Tuesday, 3 May 2011

On the campaign trail

To view the latest pictures from the campaign trail "Like" the Wavel 2011 page on Facebook

Friday, 8 April 2011

Standing by the Private Sector

My commitment to the private sector as the engine of economic growth is 100%. I am proud that the SNP has been in the forefront of economic liberalisation and it is a commitment that we will pursue in Government.
Nowadays, we hear quite often the phrase ‘the private sector is the motor of the economy.’ It’s good that the ruling party has come round to this point of view - until a couple of years back, it was not the case.

However, there is still a gulf between theory and practice. Take for example the Chamber of Commerce. This organisation has for years been a strong voice for the private sector. Recently, with interference from both politics and government, it has lost its role, with the result that it is no longer a useful voice but goes along with everything that the government says.

The Chamber of Commerce is one organisation that the SNP considers very important in building the right economic climate. It needs to be a body that is properly set up with full-time workers focussing on various areas of trade, commerce, business opportunities and investment. The country needs a private professional body that challenges, proposes and takes initiatives. In a sense, we need an organisation that is as active as the STB in tourism.

A strong Chamber of Commerce should be one of the principal representations on an Economic Council that will meet and discuss with Government to map out economic growth.

One place where a great gulf exists is simply in mapping out the road ahead. At present, there is no single body where the private sector and Government meet to create and exchange ideas, weigh options, and reach a consensus on where we need to go. Everything of this sort is still firmly under Government control and that is a major weakness. There is no sharing of a plan for development.

I firmly believe that we can have a strong and vibrant economy, looking forward to the future. But we must map the road ahead together as a country. One political party cannot do it right if it does it alone.

At the moment, President Michel is keeping it to himself, to the extent of arguing that economic growth needs continuity, meaning that he has to stay in power. ‘Don’t rock the boat’, he said at the investment forum this week.

A change of Government in a democratic country is not rocking the boat. Mr. Michel is obviously not making any allowances for democracy.

For Seychelles, a change of Government now is exactly what is required. It will strengthen and confirm our democratic system. It will be a display of real stability. Investors and businessmen need the demonstration of political stability which an orderly change of Government can bring.

We have always advocated that economic development is protected and advanced by democratic progress. The strengthening of democratic institutions removes favouritism, unfair competition and poor standards. A bad judiciary will not protect investment just as unfair laws will not protect workers. The SNP will continue to strive for the best for the private sector and the country.

We will continue to encourage clean, serious and law abiding investors, both local and foreign to develop partnerships and bring in their investment while ensuring that the Seychelles private sector emerges as the real force in our country’s economic development. I believe this can happen. Let the real stability come on the 21st May 2011.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Believe Before You Preach

What do the current leaders of our country still believe in? They have gone full circle on most of the things they declared were sacred in their policies. So, in what direction do they want to lead Seychelles? Multi-party politics was declared an obstacle to development in 1977, and so all political parties, except René’s, were declared illegal. Private schools, doctors, dentists, lawyers, newspapers etc… were banned. A few years ago, all of these sprung up again, and they were declared a sign of development and progress. The list is really long. I am certain that each one of us can easily think of at least two such examples. The plain truth is simple: Mr. René, Mr. Michel, and their political party have fooled the people.  They have lied to us, and many members of our society have fallen in their traps.

Last week we got another example of how we have been led astray. Gilbert Pool, the mastermind of Expo 2020, declared that the Kreol language was basically useless and that English was the language we all needed to master. I will not enter into a linguistic debate, but I will express my personal exasperation at hearing such a statement.

Many people felt very strongly against the teaching and promotion of the Kreol language in the schools. They had valid reasons, just as there were valid reasons why it should have a place in the curriculum. But people were not given any say. Our leaders decided first one way, then another. Today, we are still struggling for the right balance. Kreol obviously does not meet all our educational needs but, on the other hand, there has been some great work done in the mother tongue, one being the translation of the New Testament. Many people are literate in Kreol and this has become an important means of written communication to so many. Now, Gilbert Pool tells us it’s all useless. I take great offence at Mr. Pool’s denigrating views on Kreol. After all, it is our mother tongue.

