The Saint Ange Tourism Report Special Edition Issue 14 with Zilwa Publications

WELCOME TO THE 14TH SPECIAL EDITION OF THE SAINT ANGE TOURISM REPORT TOGETHER WITH ZILWA PUBLICATION

(Posted 01st October 2020)

Welcome to this Special Edition of our Saint Ange Tourism Report
Certain voters from a tired opposition camp frequently make the hoarse call for democracy, with little comprehension what the notion entails. They call for ONE SEYCHELLES to bow out of the race, all the while ignoring or otherwise overlooking that an entrenched duopoly of red and green camps for decades, to the exclusion of any meaningful competition, is not a sign of a healthy democracy.

These activists accuse us of diluting the opposition vote, without examining or considering why our entry onto the political scene was necessary, and potentially long overdue. Both entrenched and mainstream parties are a product of a system that has failed the Republic time and time again. Their track record of failing to bring worthwhile change for the economy or for Seychellois has been blatantly apparent for the Country to see during their unremarkable term in office.

Their attempts at "cohabiting" while one camp controlled the National Assembly and the other headed the Executive were half-hearted at best, and their tendencies to play both sides and to act in their own interests have earned them much public distrust and skepticism. Their failure to reflect any innovative strategies to combat or redress the troubles our Nation is facing in the form of a comprehensive manifesto should be a red flag in the minds of voters.

Old parties, no matter how they brand themselves (key players always remaining the same), cannot learn new tricks. They cannot now come with the same array of promises, vowing that this time around will be different. They had their shot to prove their worth, and they blew it.

It is our democratic and constitutional right to enter into the political arena. It is the right of voters to choose between any candidates or political parties who put their names forward. Anyone who denigrates an individual on account of their political persuasion is undermining the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution. By advocating for the existence of one opposition party to the exclusion of all others, they are clearly subscribing to the ideals of the one-party state that we should have done away with many years ago.

Your vote in the 2020 elections allows our democracy to live another day. If enough people cast their ballots next month, they are acting in solidarity with, and protection for, the most vulnerable people in our society – those who have been neglected woefully since the 2015 elections and left to fall beneath the poverty line.

It is time that politicians are forced to sit up and take notice of those whom they are seeking to SERVE (not rule over). For far too long, politicians have been complacent to do the bare minimum, with no one to hold them accountable. Seychellois have a chance in the upcoming elections to hold them accountable for their non-performance and broken promises over the course of their past term in higher office.

We implore you to vote wisely in the upcoming elections. Vote for someone who actually has the political will to bring the necessary change that the masses have, for decades, been crying out for. Rather than vote for an individual who has been in the ring since Jesus was a little boy because he is the "safe" or "familiar" option, vote for the candidate that has brought well-developed and thought-out policies and plans to revive the tourism industry; to end favoritism and nepotism within Governmental appointments; to alleviate once and for all the out-of-control poverty plaguing the vulnerable members of society; to take a definitive stance on the issue of legalizing marijuana and to actually follow through on their promise; to lower taxes and the crippling VAT to help businesses thrive; to re-structure and revamp the fisheries sector to make it more efficient (it is presently top-heavy); and to give the agriculture industry the needed boost to encourage more farmers to enter into, and remain within, the field; and to push for sustainable methods and practices within both the fisheries and agriculture sectors to promote food security for generations to come.

Consider whether a politician has the requisite temperament, capability, skillset, political will, experience and proven track record of bringing innovation and change to the Nation. Consider his motives for entering the political arena and whether he is in it for the right reasons.

If the politician’s goal is just to win the elections, with barely any thought spent on how to run the Country after election day, then he has already lost. The fate of our Nation’s economy and the wellbeing of Seychellois lie with you. The most important people on election day are not the politicians on the ballot paper – the voters are!

They have the power to choose whether Government remains the same, whether things remain as they presently are for a further five years, whether the Nation signs up for more acts of favoritism and decisions that are taken in naked self-interest, or whether we end this hard and trying year with fresh leadership, fresh policies and a new approach to solving problems that other politicians have clumsily and hopelessly tried to grapple with for the past four years.

An Avan, Seychelles.

Alain St.Ange
Editor

ONE SEYCHELLES SHALL NOT BE SIDING WITH OR OTHERWISE SUPPORTING EITHER RED OR GREEN CAMPS!

In light of recent revelations by other politicians, I’ve made the official statement below:

I [Alain St.Ange] shall NOT be siding with or otherwise supporting either red or green camps in the upcoming elections. Any attempts by certain politicians to insinuate as such are purely self-serving and perhaps wishful thinking.

