President Danny Faure’s seventh press conference


14-September-2018

 

 

 

 

‘I will serve my mandate as president until 2020’

 

Danny Faure has once again said he will serve as President of the Republic of Seychelles until the end of his mandate in 2020.

He said this during his seventh presidential press conference at State House yesterday and added that he knows the Constitution of Seychelles very well and does not need anyone to give him a lecture about it.

“We live in a democratic country and we must respect the frequency of election and the next presidential election is slated for 2020. So, I will not resign. I am determined to work even harder for the people of Seychelles,” said President Faure.

Mr Faure added: “I know very well the Constitution of Seychelles and I don’t need anyone to come and lecture me about it. The National Assembly can debate about many issues and as president I respect their views. But at the same time I know what is written in the Constitution of Seychelles. The people need to understand that the National Assembly can come up with a motion to dissolve itself and also the president has the right under the Constitution to dissolve the National Assembly.”

He stressed that “the country is in good hands, but not everything is rosy”.

“Not everything’s perfect in the country and many people have the will to work hard for the country. We don’t need instability and don’t want to live in a state of uncertainty and insecurity,” said President Faure who added that his office is planning to come out with a publication detailing his accomplishments to mark his second year in office.

 

US $400 million collected in one year

 

For the first time, Seychelles was able to collect US $400 million in one year (from September 2017 to September 7, 2018), President Faure said.

“This shows that we are creating the right condition for investors and it proves that the economy is doing well,” said Mr Faure.

But when asked how come the amount of money in the bank is increasing and the cost of living does not decrease, President Faure answered: “We will only be able to see a drop in the cost of living in Seychelles if the external conditions were favourable to us. It is true we are getting more money, but at the same time the cost of commodities are going up on the international markets.”

President Faure also noted that the Seychelles government has still not received any payment as expected from Liberty Global which bought Cable & Wireless Seychelles in 2016 and that the government’s request that Liberty Global makes 30% of Cable & Wireless Seychelles available for local investors through the local stock exchange is still on the table.

“I hope the deal could be finalised before December,” said President Faure.

 

One body for declaration of assets

 

It was on August 25, 2017 that President Faure assented to the Public Persons Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests (Amendment) Act 2017, which was passed by the National Assembly on July 26, 2017 but until today a commissioner has not been named.

The persons required to make declarations of their assets, liabilities and business interests under the Act are the president, the vice-president, the speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly, the designated minister, ministers, the leader of the opposition, the leader of government business, members of the National Assembly, the mayor of Victoria and councillors of district councils.

Quizzed about the reason for such a delay, President Faure replied: “Previously, the law had required that the commissioner should have the qualifications needed to serve as a Judge or Justice of Appeal. The new legislation states that the commissioner responsible for receiving declarations should be a person of proven integrity and impartiality, who has served with distinction in a high office in the government of Seychelles, or under the Constitution, or in a profession or vocation. But then the Public Officers’ Ethics Commission made a proposition that there should be just one authority that deals with the declaration of assets. Since two months already, the Cabinet of Ministers has taken the decision that one body is set up to manage the declaration of assets.”

 

Seychelles’ diplomatic relations with India and China

 

The country’s diplomatic relations with India and China are healthy, said President Faure.

“Our relation with China is very good and the Chinese embassy in Seychelles is very active and plays a great role in the country. The same for India and in no way does Seychelles’ relationships with these countries affect our relation with other nations,” confirmed President Faure.

 

National security

 

“The boat entered Seychelles waters without authorisation and the information I have received states that the Coast Guard did see the vessel in their system,” President Faure revealed last night.

The President made this statement in relations to a Kenyan vessel, Diamond Ace 1, which entered our waters without authorisation and which was not intercepted by any local maritime authority until the boat found itself stranded on a reef in the Ste Anne marine park.

Yet, President Faure refused to comment further on the matter stating that he did not wish to compromise the country’s national security system which needs to be addressed internally.

However, he also confirmed that according to a police report there were no drugs or firearms onboard Diamond Ace 1.

The President also addressed the weaknesses in the country’s points of entry, the port and the airport, which he stressed should be taken seriously.

In regards to the safety standards in the ports, where authorities from the United States had noted a number of deficiencies and provided subsequent recommendations which were not followed through by the local ports authority, President Faure stated that the evaluation had not been conducted under the new Seychelles Ports Authority board.

He further added he is convinced that SPA’s new board is doing a good job under the leadership of Paul Hodoul.

“It is important that we take these issues seriously, and we cannot afford to not address concerns that arise in various reports when it comes to our port and airport,” President Faure provided.

The supposed foreign affairs debacle involving the security-hands of the King of Morroco and the local authorities at the airport was also brought to the table during the press conference.

President Faure started off by stating that despite the incident, Seychelles and Morroco have good diplomatic relations.

He explained that the debacle was caused by the fact that the Morrocan delegation had been operating under the previous protocol system which had been in force during the King’s first visit to Seychelles in 2012.

“The problem was not between the King of Morocco and I, as it has been alleged, but rather between the security officers on our side and the security forces on their side.”

Unfortunately, because of this lack of communication in regards to the protocol change, local security enforcement officers had to later go to the Moroccan delegations’ place of residency in Seychelles to account for the firearms which they had brought into the country.

From now on, President Faure continued, Seychelles will have to ensure that all information surrounding protocols are better communicated.

 

Reinforcement of Montagne Posée prison and police force

 

President Faure also acknowledged the need to reinforce security in the Montagne Posée prison stating that there are various challenges when it comes to the prison.

Firstly, he stated that drugs entering the prison system has always been a reality and has further been facilitated by a lack in security personnel at the prison as well as external people such as family members who provide the inmates access to drugs.

The reinforcement of prison security personnel with the arrival of Tanzanian prison guards and rehabilitation programmes on outer islands for inmates in order to allow space for the restructuring of the prison are among the initiatives provided to boost security and safety standards in prison.

“On Wednesday the Cabinet approved a five-year development plan for the outer islands and we will use the prisoners in a productive manner whereby prisoners who qualify on the programme will help construct these facilities.”

The possibility of establishing a maximum security prison is still under evaluation by the experts, he added.

Meanwhile the President stated that continuous efforts are being made by the police force to ensure the security of the country and its people, adding that security remains an important element on his agenda.

An analysis of the police force has shown weaknesses in the system, and this is being addressed through technical assistance from countries such as South Africa and, hopefully, Australia in the future.

In the same spirit of national safety, President Faure condemned the incidents where two human skulls and bones were discovered at two churches on Tuesday and on Wednesday.

“This is not right and the person responsible for this should stop immediately […] we have to respect the dead, and respect all religions as stated in our Constitution,” he stated.

He stated that if these persons have certain grievances to pass on to the relevant authorities they already know “the procedures to post a letter and where the gates of State House are located”, to address these grievances better.

 

Revocation of Seychellois passports                                                     

 

President Faure revealed that he is currently unable to cancel the Seychellois passport and citizenship of El Materi since the Attorney General has counselled that such a move can only been achieved through an amendment to the Constitution.

The revocation of former Tunisian El Materi’s Seychellois passport was brought forward by two members of the National Assembly during its Wednesday sitting.

Although he stated to never have met the man in question, President Faure admitted: “I was the one who signed his citizenship and therefore I am accountable for my decision as President. I did this based on the information I received at the time.”

“Even if there is a demand to so, I cannot cancel anyone’s citizenship unless an amendment is made in the Constitution.”

He confirmed that he is waiting for such an amendment to revoke the citizenship of Radovan Krejcir, who holds dual citizenship from the Czech Republic and Seychelles, and who is serving a 35-year sentence in South Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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