banks.

13) No air Seychelles employee will ever lose his/her job under my charge, the man promised. He lied! A few weeks later, close to 300 Air Seychelles employees lost their jobs.


We will not mention the funniest of them all that corruption is only a perception. There are also several other lies the man has uttered during the last eleven years. So many that he could easily be a top contender for “ The World’s Top Liar” award. 

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT JAMES MICHEL FROM A SEYCHELLOIS MOTHER.

Dear Mr President

I am tired of being informed that my son, Cyril, is being threatened in all manner of ways by persons known or unknown to you. He was exiled for fifteen years because he would have been dead had he stayed on in Seychelles. As a mother, it was the most difficult time of my life to be separated from my son but he finally came back and even though he does his best to live a normal life, it is evident that some people are intent on making his life and the life of the Lau Tee family miserable. Notwithstanding, my late husband contributed his best to this country economically but after you and others took over the country by force, his life changed for the worse following constant intimidation from the regime you are part of.


I know the pain of losing a son and I know you do as well. However, you took the responsibility to offer this nation security but failed and as a result of your failure, I lost my son. He was ruthlessly murdered a decade ago and my family still mourns his passing. The government you head has failed miserably to bring the culprits to justice; or is it because my son was a Lau Tee?

My loving son murdered and you have failed to bring the culprits to justice
I simply want to publicly inform you that should anything happen to Cyril, I will not hesitate to lay the blame on you and your government. I will do whatever it takes to defend my children and I suppose you would do the same.

A devoted Seychellois mother


Ormonde Lau-Tee (Mrs)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

“MINISTER LIONNET MUST RESIGN!” INSISTS MRS AMESBURY

Seychelles Party for Social Justice & Democracy (SPSD) is asking for a full investigation into the corrupt land deal of H8822 involving Christian Lionnet and his brother that was sold for SR1. The Minister must resign with immediate effect.

Are these music studios?
Earlier this year on En Moman avek Prezidan, James Michel stated that corruption is just a perception and political propaganda.  He also asked the people of Seychelles to provide proof so he can crack down on these people. Here is the proof and here is your chance Mr President. The people of Seychelles will judge you by your actions.

The Scam
The well published land allocation policy of this government is one piece of land per person or if you have (private) land already you cannot get government land. It seems this policy went out of the window on this SR1 land scam. The brother of Minister Lionnet already had land before this transaction, namely H2684 and H8110. H8110 was sub divided to H8352 and later sold. They even attempted to mask the corruption by adding a condition that the “property shall be used solely for the purpose of a residential music studio”. The people of Seychelles do not like to be taken as fools anymore. Christian Lionnet must resign!

By A.Pierre


Monday, November 2, 2015

PRISONERS ON MARIE LOUISE CLAIM BEING THREATENED

Prisoners being detained at the prison on Marie Louise Island are claiming that they are being threatened by the authorities on the island.

This week, LSH got a call from a family member of one of the detainees saying her brother has alleged to her that he had been threatened with a pistol.

“My brother is fearful of his life and so am I”, explained the sister.

According to the sister, the issue got out of hand after her brother had inquired about the fish they are being fed because of the dead fish phenomenon currently facing the country. In a letter sent earlier this year to LSH, prisoners complained about their diet, which composed mainly of fish and conserved food.

“My brother has made his mistake and is doing his time, but I don’t see why the authorities at the prison should use their pistols to threaten his life.”


The sister told LSH that she has called the office of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Charles Bastienne, to report the incident. This was on Tuesday and she said she spoke to the secretary.

LSH has also learnt that this incident is not an isolated case and that many other prisoners are being threatened with arms.

The prisoners on Marie Louise have also complained about many issues from a lack of health officers on the island, potable water and their diet.

Prisoners on Marie Louise can only see their relatives twice a year. They are brought down to Mahé by plane.

Since its creation in 2012, the Marie Louise prison has had two heads as the first one, Ronald Ernesta, resigned earlier this year. He has been replaced by Felix Flore.


LSH sent an email to the Personal Assistant of the Minister for Internal Affairs in which Miss Beryl Pillay replied that the “content is well noted” and she “will bring the matter to the attention of Minister Bastienne and will revert in due course.”

Source: Le Seychellois Hebdo

Sunday, November 1, 2015

WHO WILL RESIGN?

