Alain St. Ange speakes out following second debate of presidential candidates


(Posted 18th October 2020)


As the campaigns in the Seychelles now move rapidly towards the election days has a second debate on national television between the three candidates taken place.
Most notable were the comments made by Alain St. Ange, a former Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine and leading candidate for Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, which fellow candidate Danny Foure in his capacity of President of the Seychelles wrecked on the eve of the elections after withdrawing the country’s letter of support.
This incidentally was the subject to a legal case St. Ange brought against the Seychelles government and won, though appealed on the grounds that the cost awarded was insufficient.
Now, as leader of the One Seychelles party, which fielded him as Presidential candidate, has he run a vigorous campaign, focusing on the plight of the many Seychellois as opposed to pleasing the few entitled and privileged ones.

Said Alain St. Ange following the final debate:

The Presidential Debates were a momentous step forward for our fragile democracy. My only regret was that there were no questions pertaining directly to human rights which were put to the candidates. With key groups of people and the vulnerable members of society being traditionally overlooked and oppressed by Government, it is a pity that history repeated itself in these debates. When will they be given a voice? Particularly when traditionally overlooked by the media and key political parties and figures.

Moreover, while some candidates used their final two minutes during the debate to appeal directly to voters, one particular politician preferred to reveal his true nature by making a personal attack instead of justifying why the public should put their trust in him yet again. The trouble with targeting members of a third force who have bravely chosen to stand up to do what is right, and not what is easy, and to seek to undo all the wrongs of Government (whether it be by the Legislative or Executive branch of Government), you are only serving to keep the corrosive and toxic “ek nou, pa ek nou” culture on life support. Aspiring leaders who attack those who are breathing life into a weak democracy end up only undermining their own integrity and public confidence in their leadership. They also reveal to the public that they need a firm lesson in humility. They would do well to remain humble and to never forget where they came from.

One Seychelles is fiercely proud of the team they have assembled in a short span of time. We don’t all have the free time and funds to host “mini elections” within each district prior to nominations, after all. We are able to work and excel with what we have, and not hide behind a shopping list of excuses. It is recalled that the same leaders who once cried hoarse for a balanced Assembly are now arrogantly claiming that the only way they can do their work competently is if they have total control over two branches of Government. We alone recognize the necessity of having a balanced National Assembly. Leave “total control” over most/all branches of Government back in the past (during the one-party era) where it belongs.

One Seychelles was created for a reason. The movement has amassed significant public support for a reason, and we have become a true force to be reckoned with for a reason. The reason is that a growing proportion of the population is dissatisfied with the duopoly that has been a constant feature in local politics for too long; these veteran politicians had a real opportunity to prove their dedication to the people and their worth as viable leaders of the Nation over the course of the past four years, and many believe that they have failed in these respects. We would not be here today if the call for a new force in politics had not existed. People desperately want a change, but they want the RIGHT kind of change.

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.

Change cannot happen when we use the same outdated recipe and sub-standard ingredients we have been relying upon for 30-odd years. The only way to progress as a Nation is to embrace change, real change. Some boast about offering change, but their manifestos are eerily similar to that of the ruling party. Old ideologies and old policies cannot push the Nation forwards; we will only keep going backwards.

Everyone in the debate last night agreed that politics should be removed from Ministries. One Seychelles remains the only political party realistically capable of doing this, for we have not amassed years and years’ worth of promises to deliver upon and favors to return. We proposed a technocrat-led Government from the get-go, one comprising skilled and capable Seychellois, who were selected irrespective of their political affiliation. They are waiting and ready to hit the ground running on 25th October. They alone are capable of putting National interest ahead of political and personal interests.

Those who claim to want to lower the cost of living, why didn’t they? COVID-19 aggravated the situation but poverty existed long before the pandemic crippled our economy. It existed when both Mr. Ramkalawan and Mr. Faure had control over their respective branches of Government. And though Mr. Ramkalawan is loath to admit it, he was neck-deep in Government for the past four years. He refuses to let the public realise that the Legislature (ie the National Assembly) is the branch of Government that directly governs the Country because it REGULATES. If we want to know what things will look like under LDS, we have already had an avant gout.

We need to move forward. We cannot sacrifice our own beliefs to cater to politicians who are determinedly pushing agendas that no longer meet the needs of the masses (treating drug traffickers as victims, for one). One Seychelles will end the cycle of Government (whether it be the National Assembly or the Executive) catering to the needs and interests of the wealthy, powerful and the privileged over ordinary citizens. Don’t sign up for more of the same. If you did, you would get no different to what you always have.

He then went on to appeal directly to the voters:

Your vote in the 2020 elections allows our democracy to live another day. If enough people cast their ballots this 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.
US claim it as an advantage that President Faure is equipped to continue in his role because he is the safe option. With him, there is certainty, according to US. They say that with any opposition party there can only be uncertainty. While that may be true for others, with One Seychelles we categorically deny this attempt at fear-mongering. What US really means about the future being certain with them at the helm is that continued poverty, unemployment and increased costs of living are certainties. The privileged and the powerful shall continue to be catered to, at the expense of ordinary citizens.
No innovative changes have been proposed and change is never embraced by this political camp. The picture that President Faure has painted for the foreseeable future for our Nation and for Seychellois is bleak, with him promising difficult times ahead as our economy continues to struggle. It is in President Faure’s interests to paint a grim picture for our future. He has lowered the bar so much that people cannot expect much of him during the next five years, and he has instilled fear in his followers that change would be a fate worse than death for them and the Country. Why accept the future that he is offering? Particularly when many, many things can be done to change it and to alter the course?
Change for the sake of change, as one would likely get with the LDS camp, would do little to alleviate the bleakness of the future that has been promised by President Faure. This can be deduced from their superficial and markedly unsubstantiated policies and plans for the future. Their aim seems to be to win the elections, with little effort being spent on fleshing out their plans for leading the Country if they did actually win. They have done little to reassure ordinary citizens of their genuine intention to cater to the needs of the vulnerable members of society with the sheer number of privileged, wealthy and powerful individuals chosen to be featured in the Party’s PPBs. These people have come forward publicly with their support for this party for a reason.
We implore you to vote wisely in the upcoming elections. Vote for someone who actually has the political will to bring the necessary changes that the masses have, for decades, been crying out for. Rather than vote for an individual who has been in the ring for longer than anyone should be comfortable with, 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 key issues and to actually follow through on their promises; 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, even after all this time. 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. No one should have a monopoly on democracy.

The elections will take place between the 22nd and 24th of October, commencing in less than a week from today, and results are awaited for both national assembly and presidential elections on the 25th of October.

ATCNews will publish the results as they come in, including the possibility of a presidential run off election if no single candidate can attain a 50+ percent majority during the first round.

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