The Saint Ange Tourism Report Special Edition Issue 8 with Zilwa Publications

WELCOME TO THE 8TH SPECIAL EDITION OF THE SAINT ANGE TOURISM REPORT TOGETHER WITH ZILWA PUBLICATION

(Posted 19th August 2020)

Three main parties, three different outcomes for the Republic depending on who is elected

With the election dates having been set for 22nd – 24th October 2020, the line has officially been drawn in the sand. All candidates and political parties are readying themselves for the upcoming pivotal National elections. While some have been campaigning and garnering momentum for the past two years, others have coasted, only stirring to meet with the electorate they have been neglecting for the past four years when absolutely necessary. Their old flags are being dusted off, and they are spreading their stickers and custom tshirts around the districts faster than the common cold.

ONE SEYCHELLES has notably been the only political party to release their comprehensive manifesto to the public (via social media and in hard copy) earlier this year. Voters have expressed their dissatisfaction with the policies and ideologies of the LDS and US camps, as gleaned from their statements shared via social media; they have drawn the unpalatable conclusion that US’s position and vision for the next five years are, in a nutshell, to maintain the current state of affairs and change little to nothing in terms of how the Country is being run, and LDS’s hook, in contrast, seems to be: we are not Danny Faure.

The complacency and arrogance of rival camps are their weakness; they do not feel the need to try hard because a sense of entitlement has plagued their politicians and staunch followers for decades – they believe the support of the public is somehow owed to them because they have been in the race since Jesus was a little boy. Anyone who does not support LDS is demonized immediately and viewed with disdain. They have lost sight of the fact that respect is earned, not demanded.

Seychellois are not only comparing the policies being pushed by each presidential candidate (checking to see whether the values and ideologies of that individual align with that of the voter), but they are also assessing the temperament of the person vying to lead the Nation for the next five years (is he too vindictive and spiteful? Is he spineless and a bit of a pushover? Is he good under pressure, reasonable and respectful of people from all walks of life?) and the capabilities of that individual in effecting their proposed policies (does this person have a proven and positive track record of bringing prosperity and innovation to Seychelles? Or does he say the right things and later do the opposite to what was promised?).

People are also assessing the glaring problems being faced by the Country at the moment (flailing economy, weak tourism industry, rampant poverty and heroin addiction) and taking note of the politicians who are not only targeting those issues in their manifestos, but also have substantiated their proposed policies with well-reasoned plans to redress the situation. They are also deciding for themselves which of the main political candidates is ably qualified and experienced to save the main pillar of our economy (tourism), and which ones are just accustomed to pointing out problems without the requisite knowledge base and skill set to propose viable solutions to those problems.

While any politician can shed light on a problem, only a technician and a true leader can fix the problem. It is clear that the Country has three different futures on the horizon depending on who is elected as President in October. One future will mean the flat-lining of the tourism industry, with many tourism-reliant businesses going belly-up, higher poverty rates, higher costs of living and a corresponding lowering in the standard of living for the majority of the population – due to weak leadership and poor direction. Another future will mean a flurry of favor returning and the setting up of ill-qualified friends in key leadership posts, inept decision-making and general confusion across the board in all aspects of governance.

And lastly, one future will result in a team of technocrats taking the reins of Government (comprising individuals from all ends of the political spectrum who were chosen on the basis of merit alone) and hitting the ground running with a clear sense of direction, implementing new policies and structure that should have been instigated many years ago. The latter future will also result in a lower cost of living for the average Seychellois, higher basic salaries, a stark reduction in poverty rates, the legalization of marijuana, and many new employment opportunities for locals through the recognition of this new industry.

It is up to you to decide which politician will bring you the future that you want for Seychelles. The power in bringing about each of these futures ultimately lies with you.

Alain St.Ange
Editor

THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT POLITICS
Historically, democracy in Seychelles has largely been reduced to a contest between two dominant parties. In 2016, the green camp experienced their best shot at taking the National elections, cruising on the back of several last ditch alliances with other political parties and swinging the majority of seats in the Parliament against all odds. The Presidency still eluded them, however, indicating that voters tended to vote for the political party, and not the individual vying for the Top Job.

