Wednesday, February 18, 2015


 The Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has published the list of candidates for its coming election to be held during next week's Annual General Meeting (AGM).The SCCI has circulated the final list of 42 nominations for the post of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Treasurer and Councillors. Dolor Ernesta is standing as Mr. Francis deputy whilst Ahmed Afif is deputising for Mr. Andre. The election will be held on Thursday 26th.

The battle for the chairmanship of the SCCI is usually played behind closed doors. Not this time. The contenders have taken their campaigns to the Internet.

Marco Francis

While the country in general is focused on the run-in to the presidential elections which could well be held this year, another election campaign is being contested, to represent the business community this time. And, for the most part, the battle is being fought in cyberspace.

The Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SCCI) is the body which regroups the private sector in Seychelles, although all businesses are members. It acts as an interface between businesses and the State with the aim of promoting economic growth and wealth creation, but its primary concern is of course advancing the agenda of the private sector which drives the economy.

The SCCI Constitution, amended about four years ago, provides for the election of a chairman and councilors who hold office for a period of two years. Currently Marco Francis, who operates mainly in the offshore sector, is heading the chamber and his term will expire at the end of this month.

A candidate can run for election as chairman of the chamber and serve for three consecutive terms. This year, two teams who have confirmed their intention to field candidates for the chairmanship as well as for the posts of councilors.

This includes the incumbent Marco Francis and his group, who are now being challenged by a team led by former Member of National Assembly (MNA) and councilor, Clifford André. Mr André has been councilor for two consecutive terms although he is reported as having being absent for most of the latter one. Another councilor from the current SCCI council, Peter Roselie, also appears to have changed loyalties and now forms part of the team challenging Marco Francis.

Meanwhile Mr Francis has confirmed that Mr André has already submitted his candidacy and that of his team to the SCCI headquarters. The battle to run the SCCI is usually a drama which is played behind the scenes and into which the general public does not get much insight.
Clifford Andre

But not this time as the contenders have taken their campaigns to the internet. While Peter Roselie has himself gone online to criticize the incumbent council, going as far as name calling both the current group running the council, of which he was part until a few weeks ago, it is businessman and former Democratic Party (DP) MNA Christopher Gill who is leading the online assault on the challenging team.

Christopher Gill, who last year won an award during the second edition of the Seychelles Business Awards, is a politician who crossed the floor from the opposition to join forces with the majority party in the National Assembly when he was the DP’s sole representative in Parliament. He then remained fairly quiet for a couple of years before becoming politically active again through a movement which did not fulfill the requirements of the Commissioner of Elections to participate in the last general elections in 2011.

 Peter Roselie who is an accountant by profession, appears to have fallen out with the current Council and has thrown his lot in with Clifford André who is said to have issues with the leadership style of Marco Francis. The latter is basing his campaign on the achievements of his first term, which he says includes the opening up of frank dialogue between the government and initiating Seychelles’ first ever Business Awards which is now an annual event. He also points to his insistence that businesses retain their sense of commitment to the community.

Source: Today


Letter to the Editor From Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles

Dear Editor,

The future survival of Baie Ternay Marine National park is under threat from extensive damage by dredging, if the Emirates Cap Ternay Resort and Spa is allowed to proceed with plans to dredge 134 260 cubic metres in this delicate marine eco-system.

The Baie Ternay Marine National Park was declared a National Park in 1979, because of “the unique biodiversity of its underwater life” as declared in a scientific paper presented by G Domingue, R Payet and N Shah at the time. Since then a number of scientific research projects and monitoring programmes have revealed that the Baie Ternay reef has become one of the most resilient carbonate reefs of the inner granitic islands of Seychelles.

A study carried out in 1996 by the Tropical Marine Research Unit of the University of York (UK) recorded 69 different species of coral in the Baie Ternay Marine Park. While many of those were affected by the mass coral bleaching events of 1998, further studies undertaken since then, mainly through the Shoals of Capricorn Programme (2000–2004), have indicated that the Baie Ternay reef has shown the fastest rate of coral recovery overall.

This was confirmed in the final World Bank (2000–2004) report of the Seychelles Ecosystem and Management Project, which found Baie Ternay to be one of three areas with the highest coral diversity in the entire Inner Islands of Seychelles, and it had the highest diversity in the western half of the group. According to the latest reports of the Marine Conservation Expedition of Global Vision International (GVI), in addition to a high diversity of types of coral, the percentage cover for the coral reef within the centre of the Baie Ternay Marine National Park has recovered to approximately 60% as of 2013. This is the highest level of recovery of any coral reef along the northwest coast of Mahé, monitored as part of the GVI /Seychelles coral reef monitoring programme.

