Make no mistake about the target…!


The project is called “Greening Livelihoods”. The government of Seychelles has to encourage these initiatives coming from the civilian corps.

On February 29, President James Michel in his state-of-the-nation address to the National Assembly said that “Criminality, delinquency and anti-social behaviour take many forms, but at the root of them all is drugs … We have to intensify the fight against those criminals, give them a good correction, and rehabilitate them wherever possible …”

President Michel also spoke about “drug traffickers” and the necessity to isolate them from the other prisoners. President Michel is right!

What I would like to share with your readers is that the government’s target has to be the fight against the traffickers and not the youngster who is caught consuming drugs under different forms. We are faced with the same problems in France. A few handfuls of traffickers abuse of the suffering of youngsters and sell them their products and in this way manage to fill their pockets with illegal money. They are rarely apprehended. It’s the youngsters who have lost their identity, their sense of life, their reference to the law and their future, who will find themselves appear in front of justice and be obliged to explain their acts.

The Republic of Seychelles has to declare war against these phenomena which could eventually rot the society and destabilise the very foundations of what makes our culture.

It seems to me that two points need to be worked out:

1) Emphasise the actions against drug traffickers and communicate on that. It’s important that the population be aware of this danger. They are the ones who can inform the police, because in Seychelles, people speak and see what happens around them, in their village, in their neighbourhood. What is difficult in France, because it’s a big country, could be possible in Seychelles.

It is also important to communicate to the children in schools by showing them films around this traffic and the different dangers. They have to learn to be careful and be wary of strangers who accost them in the street to offer them these products, which could perhaps look like sweets or candies.

The decision of President Michel to isolate the drug dealers from the other prisoners seems to me to be a good idea. In a country like France, the prisoners suffer from this diversity and promiscuity with different forms of crime, especially the youngsters. The traffickers are like the “hydra” with different heads. They can easily influence fellow prisoners with the amount of money that they can easily make.

This war is never finished. The only way to get through is to continue the harassment, tirelessly. The National Drugs Enforcement Agency has to be clear about its target and organise its service so as to be able to shirk them. This is a colossal and sprawling mission for them.

2) Emphasise the actions to support and accompany the youngsters or adults who use drugs often or occasionally. The contact with nature as proposed by Nature Seychelles is in the right direction, but insufficient.

The service at Mont Royal that I had an occasion to visit when I was in Seychelles is aiming the right target and it should be developed. It is a part of the various instruments needed to accompany the drug addicts.

We generally know that a drug addict, different from an alcoholic, will not be able to stop abruptly. In the first place the person has to agree to follow the cure. If he is very deep in the addiction, we have to propose a substitution product which could help him to break away. This weaning could take some time. Alongside this treatment, he needs a regular psychological support. The road will often seem long but the results are often promising.

It is now proven that all those who use drugs, often use it as crutches to help them support life. Something in their childhood was broken. They need to reorganise their history and understand at what moment they experienced a rupture. What image do they have of themselves, of their father…? What sort of relationship did they have with their mother…?

This second point is the most difficult and sensible aspect for the authorities. The country, the parents, the family, have to be able to offer them, especially the youngsters, a reason to hope in the future. In French they  say : “Leur donner une raison d’espérer et une dose de confiance dans l’avenir…”.

They need to believe in people, in the society. They need to create LINKS with their surroundings, with nature. They need to learn to accept themselves. If not, the only way out will be suicide.

I think that Seychelles, especially through the engagement of President Michel, is too attached to its youngsters to permit such a tragic end.

In Europe, especially in France, centres have opened to help and accompany the drug addicts. They insist on the pedagogical aspect particularly around the use of syringes and the risk of contracting HIV. Some politicians propose the decriminalisation of drugs. Personally, I don’t think that it is the solution. It’s too easy...! It’s a way to give ourselves a clear conscience and avoid asking the right questions...!

What society are we creating for our youngsters...? Do we still believe in humanity...? How do we look on those who are surrounding us...? Are we able to look on our youngsters with TENDERNESS and are we trying to understand their suffering...? How can we help them to accomplish their “Resilience”...? (Term used by Boris Cyrulnik, French Psychiatrist and Ethologist).

Seychelles is a young republic. We have a history and a culture. It is a small society...most of the people know one another. It seems to me that it’s important for us to preserve this “village spirit”, where each one is known by his name. We have to preserve this proximity, where each one can live for himself with his environment.

I am myself a Seychellois in “Diaspora” and I am attached to my country. My 17 years experience as a director of an institution receiving youngsters with personal, family and social difficulties obliges me to look at them with tenderness and severity, without compromising.

If we look around us, we see countries who are struggling to catch up with their history and their culture, to give SENSE to the decisions they take. Our country has it...! The important thing for us is to be careful not to lose our soul in this world which is becoming more and more complex. We have to continue on the path of SOLIDARITY. A French auteur said that solidarity is the transmission to the future generation what we have received from the ancients.

It’s only on this condition that our country will be able to tackle this cancer which is drugs. We have to prevent it from invading our society. If we don’t do so, we won’t have the possibility to fight it out...! Our country is worth more than this...! “Koste Seychellois...”!

Frank Underwood
Villiers St Denis

( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

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