Leader of Seychelles' opposition says president's speech offered no hope; leader of government business welcomes new measures
The National Assembly building at Ile du Port. (Joena Meme)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The leaders in the National Assembly gave their responses to President Danny Faure's State of the Nation's Address on Monday.
The leader of Seychelles' opposition said that Faure's address last week offered no hope and no vision for a better future.
Wavel Ramkalawan said Faure's speech reflected a leader who was scared of losing an election.
The Leader of the Opposition said that the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) will continue with its Danny Out campaign that calls for a new presidential election. “The principal reason is that we are not seeing true leadership for our country under his leadership,” said Ramkalawan.
Referring to Faure’s declaration on substance abuse, Ramkalawan a serious approach must be taken to tackle alcohol abuse.
“A total ban is needed on products destroying our society. Increase the production of local products such as Takamaka Bay and Seybrew which have received international recognition, these can also be exported to boost our economy,” said Ramkalawan.
The rising cases of child abuse was also raised by Ramkalawan who proposed “a dedicated agency to deal with these cases. This will bring together psychologists, counsellors and other officers involved with investigation and prosecution.”
|Ramkalawan said Faure's speech reflected a leader who was scared of losing an election. Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Ramkalawan also said the President had failed on his promise to deliver more houses due to the lack of consultation and planning.
“The number of houses constructed is disappointing. Faure said that 174 units were built. Does he realise that only seven houses were built in each district?”
The Leader of the Opposition said that no mention was made in the address with regards to ongoing cases of corruption with the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Small Business Finance Agency.
Ramkalawan said little was said about health. He commanded the work of medical professionals and asked that this year effort will be made to tackle and solve basic issues in the health system.
Foreign workers in Seychelles illegally without proper permits is another issue which Ramkalawan said should be dealt with and called for better coordination between the relevant departments.
Several recommendations were proposed including foreign labour entering the country should have valid contracts signed by a senior official and that visitors should be issued a visa for only the number of days that they will be on the island nation.
“Seychellois are very concerned with cases of human trafficking which tarnishes our country. It is also important that all foreigners in the country without GOP (Gainful Occupation Permit) should be deported once formalities are completed,” said Ramkalawan.
Better management of the marine resources was another issue and the Leader of the Opposition has called for a total ban on fish aggregating devices (FADs) in the Seychelles' waters.
“Not only they help to destroy juvenile tunas, but these are also a threat to the coral reefs of the outer islands. Stricter action should also be taken against foreign vessels found illegally in our waters,” he added.
More support was called for teachers in state schools, and encouragement for local businesses. Ramkalawan said the lack of proper planning is a big weakness in the government. He gave examples of the national carrier Air Seychelles and the newly constructed fuel station at Ile du Port.
Ramkalawan has asked Faure to step down and allow the people to choose a new president.
In his response, the Leader of Government Business, Charles De Comarmond, said that President Faure in his address touched on several points and proposed solutions to address the challenges.
De Comarmond welcomed the different measures proposed on the issue of alcohol especially that of separating the sale of alcohol from that of food.
“Alcohol is affecting the social fabric of our country. For too long now we have lacked the courage to address this issue. I believe that every Seychellois when they travel can see that there are specific time and place for the sale of alcohol. If we want to move forward we have to do what is necessary,” he said.
|De Comarmond said President Faure proposed solutions to address challlenges. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
The Leader of Government Business said many studies have been done by the Ministry for Family Affairs which have shown the negative impact of domestic violence on the family, on the children and the economy of Seychelles.
“In many cases, the violence is directly linked to the abuse of alcohol. It is time for us to reverse this trend and I am convinced that the announcement of the President is a step in the right direction,” he said.
De Comarmond said that the drug addiction situation is one that is hurting many families “but we have to be brave and make difficult decisions.”
He said that addiction is an illness and that the young have to be offered treatment and care and at the same time respecting their dignity.
Along this line, De Comarmond said, “I am asking the government to provide treatment in a way that respects the human dignity of those young. No sick people are given treatment this way in public.”
He also welcomed the creation of the rehabilitation centre at Port Launay funded by the government of the United Arab Emirates and the support of the European Union and the French authority.
On the subject of poverty, De Comarmond said that “where people is in dire need of assistance we support the measures as mentioned by the president, to empower the people and reduce abuse on the system.”
Housing is another area where several measures were announced by President Faure in his address.
De Comarmond said that United Seychelles party supports the President 100 percent.
“If we adjust the point system with new measures announced by the President, if we complete the 3000 houses with the assistance of the Indian government, our brothers and sisters who need housing will be assisted.”
He concluded in saying that “we in the United Seychelles renew our support for the vision which has been set up for the future of Seychelles and we will make sure that it succeeds.”