New regional councils set up with bi-partisan framework | 14 July 2018
Seven regional councils, each with seven members, were officially established yesterday during a ceremony held at the International Conference Centre of Seychelles.
The 49 council members were appointed in accordance with an agreed bi-partisan framework and membership of each council reflects the current political balance in the National Assembly, therefore 23 Parti Lepep (PL) councillors and 26 from Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS).
The ceremony was attended by President Danny Faure, Designated Minister Macsuzy Mondon, Speaker of the National Assembly Nicholas Prea, leader of government business in the National Assembly Charles De Commarmond and chairman of LDS Roger Mancienne.
Also present were ministers, members of the National Assembly and other officials.
The councillors were named through nominations from both elected political parties in the National Assembly and each region’s representatives have been calculated as per the recent district parliament election results.
Hence the allocations are as follows:
North region (Bel Ombre, Beau Vallon, Glacis, Anse Etoile): 3 Parti Lepep (PL) representatives, 4 LDS representatives;
Central 1 (St Louis, Bel Air, Mont Buxton, English River): 3 PL, 4 LDS;
Central 2 (Mont Fleuri, Plaisance, Roche Caiman, Les Mamelles): 3 PL, 4 LDS;
East (Cascade, Pointe Larue, Anse Aux Pins): 4 PL, 3 LDS;
West (Baie Lazare, Anse Boileau, Grand Anse Mahé, Port Glaud): 3 PL, 4 LDS; South (Au Cap, Anse Royale, Takamaka): 3 PL, 4 LDS;
Inner Islands (La Digue, Grand Anse Praslin, Baie Ste Anne): 4 PL, 3 LDS.
In her opening remarks to launch the regional councils, Designated Minister Mondon, who also has the portfolio responsibility for local government, said that the establishment of the councils is an initiative to empower the community and involve them in the activities of their districts.
“You may recall that the National Assembly approved the Local Government Act in 2015. After further discussions and reflections taking into considerations the high cost associated with the operations with district councils, there was a bi-partisan consensus for the creation of regional councils,” Minister Mondon noted.
“Since it is the first time that Seychelles is establishing such a structure, it was strongly felt that starting at regional levels will help assess its effectiveness and operational challenges, so that we may design the most appropriate council structure for the country.”
She further stated that as a new administrative body, the councils are a new tier to the local government system which aims to foster networks within districts to provide a local approach in responding to district needs.
“The introduction of regional councils demands a shift in local governance; the district administrators will henceforth be accountable to the councils. The local government department will provide administrative support, policy guidance and other assistance to the regional councils in line with the central government’s principles of good governance, accountability and transparency.”
The minister explained that the regional council is a means to strengthen government systems, implement the local government’s strategic priorities, enhance district infrastructures and services as well as to decentralise public services.
Once Minister Mondon concluded her remarks, the councillors on the regional councils took their oath of office followed by a presentation of the letter of appointment by Minister Mondon to each councillor.
Speaking to the media, the special advisor in the department of Local Government Dan Frichot explained that the bi-partisan regional format was used instead of the initial proposal of 26 district councils because the cost of such an election would be astronomical.
The Local Government has yet to establish a mandate for the regional council members and Mr Frichot explained that the current councils will be monitored and evaluated in order to establish a proper mandate period.
As for how frequently the councils should meet, Mr Frichot said that it would be up to the councils but that the department is encouraging for them to meet at least once a month.
Yet another unestablished fact is how much the councillors will gain in monthly allowance. Mr Frichot stated that the allowance will simply act “as a support for the councilors” and will be revealed during their induction next week.
Meanwhile there have been mixed reactions to the setting up of the regional councils. While the LDS has welcomed the opportunity for the party “to participate directly in district affairs”, both the Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (Ceps) and the Association for Rights, Information and Democracy (Arid) have said that they are “against the process of nomination of councillors for the regional district councils”.
For its part, the Lalyans Seselwa has said it supports the stance taken by Ceps, noting that as it (regional council) will be a civil service job, the requirements and conditions cannot be met through political affiliation.
Seychelles NATION will come back on those reactions in its issue on Monday.