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Leaders in Seychelles' National Assembly respond to President's SONA 2024

Victoria, Seychelles | February 27, 2024, Tuesday @ 15:55 in National » GENERAL | By: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3437
Leaders in Seychelles' National Assembly respond to President's SONA 2024

The Leaders gave their responses to the State of the Nation Adress on Tuesday. (Seychelles News Agency)

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The two leaders in the Seychelles' National Assembly on Tuesday gave their responses to the State of the Nation Address delivered by President Wavel Ramkalawan last week.

The Leader of the Opposition, Sebastien Pillay, who represents the United Seychelles party, said that this was an occasion  for the President "to give his government's plan to address the subjects that preoccupy our nation, present solutions to the problems the nation is facing and propose a way forward and give a sense of direction that the government wants to take us."

Pillay said that the true state of the nation is that the cost of living is hitting the roof, the business sector is on pause and farmers are frustrated, among many others.

He said that in July 2019, the President, who was then the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, said he had a solution on how the Seychelles Trading Company (STC) could reduce the price of commodities by 30 percent. The reality is that in 2024 the price of commodities have gone up by 30 percent, said Pillay.

"We expected the President to speak concretely about the cost of living and give us his plan to redress the current situation and relieve the Seychellois families. It's the bare minimum that we expected from him," he added.

He reiterated that "it is the role of the government to look into the social security that the elderly are getting and it is the government's role to increase the social security in relation to the cost of living in our country today."

Pillay spoke about the government's position on the international scene, which he said was being done without informing the people, especially Seychelles' involvement in the U.S.-led coalition to counter the Houthi rebels' attack in the Red Sea.

He said that recently the same thing happened when Seychelles signed a protocol with the World Health Organisation on pandemics and although many people expressed concern on the subject, no explanation has been given.

"It is the role of the government to deliver and the people has the right to question and them, ask them to deliver and seek recourse," said Pillay.

He said that people were disappointed with the President's address as there were many problems but not enough solutions and these were the subjects that the President should have addressed.

"The conversation we are having is necessary because as a nation we are not afraid to hold the government accountable on its promises. We are still waiting for the economic diversification that was promised," said Pillay.

He concluded by saying that there is a sole option for Seychelles to regain its dignity on the international scene, there is a sole option to bring back social justice in the country and that United Seychelles party is the sole option.

Response of the Leader of Government Business

The Leader of Government Business, Bernard Georges, representing the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) party, said the State of the Nation address "is a report on what we've accomplished this past year, the challenges our country has had to face and looking at what is coming this year."

He said the President's core message is that Seychelles has a vibrant democracy, with a solid economy and a committed government and that this is a recipe for success.

"Our country has benefited from a solid economy, despite national and international challenges, that we are and will have to face still. [...] Despite the challenges work is moving on every corner of our island, new projects while repairing and improving on those broken. The President gave a long list of projects that his administration will undertake this year."

On the Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission (TRNUC) report for compensation to victims, Georges "proposed that all perpetrators wherever they are today to pay any compensation that is needed to pay the TRNUC victims. It is not acceptable that taxpayers, who are also victims themselves, are asked to pay for their own reparation."

He said that Seychelles still has challenges and that not everything was okay in the last three years and there are still sectors that need to improve.

"The ease of doing business is still a challenge for several reasons. Lack of capacity in certain offices slows down procedures. An example is the Registration Office which takes too long to register documents necessary. Finance and capacity need to be found to help this department improve its services," Georges proposed.

On housing, he said despite the efforts of the minister and his team, there is still room for improvement and suggested that there is more engagement of the private sector for the construction of houses.

George welcomed the President's announcement on the proposed 11th amendment to the Seychelles Constitution.

"This aims at ensuring that a President cannot hold elections when he wishes as a favour to his Vice President but must respect the 5-year mandate that the people has given him," he said and added that "the presidential immunity that exists will now disappear completely."

Georges welcomed the two new proportional members to the National Assembly, Anne Bistoquet for the LDS and Rachel Spiro for the US Seychelles, the main opposition party.

"I have no doubt that the two women will bring an important contribution to our Assembly and will assist those already here in raising the standard of our debates and make our Assembly the institution that we wish it would become," he added.

He talked about unity, which he said is the key and that this does not mean that everyone has to agree on everything.

"Seychelles is for all of us and together united as a people with positive thinking nobody can stop us," said Georges.

He ended by saying "A small country can be a great nation. We are already a small country, under the LDS administration we can become a great nation."  

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Tags: National Assembly, State of the Nation Address

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