If I, or other members of One Seychelles, were to align with any Party that has been in the arena for decades, we would have to grapple with the issue of them having promised key leadership positions to their friends and loyalists; it would dilute the very purpose of what we are striving to achieve. If we wanted to support any of the other candidates, we would have done so already. We are offering what they are not; our policies are different, our values and priorities are not aligned. One Seychelles is neither left nor right, we are steering straight through the middle. Our only direction is forwards, not sideways.

Anyone who puts their hat into the ring believes they will make it into the second-round. I unequivocally believe I will make it into the second-round. Seychellois finally have a third choice in what has been an unhealthy duopoly for decades. Too many people have expressed their satisfaction that they would now have another choice – a viable choice unhampered by negative baggage – on the ballot paper for me to believe that I could not make it.

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. 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 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.

I have worked with both the SPPF and the SNP, seen first-hand where they have failed, the flaws in their policies, the confusion in their priorities, and have seen for myself that both Parties’ leadership candidates are, in my humble opinion, unsuitable prospects for Leadership of our proud Nation, in terms of temperament, policy, skill set, basic knowledge-base, qualifications, and what is truly motivating them yet again to put their name forwards for the Presidential post.

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.

One Seychelles came to change the culture of local politics, and to bring REAL CHANGE for Seychellois by taking the reins and saving our crumbling tourism industry, and our weak agriculture and fisheries sectors, by doing what no other political party can and that no other party has proposed: we shall be giving effect to a technocrat-led government, comprising qualified Seychellois at the helm of their respective departments and ministries who have been selected on the basis of MERIT, and not nepotism or favor-giving.

Please do not succumb to self serving rumors and poor attempts to discredit a worthy and viable political party.

An Avan, Seychelles.

As the world marks yet again Tourism Day it is important for us in Seychelles to say "Happy Tourism Day" to each and every one, but to also say let us all rally to defend, protect and help consolidate this industry that remains the powerful vehicle to not only stimulate the economic growth of our countries, but that also remains the motor for social growth in the world at large.

This was the message I issued some years back and it remains as relevant today as it did then. On the 27th September we will celebrate the World Tourism Day at a time when tourism as an industry has been grounded to a halt. COVID – 19 landed in Seychelles as it did round around the world and demolished the island’s tourism industry that had been consolidated over the years by the hard work of Tourism Industry players working alongside the Government in what has been referred to as the PPP.

Our islands became the flavour for the discerning travellers and is noticed around the world, and for such accomplishment we need to thank our tourism board, the private sector trade, our hotels, our DMCs and our airlines for promoting Seychelles as a tourist destination. The Seychelles tourism industry remains the pillar of the island’s economy. We all want to see the Seychelles tourism bloom again and to do that we know we will work with our airlines partners, our faithful tour operators from the four corners of the world and above all be innovative and proactive. We are today proud to say that we have protected what we have been blessed with – the lush green natural landscape of our islands, our white sandy beaches and our turquoise blue seas. We can be seen as good custodians of what we have and we have gone the extra mile and have now declared over 50% of the total land area of Seychelles as protected national parks.

But that is just not enough because we know that our tourism industry would be on shaky ground if we did not put our culture at the centre of our tourism industry and by doing that placing our people at the very centre of our development, because without people we have no culture. This is why on this World Tourism Day, as we all celebrate the milestones achieved in our industry, we need to say to ourselves that our people remain our greatest asset and we all need to continue to embrace them in their diversity.

May Tourism Day 2020 be for the great continent of Africa a time of reflection on the protection and preservation of our rich natural heritage and this inclusive of our people in its diversity in political affiliation, colour of the skin, religious beliefs and sexual preferences. May Tourism Day 2020 also be for the World at large a time for reflection where the ambitions of one does not step on the rights of others needing tourism as a source of economic survival.

Alain St.Ange,
former Minister of Tourism,
Republic of Seychelles

THE DIRTY SIDE OF ELECTION POLITICS HAS ALREADY REARED ITS UGLY HEAD

Attack is often seen as the best form of defence. So, with the green camp still reeling from the consistent and continuous defeats it endured in each and every Presidential election it has engaged in for the past 30 years, it has unsurprisingly decided to go on the offensive this time around.

However, its political opponents are far from quaking in their boots. Their platforms used to funnel their propaganda into the public purview recently tried to direct attacks to the political party causing them the most grief: ONE SEYCHELLES. This is no break from tradition, to be fair.

