THE CHRISTOPHER GILL COLUMN
As 2013 turns into a full blown year, the chaos borne out of mismanagement is becoming apparent more and more, each day as it takes it’s toll on the lives of ordinary Seychellois. We do not need to copy and paste the Auditor General report to expose the chaos at this time. The Report exposes old chaos. Today, we treat the real issues in real time. Others can copy and paste.
VAT Fiasco In Play
As the rain pours, only weeks from the Seychelles Carnival, which is chaotically tied to Zimbabwe as a promoter this year, everyone is preoccupied with the unresolved confusion created by the left footed implementation of VAT at 15%.
This confusion has proven costly, to the credibility of the Ministry of Finance and to the general atmosphere for doing business in Seychelles. We have asked the Ministry of Finance to simply withdraw the current VAT scheme at 15% and implement a VAT scheme of 8% across the board on all goods and services. Items that were subject to GST 15% should be amended to subject to VAT 8% . If 8% is not enough to run government, then we need to find another Minister of Finance that can run a government on 8% VAT. Because in addition to that, he collects 475% on fuel as tax and 450% on beer and alcohol, not to mention 200% on cars.
Customs Inertia and Gridlock
The Customs department has responsible for clearing goods at the ports of entry has been turned into a looney tune zone with the complications of the VAT policy, the enforcement of investors of the TIA agreements, and the NDEA quest to seize drugs randomly without knowing who are traffickers.
Customs clearance of goods has become practically unworkable and even more cumbersome then in the One Party State. To Mr. Michel’s discredit his own people are saying that the country ran much better under Mr. Albert Rene.
Ask the Vice President. The Michel critics in his camp are sounding off.
It is as if Seychelles is now going backwards, and it may actually be doing so, these traditional SPPF turning on Mr. Michel may have a point. Port Victoria is not a business friendly port. Each year we lose out to the highly efficient Port of Mauritius, that has excelled to become the port of choice in the region for shipping transshipment, cruise ship base, fishing fleet base, tuna processing, tax free zones. Seychelles needs to get its act together in this area fast, just to remain relevant after years of Ministry of Finance advocating policies that are anti business. For too many years have we been promised golden staircases to heaven and we have been delivered into the bowels of hell. In line with this, all political personalities in the Chamber of Commerce should resign. These political personalities that wear multiple hats have hurt the business climate over the years more than they can begin to imagine. Does the PL really have to control the Chamber of Commerce by hook or by crook?
Windmills All Wind and No Savings
The PL and PUC management touted the new windmills to be a cost cutter of fossil fuel consumption by 20%. This is the figure 20%. It is a joke and outright lie of course. These windmills are the worse idea for Seychelles and Central Victoria and Eden Island a real estate investment project. When the wind does not blow, it will not produce any electricity. When the wind does blow, the windmills will make a loud swoooshing sound that will be heard loud and clear for 7 kilometers according to an expert that is responsible for installing windmills around the world, whom I spoke to recently. This means the noise will affect residents of Ile Preservance, English River, Mont Buxton, St. Louis, Bel Air, Mont Fleuri and all businesses in the Victoria city center. It will affect even State House’s ability to hear ministers in their round table meetings, as they explain to the Secretary General of State, who has been deposed of numerous presidential powers, why their ministries are a continuing bastion of failure and incompetence. What is worse, for investment, now I really feel for those poor investors at Eden Island, is the noise of these windmills, will drive the market value of Eden Island homes into the ground. The view of these windmills reduce the value of homes on Eden Island by at least 40%. What do you think the noise from windmills will do to Eden values? Another -30%, perhaps. For residents, businesses, and home owners in the areas affected, it will be more chaos to their investments. Do investors in Seychelles deserve this madness? Do you not see PL that you will hurt every single Seychellois with these silly projects?