In a press conference held last week, Mrs Alexia Amesbury, the first female presidential candidate and lawyer gave a telling press conference late last week in which she spoke on diverse issues. Central to her discourse was the scourge of corruption. While everybody present was expecting the announcement of her running mate for the upcoming presidential elections, she was focused on ensuring that two ministers will have to resign shortly. She will provide all evidence of their corrupt practices in the coming days.


Corruption and allegations of corruption are not alien to the incumbent government though they have survived the storm thus far. Mrs Amesbury is sure, two ministers will not outlive the revelations she will make public.


In the meantime Minister Vincent Meriton’s daughter, Vladislava Vincentovna Meriton has bought land at Glacis; she is busy building. Going by her NIN number, she must have been made a citizen of Seychelles only three years ago. It is without doubt that someone high up the echelon of power has been behind the transfer because two portions of land (Parcels H10904 and H10906) had to be amalgamated into one (H10908) to suit lady Meriton. Minister Meriton, the papa of lady Meriton oversaw the whole transaction as per power of attorney vested in him by his daughter. Some people know how to get things done properly.

The PS that signed the document
While many Seychellois find it hard to buy land from government even if they have the cash, others manage to do so without much hassle. The 1851 square meters of land has been transferred for a sum well below the market value of land. Is this anomaly enough to request the resignation of Minister Meriton?

Source: Seychelles Weekly

PS BERLOUIS LOSES LAND AT LA MISERE

The Constitutional Court has ordered the Land Registrar to transfer back a plot of land sold to PS (Principal Secretary) Maryse Berlouis by the government in 2010, and has ordered the former to return the land to its rightful owner within 30 days of its retransfer.

The court made the order on Tuesday when it said the sale of the land in question was illegal and in violation of the petitioner’s right to property.

M.Berlouis
It explained that the land was sold to PS Berlouis whilst protracted negotiation was underway, meaning the government was already under obligation to return it to its former owner.

Under the constitution, more specifically Schedule 7, the government is obligated to return land to former owners, in instances where it is undeveloped or there is no plan for development.

The court concluded that in selling it to PS Berlouis five years ago, the government deliberately ignored the constitution which says land cannot be returned in two instances, when it is in the public interest, or when it is developed or there is a future plan for development.

Schedule 7 was thought up to exclusively limit the free rein the government enjoyed during one party state to acquire land.

It imposes that land acquired prior to 1993 is returned to rightful owners, or in the event this is not practical, owners are compensated for losses incurred.

The underlying principle of the Schedule is to assert that no more land is acquired by the state unless it is in the public interest, or to correct injustices of the past when those whose land was taken could not seek recourse.

In that instance the court explained that in the case of the land sold to PS Berlouis, the transfer did not convey any lawful title onto her, since the transfer was illegal to being with in the first place.

It accordingly declared the transfer null and void, noting that the court cannot rely on its own illegal act not to transfer the land back to the petitioner.

The petitioner’s claim throughout the 8-years the trial has been ongoing was that the sale was illegal since it failed to award proper regard to the country’ constitution, which says the government has a constitutional obligation to return land acquired under the one party rule to the people who held ownership of these lands prior to July of 1993.

It was argued that in awarding the land to PS Berlouis, the state rendered a favour to the PS, insisting that people of her status should not be in position to purchase land from the government.

 Furthermore it claimed that the sale placed the government in a position to later claim that it is not in a position to return the land, as it no longer held its deed.

This is exactly the position the government took in court, leading the latter to conclude that the transfer was done in bad faith.

PS Berlouis for her part claimed she was a bona-fide purchaser of the land, asserting that she paid a sum of R175,000 for the transfer.

The court however said her claim is very much in doubt, given that she was a high government official at the time of the purchase, being the Principal Secretary for Investment, Entrepreneurship, Development and Business Innovation.

It said the least the PS could do is to advance a claim through a civil suit, which anyhow cannot overturn the ruling of the Constitutional Court, for the petitioner holds the supreme rights to the land, and not her.


Speaking to LSH afterwards, a jubilant petitioner said he had waited eight years for the good news.

Source: Le Seychellois Hebdo

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

PATRICK PILLAY SUES FOR DAMAGES OF SCR7 MILLION

The politician is suing Gihan Fernando for SCR2 million and the Times of Seychelles for SCR5 million.

The leader of Lalyans Seselwa, Patrick Pillay yesterday lodged two civil actions against his former employee Gihan Fernando and against newspaper The Times of Seychelles, its Chief Editor George Thande, Editor Davidson Barra and the publisher of the paper, NISA press, headquartered at the Maison du Peuple.

