Wednesday, October 28, 2015


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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)


Monday, October 19, 2015


The above newspaper published the following article entitled 'Lalyans Seselwa being financed by dirty money!'.

The Proven Liar
I reproduce below the contents:

"The following article has been published on the website. We had no way of immediately verifying the claims. A source within the NDEA has revealed that there is sufficient evidence to support that members of Lalyans Seselwa political party is now seeking financial support from drug escobars.
According to the source, it appears that now their main source of finance, Dr Ramados has pulled out, the party is facing increased financial difficulties. The source claims that Daniel Cesar, better known as "Ti Cowboy" has been the main person behind this and has been doing so at the request of the party leaders.

Mr Cesar has been spotted meeting with some more commonly known escobars at his pub, "Honey pot" lately. The main purpose of these meetings has been, as revealed, to be soliciting funds from these escobars, and, promising to do away with the NDEA should they acquire power in the coming Presidential Election.

Cesar has allegedly long been a major player in shady deals but has somehow remained out of jail. His famous "Honey Pot" has long been known as a gathering spot / water hole for drug lords and wannabees.

And of course one cannot forget how he seriously injured Gerard Julie during the 2002 elections. Source: Seychelles Declassified"

1. I would be grateful if the NDEA would:
A. Confirm that it has sufficient evidence to support that members of Lalyans Seselwa is seeking financial support from drug escobars.
B. Can you state how many members of Lalyans Seselwa is seeking financial support from drug escobars?
C.What type of evidence does the NDEA have i.e photographs, videos, recording of conversations, e-mails, surveillance reports etc.
D.Does the NDEA intend to pursue these members, arrest them and for what offence or offences if any.

2. Could you please confirm that the evidence in your possession reveals that Daniel Cesar is the main person behind this and that Mr Cesar has done so at the request of the party leaders.

3. Could you please confirm you have evidence such as surveillance photographs, videos and recordings of Mr Cesar meeting these commonly known drug escobars at his pub "Honeypot"?

4. Does NDEA have evidence of these meetings? If so, does your evidence show and confirm that the purpose of the meetings as averred by the Newspaper is for soliciting funds from these escobars and promising to do away with the NDEA should Lalyans Seselwa acquire power in the coming Presidential Election?

5. Can you confirm that Cesar is a major player is shady deals but has somehow remained out of jail?

6. Finally would you confirm that Cesar's famous "Honey pot" bar has been long known as a gathering spot / water hole for drug lords and wannabees?

I would be grateful if you could provide your comments on the above article and answers to the above questions so as to state the NDEA's position vis a vis of what has been stated.

I thank you

Daniel Cesar

The Facts

Friday, October 16, 2015


The hypocritical Government of Seychelles.

Dolor Ernesta will probably go down in history as the man who got away with murder. This newspaper has brought to light already in several articles published earlier this year how the former minister stole many plots of state land for himself and other members of his family – when he was still the Minister for Housing and Land and even when he had left office.

This week we bring you another elaborate scam by Dolor Ernesta to grab more government land. It started in September 2000 when 2031 square metres of State Land, S4566 was transferred to Wilnie Mary Serret of St Roch Estate, Mahe, for SR125, 000. On the 5th November 2009, nine years down the line the same piece of land (S4566) was transferred to Dolor for the same price of SR125,000.This means that the land had not gained any value over nine years. This point is important because it goes to the core of this scam.

On the 9th February 2011 Dolor Ernesta gave back S4566, which is in the hills at Anse Aux Pins to Government in exchange for a prime piece Another scam from Dolor Ernesta of real estate H9152 (2074 square metres) by the main road at Beau Vallon, which is worth millions. We have published the documentation for your benefit and self assessment of this situation.

Despite all these suspicious transactions carried out by Dolor Ernesta when he was the minister in charge of State Land, the Authorities have failed to investigate the allegations of corruption against him. He is also still a Central Committee member of the ruling party. This is a clear sign that they can’t touch Dolor Ernesta. WHY???

Source:Seychelles Weekly

Thursday, October 15, 2015


This week I had programmed to outline our Party’s stand on reconciliation and healing post 1977. However I have decided to save this for next week’s column as I have been tipped that there is a massive drive by Lepep to discredit me and embarrass my family before nomination day for the forthcoming elections. The whole idea is to humiliate me so that I will shy away from contesting the Presidential elections.