What has really upset many people, including myself, is the fact that this statement came from Mr. René’s former right-hand man, the one who coined every election slogan for the reds, and who has just come out of the woodwork to try and save Mr. Michel from election defeat. If this is the truth coming out of the loyal servant’s mouth, then it indicates how Mr. René’s policy all along was to close the doors of the Seychellois through the promotion of Kreol. Unfortunately for him and his friends, we are a much stronger people, and indeed we can master English, French and the sciences to ensure that we move on. Rather than twist our language policy again, I am calling on the Seychellois people to allow our schools to have the resources that they need  to educate. 

If they tried to fool us with the Kreol language, to the extent of setting up a Kreol Institute, declaring Victoria as the Kreol capital of the world, teaching Kreol, etc… then we ought to seriously consider all the lies that our people have been fed with since 1977.

We all know the limits of the Kreol language. It is not an a scientific or technical or international language. But to downgrade it the way Pool did was simply too much. Maybe it was his farewell act and he wanted to tell our people that they have been taken on a long ride for too long and to get out of their sleep.

Today the time has come to question seriously what the current leaders of this country believe in. Unfortunately we will discover that we are dealing with a group of opportunists. Instead of dealing with present day difficulties and opportunities, they take us on a 2020 dream. Truth and reality remain their biggest hurdles. We ought to be worried and this is another reason why we have to take the future seriously.

During the last eight weeks of their rule, they should stop feeding our people with lies. May they start believing first and preaching afterward.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

SNP Leader meets Danish diplomat

The SNP Leader Wavel Ramkalawan met with the newly accredited Danish Ambassador, Geert Aagaard Andersen.

The meeting took place at the party headquarters at Arpent Vert.

Mr Ramkalwan took the opportunity to discuss Denmark’s willingness to help Seychelles in its renewable energy sector.

He says his administration will be committed towards a green future with appropriate investment in in solar and wind energy.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Join in the greates adventure: Change a 34yr old dictatorship

Everyone aspires to doing something memorable and important in one’s life. Some aspire to climb Mount Everest or land on the moon. I believe that the youth of Seychelles, in particular the 7000 first time voters, can be in for an adventure that will be a lifetime experience: Their vote can help Seychelles experience the first democratic change of government through the ballot box! This to me is a great adventure and a lifetime achievement.

The May election will be determined by the youth. This is what should make it exciting for them. The choice they have can be summed up in this way: Vote for Mr. Michel, and nothing will change. They will still be subject to political pressure, security clearance, and they will still be made to feel that whatever they want to pursue in life will depend on the government or their affiliation to some youth political organisation.

On the other hand, a vote for the SNP candidate will mean that first of all they will have turned an important page in the history of Seychelles. It will be the first legitimate change of government since we became an independent nation in 1976. It will also mark a new road for the country where the youth will not be subject to any political pressure. They will be entering an era when they will be respected for who they are and what they believe in, with freedom to seek employment and obtain it on merit, the elimination of security clearance and other means of control. In a nutshell, they will be in control of their own lives.

The youth vote will achieve even more. It will determine the country’s direction. For the first time in 34 years, we will seek to establish real democracy by pulling down all the barriers that have kept us is a one-party mode. The Seychellois will no longer feel that they should behave as loyal subjects to one person’s whims or risk losing everything. The youth can give our people back its respect and dignity. 

When I speak to young persons, they always express their disappointment in many areas, especially with the lack of facilities in schools or the hardship they experience to get a job once they have qualified. They see the big gap between what is promised by the authorities and what actually happens in reality. They are tired of being pushed around, and most say that unfortunately they just have to play along in order to move forward in life.
May 21, 2011 will be the opportunity to reverse this present trend and get a government that does what it promises. What will make this happen is simply the fact that the rights of everyone will be respected and the youth will be allowed to stand up and make their demands heard by the government. There will be no tear gas, AK47’s or batons, but instead, there will be attentive ears willing to listen and carry out necessary reforms. This is part of the change the youth of Seychelles can give their country in about 8 weeks. The mere thought is exciting.

History has always been the greatest judge of humanity, and this is not about to change. This is why the May election has been described as a ‘rendez-vous’ with history. If you miss this chance, you will have to wait for another 5 years to correct it. 

I am calling on the youth to ‘Get it right the first time.’ I believe our youth will rise to the occasion. Together we can make it happen for our generation and future ones. On May 21, let us all be part of the greatest adventure in our country’s modern history: Let us together change a 34yr old government.  As the Nike slogan goes, ‘Just do it!’