The National Social Renaissance Plan of Action-Drug and criminality (part 2)


The presentation was symbolic as the Assembly will assist in monitoring the implementation of the Plan over the next five years. Additionally, it has to be noted that the campaign has involved the population proposing solutions to the country’s social challenges as well as getting involved in the plans and programmes being proposed. It is thus fitting that as representatives of the people, members of the Assembly remain involved in the process to keep their electorate informed on the process.

In this week’s article, we shall continue looking at the first area of the Plan, which is Drugs and criminality. We present below, details of the plans and programmes being proposed.

1. The establishment of a Law Reform Commission
This is planned for early next year and the aim is to review current laws and sentences and bring the justice system up to date with the social realities of Seychelles.
Specific areas will include:
• Drug trafficking and abuse
• Alcohol abuse
• Prostitution
• Child abuse
It is the Attorney General’s Office which will be leading this initiative and its partners will include the Judiciary, ministries of Social Affairs and Community Development, Home Affairs and Transport, Education, Health, relevant NGOs, Prison Division and others. It has to be noted that some work has been done along this line in the past and the goal will be to accelerate and harmonise the process through the Social Renaissance initiative.

2. National Law and Social Policy Seminar
The seminar was an activity organised by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Community Development in collaboration with the AG’s Office in the past to look specifically at social issues and the law. It is the intention to re-launch this activity on a yearly basis as of next year to ensure that laws remain relevant considering the rapidly changing social landscape of Seychelles. This will be a forum where experts and practitioners can debate and discuss on legal issues but most importantly keep themselves informed on the real ‘issues’ and how these are impacting on people’s lives.

3. The Judiciary
A number of measures have already been presented by the Chief Justice to improve the efficiency of the court system. The Judiciary is an important partner in the Social Renaissance Initiative. It will continue to implement the activities below to ensure that justice is delivered swiftly and fairly.
• Streamlining court processes to clear backlog of cases
• Recruitment of new judges and magistrates
• Implementing time standards for key court functions and processes
• Establishing trial date certainty
• Producing timely and accurate records of proceedings
• Putting in place an ICT-based case management system
• Implementing the Seychelles Code of Judicial Conduct
• Continuous capacity-building at all levels

4. Prisoner Rehabilitation Programme
This initiative is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Transport. The programme is currently in planning stage and discussions are being held with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the right programme is adopted and that resources and expertise are also available to ensure sustainability. The goals of the programme are:

Develop and implement a comprehensive rehabilitation programme focusing on Education, Vocational skills and Offending Behaviour Programmes (OBP’s) to reduce the risk of recidivism in prisoners to improve the safety of the public
Work with Probation Services to produce a structured release plan for each prisoner to reduce the likelihood of recidivism
Introduce Sentence Planning for prisoners serving longer than six months to introduce rehabilitation targets that must be met so that their risk to the public can be reduced
Work with stakeholders to develop alternative sentencing to imprisonment, for first time and low risk offenders.

5. Youth Correctional Centre
There is possibility that this project will be funded by the UNODC. At the moment there is no detention facility for youths who are convicted. The centre will not only be a place for incarceration but will most importantly provide the right environment and programmes for the rehabilitation of young people in conflict with the law.

It must be noted that there are other activities being implemented in the fight against crime and drug trafficking and abuse in Seychelles. These on-going efforts are spearheaded by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Transport and involve the Police, NDEA (National Drug Enforcement Agency), FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit) and other agencies and organisations. The measures proposed in the Plan will support what is being done at ministerial level and ensure a greater degree of co-operation and co-ordination so that problems and challenges are being addressed in an integrated manner. 

Next week, we shall be looking at the second area of the Plan which is Employment and Human Resource Development.
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