The ever lovable Ton Paul
This kind of malice and cheap politics are not new to me and my family. I come from a clan that was raised in the small village of Pointe-au- Sel in the south of Mahe. Pa was a popular, hard-working and kind-hearted man who was fondly called ‘ Ton Paul’ by everyone in the village. Ma was a strong matriarch who raised her brood of nine with a firm hand. When Seychelles started experiencing the stirrings of political activism in the 1960’s Pa was a simple unlettered farmer. However by sheer hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit, he by that time had bought quite a number of acres of land at Pointe-au-sel. Ma remained a housewife having to raise nine strong-minded off springs. When SDP (the Democratic Party of Mr James Mancham) was at the height of its battle with Mr Rene’s SPUP; Pa somehow aligned himself with DP. It was not that he was very politically motivated or had any pretensions of high office. After all he had only attended Primary school. He could not afford Secondary school as his father had passed and at a very young age; he had to look after his only sibling Martha and his mother Antoinette De Silva. My take is that Pa gravitated towards DP as a result of pressure from his circle of friends who played domino with him on Sundays.

1970 General Election
There is also the fact that Mr Mancham in his wisdom identified Pa as a popular man who could easily bag in South Mahe as an electoral district for the DP. This is exactly what happened. This of course infuriated the SPUP leadership and subsequently the Pillay clan experienced itsfirst case of the vindictiveness of the SPUP. Pa was hauled into court by his SPUP opponent who had lost again the South Mahe seat. The charge was that Pa did not understand the English language sufficiently to follow the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly. I was still in secondary school at Seychelles College then and I remember Pa leaving the house that morning in his ‘ savat-may-dan-pous’ with his head down- obviously he was very crest-fallen. I was mortified and still vividly remember the scene in our house as Ma tried to keep herself busy avoiding our despairing and questioning looks after Pa had left the house for Victoria. Only recently my youngest sister recalled ( obviously the girls have better memories than us ) how the judge had asked the plaintiff ( incidentally he was a figure that I admired and had great respect for) how does he “ know that Mr Pillay doesn’t understand English sufficiently?” The answer came back quickly “Because I spoke to him in English and he answered me in creole “ The judge retorted “ so he does understand what you said in English if he was able to answer you....” The case was dismissed.!! This was our family’s first taste of the malice that coated the politics of the forerunner of the SPPF . As Ma recalled years later “ this was only the beginning.”

 Then came “ The Liberation “( !!!!??? ) of June 1977. At first we were largely left alone since my eldest brother James had been appointed Commissioner of police- the first Seychellois to hold that post. Things did not go well for either James or the Pillay family. First there were the disappearances; then the detentions without trial. To add to James’ woes, my fourth sister Paulette wrote an open letter to the newspaper “The Independent” boldly and openly criticising the one party state and the absence of individual freedom after the so-called ‘ Liberation’. The state propaganda apparatus immediately went into full gear denouncing her as “an enemy of the people “ She, her husband Stan Gamble and their two sons had to hurriedly leave the islands for the UK for obvious reasons. This was effectively meant to silence the Pillays. Unfortunately for those who were responsible for the “Revolution” this did nothing of the sort. They did not realise that we are made of sterner stuff. James’s eldest daughter Kathleen and her friends (mainly the relatives and friends of those who had been detained without trial) became the voice of dissent. Under Rene’s stern dictatorship; she too was forced to move overseas. However she was determined not to be put down by the regime and boarded an Air France flight bound for Seychelles. She was forcibly dragged by state security personel and forced back into the AF plane.....

This whole episode left James wounded and humiliated. He was to be further humiliated later when he was demoted as Commissioner of Police and sent to open the Licensing Authority as Director...

In later years my second brother John was to be the target of the vindictiveness of the SPPF system. It was a well-known fact that the then Minister of Defence hated his guts. He was a Pillay after all and we had dared to stand up to the bullies. John spent a while in detention for no specified reason. He was detained in a cell at the Central Police station. When they felt that he had been suitably humiliated, an officer at the Central Station called home to say he was being released and could somebody pick him up. By that time fear had been well established in all families in Seychelles and ours was no exception. The truth is that we were all hesitant to drive to Victoria to pick John up until Ma; ever the matriarch said in no uncertain terms “ Pat will go and pick him up.”. The joke in the family is that when I got to the Central Police station, I did not see John or recognise anybody who looked like him. It was only after he called my name that I looked in his direction and saw a grey-haired ( quite white actually ) man standing upright and defiant. The authorities had not allowed him the privilege of having his hair dyed black...... The anecdotes above provide interesting chapters in my family memoirs which I started after my retirement and have had to put on hold now that I am back in active politics...