Following the 2015-2016 elections, both the Executive and Legislative branches of Government appeared to relish the opportunity to work with colleagues across the aisle to at least try to reach agreements on important policies – they termed their awkward power dynamic a "cohabitation". However, it did not take long for cracks to form in their pretenses, with both sides announcing shortly thereafter that cohabitation efforts had failed, for one reason or another. Thus began the ugly side of politics, with public servants rolling out the blame game and point scoring tactics, and becoming needlessly obstructive, or otherwise dragging their feet, on important issues that would only serve to benefit the public – issues that ought to have been dealt with expeditiously.

Green and red camps following the elections staunchly maintained their fixed positions in two opposing camps based on principle alone, for the lines between both parties, in terms of ideologies and values, had become notably blurred over the years.

Both were scornful of compromise; the mismatch between the party and governing systems proving to be a formula for willful obstruction and policy irresolution. Both camps remained, during their term, unpersuaded by facts, evidence and science, which ultimately had a bearing on decisions that impacted the Nation, including but not limited to the EU Fisheries Agreements.

With some politicians accustomed to the telling of beautiful lies instead of the ugly truth, is it any surprise that their hardcore supporters are feeling so entitled after years of hearing the same tune? On the flipside, there are countless others who have become so disillusioned by the false promises that they vowed never to vote again. Another consequence of not holding politicians accountable for their beautiful lies is that the unethical practice has unfortunately become normalized within society, to a worrisome extent.

With both green and red camps making the election pitch for "national unity", despite all their recent actions contradicting the notion, they seem to have lost sight of the fact that voters no longer trust politicians whose actions do not match their words.

After all, tell a lie once and all your truths become questionable.

OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT FROM PRASLINOIS

The momentum on Praslin is building rapidly for supporters of ONE SEYCHELLES. Week by week, day by day, more and more individuals are pledging their support to our common cause.

Large clusters from both red and green camps are coming forwards to join the movement for real change, and are working alongside our two Parliamentary candidates (soon to be named) for Praslin to appeal to other swing voters.

One Praslinois in particular, namely Mr. Bernard Port-Louis, stated the following in regards to his support for ONE SEYCHELLES: "There comes a point in your life when you just know the time is right for a change, and that you owe it to your Country and to your fellow Seychellois to bring about that change. The Country is politically and economically unstable, and is all but falling apart at the seams.

A strong leader is desperately needed to unite the Nation and to save our economy. We did not have a viable candidate suited for this momentous task until Alain St. Ange stepped onto the scene. "His vision is so different from that of the other politicians: he truly wants to give young people a voice, and to ensure that everyone has access to the opportunities that have been typically reserved for only a select few.

His plans for a technocrat-led government, comprising of skilled and capable youth, are exactly the type of innovative strategies our Nation needs right now. He is a technocrat himself, an undisputed expert in the field of tourism, and no one understands the industry quite like him – only he can save our tourism industry, and every rational-minded person in Seychelles can admit to that.

"He has the best interests of Seychellois at heart, recognizing that we have traditionally been treated as second-class citizens in our own Country. He is not afraid to touch on sore topics for LDS and US, such as IDC and the legalization of marijuana. He is a strong and capable leader, and we are fortunate to have him in the race for the 2020 Presidential election.

We at One Seychelles see it, and Praslinois are seeing it too. Once the blinkers come off and more Seychellois start to think critically about the other politicians who have had their chance to fight for Seychellois and have failed, then the Country will truly be ready for real change."

AFRICAN TOURISM BOARD REACHES OUT TO MAURITIUS IN THEIR TIME OF CRISIS

On the evening of Saturday 25th July, the Merchant Vessel Wakashio grounded on coral reefs of Mauritius.

The Japanese-owned ship carried an estimated 200 tons of diesel and 3,800 tons of heavy fuel oil onboard. The ship sat for over a week before cracks emerged in its hull. Fuel oil began to leak into the expansive blue lagoon outside the coastal village of Mahebourg. At least 1,000 tons of fuel oil are estimated to have been emptied into the lagoon already.

