Wednesday, 30 September 2009

What is Seychelles Bankcruptcy Really Like?

It is becoming clear that the SPP government has changed its attitude to try and save their skins and hope to sink less in to the Black hole of bankruptcy. Time is running out and more extraordinary and uncommon things needs to be done at all levels. These include be-friending ex-enemies, the so called capitalist world such as the United States, United Arab Emirates and rushing here and there between China and India and then appearing in the districts to pretend to listen to all the people’s problems. The former strategy is even more simple, the president has to simply beg and beg. This is the economic development reform. However, this “begging” strategy is still not working as the black hole situation is so deep. Now the final answer-the silver bullet-super gravity effect to escape the black hole dilemma seems to be promising as new data shows large potential reserves for oil in the EEZ. But it will take many years..... I wonder if this men ever understood basic economics. It will be the magic of the day to all the government’s problems and suffering of the people they themselves have created.

In the end the economic problems will not solve in the short and medium term if the political systems are unchanged. This is what it feels like in a Black hole when the government wanted to listen only to the Yes comedians and were the country is managed by loyal appointed candidates. On this note, we should remember the SPPF slogan which goes something like “ BE WHAT YOU WANT TO BE”. Now it makes more sense than ever. If you want to be Chancellor of Seychelles University, No problem. If you want to act like Foreign Affairs Minister, it can be done. I wonder what are the next wishes for him and his entourage, perhaps Commander in Chief for Oil. Anything you wish is possible as long as you serve the SPPF/SPP. It is this attitude which will keep us in the deep black hole for a good long time. People of the Seychelles should understand even if natural resources lie underneath our feet, any government can exploit them, but it takes good governance to manage the resources, not the Yes men and loyal servants who fulfills their slogan “BE WHAT THEY WANT TO BE” and then bankrupt the country even further.

Lastly, I promise that in our future writing, we shall explore together the definitions of patriotism. This is to put some rest to those people who think if you debate or make criticism you are not patriotic. The question is: patriotic to “what”and “who”? What is the difference between between patriotic to the ruling government and that to out motherland. Our principle is very clear we are not patriotic to individuals or systems of governance but to our motherland. We operate on the name of transparency and accountability... we are patriotic to the principles of good governance.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Game of Transparency and Accountability: What is the Link between the 2.4 Billion Dollars and the Declaration of Assets in the Seychelles?

To start with, we call on simple definitions first to understand the game playing between transparency and accountability, because being transparent does not mean accountability.

Transparency and Accountability

Transparency often implies openness, communication, and accountability. The lack of these elements may often lead to corruption. Transparency is introduced as a means of holding people accountable and help in fighting corruption. On the other hand, to fight corruption people need to become accountable. In simple terms, people should be hold responsible for any wrong doing as corruption is a crime. Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. The interesting question is how and who will make the state accountable when the state itself is corrupt? Fortunately, when all legitimate mechanism fails because they are under the control of the state apparatus, it is the people who have the power to make the state accountable. This is a global issue, not only in the Seychelles.

The Game of Transparency in the Seychelles

It is fact that 2.4 Billion dollars have been carefully moved outside Seychelles far ahead of the IMF intervention and the so called declaration of assets. What are the reasons for the delay in declaration of assets? It is evident that only after this money was resting safely overseas that declaration of assets is now taking effect. Unfortunately, this development sound like the ordinary stories of cops and robbers. It seems there is a perfect timing between the two actions. However, even the declaration of assets as an act of transparency is only part of the game. Where is Mr. Accountability? When a manager bankrupts a company or a bank his accountability to the clients can be exercised in many ways, but this did not happen in the Seychelles. Is this correct or not?

How to Address Real Transparency, Accountability and Corruption in the Seychelles

Nation of 22.08.2009 points out that the declaration of assets, for example, is dependent on the fact that any of us who have doubts about the assets of an individual can start off an investigation. This is only one side of the story perhaps nation intentionally wants us to believe or perhaps need help to make the people of Seychelles understand. After all, plurality improves thinking and decision making process. This is the whole point about good media. Many citizens have reasonable doubts about the 2.4 billion dollars. This is fact. We are currently more interested in the undeclared assets or to be more precise we want full explanations about the 2.4 Billion dollars. How was that money generated and who are the power holders of that money? Investigations cannot be triggered off only from declared assets. The main story in fighting corruption is to identify and trace the undeclared assets. This is where the real corruption breeds, at the heart of undeclared assets. There is no sense to think that criminals will reveal and declare all their assets on paper. What do they really do? They hide it, move it around, use different accounts, different names, pass it on to different trusted friends etc. So, we should start off an investigation. Good media should professionally seek to inform us more about these issues. Is that correct or not?