Gihan Fernando
He is asking the Supreme Court to order Sri Lankan national Gihan Fernando to pay him damages of SCR2 million for having made “baseless, illegal, without lawful cause or justifications, malicious and spiteful” accusations against him.

Those accusations, Patrick Pillay averred, caused him to have “lost his liberty (Ed’s note: Mr Pillay was arrested on 14 October and released the same day), suffered pain, injury and sustained loss and damages”.

The second plaint is against the Times of Seychelles for having published an article on 4 September under the heading “Sexually molested boy quit training: new serious allegations against Pat Pillay”. The article refers not to Mr Fernando’s allegations but to those made by a different man, a former student of Mr Pillay.

The politician says that the statements made “were intended to mean (...) or by way of innuendo were meant and understood to mean that the plaintiff was a child molester of young boys (sic), was a sexual predator preying on under aged boys, used his position as lecturer and as a Minister to coerce and lure underage boys into sexual encounters against their will”.

According to Mr Pillay’s plaint, this is “untrue, misleading and constitutes a most serious defamation against his character, good name and reputation”. He also says that as a result of this, he “has been lowered in the esteem of right thinking members of society generally and has been brought into hatred, ridicule and contempt and as a result, has suffered prejudice”.

He has asked for damages of SCR5 million.


 It is to be noted that Gihan Fernando’s lawyer is Basil Hoareau who is also the legal representative of the Times of Seychelles.

Source: Today in Seychelles

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE ON MARIE LOUISE GETTING WORSE

By A.Pierre

It seems the National human rights commission have gone deaf and blind at what goes on at this special prison. Charles Bastienne, the controlled interior Minister, is busy desperately campaigning as his Party is facing a landslide defeat. The gravity of the situation is put into perspective with the recent death of Maxwell Duval from cancer and the cancer Roland Felicie contracted whilst serving their sentences on Marie Louise. The quality and safety of the drinking water has been questioned many times previously with no answer forthcoming from this Government. Now prisoners are being threatened to be killed by lunatic prison officers with guns.



The US Department of State Human Rights report for the year 2013 had concluded that “Prison conditions did not meet international standards, notably regarding overcrowding and sanitation. Little information was available on conditions at remote prison facilities on Coetivy Island and Marie Louise Island.” Everyone is in the dark at what is really happening on these two islands. The strange disappearance of Mickey Lesperance is still fresh in everybody`s mind.

http://seychellesvoice.blogspot.com/2015/07/what-really-happened-to-mickey.html



AMESBURY TO ASK FOR RESIGNATION OF TWO MINISTERS

2015 Presidential election

Alexia Amesbury held the first press conference since her party's registration on Saturday while the PDM announced David Pierre's candidature yesterday.


"James Michel has asked for proof of corruption and we will give it to him", presidential candidate Alexia Amesbury said on Saturday during her party's first press conference since its launch.
Mrs Amesbury said she had proof that two Ministers - who she refused to name - had indulged in corrupt practices and that she would make the matter public, provide proof to substantiate her claims and call for their resignation "between now and the election".

She refused to say more for the time being.

The leader of the Seychelles Party for Social Justice and Democracy (SPSD) also said that one of the reasons she called Saturday's press conference was to "relate my experience as the first woman presidential candidate". She said that "it hasn't been easy and I know it will get harder". Mrs Amesbury complained last week of attempts at intimidation that consisted of the murder of eight of her dogs and threatening text messages and telephone calls.

Her findings were that 40 years after independence, "politics in Seychelles is still based on fear and intimidation". She said that she has realised that people "are still afraid to express themselves, they're still scared to come forward and publicly declare their allegiance to a political party".
This led the lawyer to conclude that "Seychelles is not a democracy because in a real democracy, people aren't scared to express themselves. In Seychelles, freedom of expression only applies to the party in power".

She also made an appeal to the powers that be, asking them "not to abuse their power. They have money, they have the police, they have the armed forces at their disposal. I am asking them not to use those to victimise other political parties", Mrs Amesbury said.

Asked whether she meant to say that she feared for her life, the lawyer said "I am not scared of the police and the army; they wear their uniform. What I am scared of are the masked men who only act in the middle of the night. I am scared of the hidden enemies", she said.

Her husband who was also present at the press conference, claimed that someone armed with a knife had been at their house in the middle of the night last week.

