Monday, 5 December 2016

Ramkalawan refused to vote on BULLYING motion

The Elected Member for Baie St. Anne tabled a National Assembly motion this week in the asking the Government and all concerned to take steps to address bullying in our schools. The Leader of Opposition played down and trivialized the issue, saying that the problem of bullying is being magnified and exaggerated. This is not what the many people being affected by bullying expected from Wavel. He went on to state that his son goes to a private school and the problem is nonexistent at The Independent School. When it came to voting for the motion Wavel abstained – The Speaker without realizing that situation said that the motion had been accepted unanimously, when it was queried by PL members. The Speaker asked for a fresh vote to be taken and this time around Gervais Henri also abstained. This is an episode tantamount to an old story about Mr. Joseph Jeanmore and Harry Savy – every time Harry would fart it was Joseph who would excuse himself for farting. It was a slavish mentality, which is now being adopted by certain members in the LDS to kowtow to their leader.


Sunday, 4 December 2016

Gerard Hoareau Assassinated on whose order?

Many people over the years have tried to use the good name of Gerard Hoareau and his assassination on a cold winter’s morning in London on 29th November 1985 to advance their political agenda. In our opinion this is totally distasteful. Certain LDS top officials, in the run-up to the National Assembly elections used and abused the hero’s memory to try win the election. However, on Tuesday this week in the National Assembly, they failed to observed a minute silence to honor the memory of Gerard Hoareau and all who have been killed fighting for freedom in Seychelles. Speaker Patrick Pillay has full authority over proceedings he could have called for a minute of silence. Proving beyond doubt that they are all a bunch of hypocrites…..

The Speaker himself in an article written in his party’s mouthpiece earlier this year, insinuated that the editor of this newspaper might have played a role in Gerard’s killing. It was gutter politics at its worse, coming from a highly educated man. Where was he when Gerard was being gunned down in a street of London? Knowing what he knew why did he accept Ministerial positions in a Government that assassinated people? Does that make him a party to the assassinations and killings?

However, Gerard’s memory with all the other fallen heroes must be used as a powerful instrument with which to nurture and grow our democratic gains so far, but not to be abused by people seeking political power.

We have forgiven Pillay in the spirit of national reconciliation and the fight for democracy, in which he has contributed very little, and is bigger than him, in fact far bigger than all of us put together. The memories of our fallen heroes must not be used and abused by those seeking high political office ever again. Their (heroes) cause and that of their families must be advanced in a sincere manner to achieve meaningful closure, not political mileage.

Now, that LDS has the majority in the National Assembly why are they not pushing through a motion to ask government to allow the body of Gerard Hoareau to be brought back to his birth place and 29th November declared the ‘National Reconciliation Day’ in memory of all our fallen heroes. This could ignite and fuel the flame of genuine reconciliation, which are now merely spoken words without any sincere action to back up the rhetoric of rapprochement between the two (PL and LDS) halves of the political divide in the country.


Jean Francois speaking on Government Land

On Tuesday Jean Francois Ferrari was disrespectful to Minister Dogley in the National Assembly – he was calling him “Minis SPPF” several times and The Speaker failed to intervene to call him to order and to ask him to withdraw his remarks. The way that he was talking to the Minister clearly had a racist connotation to it; the white slave master speaking down to the black man. However, the Minister who is far too polite than JFF will ever be, took it in his stride. Jean Francois continued his shenanigan in the afternoon when he had another go at the same Minister this time about land that had been leased out to a construction company for a hotel development, allegedly. Even if Minister Dogley is not holding the land portfolio Jean Francois persisted with his assault on him encouraged by the Speaker’s hesitation to rein him back.

It must be stated that Jean Francois Ferrari is the eldest son of former Minister Dr. Maxime Ferrari – who was land minister in the government of President Rene after the coup d’├ętat; Maxime Ferrari is responsible for taking land from many people out of revenge under the compulsory acquisition law, because these people were supporters of former President Mancham. Ferrari senior was a ruthless guy who took no prisoners dishing out just reward to those he didn’t see eye to eye with, maybe he could speak to his dad about land for more information. Jean Francois is also the cousin of Patrick Lablache who has been in the land sector for many many years, under Rene, Michel and now Faure – if JFF was so keen to know everything about government land and the way that and has been distributed his cousin and father have all the answers. By attacking Minister Dogley who is not the Minister for Land, Jean Francois was out of order, but maybe the Speaker was afraid of him because he is a white man talking down to a black government Minister. This is the state of the National Assembly in 2016 under the watch of Patrick Pillay.


Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Time Is When!

