National Assembly’s select committee on islands | 30 May 2017
Discovers Coetivy and Platte islands
The National Assembly’s select committee on islands continued with its visits and last Friday, the seven-member committee visited Coetivy and Platte, where they saw firsthand the different aspects of the two islands.
The first island they visited was Coetivy – an island that the Islands Development Company (IDC) is managing on behalf of government, as IDC has no lease on the island.
Members of the committee expressed their disappointment after seeing the facilities left behind by the Seychelles Marketing Board (SMB) prawn factory.
“We are saddened to see the state of the island. To see so much wastage,” said Wavel Ramkalawan, the chairman of the select committee on islands.
“The country is still in debt because of Coetivy and yet we see equipment worth over US $200 million lying around and not being put to good use. To see an island which was producing sometimes over a thousand tons of prawns in a state of decay”.
Coetivy is the home of young drug addicts who form part of the drug rehabilitation programme. At the time of the visit there was no one on the programme on Coetivy.
IDC is also involved in small scale agriculture and animal rearing on Coetivy. The company’s staff receive help from six prisoners.
“On the other hand, we see the potential in terms of agriculture. The whole committee feels that part of the island of Coetivy should be reserved for agriculture… Coetivy island could easily become the bread basket of Seychelles,” noted Mr Ramkalawan.
After the half-day visit on Coetivy, members of the select committee on islands flew to Platte which has been earmarked for a 50 or 60-room hotel as part of IDC’s aim to bring more economic activity to the island.
“On Platte, we visited the site of the new hotel which will be built. It’s a small island and we are very happy that there’s also this site for local tourism where Seychellois will be able to come to the island and reside in the IDC guesthouse,” said Mr Ramkalawan.
The select committee was the first to land on part of the new concrete runway on Platte island.
Concrete is being laid on the runway before construction work on the hotel begins. Construction is expected to start next year and the project will cost around US $75 million.
To date, the committee has visited Farquhar, Desroches, Poivre, Remire, D’Arros, Assumption, Aldabra, Cosmoledo, Astove, Alphonse, Marie-Louise, Coetivy and Platte islands.
The last IDC island the select committee on islands will visit will be Silhouette and then the committee will be inviting interested parties who have any contribution to make on issues regarding the islands to make a presentation to the committee.
The committee is working in partnership with all stakeholders and is also looking into the possibility of visiting private islands.
Then it will draft a report which will be presented to the National Assembly.