Mrs Amesbury also explained that she had withdrawn her case asking the Constitutional Court to find the voters register not credible because she wanted to keep her options open "in case the court did declare the register credible. Then I would not have been in a position to contest the results after the election".

Mrs Amesbury did not officially announce her candidature for the December election nor did she officially reveal the name of her running mate even though it was expected she would. Asked why, she said no other opposition party had officially announced their candidates and that there was no rush.

The leader of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM, David Pierre for his part, officially announced his candidature at December's election yesterday afternoon. More on this, tomorrow.

Source: Today in Seychelles

JAMES MICHEL’S ACRES; PRESIDENT OF THE SEYCHELLES THE OPPORTUNIST

The President of the Republic, James Alix Michel, is the proud owner of approximately twenty thousand square meters of prime land at Sans Souci, Mahe. This is nothing extraordinary except that the land was bought from government.

In 2001, Minister Joel Morgan, then Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Land Use and Habitat, transferred to James Michel three plots of land at Sans Souci namely parcels V10426, V10427 and V10248; all totalling in excess of nineteen thousand square meters. Michel paid SR 561,000 for the plots; not at all an expensive transaction.



While the normal man is allowed to buy only one plot averaging four hundred square meters from government, Michel has the special privilege of buying forty times what the normal man can buy; he receives twenty times the normal man’s salary anyway.

 It has become a routine; Presidents buy as much land as they wish from the state. The former President bought his acres at Anse Polite amid a lot of controversy. This practice is most unethical and cannot be condoned.


Over the nearly four decades the regime has been in power, all it has done is to enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpayer. They have failed to even consider constructing an official residence for the President of the Republic like in all civilized democratic societies. Instead, they have acquired land from the state and built their mansions from state funds including refurbishment and maintenance. Once they vacate the highest office, everything becomes their personal belongings; this is atrocious and a highly corruptive practice.

James Michel overthrowing a democratically elected government
Moreover, the use of the defence forces to offer close security to the head of state has been inappropriately used. The former President created an army unit specifically to take care of his personal security; it is still in existence. James Michel, on his part, moved considerable forces to serve as his personal security detachment. Under the guise of combating piracy, the elite commando unit ‘Tazar’ came into being and a new barrack was set up in the hills of L’Exile. How long can the people of Seychelles pay for the extravaganza of a few irresponsible leaders?

It is about time the President behaves in a more responsible manner and puts in place the proper infrastructures needed to support the institutions of state; the President’s private office being the first. Parti Lepep has the misconstrued notion that they will lead Seychelles for the next fifty years. If each President buys large portions of land from the state and build their mansions, it will not be long before they bankrupt the country with elite commando units littering the landscape. This attitude must come to end without further delay.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

ELECTORAL COMMISSION CALLS FOR RESTRAINT

Acts of intimidation, threats and accusations are “unacceptable” and “not conducive to free and fair elections”, political parties tell the commission.

Alexia Amesbury told the members of the Electoral Commission that she is being intimidated by political opponents.
The Electoral Commission has appealed to all political parties to call upon their supporters and agents “to exercise discipline and respect for their opponents”. This call was made on Tuesday afternoon during a meeting with representatives of all political parties as well as members of the Seychelles Media Commission.

Restraint, the Electoral Commission added, is important “to ensure that the campaign and the election process is undertaken in a peaceful manner”.

This followed representations made to the EC during the meeting with respect to “acts of intimidation, threats and accusations, be it directly in print media as well as social media, all aimed at attacking and denigrating one another”.

This newspaper has also learnt that presidential candidate Alexia Amesbury told the members of the Electoral Commission on Tuesday that eight of her dogs were recently killed at her home on Praslin.

Presidential candidate; Alexia Amesbury
 Following Tuesday’s meeting, the lawyer wrote an official letter to the chairman of the Electoral Commission, Hendrick Gappy, as well as to the Commissioner of Police, Ernest Quatre, “out of concern for my personal safety”.

Mrs Amesbury alleges that her husband has been followed, that her elderly aunt has received anonymous and threatening telephone calls and that her internet and mobile phones “are being interfered with”.

Asking “What kind of regime acts in this cowardly fashion?”, Mrs Amesbury says she is not a “soft target” and has asked the Electoral Commission to write to the Commissioner of Police “requesting that these matters are fully investigated and appropriate steps taken against those responsible for these cowardly acts calculated to spread terror in the country in the run up to the election”.