The National Assembly on Tuesday this week discussed the 13th month salary issue, a topic that has captured the attention of workers in the private sector. After damaging reports in this newspaper and on social media that he was trying to kill off the 13th month salary proposal to protect his ‘big business’ friends and financial backers, Wavel Ramkalawan, the leader of the opposition tabled an emergency motion summoning the new Minister of Employment Wallace Cosgrow to come and give details to the Assembly about the impending Bill. During the discussions on the subject, it was abundantly clear that Wavel Ramkalawan and all opposition MNA’s who intervened in the debate were against the idea of the 13th month salary which they had previously claimed was their idea.

The high profile members of the opposition were all struggling to support the idea of a 13th month pay cheque which their supporters see as a big let-down.

In their deliberations, National Assembly members, Wavel Ramkalawan, Sandy Arrisol, Ahmed Afif, Jean Francois Ferrari and Bernard Georges all came across as being against this proposal. This did not go down well in their constituencies. Afif, Georges, Arrisol and Ferrari represent the four poorest districts. People in their districts were angry listening to their interventions. One man from Les Mamelles who voted for the opposition said, “I cannot believe that the people I voted for are more interested in helping the rich than helping the poor”.

MNA Ahmed Afif of Anse Etoile, who represents the poor sub-districts of La Gogue and Maldives, was also reluctant to give his support to the thirteenth month salary proposal. Afif alluded to the fact that this additional payment to private sector workers will have an impact on inflation. He believed that it will release too much additional cash in the economy. What Afif failed to understand is that the 13th month salary is not new money that will create inflation. It is simply a redistribution of existing money from the rich to the poor.

Many Seychellois workers are now asking a simple question; why is the LDS opposition protecting the rich at the expense of the poor? Ramkalawan, Ferrari, Georges, Afif and Arrisol have given the Seychellois people a glimpse of who they will look after when they come to power. It seems that the rich and powerful are in for a good time!

LDS Members Of The National Assembly Protecting Their Rich Friends

Wavel Ramkalawan playing games with private sector workers.

Last week the Hon. Wavel Ramkalawan, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, had the following motion on the order paper:

With the aim to reduce costs of living in Seychelles and fight poverty, which continues to impact on the population, this National Assembly is appealing to STC and all other retailers to take it upon themselves to import essential commodities for sale at the lowest possible prices.’

 It is important to note at this stage that there was no mention of the 13th month salary for private sector workers anywhere in his original motion for last week order paper. And that he was appealing to STC and other merchants only to address the high costs of living - not the government. If the Honorable Gentleman was genuine in doing something about the high costs of living he could have asked for an increment in salary for all the workers to meet the high prices in the shops and the exorbitant prices of fish, legume and fresh vegetables.

It was clear that Ramkalawan is playing a political game with the livelihood of the private sector workers, especially, to protect business people with whom he has close dealings. However, after our front page article last week, which challenged Ramkalawan’s commitment towards people employed in the private sector, he had sleepless nights over the weekend and on Monday this week he was quick to have the order paper revised to include a Private Notice Question (PNQ – item 4 on the order paper) for the Minister of Employment, Mr. Wallace Cosgrow.

We bring you the PNQ below, which was in four parts:

1. Why is it that the Government of Parti Lepep has not come forward yet to place the bill for the 13th Month salary before this Assembly?

2.: Will all businesses, meaning small businesses and big businesses will all have to give their workers the 13th month salary?

3.What are the criteria being used by Government to implement the 13th month salary for workers in the private sector?

4.: According to your analysis and discussions, what effect will the introduction of the 13th month salary have on the private sector and the economy of the country in general?

A closer look at the questions will clearly reveal that Wavel Ramkalawan was trying to kill two birds with one stone. On one hand he wanted to please private sector workers by asking - where is the bill for the 13th month salary?

However, in the other three questions that followed - Wavel cast doubts on the justification to award the 13th month salary to private sector workers. This was done with one thing in mind to protect and please the business people that the LDS have close links with; businesses that gives money to the LDS. The thousands and thousands of workers who voted for the LDS in the National Assembly elections doesn’t matter anymore now until the next election.

It was clear that Wavel had one leg in the train and the other still on the platform and the train was about to leave the station. He was playing a game, which he has now lost because this newspaper called his buff and he took the bait – he should have remained silent and not react to our front page article like the leader of government business, who also came under attack in that same article.

All eyes and ears, so to speak, are now on the bill that will be placed before the National Assembly in two weeks. If the PL Government delivers on its promise to private sector workers to present the bill then it will be left to Wavel and co to do their bit to award the 13th month salary to private sector workers. This newspaper has done its part to force the issue back onto the national agenda before 2016 ends. Now, it is up to the National Assembly to deliver. We wonder who is going to have the last laugh on that matter. Will Wavel bury the 13th month salary to please his friends in business or will it be a Happy Christmas for the private sector workers?