We need to think and act smarter today to remain viable in this challenging World. The best solution for fossil fuel reduction to Seychelles, is PV solar panels on every roof top in Seychelles. The Government should present a 5 year plan to implement the installation of PV solar panels on every new project, and existing structure over 5 years. They can negotiate with banks to fund it at reasonable interest rates, and get the consumer, home owner, business sector involved in capturing the sun’s energy to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 80% in five (5) years, not 20% never. The sun shines more than the wind blows PL, my little daughter of Five (5) years old could have told you that.
The Foreign Exchange Crunch
This is a serious issue that if implemented, can go a look way to curb the Eighty Five Percent (85%) of all foreign revenue generated in the country, that must go to SEPEC for fuel purchasing. There is no reason today, why Seychelles cannot curb this demand to 45%. The money saved can be used to improve our failing schools, our crippling hospitals, build a new road and implement a relocation of government office to decongest Victoria, that has now become one of the most inefficient towns to do business in the world, thanks to the traffic congestion, and lack of foresight and proper planning all these years. We said it was going to get bad but you did not listen. Now it is bad, will you listen or do we have to throw you out of government to decongest the roads of Victoria?
Air Seychelles Chaos Lingers in Air
2013 has rolled in, and getting on, yet Air Seychelles is still puttering on with grossly expensive flights to Praslin Scr. 1,800.00 one way, bad check -in services, rude attendants, and rip off pricing schemes for Residents and Tourists alike. At Air Seychelles, we are all treated like Bonito skipjack on a purse seiner.
On the international routes, the Air Seychelles Etihad partnership has brought more expensive flights from Seychelles than ever, on a number of routes. For example: a flight to Mauritius slammed a traveler at Scr. 10,700.00 for a Two (2) hour flight in December, economy fare. In January, that same ticket dropped to a high Scr. 7,800.00. A ticket to Mauritius should not cost us more than Scr. 4,000.00. Remember, Etihad promised lower fares and increased flights, they delivered for Air Seychelles, the complete opposite: higher flight fares and less flights all around with smaller planes so far. The Airbus A330-300 to join the fleet has turned into an Airbus A 330-200 with over 100 less seats. Yet Air Seychelles is advertising a Airbus 380 Super Jumbo on adverts in South Africa. This type of misrepresentation will destroy the image of Air Seychelles as an airline of integrity.
This current situation with inconsequential management at Air Seychelles has made bookings in Tourism chaotic, and Seychelles has lost credibility with its travel partners. It will now take years to rebuild the broken relationships, if possible, I doubt it. The current Minister of Tourism cannot do it. He has double speak himself out of credit by now. We need a new Minister of Tourism fast .While on the subject, we need to consolidate Tourism with Transportation fast, to consolidate air access into Seychelles, before it is too late.
An Airline That Does Not Need The Public?
Air Seychelles in a very chaotic manner, continues to operate as if it is an island unto itself without regard for the concerns of its partners on the ground. No one in PL says a word, even if a Two (2) hour flight to Mauritius cost more than an 9 hour flight to Frankfurt. Come on guys, wake up, stand up for Seychelles, and stand up for all Seychellois. Stop watching your personal purse strings and waiting for your next 38% raise or pension for life like those fellows in SNP. Do something for your people for a change for the better for all of us.
NDEA Going For Small Fish on Scr. 50 Million Bust
On the Scr. 50 Million drug and gun bust, the crew has been remanded. Yet the financiers of this huge Scr. 50 Million cache which included weapons, is likely a cartel of investors from most political parties, have remained illusive. The State press and television has remained uncomfortably silent on this issue. It looks like they are protecting the big fish to reinvent them for another day.
Who are the financiers of this Scr. 50 Million cache? Where did the money come from? How were payments reverted to the final source, to purchase Scr. 50 Million in drugs as alleged by the NDEA? Why so much silence for so long?
I appeal to Mr. Michel, to exercise real leadership on this issue, cause to be arrested, charged, all the Escobars in this dirty deal as you promised us, let not one be set free to allow them to start all over again, their new plans for another Scr. 50 Million cache on drugs to be tucked under another ton of salted fish. All decent Seychellois must find common ground when it comes to drugs: ZERO TOLERANCE ON TRAFFICKERS! Let us turn this drug culture around, before it turns our country upside down.