On August 7th, nearly two weeks after the shipwreck, the Mauritian government declared the incident a national emergency, with Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth warning the Country recently to brace for the worst.

The African Tourism Board (ATB) has expressed great concern about the unprecedented incident of a disastrous oil-spill in Mauritius. This accident will surely have a long-lasting environmental impact and the people of Mauritius are facing this situation at a time every country is dealing with a deadly pandemic that has brought their tourism sector to a standstill.

Alain St.Ange, the President of the ATB and Vice Chair of the Hope for Africa Project, said that the oil spill is a major regional disaster, posing dire risks for the Nation’s economy, food security and health.

Cuthbert Ncube, Chair of ATB said, "The people of Mauritius however are an example to the world when it comes to resilience in keeping the virus off their shores." "There are times when countries should rally behind each other and come up with an African mechanism in quilling and dealing with such eventualities", ATB Chairman Cuthbert Ncube added. "We are ready to assist Mauritius. Also, we’re applauding the people leading the travel and tourism industry in Mauritius in coming together in large numbers to respond to this unexpected additional crisis."

Mauritius is part of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands together with Seychelles, Madagascar, Reunion, Comoros and Mayotte. The African Tourism Board believes tourism to be a catalyst for unity, peace, growth, and prosperity for the people of Africa. It is an organization where Africa becomes One Tourist Destination of Choice in the World.

Marijuana Tourism – an untapped market for Seychelles
Both the red and green political camps have refused to take a definitive stance on the issue of legalizing marijuana for adult use, despite significant public pressure in favor of legalization.

With many public servants being known for indulging in recreational cannabis use, its continued prohibition is Government’s way of saying: do as I say, not do as I do. With New Zealand’s referendum on the legalization of marijuana fast looming, former Prime Minister Helen Clark has become quite vocal on the topic, saying she wants the referendum to pass because it would end the prohibition on the popular drug so that citizens do not have to get their supply from "tinny houses". She has stated forcefully that older politicians who are calling for prohibition are typically Boomers who hypocritically used the drug themselves in their university days. She added that the reason it became illegal in the first place, while tobacco and alcohol did not, was because the latter were in widespread use in "powerful Western societies", while cannabis was more popular in other parts of the world.

Clark also stated, "I’ve been around long enough to know that when you say to young people: ‘don’t do it’, they do it. That’s the nature of youth…People are going to use this stuff…It’s not like this is some wild, crazy thing to do. A lot of Countries have worked out …that trying to prohibit the use of something up to 80 percent of New Zealanders will try in their lifetimes is pretty ridiculous…So it’s better to deal with this on its merits, on the evidence, recognize that as a drug it’s immensely less dangerous to your health than tobacco smoking is, and less dangerous to both your health and society than alcohol is, and put some rules around it…legalize and regulate. Put rules around it, take it out of the black market and deal with the responsibility as a state."

With our tourism industry in tatters and our main tourism source markets flat-lining as a result of COVID-19, Seychelles is in dire need of some re-branding, or at the very least a hook, to attract tourists to our shores once more. Marijuana tourism is an untapped market for Seychelles, with many tourists flocking to destinations considered to be "weed friendly".

Our presently struggling economy can stand to benefit from all the money moving from the black market into the formal system, thereby allowing the Government to collect tax revenues from the industry. Tax revenue from marijuana tourism could be used to fund vital infrastructure improvements, including roads, water, schools, hospitals and healthcare facilities.

In 2015, three years after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, the Colorado Tourism Office conducted a survey that revealed almost 50 percent of visitors to the state were influenced by the availability of marijuana. Colorado has reportedly seen increases in tourism spending years over year since legalization, and continued to see massive increases in consumer spending as well.

The only way to progress is through innovation and fresh approaches to governance. With our economy in its present state, the time for playing it safe and being too afraid to rock the boat has long passed. Half the population has been crying out for "change" for years.

Real change is what we are offering. If you want more of the same, then continue to vote red or green, because old ways will never open new doors. Both leaders of the rival camps have had years to prove their worth. They have failed.

Make 2020 the year for REAL CHANGE. Cast a vote for the new, and not the old.

Cast a vote for One Seychelles.

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