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State of the Nation: Seychelles’ President addresses the National Assembly and the People.

The Newly Elected Seychelles President H.E. Wavel Ramkalawan in his first 89 days in office gives his first State of the Nation address at the National Assembly.

The head of state started the address by requesting that all present stand and offer a minute of silence for the three Seychellois who have passed away as a result of COVID-19 complications. President Ramkalawan shared his deepest appreciation and gratitude to all the health professionals and front line workers whom are fighting the pandemic in Seychelles.

He stated that Seychelles has quickly climbed the ranks in population vaccination percentage, currently standing at number two in the world after Israel, he followed this by saying that with the current vaccination campaign in place, Seychelles will soon be first in the world with the majority of the population being vaccinated.

The head of state further pushed for all citizen to unite, to put aside their differences and all do their part in achieving victory over COVID-19.

A key point raised was his commitment in placing the citizen of Seychelles at the forefront of his policies “We want to say Seychellois first. Seychellois first, because we do not want the automatic renewal of GOP (Gainful Occupation Permit) We want to firstly look at if there are no Seychellois in that workplace who can do the work” He expressed that Seychelles offers endless job opportunities to it’s citizen but a change in mindset must occur in it’s people in order to stand up and take these opportunities.

He further stated that income leakage is a major issue facing Seychelles, as much of the current labor force in the Seychelles islands are foreigners which has a direct impact on the economy as much of the revenue leaves the country.

The President expressed his surprise upon assuming office, he stated that he could not believe how much capital was being wasted by the previous administration. He has made it clear that such practices will end under his leadership. He plans on closing a number of government parastatals as well as the dissolvement of their governing boards of which an estimated 108 exists in the small island nation.

In regards to Air Seychelles, the countries national airline, President Ramkalawan said his administration will have an inadept evaluation and come to a conclusion on what step to take moving forward as the airline is currently an estimated 37 million(USD) in debt. He expressed that this is not sustainable and that maybe Air Seychelles should focus only on it’s domestic flights and ground services.

In a vocal and passionate statement the head of state said “The government will not tolerate corruption in the public sector,” following this he announced the dissolvement of Anti-Corruptions Commission board of directors, preferring to use the funds made available to employe more investigators.

“We will reinforce the anti-corruption commission. The board which is currently receiving SR1.8 million ($85,000) will be dissolved, we will bring the amendment to the law asking for the removal of the board which will be replaced by a structure to be announced,” he expressed. Giving the commission until his next SONA (State of the Nation Address) to produce concrete results or he will dissolve and close down the Commission.

The President also addressed the matter of FA4JR (Financial Assistance for Job Retention) a scheme created by the previous administration which aimed at providing financial support to the private sector whom were directly affected by the pandemic and were unable to pay the salaries of their employees. He stated that FAJ4R would end as of April 2021.

An appeal was made by the President to the Drug Traffickers. He once again asked them to stop, as they are directly responsible for the deaths of the Seychelles Youth. This was followed by a warning that he would go to war using all available resources and without pity bring an end to their illicit and illegal activities.

Next week the Seychelles National Assembly will resume it’s normal activities. The Leader of Government Business Hon. Bernard Georges, the Leader of the Opposition Hon. Sebastien Pillay, and other members of the National Assembly will give their response to President Wavel Ramkalawan’s State of the Nation Address.

Jim Libanotis

Freelance Writer for The Seychelles Times email : libanotis@theseychellestimes.com

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