Vice President of Seychelles: Importance to assist Air Seychelles employees losing jobs
Vincent Meriton, Vice President of Seychelles. (Joena Meme)
Planned job cuts at Air Seychelles and the controversy over the military base on Assumption Island were two of the subjects addressed in the first quarterly press conference held by Vice President Vincent Meriton on Friday.
Speaking about the recent announcement that the national airline will be cutting 174 of its staff as it undergoes restructuring, Meriton said that the strategy needs to be looked at again.
Meriton said it is unfortunate that some employees will have to lose their jobs to ensure that the airline does not sink entirely. He added that it is important to take care of those who will lose their jobs.
“Many statements have been made concerning this case but what remains important is that Air Seychelles continues to exist as our local airline rather than close down completely due to heavy losses,” the vice president said.
A group of Air Seychelles cabin crew members protested in the capital, Victoria, on Friday to demand a better exit package.
|(Air Seychelles) Photo License: CC-BY|
Meriton said that the Island Development Company (IDC) is in the process of revising its plan of development for the outer islands and once this is done it will be to the Cabinet of Ministers.
The vice president said that government “want to present the plan to local and foreign investors to see how we can promote development. We want to do it in a transparent way.”
He added that the islands of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, must be used to their full potential to promote more economic activities such as tourism and agriculture.
Military infrastructure on Assumption Island
Because opposition members -- who hold a majority of seats in the National Assembly -- do not support the plan for building military infrastructure with India on the island, Meriton said internal discussions are taking place.
“A declaration will be made very soon to find a feasible way to build this facility because the country really needs it,” he said.
As for the leak of the original agreement of the proposal on social media last month, he said the investigation is still underway.
|(Patrick Joubert) Photo License: CC-BY|
The Blue Economy
Meriton said that the Blue Bond that government has issued is furthering the island nation’s agenda for the blue economy.
“This will enable residents to access finance to take part in ocean-related projects,” Meriton said.
He added that since the introduction of the blue bonds “we have seen people coming with great projects. What is needed is just how to materialise the projects.”
Seychelles has a vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 1.37 million square kilometres and as a small island state and with limited land resources, the island nation is dependent on the ocean for its survival. Fisheries is the second top contributor to the Seychelles’ economy.
Free Wi-Fi hotspots have been established in certain areas around the main island of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.
Meriton said that the government is now “working to establish free Wi-Fi in schools with the idea to facilitate learning.”
|(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
On the high cost of internet usage, he said the government has met and discussed with the local operators to promote fair competition.
“In line with that, we are working on a legal framework that will have a minimum standard that operators need to give its client. This will ensure that when a service has been promised, the service needs to be delivered appropriately,” said Meriton.
He added that the government is “going to put in place a Telecommunication Bill that will ensure fair competition and that tariff is regulated.