Although in its press release, the Electoral Commission does not mention these specific incidents, it said that there was a “unanimous agreement by all representatives of political parties that this situation is unacceptable and not conducive to peaceful, free and fair elections”. The commission added that it was also agreed that “if this situation is not addressed, it could easily escalate and affect the peaceful conduct of the elections”.

 It is unclear however how the relevant institutions propose to “address” the matter. Pending the decision for a concerted effort, the Electoral Commission presented a draft code of conduct for political parties and stakeholders at Tuesday’s meeting. A final draft should be presented for adoption by the end of the week, the commission said.

The code of conduct will also be shared with administrators of social media groups “to seek their collaboration in this process”. It is unknown at this point who will police this code of conduct and whether the grievances of the representatives of political parties will be effectively addressed.


 In fact while she says that the eventuality of the authorities failing to address her grievances, “will be interpreted as the Electoral Commission condoning the acts of terror and international organisations will be asked to intervene”, Mrs Amesbury told TODAY she has not lodged a complaint with the police because she is doubtful “they will do anything”.

Source:Today in Seychelles

PARTI LEPEP IS RUNNING OUT OF OPTIONS!!!!

Not so long ago, we read about the incident where Ton Pat's dog was killed at his home at Port Launay and more recently we heard of similar stories by Mrs Alexia Amesbury, leader of SPSD.  These incidents have been causing uproar from members of the public. 


It seems that the desperate satanic quartet from Dan Lari Bazaar,  is fast running out of options.   They have decided to play a little macabre concert of their own, to divert attention from the criticisms being directed at them, under a post made by Hansel Renaud Lavwa Lepep with the heading "Woke up this morning and found my dog brutally assaulted and killed......kisisa sa!!!!" with a photo of a dog covered in blood with a bloodied rock next to it.  

Except that Hansel Renaud Lavwa Lepep, is not really "Hansel Renaud" but is Sally, a member of the desperate quartet.  Hansel aka Sally is insinuating that her dog was killed by Ton Pat and has used this opportunity to insult Ton Pat.  The denunciation of the "attack"  by  so many is deafening and heroic but also comical on the part of several.  They are falling for this show hook, line and sinker and Sally must be patting herself on the back at how she is fooling them with her little game, except that she has not realized that we are one step ahead of their little schemes all the time.  Their little games are so obvious, and to see some grown men and women falling over themselves to express their outrage just because it is a member of Parti Lepep without even thinking twice that this may be a hoax, is just pathetic.

James Michel must be cursing the day he ever blessed that group as a mouthpiece for his campaign.   A question was recently asked by a member in the group;


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

TERRORISING THE FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE





20th October 2015

The Electoral Commission
Aathi Chambers
Mont Fleuri

Dear Mr. Gappy,

Re: Provision of Security for Presidential Candidates

1                    I write out of concern for my personal safety following certain recent incidents.

2                    Recently, 8 of my dogs were killed at my home on Praslin. Last week a little car driven by  a person wearing little glasses followed my husband for three hours around town and even entered through the security gates at my home on Mahe and exited behind him when he left.

3                    On Sunday 19th October 2015 my 86 year old aunty informed me that she received an anonymous, threatening and menacing phone call from a man questioning her about  my whereabouts.

4                    Since May 2015 I have gone through 5 mobile phones because they keep malfunctioning, my internet access both at the office and home are interfered with.  I assume that as the election time approaches the threats to my personal security will go into overdrive.

5                    What kind of regime acts in this cowardly fashion? Having failed to intimidate and scare Mr. Pillay off the State apparatus has now decided that I am a soft target?

6                    Mr. Gappy it is now of paramount importance that the Electoral Commission write to the Commissioner of Police requesting that these matters are fully investigated and appropriate steps taken against those responsible for these cowardly acts calculated to spread terror in the country in the run up to the election.

7                    I am sending a copy of this letter to all foreign Embassies, the British High Commission, local media houses for publication, the Commonwealth Secretariat and SADC amongst others.

8                    On Monday 19th October 2015 when I disembarked from the Praslin early morning flight the person who had previously followed my husband around, was “waiting” and appeared  to be going up and down that part of the road between the domestic and the international terminals, at the airport.

9                    Please note that failure on the part of the Electoral Commission to act, will be treated as a condonation of the acts of terror and international organisations will be asked to intervene.

     Yours sincerely,



    Alexia G. Amesbury
   (Party leader for Seychelles Party for Social Justice & Democracy)