As the reef regains its health the marine life of Baie Ternay is also flourishing. Research and acoustic tracking studies carried out by the Seychelles National Park Authority (SNPA) and the Marine Conservation Society, Seychelles (MCSS) in 2011 have shown that the bay is an extremely important habitat for a number of species of the shark and ray family. In particular it is a pupping and nursery ground for Lemon Sharks – listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The area is also an important foraging and resting area for various species of sting ray.

Another critically endangered species (as listed on the IUCN Red List) found in increasing numbers in Baie Ternay is the hawksbill turtle. The SNPA/ MCSS research of 2011 showed that the near shore reef areas of Baie Ternay are critically important habitats for foraging juvenile Hawksbill Turtles. The GVI Seychelles – Mahé Report Series No. 142 (2013 – 2014) also confirms the gradual increase in the number of hawksbill and green turtle sightings in the Baie Ternay Marine Park from 2005 to the present.

While approximately 18 hawksbill and 5 green turtles were sighted on average in 2005, by 2013 the number of hawksbill turtles sighted had risen to about 40 and green turtles to about 15. The report concludes that this further underscores the need to develop and maintain conservation strategies that address the impacts that threaten this region.

 It is therefore of grave concern that the Cap Ternay hotel project being proposed by Emirates Hotels Ltd is planning to dredge 134 260 cubic metres of this very same reef and bay. This is equivalent to dredging a space the size of nine football fields, at three metres deep – well over half the bay. The extensive coral destruction, silting, sedimentation and water turbidity that will result will inevitably lead to irreversible long-term damage to these healthy but fragile marine habitats and ecosystems, which for obviously very sound reasons, we have been preserving for the past 35 years.

 Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


The developers of the Cap Ternay hotel development, the Emirates Group, have commenced operations within the national park. Recently a small excavator entered the site with a view to start excavation of the wetlands. As fate would have it, the excavator got stuck in the mud and had to be retrieved; it was later removed from the site. Information suggests that dredging of the bay will start within the next month. Residents of the district are not amused at the recent developments; furious that their views had not been taken into consideration. The meeting held as part of the scoping exercise had been just a bluff.

There is also reliable information that a local company is bringing in a huge landing craft that will transport construction material to Cap Ternay by sea. Unconfirmed reports also indicate that the same craft will be transporting materials for the Grand Police project. It is alleged that the craft baptized as ‘Ton Jo’ will arrive in port shortly; the same company has also invested in the most modern piling equipment for the two projects.

This contemptuous attitude of government is sickening. James Michel’s commitment to stay connected to the people remains rhetoric.


The hotel project by the Emirates Group at Cap Ternay is set to take off with engineers and contractors in final preparations to move in. We are well informed that it is just a matter of time before dredging works start to create a pass for the landing heavy machinery and construction materials. This contemptuous act by government towards the people of Seychelles is unacceptable. The public meeting held at Port Glaud as part of the scoping exercise for the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) late last year was just a diversion; government’s intention was clear. The project would go ahead irrespective of whether the citizens approved of it or not; their concerns were irrelevant.

Following the public meeting at Port Glaud, a consultant for the project expressed his surprise at the objections raised during the meeting; government officials had misled them into believing that the whole population was behind the project. He made no effort to hide his disgust and disappointment of the difficult situation in which he found himself.

 Cap Ternay remains a national park and as such should have never been even considered for a hotel development of that magnitude. It could, however, have been tendered and locals given the opportunity to tap into the tourism industry. The site was offered to the Emirates Group.

It is inconceivable that the government has decided to make a national park private. Access to beaches in Seychelles is limited due to hotel developments; the disgust of the locals is very tangible. Access to Cap Ternay Beach is denied except via the sea, but another question needs an answer. Who can deny the Seychellois and tourists access to the national parks and the wetlands?

 As it stands, Cap Ternay remains inaccessible to locals and foreigners alike unless a boat is hired; alternatively, permission has to come from Dubai. For our government to allow a huge tract of our national park to be turned into private property belonging to a foreigner is tantamount to treason.

The government under James Michel has lost all the respect of the population and the international community for their heinous decision to allow Cap Ternay to be raped but this is only the start of a long story.