One recent investigation on the issue of funds misuse on Ile Perseverance done by an Australian firm finds no misuse. This maybe so or part of a playing game of transparency. Nevertheless, now the most important question is: Shall we expect another investigation on this matter of the 2.4 Billion dollars? Will all the members of the assembly call for an independent enquiry in the 2.4 billion dollars scandal. This is big money, and many people have reasonable doubts as pointed out by Nation themselves. However, proper enquiries matching to this problem of 2.4 Billion dollars requires more than just one investigator. One investigator can be proposed by the leader of the opposition or if not appropriate consult with excluded people sitting on the other side of the table.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Final Lesson to Learn From?

Seychelles is accustomed to 'decisive' leadership. In Max Weber’s terms, Albert Rene‘s presidency was arguably based on 'patrimonial one state' authority while James Michel Presidency is essentially the same leadership differentiated with 'charismatic non directional' authority within a so called pluralist atmosphere. The most common element is the top down, strict control exercised to the benefit of the centre through the security apparatus (i.e. Army).

Public services to almost everything else are still implemented through a hierarchical apparatus that is designed not to meet the needs of the people, but to accord with the strategic interests of central actors and their cronies. Seychelles continues to experience weak government, economic hardship and social suffering which is alarming and unjustifiable for a beautiful small island country with less than 100,000 people. Finally, time is slowly closing down and the people of Seychelles have seen with their own eyes the real truth what was foretold by the real legitimate patriots of our mother land. The final questions are:

Will we finally learn after so many unpleasant lessons?
Will the next election prove new optimism, triumph of personality, good image for Seychelles, popular choice, equity, opportunity, security and peace over the party machine politics and the power of party bosses?

Monday, 10 August 2009

Words from Mars and Actions from Jupiter: Environment Policies in Seychelles without a Single Tooth to Bite?

Regar of 8-7-09 reported that “the Ephelia Resort has broken its pledge not to damage the marsh at Port Launay. In meetings with the public, the developers said all construction would respect the integrity of the marsh. If there was a crossway, it was supposed to be on stilts. But now they have chosen to build a rock and earth road right across, with only a small bridge in the centre”.

We are totally outraged by this irresponsible ‘development’ because it is not exclusively planned according to the people wishes and certainly does not have a collective social purpose with due consideration on widespread livelihood and ecosystem impacts.

There are three simple issues to analyse and understand:

Firstly, this shows that the people trust has been completely violated. This happened because the new resort believes the people of Seychelles have no power to force them to become accountable. There is no voice of accountability in Seychelles. People empowerment is weak, yet they strongly claim to be people centred (SPP)?

Secondly, were IS the so called great environmentalist from the state government? Is he just prepared to receive big projects with large sums of money only? Similarly, there is complete silence from the wet land authorities!!

Thirdly, this outrageous action reveals the real priorities of the government and it is certainly not environmental protection and management as they claim. It amounts to just big words but no effective actions.

Finally, it is yet another solid evidence that the existing environmental policies in Seychelles are just text on paper, great words from the Environment Authorities with no legitimacy and is approximately good for nothing. Sitting down with developers and chatting about environmental protection and management will not always work as was suggested earlier. We hope that if not today, but one day the people of Seychelles will have real teeth to make developers such as Ephelia Resort and the conspiring government accountable for destroying the environment in the name of development for the large benefit of the elites and the rich only.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The Better Role of GEF/UNDP in Seychelles: Equity and Opportunity

The Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) small grants programme (SGP) was launched for the first time in the Seychelles and reported on the Nation on the 13.07.2009. It gives Seychelles a major funding boost for supporting community-based organizations in addressing global environmental concerns through small-scale activities at local level. With no surprise this has emerged as another controversial issue in the Seychelles and we are motivated by a recent publication on the blog at S*T*A*R (Seychelles Truth Accountability Reality). A civil servant initially complained on Monday the 27th July that the Seychelles Presidential advisor have conflict of interest with GEF funds and alleges him for corruption and power hunger. Whether this is a direct form of corruption is for people to judge but certainly this amount to power hunger.

Link up at for further details.

Firstly, the appointed 14 members of the national steering committee (NSC) as reported in the Nation local news paper are heavily government members with top political roles within the current Government of Seychelles, including SPP/SPPF steering committee. Some are failed SPPF MNA candidates trying to crab another opportunity. It is simply not believed that such composition will be fair in decision making for critical support of all the country’s communities and civil society.

Secondly, have we had enough of one men show in this country? GEP and UNDP were supposed to promote equitable participation but are they following their mandates according to the UN values or should they become more accountable? The big question asked is the multiple and conflicting roles of the operational focal person of the GEF Dr Rolph Payet who clearly have too many responsibilities as long as his hands, legs and head are dipped into the big money bag of projects.

It is not only a question of unbalanced membership, and one men show in Seychelles, but how these same people will screen projects to satisfy what and who they please. It is known that members of the same steering committee have already formed clubs and questionable civil societies or consultancies pretending to be non –government originations (NGO) just to mainstream and absorb most of the project funds.