We At SFP demand that these financiers be brought to justice, regardless of political affiliation. If some political parties will go down for this deal, because they wrongfully thought drug trafficking is part of political party fund raising, so be it. It is high time to deal with these drug lords wrongfully hiding under the veil of quest for democracy and freedom. This is what all decent Seychellois want and we expect Mr. Michel to deliver on this.
Labor Office Has Lost Their Bearings
In spite of La Digue having only 24 unemployed people, Praslin has about 20 unemployed and Mahe has about 1,000, mostly unemployable, the Ministry for Employment has now made it more difficult than ever for business to source much needed labor to meet proprietary needs. Why would Minister of Employment do that? Politics, I suppose. But it has been done in a brash manner, and the Minister may likely end up in court, defending her actions against constitutional law/right claims. I ask the Minister to make a short reference to Article 27 of the Seychelles Constitution and ask a good lawyer what it means, before a judgment is entered against her, to her embarrassment and humiliation as a rookie Minister. On Labor, we need to be smart and act smart, we need to be honest about the realities that Thirty (30) years of failed policies has had on the labor market. Today, every Seychellois that really wants a job, can really get a job. No business will refuse employment to anyone willing to work honestly and work hard.
What we need is better pay like the Ministers get but for our people. The least PL could do is cut those silly pensions for politicians to save us some money. How can PL pension off an opposition party by Scr. 20 Million over 10 years? This is not Democracy, it is a buy out and sell out of a political party.
Finally, it is incumbent on Minister of Labor and Minister of Education to list names for training, and create their own apprentice ship program. That is the job of these ministries. Stop breeding chaos in the labor market to divide our people. We will not be divided over your failures. If you want business to participate in an apprentice program, create one and offer them incentives to take time to train those who want to learn on the job.
We Have To Think Smarter Seychelles
As the year unfolds, Seychelles real leaders need to put their pride aside for the betterment of the country, and think smarter and be more intelligent in the course of actions taken. The economic failure of Seychelles under SPPF PL has ended the ideological war. The SPPF Communists have lost the war. Rene’s social experiments have failed. He will go down in history as one of the most infamous leaders of the 20th century, laying the foundation for failed State that endures for generations.
People of Seychelles, we can do better then failed state status. From today, stop being fooled by PL and their fake opposition alliance. Remember they are the same people that all ran for president at the same time to guarantee James Michel a victory. Why were they not an alliance before the presidential elections? Did they get hit by a meteor after the election?
We ask PL to abandon it’s communist tendencies that set Seychelles behind every year they were in power. Abandon the bad ideas that set back Seychelles. In 2013 PL, be more attentive to your bad habits as an organization that hurts Seychelles.
Today, we need smart ideas smart action, to get Seychelles back on track to being a successful country for her people. This was the promise of Independence. It was not the promise that ‘we are our own master of a failing pig pen with tendency of butchery of our opponents’. Make the adjustment PL I see your leadership trying, but it has to try harder, because it has lost a lot of ground over the years swimming too long in a quagmire of arrogance and defiance of numerical logic.
Recently, Mr. President has signed off numerous presidential powers to a new Secretary General Mrs. Lise Bastienne. Did Mr. President ever think that the post does not even exist under our Constitution and presidential powers cannot be delegated to an inferior unconstitutional office?
No. He did not.
In spite of that, his Ministers will remain silent, and take orders from their new boss. Why? Because they are opportunistic Seychellois who have their own well being in mind, and they have forgotten the People and the Constitution they swore to serve. For this, I ask all Freedom Loving Seychellois, to have their camera ready this year, to keep them accountable. It is the People of Seychelles who own Seychelles, not a few opportunists. It is the People who will have to defend the Constitution not the opportunists that break it.
Sesel Pou Seselwa!
May God Bless All Freedom Loving Seychellois!