The Saint Ange Tourism Report Special Edition Issue 9 with Zilwa Publications

WELCOME TO THE 9TH SPECIAL EDITION OF THE SAINT ANGE TOURISM REPORT TOGETHER WITH ZILWA PUBLICATION

(Posted 19th August 2020)

Welcome to this Special Edition of our Saint Ange Tourism Report

Change takes faith – real change takes courage. It takes a voter to stand up to do what is right, and not what is easy.

In Seychelles, it has historically been the case that your families’ political affiliation will, in one way or another, determine your destiny, whether it be in terms of your employment or business opportunities, advancements within a Department, opportunities for further education abroad, or access to Government land.

We have a political culture of intimidation, with opposition parties typically rousing support for their "team" by inciting fear within the electorate. The ruling party, in contrast, has played it safe over the past 30 years; so safe, in fact, that their supporters have come to view opposition camps as something to be frightened of. Neither political manoeuvres are suitable ways for a Country to be governed – at least not governed competently and effectively.

One Seychelles entered the scene with one side aggressively pushing their campaigns that were designed to instill anger and division, and the other side feeling safe and secure behind the skirt of their mother hen. Both sides have utilized all sorts of distraction techniques (loud noise, finger-pointing, the odd scandal or two) to hide from voters the fact that many of these politicians do not understand basic economics, and that they do not have any sort of viable plan to salvage our economy; they are ill-suited, ill-qualified and ill-equipped to boost any of the three pillars of our economy (fisheries, agriculture or tourism).

ONE SEYCHELLES hit the ground running with a fresh and comprehensive manifesto comprising innovative and NEW policies and plans to rebuild the economy, designed to put Seychellois first (finally) and to ensure that they benefit from their industries, and to finally have a voice in decision making that would ultimately affect them and the future of the Nation’s economy, environment, health and well-being.

The largest hurdle we encountered within the electorate is cynicism, with many voters saying "it’s a fait accompli, that there is no point in voting. If we can get someone to care and to believe in the power of voting – in making one’s voice heard – then it is a great victory for our movement and for our causes that we are trying to advance. Many subscribe to the defeatist outlook that our Nation is "beyond repair". We are not beyond repair – we have too many skilled and capable Seychellois at the ready to ever be beyond repair – we just need to give voice and power to these people. You do not give up on the things you care about; you fix them.

Many youths think of Seychelles as somewhere to run from – with many seeking employment opportunities abroad and delaying their return to the Islands. We want to give them a reason to stay, to invest locally, and to impart their skills and knowledge with the upcoming generation, because presently they have no meaningful incentives to do so. Most return to Seychelles following their studies to be trapped in either a dead-end role or in a position that attracts a woefully mediocre salary, for the next crucial few years of their lives, bound by a Government-bond. Some cannot even secure a worthwhile post in Seychelles at all, or find that the avenues available for them to maximize their skillset and qualifications are hindered by bureaucratic red-tape or monopolies within the industry that are ultimately enabled by the Government.

Many young people find that there are more skilled jobs available in Seychelles than educational opportunities, so these jobs invariably end up going to an expatriate. They have been silenced across the board for many years, with no one coming forward to champion their rights. Until now. Other parties are fatigued, their ideologies and policies outdated and out of touch with the present realities our elderly and our youth, in particular, are grappling with.

Both the Legislative branch of Government (prior to dissolution) and the President seem to have forgotten that their job is to SERVE, not rule. Their lack of innovative strides in any aspect of governance and their insistence on riding on the coattails of their former successes in past elections (to varying degrees) is indicative that their motivation and passion for the cause have dissipated, and they are not quite certain what they are fighting for anymore. Their cries for change now seem to ring hollow – as they have had four years to prove themselves and show the People of Seychelles that they CAN prioritize the needs of ALL Seychellois, and not just an elite few – and they have failed.

President Faure’s calling card, as I have said once before, is his passive approach to governance. However, it is also his determination for ensuring that our Government is anything BUT inclusive, undermining any claim that he truly believes in the importance of a Government of National Unity. Some politicians are putting their hats in the ring to make a statement, they have no stake in the game. Some took great pains to secure themselves; if they lose, they can retire quite happily on their early pensions.

The only people who stand to lose anything are those who invested everything in these politicians, in the political party they blindly followed for years. Many hopeful voters are thinking not of their Country, but of themselves – of the promises they expect their politicians to deliver upon after the elections. The choice in October 2020, which is ultimately for the citizens of Seychelles to make, is essentially: more of the same by the reds, "radical change" by the greens, or real change by ONE SEYCHELLES.

Change takes faith – real change takes courage. It takes a voter to stand up to do what is right, and not what is easy. If enough people go against the grain and vote for real change, they will have it.

Alain St.Ange
Editor

Dan sa enn progranm 2020. télésesel i koz avek Msye Alain St Ange, dirizan One Seychelles.
Dan sa enn progranm 2020. télésesel i koz avek Anbasader Peter Sinon.
POLITICIANS LOOKING TO ONE SEYCHELLES FOR GUIDANCE
As the rival political parties begin to break a sweat over their campaign efforts, ONE SEYCHELLES members have noticed that many politicians are taking the time to read our ZILWA PUBLICATION and to remain abreast of our policies and suggestions to glaring problems being clumsily grappled with by the relevant authorities; or perhaps for inspiration after years of being out-of-touch with the electorate.

