The Saint Ange Tourism Report Special Edition Issue 13 with Zilwa Publications

WELCOME TO THE 13TH SPECIAL EDITION OF THE SAINT ANGE TOURISM REPORT TOGETHER WITH ZILWA PUBLICATION

(Posted 23rd September 2020)

Welcome to this Special Edition of our Saint Ange Tourism Report
For the first time in our Nation’s history, there is a very high probability that the ruling party will be knocked out in the first round of the elections, which leaves the electorate with the novel choice of selecting between two opposition leaders pushing for change.

On one hand, LDS is touting "radical change" – whatever that means since they have no comprehensive manifesto to elaborate upon their policies, ideologies and values – and we are advocating for real change.

Seychellois get to decide, in the upcoming elections, which candidate is best qualified, experienced and placed to redress the issues being grappled with by our Country today – who has the skillset and influence on an international scale to revive our struggling tourism industry, the innovation to redress the out-of-control illicit drug situation, and the willpower and determination to alleviate rampant poverty rates? Those who have been in the system for 30-40 years – whether in the legislative or executive branches of government – and who have no practical or meaningful private sector experience, have become products of the system.

How can they change a system if they know nothing different? Those politicians who were in government, and whose failures during the past four years cannot be overlooked or downplayed, need to be held accountable for their actions (or rather, inaction). They had a chance to make a difference, to prove their worth in a leadership capacity, and they blew it.

Political culture will only change when politics changes – when we break the strangle hold of the duopoly on the governance of our Nation. For far too long this Country has been governed in the interest of the few. The disadvantaged and vulnerable have, at best, seen a blind eye turned towards their needs. Ordinary citizens have been forced to pay a heavy and unjust price for the fact that our Government has long deemed it fit to cater to the needs of the privileged and the powerful.

It takes individuals to blow the whistle but it takes the combined strength of the ordinary people to make the change – to change both politics and political culture. We alone have produced a manifesto. We alone have committed ourselves in writing to a set of policies that the public may hold us to beyond the elections. While other candidates are looking backwards – at their numbers pulled in the last election, at old faces to put within their Government if elected, at where candidates have originated rather than where they are going – ONE SEYCHELLES is looking forwards.

An Avan, Seychelles.

Alain St.Ange
Editor

ONE SEYCHELLES takes a strong stance against the industrial fishing fleets operating within our waters

Despite being so isolated, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Aldabra is receiving unprecedented amounts of plastic litter every day along its shores. A recent publication in the Journal of Scientific Reports has conservatively estimated that there are 513 tonnes of plastic waste on Aldabra, the largest accumulation reported for any single island globally. The study revealed that it will cost approximately $4.68 million in clean-up efforts and require 18,000 person hours of labour.

A recent collaborative, international project involving the Seychelles Islands Foundation, The Queen’s College, Oxford, students from the University of Oxford and young volunteers from Seychelles, carried out an intensive 5-week expedition to Aldabra to clear the atoll of manmade rubbish and remove as much debris as possible to return the island to its former pristine state. The team removed a staggering 25 tonnes of rubbish, where a large amount derived from outside of Seychelles. Shockingly however, 83% (by weight) originated from the regional fishing industry, in the form of ‘ghost gear’. Ghost gear refers to any discarded, lost, or abandoned fishing gear in the marine environment. This gear continues to fish and trap animals, entangle and potentially kill marine life, smother habitat, and act as a hazard to navigation. This has been quite apparent on Aldabra, with dead turtles washing ashore entangled within pieces of net materials and birds finding themselves entangled with fishing line.

The industrial fishery that operates within the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is composed of licensed vessels, both Seychelles and foreign registered, that fall under two main categories: purse-seiners (mainly EU owned vessels) and longliners (mainly Taiwanese and Chinese vessels). Since the early 1990s, purse-seiners have been mainly operating using fish aggregative devices (FADs). A recent report for the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission investigated 214 individual FADs that had arrived on, or entered into, near-shore waters of several islands within the Seychelles archipelago: 76% of the FADs were from Spanish owned or flagged vessels, licensed to fish in Seychelles.

These results are disturbing for two main reasons: firstly, it highlights that waste generated by the fishing industry within Seychelles is polluting island ecosystems within the archipelago. Secondly, most likely the fishing industry is the major contributor to marine plastic litter in the region, and is probably having indirect negative impacts on the fish communities it needs to sustain.

One Seychelles believes that a strong stance needs to be taken urgently against the irresponsible behaviors demonstrated by the industrial fishing fleets. Stricter measures need to be put in place with regards to limiting FAD-use. Furthermore, considering alternative and renewable materials for their manufacture needs to be spearheaded. All fishing gear used within the sector will need to be appropriately labelled for identification purposes and to increase accountability.

Those responsible for ghost gear washups within Seychelles will need to foot the bill for clean-ups and habitat restoration. This will need to be highlighted within their license conditions. It may be time for a subsidy reform within the sector in order to create a more sustainable approach to management.