Understandably, 30 years in the game and little source material to go on (since they themselves have contributed to many of the institutional failings the Nation is presently grappling with, by virtue of having controlled the Legislature during the past four years) have meant that they relished the opportunity to try and discredit the shiny newcomer on the political scene.

With little to nothing to fling at the party, however, one or two desperate activists and/or journalists (whichever term they prefer) have tried to point the finger at Alain St.Ange for the fate of the Performing Arts Music Stadium. All well and good, except this music stadium was the brainchild of the local artists and performing arts community, who worked tirelessly to create and develop a stadium that would do justice to their craft.

To rubbish the stadium and all that it represents, you effectively rubbish these artists who have already been sidelined enough by Government and policy-makers for decades. Furthermore, it was the NATIONAL ASSEMBLY that needlessly delayed the project for one reason or another, even refusing extra funding to complete the construction of the stadium. Delays and unnecessary hurdles were created by the Assembly, without them being able to suggest solutions – as real leaders should – to resolving whatever issues they had identified.

If any fingers are to be pointed in this respect, it is towards themselves. It is curious that the activists/journalists chose to leave out this important piece of information. And this tendency to make noise in the Assembly rather than actively problem-solve is precisely why the Country failed to move forwards during the past four years, and why we have taken alarming steps backwards in many respects, including creating further discrepancies between the privileged members of society and the average citizen through the unfair lowering of pensionable age for MNAs (55), and by binding Seychelles to further EU fishing agreements in which our Nation stands to lose more than what we would gain from them.

Further, and even worse, displays of dirty and desperate politics manifested only recently, with the ONE SEYCHELLES candidate for Bel Air, Mr. Steve Denis, being on the receiving end of persistent (and highly illegal) requests to switch off his phone before nomination day and to bow out of the legislative race. He was offered the sum of SR25,000 as a deposit to do so, with the promise of another significant lumpsum payment following nomination day. Despite the outrageous bribe being firmly rejected, the calls kept coming. This has become a police matter now and we trust that the culprit(s) shall be dealt with quickly through the appropriate legal channels.

Other ONE SEYCHELLES candidates have been informed that their job security cannot be guaranteed if they continued to run in the upcoming elections, with one even being called up to State House. Another candidate was very recently targeted by one notorious party and "requested" to stop campaigning so as to allow this person’s rival to succeed. Actions such as these by other political parties only serve to cement in the minds of the ONE SEYCHELLES candidates that they were right to leave those political camps when they did, and that they owe it to the Republic to keep pushing forwards.

The ONE SEYCHELLES candidates, including Mr. Steve Denis, remain resolute in their commitment and determination to keep fighting against a corrupt system, to save Seychelles from those who think only of themselves and the privileged instead of the most vulnerable members of society. Mr. Denis is a true Patriot, with a keen passion for sports, and is disappointed and disgusted that a rival party in the upcoming elections, which clearly does not have the best interests of the district at heart and which is only focused on winning the elections at all costs, is seeking to represent the residents of Bel Air before the National Assembly.

Not only are these acts of attempted bribery, harassment and threats highly illegal, but they are also clear signs of other political parties sensing pending defeat in key districts and showing that they are completely ill-equipped to deal with it. If such immoral and illegal tactics are being employed now, how many other elections have these culprits been getting away with reprehensible actions such as these?

You cannot preach about the importance of democracy and Seychellois’ right to choose while simultaneously engaging in dishonest actions such as these behind the scenes. Either you believe in democracy, or you don’t. Democracy cannot go to the highest bidder. It is dangerous to elect people into higher office who believe a vote can and should be bought, and it is dangerous to elect such individuals who have tried to do so. The end goal is not to win the elections – and certainly not AT ALL COSTS.

The end goal is to allow the voting population to freely cast their votes and to allow our fragile democracy to live another day. Politicians who actively try to undermine the democratic process now, will only do worse if elected into higher office.

With key politicians being known perpetrators of physical violence over the past few years, as well as bribery, harassment and threats, it is hoped that their intentions moving into the October elections are genuine and pure. If they truly have the wellbeing of Seychellois and of our Nation at heart, they would be openly discouraging any form of illegal dealings, physical or verbal abuse or violence during the election period by their party members and their supporters, and leading by example after election day in accepting with good grace the individual who has been democratically elected into higher office.

If they cannot handle the possibility of defeat even before the elections, and are lashing out already, how on earth are they going to cope after the election results are announced?

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