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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Bernard Georges speaking like a Saint

Listening to Bernard Georges speaking in the National Assembly on Wednesday morning one would be forgiven to think that this man is a saint. Bernard said that he has been amongst those who had their hands in the mud fighting the system for social and political equality. In fact Bernard has done very little in that direction when compared to the Editor of this newspaper, who put his life on the line to fight the system and had to defend and fight many legal battles to stay out of prison, because of his political work.

We would like to remind the Honorable Member for Les Mamelles that he is up to his neck in mud and muck - it has nothing to do with fighting for the interests of the people, democracy, justice or freedom for the Seychellois. Bernard Georges was prepared to play his game with the system to get ahead and stay out of prison because of his illicit activities in his clients’ accounts. What was Bernard Georges doing launching President Michel’s book at State House in 2014 and WHY? The Chief Justice has tons of complaints on her desk about the attorney. We are prepared to accord Bernard Georges a break and not go into his past to humiliate him again. However, the Honorable Gentleman must also realize and accept that he cannot throw stones when he has been living all his life in a glass house.


Broken Promises by LDS

The 13th month salary for the private sector is being literally killed off by both the Government and the LDS. It is about a year since former President Michel brought in legislation to reward public sector workers for their hard work and devotion with an extra month salary at the end of the year. It was also promised at the time that legislation would be introduced to compensate private sector workers as well. This provided businesses with anticipation time. In six weeks 2016 will come to an end and still no legislation in sight for the private sector workers to benefit from the 13th month salary.

In fact, when the 13th month salary was first spoken about in 2015 both Government and the LDS said that it was their proposal and they fought over who was stealing the idea from each other.

It was kindergarten stuff; little boys fighting over a candy bar or over who should stand at the front of the class. Be it as it may former President Michel ploughed on with introducing legislation to award government workers the 13th month salary, with a promise that same will be done at a later stage for private sector workers. We know that the legislation is ready. Why is it not before the elected representatives?

During the National Assembly election battle the rhetoric was deafening about which party will deliver the 13th month salary, judging by the results of that election the LDS got the upper hand. The workers trusted them more to deliver for the workforce. They have so far “Let Down Seychellois”, in the sense that they have hardly spoken about the inflated cost of living. The ordinary working man/ woman is finding it extremely difficult to put food on the table to feed their family; prices are too high in the shops. The LDS majority in the National Assembly is fighting over creating numerous senseless committees and allegedly accepting ‘cash for motion’ to protect the interest of big businesses and their rich friends. The poor people’s interests have conveniently been placed on the backburner by the LDS majority.

This week the leader of opposition tabled a motion to appeal to STC and other merchants to sell essential commodities at the lowest possible price, too little too late. What about the 13th month salary for private sector workers? Why is it not included in your motion, Honorable Ramkalawan?

This newspaper sincerely believes that it is the private sector workers that generate the wealth of this country through their hard work - it is time to show them some gratitude. It is them that produce the income for the businesses to be able to pay taxes – the same taxpayers’ money that pays for the salary of all government workers and all the National Assembly employees including the MNAs. The National Assembly Members benefits the most (more than any other sectors) out of the hard work of private sector workers, which produce the funds for taxation. Why are they (LDS) not making a case for the private sector workers to be awarded the 13th month salary in 2016 like government employees?? This was a promised made by former President Michel.

The National Assembly Members (MNA) get monthly (SCR 31, 000) remuneration, with duty free cars, a yearly gratuity of SCR 100 000, this is followed by another hefty gratuity at the end of their five year term of office; SCR 1.5m for Honorable Ramkalawan and his counterpart. This is an unfair situation when the ordinary worker has to wait twenty years for a meager gratuity of about twenty thousand rupees or less.

The LDS majority in the National Assembly must fight for the workers of this country, all the workers; private and public sector. Why are they not doing it when it comes to the 13th month salary? Whose interests are they trying to protect?? Is it the interests of big businesses and their rich financial backers?? Are they trying to protect the likes of VCS, P&J, Eden Island Company, Vijay Construction, Cable & Wireless, Airtel, Seybrew, Pilgrims Security, etc……?

These are the questions at this stage of the conversation for the populace to reflect upon. We will have more on the matter next week and in all editions for the rest of the year 2016. After much reflection and soul searching The Independent newspaper is backing the 13th month salary for all the Seychellois workers! They deserve it!