Now, if you fast track to 2015 and you will find that the Pillay clan is still the victim of SPPF malice and humiliation. This time round however, it is not ‘ Ton Paul’ but rather ‘ Ton Pat’.

Be that as it may, James et Al. will not bring me to my knees. I know you have the dollars and you can bring in Gihan Fernando and any number of Sri Lankans to try and sully my name. In my file locked in Michel Marie’s office at Immigration you will find the names of the Malagasies and Kenyans who have worked for me in the past. One thing I know is that the forthcoming elections will sort out the boys from the men!! I wonder in which group will Jam fall into???

Source: Seychelles Weekly

Thursday, October 8, 2015


The Attorney General’s Office asked that the press not be allowed to report on the testimony of the main witness in the case.

Did Chief Justice set a precedent when she gagged the press last week by prohibiting them from reporting on the Damienne Morel murder trial? Yesterday the Attorney General’s Office represented by Vipin Benjamin asked Magistrate Brassel Adeline for an order to stop the press from reporting on the testimony of the main witness in the Harmon Chellen inquest - the Malagasy woman employed by the Constance Ephelia hotel who accused the late Harmon Chellen of sexual assault.

The pathologist who performed the autopsy on the late Harmon Chellen cannot be found.
TODAY was the only newspaper represented in court at that point. This request seems to have taken the Chellen family’s lawyer, Rama Valayden, by surprise. Speaking to TODAY, Mr Valayden said he did not agree with the request as he intends to highlight the contradictions in the witness’ testimony. He expressed this opinion to the Magistrate as well, explaining that the family is in favour of the press covering the testimony.

Magistrate Adeline nonetheless granted the request, saying that a breach of this order would be dealt with “by the Chief Justice”. The case is also suffering from a major setback in the form of the inability of the police to locate the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Mr Chellen’s body. A counter autopsy was performed on Harmon Chellen in Mauritius and several discrepancies were brought to light. But Dr. Maria Zladkovitch who was excused from court during earlier hearings because she was ill is said to be out of the country and the police say they do not know when she will return.

This means that the timing of the testimonies of two Mauritian pathologists who were also supposed to fly to Seychelles is now uncertain. Speculations that they will testify by video conferencing have not been confirmed.

Source: Today in Seychelles

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


The latest Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) doesn’t make for pretty reading.

Seychelles has been nudged out of the top five of the yearly Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) which ranks the quality of governance in African countries, thanks in large part to dismal performances in key indicators including public sector corruption investigation, police services, political violence, freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly, customs procedures and soundness of banks. At a time when the country’s press is under fire from the Chief Justice no less, Seychelles’ subpar performance should provide ample food for thought. To be sure, the fact that the trends show that Seychelles performance in the Participation & Human Rights subcategory over the past four years is significantly lower than the African average will doubtless give pause to the authorities and hopefully even help re-establish certain priorities.

The founder of the IIAG, Mo Ibrahim.
“Seychelles’ performance in Participation & Human Rights is noticeable for being both the lowest category score achieved by the country, but also showing the most decline over the past four years (-5.2). The sub-categories of Participation & Human Rights range from scoring 51.8 in Rights, ranking 24th, to scoring 70.8 in Participation, ranking 11th. Meanwhile in Gender, Seychelles scores 68.4, ranking 10th”, the report says. But the most worrying is yet to come: “Seychelles shows it lowest score in Participation & Human Rights since 2000 in 2014, in large part due to the recent deterioration over the past four years (-5.2). Both Rights (-6.0) and Gender (-9.8) contribute to this decline with some dramatic deteriorations in some indicators: Freedom of Expression (-15.2), Freedom of Association & Assembly (-25.0) and Gender Equality in the Workplace (-33.3).