GEF and UNDP should not fall in the trap of promoting the wrong visions and mission of the UN, which among many includes promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights through equal participation and opportunities. This implies GEF and UNDP should consider immediate steps and mechanisms to address this issue once and for all in the Seychelles.
Freeseychelles members will continue to advocate both internally and externally on this issue to ensure equity and equal opportunity as our mission represents.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The New Knowledge Society to be Created?: Seychelles University

A country's social-human development can also be measured in terms of its educational system aside elements such as health among so many others. The Seychelles University would ideally set the foundation not only in human development but more specifically on how knowledge is created in society in which Seychelles is incredibly and regrettably lagging far behind. This is the key to innovativeness and creativity. It is not because there are no smart and capable minds but because of the bad political governance which infiltrates in every aspect of life and it is this kind of behavior which will continue to question the future of Seychelles despite the big donations and questionable gifts from other states and agencies. Had we have great and good leaders today, we would have had more than just one University in the Seychelles instead of four NYS camps which is now fading to the ground, burying with it millions and millions of rupees aside the human right violations.

Seychelles already had great and excellent educational system in the past before the communist ideology incarnated and swept deeply in the minds of the so called leaders. All was needed was a reform and some innovation in terms of opportunity and equity for the whole people of Seychelles. Now, more than three decades later the people of Seychelles are collectively contributing rupees to set up a University and waiting for another big donation to transform this idea into a reality. This is hardly progress and should we measure this as innovativeness or visionary? However, everyone supports the cause irrespective of the past because it is a path in the right direction, but is it really?

Following the recent developments the idea of the Seychelles University becomes of greater and increasing question. It is not clear what are the rules and regulations set for such as high standard educational system since in one article in the Seychelles Nation it was pointed out that entry to the University may not require formal education. Many other questions simply hang loose such the lecturers capability, who will they be and how are we going to sustain such an education system. It is easy to start new things but the challenge and question is how to sustain it effectively. Is it just another glimpse of opportunity for those involved to temporary glory as they love and glorify for media and public attention?

Perhaps the revealing reality is best put and transformed into another question as follows. How can a responsible country start a University without a legitimate system in place? There are no buildings yet, only plans on paper and students are expected to start as of next year! Are we going to sail the ship while building it and what are the impacts on the students? What kind of knowledge society are we going to bring up? We have seen too many failures. Can we afford to see another one in the next few years? Remember failure hardly manifest itself in real time, but down the track. The economic and social reality in the Seychelles is the example of the real truth; however by then the creators have gone rich and have satisfied their destiny. However, one should realize that we do not even have a sail or a boat and neither an engine just the questionable will. This is in sharp contrast to what good leadership is all about and this is underlined as follows. It is not for comparison to a superpower but for challenging us to rethink in small but right way.

President Obama recently commented on the 40th anniversary of the historic achievement of the first man on the moon. “I remember waving American flags and my grandfather telling me that the Apollo mission was an example of how Americans can do anything they put their minds to," In contrast, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong himself said “the mission was the climax of a "staggeringly complex" endeavor that "required the very best in creativity, determination and perseverance that could be assembled in the American workplace." "Those successes were very impressive 40 years ago, but they were not miraculous," Armstrong said. "They were the result of the imagination and inventive minds of the people in the Apollo project since its inception eight years earlier."

The Seychelles University strategy is apparently not new and not really surprising. The conclusion derived is that the idea of the Seychelles University is based on a late vision, but never too late and now it emerges clearly to have been founded on a failed economy principle to cope with new students who will soon question and will desire to go overseas to learn and exchange experience with the greater world and come back and share it if the conditions would be right. After all it is not only about knowledge creation but also knowledge retention. We all know about the massive brain drain problems in the Seychelles and the authorities are still wondering why, yet they already know the answer.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

The Seychelles Debate:-The External Approach:Virtual Social Networking

The External Approach: Virtual Social Networking is about collectively interacting from the outside especially in the context of lack of free media in the Seychelles. Social networks operate on many levels, from families up to the level of nations, and play a critical role in determining the way problems are solved, organizations are run, and the degree to which individuals succeed in achieving their goals.

Some of the most important change in the world has happened because of peaceful influence from the outside. The external influence can shape and give the required momentum to overcome critical obstacles and thresholds. The strength in this approach lies in the advance of globalisation which brings about access to information and technology.

Debate 1: Strategy 1-The External Approach:Virtual Social Networking

1.Do you think the external approach: virtual social networking can make the difference in the Seychelles?

2. Can such a mechanism encourage participation and interaction amoung the so many Seychellois citizens locally and overseas?

3. Can this process mobilise more Seychellois citizens living overseas to return back in time as the constitution lays down and cast their right to vote in the next coming election?