ONE SEYCHELLES MAKES HISTORY

The ONE SEYCHELLES political party held their Convention on 13th September 2020 to officially and formally approve their Parliamentary candidates. Mr. Alain St. Ange, the current President of the African Tourism Board and the Presidential candidate for the ONE SEYCHELLES political party, honed in on the many failings of the Legislative and Executive branches during the past four years, emphasizing that they had the requisite power to effect positive changes in the lives of Seychellois, but little of substance has actually been achieved.

They had their chance to deliver upon countless promises they made to the People prior to the 2015 elections, but failed miserably in this regard. Instead, these elected officials were quick to establish privileges and benefits for themselves, including (on the part of the Legislative) earlier pensions. He expressed that Seychellois should not miss this opportunity to bring about real change for Seychelles.

He noted that ONE SEYCHELLES was the only political party to date to have provided a written and comprehensive manifesto to the electorate. He expanded upon several of the Party’s policies and plans to strengthen the struggling economy, to revive the tourism sector, to revamp the agriculture and fisheries industries, and to alleviate rampant poverty that is plaguing the Nation.

Mr. St.Ange explained that there is a dire need to reduce taxes inclusive of VAT to encourage the business community to flourish and to correspondingly lower cost of living in the Country. He noted that only 22% of the Country’s businesses are paying taxes because they deem it to be too high. He expanded upon his commitment to alleviate the alarming poverty rates within his first year in higher office. He explained that poverty is not an accident; It is a byproduct of poor governance and misplaced priorities by those entrusted to safeguard the health and security of the People.

The basic minimum wage (SR5,800 or thereabouts), he added, shall be significantly increased to SR7,500. He stated that no Seychellois gainfully employed in full or part-time work, persons receiving pension and social security payments, home carers and Government corporative contract workers, shall earn less than that monthly figure.

He vowed that the cost of living and cost of food would see a marked decline within their first year in Office. To highlight his commitment to the cause, he announced that he would dedicate 50% of his Presidential monthly salary to combating poverty.

His Vice Presidential Candidate, Mr. Peter Sinon, similarly echoed his intention to donate 50% of his own salary as well, explaining that it is important to practice what you preach and to always lead by example. He further explained that Seychellois have typically been overlooked in key positions throughout private and public sectors. He stated that their salaries and perks are notoriously less than what would be enjoyed by an expatriate fulfilling the same role in the same department, despite sharing the same qualifications.

Mr St.Ange explained that it is high time that value be given to Seychellois, and that their proposed technocrat-led government shall be composed solely of Seychellois. He added that there shall no longer be unfair discrepancies in pay packages between Seychellois and expatriates fulfilling the same role. He noted that our Fisheries and Agriculture Industries shall be given the boost they desperately need in order to ensure that Seychelles can become self-sufficient. He explained that both industries shall be managed by young Seychellois technocrats who are knowledgeable and experienced in these respective fields. Further, more sustainable and innovative fishing and farming practices shall be implemented, and they shall work to ensure Seychelles can sustain itself food-wise for generations to come. He said that, under his leadership, Seychelles would have their own tuna fishing trawler within a year of him taking office.

He added that, under his leadership, there shall not be any foreign military base on any islands in the Seychelles archipelago. Furthermore, IDC shall be brought back within the control of the Seychelles Government to allow Seychellois to actually benefit from the islands that comprise our Archipelago. He finally expressed the Party’s intention to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana, in a bid to curb the demand for harsher and harmful illicit drugs in Seychelles, and to take it out of the black market and legitimize a potentially viable industry.

Mr. Sinon took to the podium to remind the candidates that they cannot do what past MNAs have done, which is to neglect the electorate for four years then return on the eve of the elections to grovel for another term of five years in office. He stated that voters have the opportunity next month to give these non-performing MNAs the red card and send them packing for non-delivery.

The ONE SEYCHELLES political party expressed their intention to back the candidature of Mr. Holbert Jean in St. Louis, who is standing as an independent candidate in the upcoming National Assembly election for that district. They stated that they resonate strongly with the philosophies and priorities espoused by Mr. Jean and feel that he is a worthy candidate for that district. They do not wish to contest his candidature accordingly.

Mr. St.Ange explained that the underlying goal of their Party is to unify the Nation, and to elect capable and genuine individuals within the Executive and Legislative branches of Government. The Party believes that supporting a viable candidate who is not aligned politically, serves to realize that goal.

Mr. Sinon ended by congratulating the candidates on making history. He stated that a third force has finally been born and the entrenched duopoly of red and green, which is not a sign of a healthy democracy, can at long last be challenged. He commended the candidates on their patriotism and on their willingness and dedication to do what is right, not what is easy.

One Seychelles would be concentrating on electoral districts where a first pass the post win was a possibility.

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