 It’s not all doom and gloom – the country boasts modest improvements in the Sustainable Economic Opportunity (+1.6) and Human Development (+1.5) categories – but the fact that Seychelles has registered its worst performance in 15 years in the Participation & Human Rights category should be a source of great concern for civil society. Indeed, Seychelles seems to be moving in the opposite direction to the rest of the sub-Saharan Africa. This erosion of some of the most basic human rights in this day and age can only be harmful to the country’s image abroad (for example, these “dramatic deteriorations” were reported in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian). Last year, when Seychelles fell from the fourth to the fifth spot in the IIAG, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean Paul Adam, attributed the drop to “data gaps”, arguing that the country was struggling to fulfill the data requirements of these indices. 

Now, that may be the case when it comes to highly specialized rankings such as the Global Innovation Index which recently saw Seychelles lose 14 places. But in the case of the IIAG it doesn’t appear that the paucity of data is to blame for the country’s bad performance. Indeed, it draws its information from 33 independent institutions including the African Development Bank, Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, World Bank and Reporters Without Borders. Moreover, contrarily to the global indices that have the unenviable task of ranking around 150 countries, the IIAG specializes on governance in Africa. That’s its stock in trade. Finally, when faced with insufficient data, indices usually mark them as not available rather than giving them shockingly bad scores. Obviously, it’s always easier to shoot the messenger than to engage in the sort of introspection required to improve the country’s performance.

But the former approach can only work for so long before being found out for what it really is.

Source:Today in Seychelles


Editor's note

Mathilda Twomey and the threat to press freedom

TODAY is very concerned about the statements made by Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey yesterday morning on Bonzour Sesel, statements that reflect the judiciary's repressive tendency since Mrs Twomey was appointed Chief Justice.

In trying to justify her decision to grant an order effectively gagging the press in the Damienne Morel murder case, Mrs Twomey said "if they don't want to learn the lesson, we'll have to make them learn the lesson".

Mathilda Twomey; the sister to one of James Michels advisers
She cites the fact that this newspaper sends supposedly inexperienced journalists to cover court stories, stating that several stories have been misreported, to explain her repressive stance towards TODAY, which Mrs Twomey seems to have singled out.

It is regrettable that Mrs Twomey feels that it is her job to make the press "learn lessons". It is not, we can assure her. The Chief Justice's role has never been to control the press.

When mistakes do occur, TODAY always rectifies the errors: we have never shied away from our responsibilities. But what Mrs Twomey needs to understand is that mistakes are more likely to happen when information is hidden and not readily available, as is the case with the judiciary and many ministries and parastatal bodies.

We have covered countless court stories because tragedies are played out every day in the country’s courtrooms and it is only when the press shines a light on the workings of the judiciary that we can ensure that the courts perform their duties in a satisfactory manner. Regardless of what Mrs Twomey may feel, the courts are accountable to the public and it is our role as an independent newspaper to bring to the fore the way cases are dealt with by lawyers, juries and judges alike.

The Chief Justice's reflections on SBC yesterday show that she does not fully comprehend the role of an independent press in a democracy. Her solution to the fact that the public will be deprived of information if she gags the press is baffling - "the public can come and follow cases if they're interested. Even if we do not have enough space to accommodate all of them".

The accepted - and reasonable - way to deal with factual mistakes in newspapers in all democracies around the world is to request that a rejoinder is published, as unsatisfactory as this recourse may seem. The solution is not and never has been to gag the press.

Hinting at some form of bad faith on our part, Mrs Twomey says that to ensure no mistakes are made, "it would have been so easy to call the person responsible for media relations at the judiciary". Yet, Mrs Twomey regretted, in a correspondence to TODAY recently, that the judiciary did not have a media officer. A week ago, when we learnt that lawyer Anthony Juliette had asked for a gagging order against TODAY, we wrote to the judiciary to ask that a copy of the court proceedings be made available to us. Our email was ignored.

Judgments and court proceedings are not readily available to the press in Seychelles. In fact judgments, which are meant to be public documents, are only available at a fee, sometimes days after they have been issued. The press cannot wait for when the judiciary is ready to communicate. This is not how it works. We have a duty to our readers to inform them of what is going on as the workings of the judiciary affect many ordinary people. Our duty is to them.

Fittingly, the 2015 Ibrahim Index of African Governance shows a dramatic deterioration in the country's performance in the freedom of expression index. Mrs Twomey should reflect on that instead of trying to stifle freedom of the press and of expression, let alone alienate the local press corps and its "inexperienced" journalists.

Source: Today in Seychelles


This was never done and the voters  list that you admit is bloated is even more bloated 10 years later.