While it has amused the Party to find seasoned politicians doing a 180 switch on matters that they had downplayed or cast aside previously, parroting proposed solutions and policies almost verbatim from our Publication or from our Party’s manifesto, the reality is that bipolar tendencies such as this do little to strengthen the credibility and trustworthiness of said politicians within the cautious eyes of the electorate.

They have heard the politicians’ televised and heavily broadcasted views on key topics, including carers and Air Seychelles, noting with skepticism the contradictory statements made mere weeks prior. Another example of ONE SEYCHELLES taking the sheep to the water hole may be found in Government’s about-turn on their decision to sideline the needs of the ferry-owners linking Praslin, La Digue and Mahe.

In Zilwa Publication Issue #4, we wrote extensively on this issue, pointing out that ferry shuttles were an integral service, permitting locals to seek medical treatment, go to school, visit relatives, and contribute to the economy by engaging in ‘staycations’. With the shuttle services reducing in availability and frequency, people were beginning to suffer. The ferry operators were beginning to downsize, and people were losing their only source of needed income. On more than one occasion, passengers were left stranded at the jetty, waiting for a ferry that would not come because the business would work at an irreparable loss if the ferry did make the journey.

We suggested that Government offer fuel concessions to these businesses to guarantee continued connectivity between the islands for the locals. We shone a light on the glaring disparity between the amount paid by ferry operators for fuel and that paid by SPTC, IOT and PUC, with ferry operators expected to typically pay three times more for fuel than the others.

It took a few weeks, but Government has finally been pressured into reacting. They have only very recently announced a 50% reduction in tax payable on fuel the interisland ferries are using – A small gesture that will reduce the cost of fuel by about four rupees per liter. With other politicians and leaders looking to us for guidance, we will keep pushing forwards, and they will continue to follow in our wake.

A GREEN CHECK MARK LABEL SIGNALS THAT BUSINESSES IN SEYCHELLES FOLLOW COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS

Salifa Karapetyan and Betymie Bonnelame of the Seychelles News Agency published on August 12th the following.

Businesses in Seychelles that are certified as safe to welcome and provide services to visitors are now identifiable by a specially designed stamp — a green check-marked badge.

Seychelles reopened its borders to commercial passenger flights on Aug. 1, relaunching the island nation’s tourism industry after months of a COVID-19-induced shutdown. In May, the tourism department together with the local Public Health Authority started working on a set of criteria to govern the operation of tourism businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After receiving the guidelines, each business had to make their own Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). After inspections from relevant authorities are done to ensure that strict sanitary norms and important industry etiquette under the ‘new normal’ were in place, the business is issued with a safety certification. The certification assures visitors and guests that local service providers in the tourism industry and other related businesses are following best safety practices.

In a press release from the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), the principal secretary for tourism, Anne Lafortune, said the certification is an important component of the operations of the industry providers today. "Our local businesses have been very forthcoming in helping us implement the new sanitary regulations the industry will have to abide by for operations. We are satisfied to see their interest to comply with this new component of tourism," said Lafortune.

To date, over 200 service providers – restaurants, tour operators, tour guides, transportation providers among others – have been certified under the Safe Tourism Certification label. Businesses will be able to use the stamp once the health and hygiene requirements defined by the Public Health Authority have been implemented. The STB chief executive, Sherin Francis, said that the label is founded on the significant elements people are looking for before making plans to travel. "Safety has become an even more important prerequisite for travel. As a destination restarting its tourism industry, our responsibilities vis-à-vis our guests and local service providers are immense. We have been advocating for standard practices to be adopted across the globe and we are proud to see the implementations of these practices locally," said Francis.

Visitors planning a holiday in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, are encouraged to book their accommodation and leisure activities through safe tourism certified service providers.

Feast of Assumption 2020 – a very low-key affair
Seychelles’ celebrates feast of assumption without the usual pomp and procession
ATC News of the 16th August wrote that "The 15th of August is usually the day when the Seychelles’ people flock to the island of La Digue to celebrate the Feast of Assumption, a major religious and community event in the overwhelmingly Catholic nation.

Every year, in the run up to the actual day, do thousands of people take the ferries and private boats to travel to La Digue, where a series of events then culminates in the procession being followed by the grand mass.

This year, as the #COVID19 pandemic rages around the world – even though the Seychelles presently only have one (imported) active case, were these ingrained celebrations tuned down and only mass was held 15th of August in commemoration at 9 am, noon and 3 pm, restricted to just 100 worshipers each. All public congregations and fun events ordinarily running alongside the celebrations were cancelled to follow public health regulations put into place to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

Since the airport opening on the 01st of August have several airlines resumed services to the island, notably Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates, Etihad besides national airline Air Seychelles. Air Austral from Reunion and Edelweiss from Switzerland will resume flights in September and other carriers like Qatar Airways too are expected to return to the islands, albeit all of them with initially reduced capacity".

Click here to download a copy of Zilwa Publication – Issue 9

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