Leaders in the National Assembly: President is looking at ways to move Seychelles forward, acts on recommendations
The Leader of the Opposition said the creation of the tribunals comes as an acknowledgement for the work that the Truth and Reconciliation Committee has done. (Joena Bonnelame, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Following the president’s address to the members of the National Assembly on Tuesday, the two leaders in the house gave their responses later in the afternoon.
The Leader of the Opposition, Wavel Ramkalawan, said that the head of state has tried to find the solution to problems that the country is facing and had touched some subjects that have been debated upon by the National Assembly.
“Danny Faure has questioned some practices and brought about solutions, and in this context, I must say that he has looked at ways which can bring Seychelles forward,” said Ramkalawan.
He noted that the president’s address was not the strongest, as the cost of living was not touched and this comes at a time when families are still struggling to make ends meet.
“Apart from substance abuse, this is one of the biggest challenges that the country is facing. Products are still being sold at ridiculously high prices, and this includes from the government owned organisation -- Seychelles Trading Company (STC),” said Ramkalawan.
The Opposition leader added that more efforts should be done to educate consumers on where to buy cheaper commodities. This will bring down the cost of living as retailers with high prices will have lower their prices or have their products remain on their shelves.
On the president’s plans to increase the legal retirement age from 63 years to 65 years, Ramkalawan said that the country must once and for all speak one language when it comes to the pension.
|Wavel Ramkalawan, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo license: CC-BY|
“We will, on our side, bring this subject to all consultative meetings that we will hold in the districts and let the people give us their opinions which we will put forward,” said Ramkalawan.
The Opposition leader said he knows of the public’s already raising concern about the fact that “the population will have to work longer even if they are not feeling too well.”
Ramkalawan welcomed the government’s decision to create two special tribunals to address compensations related to abuse by and in the army, and abuse by and the police force. He said this comes as an acknowledgement for the work that the Truth and Reconciliation Committee has done.
“I can say that this is a good decision because, among the complaints that have been brought forward, a lot is based on the two topics. The sooner they are addressed, the better it will be for the path we have taken towards truth and reconciliation,” said Ramkalawan.
He also addressed the issue of the Island Development Company and suggested that the relevant minister and the head of the company should come before the assembly to answer questions about the company.
“This should be done before any decision is taken as we have to see what benefit it can bring to the country,” said Ramkalawan. The assembly has proposed that the government can use the Island Development Company for its construction projects at a low price.
Ramkalawan said that Faure’s intention to make education institution more autonomous should be well analysed before it is put into action.
“Consultations between parents and members of the community should be held to make sure that the management of the school is well organised to deliver upon the expectations,” he said.
He concluded by saying that “this will also mean that less staff will be required in the administration of the Ministry of Education. I hope that the qualified staffs will go directly into the administration of schools and help make a difference.”
The Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly, Charles De Commarmond on his part said the address shows that the Seychelles President is following closely what is being discussed and raised in the National Assembly.
|Charles De Commarmond, the Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly.(Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
He commended the president for his intention to make educational institutions more autonomous and reliable.
“It is high time that we look at the education system in a way that we can build a strong foundation for learning. There should be bold changes that should increase the interest of students towards learning,” said De Commarmond.
He also said that the communities in which the schools operate should also give a helping hand to ensure that students adopt good values and respect the all educational institutions.”
“To allow the school to manage their own budget and have direct control over their administration is a very wise decision taken by Faure as this will remove any perception that there is political interference by government in schools,” he added.
On the announcement of increasing the legal retirement from 63 to 65 years, De Commarmond said this will enable the country to cope with an ageing population, whereby the elderly will be given a better chance to retire in comfort and dignity.
The Leader of Government Business also welcomed the announcement on no increase in taxes for next year, saying that it will largely benefit the private sector and reduce the scourge of poverty.
“The issue of reducing or removing tax has been an ongoing point of discussion in the assembly. This is an important decision as it will help the private sector to have more certainty and confidence in the Seychelles' economy,” De Commarmond said.
“This also means that families can better plan their future and save more money that can later serve to their own personal development,” he added.
Decommarmond concluded in saying, “I hope that the executive continues to listen to what the Assembly and the people ask to be able to come up with plans that will benefit Seychelles.”
The National Assembly resumes its normal session on Wednesday.