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National Assembly

Assembly expresses gratitude to health professionals and authorities engaged in fight against COVID-19 | 06 May 2020

The National Assembly yesterday resumed with its sittings, following a brief adjournment period from April 9, when restrictions and a prohibition on movement order was in force with the aim of containing and stopping the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Seychelles.

To start off yesterday’s session, members of the assembly expressed gratitude towards all health professionals and other authorities who have worked to combat the virus and to safeguard the health of the nation during these trying times, noting the adverse economic impacts of the pandemic and urging all citizens to work together towards boosting the economy.

Speaker Nicholas Prea extended his thanks to the Department of Risk and Disaster Management (DRDM) and the Red Cross Society Seychelles for assisting the department of health in their efforts, as well as the Seychelles Police Force and Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF) for their commitment towards ensuring that guidelines and advisories are adhered to.

Speaker Prea also congratulated President Danny Faure for good leadership and governance and for taking prompt decisions to protect Seychellois and avert a bigger public health crisis.

Speaking on behalf of members of United Seychelles (US), leader of government Business, Charles de Comarmond, echoed similar sentiments, commending the “excellent efforts and vigilance” of health professionals to contain the virus to eleven cases.

Honourable de Comarmond also thanked all volunteers and employees of essential services which were still operational despite restrictions and prohibitions in place.

“When a country is faced with difficulties such as the pandemic, the character of its people is tested and I want to now acknowledge our nation, Seychellois have been absolute champions. Thank you to you all. We have shown solidarity to each other and our health workers and we have cooperated and listened carefully to advisories. We have expressed doubts and raised questions but I know the majority of us did so with the intention of obtaining results and doing what is best for Seychelles,” Honourable de Comarmond said.

Honourable de Comarmond however cautioned that health advisories and guidelines continue to be respected as the rest of the region and the world continue to struggle to combat the virus and there is a possibility of a second wave and the enforcement of restrictions and measures.

Similarly, leader of the opposition, Wavel Ramkalawan, conveyed gratitude to God, health workers and volunteers as well as leaders who have worked actively to contain the virus in Seychelles.

Honourable Ramkalawan expressed solidarity towards Seychellois residing overseas or who have found themselves stranded as well as nations and leaders of countries most hard-hit by the pandemic.

In addition, he expressed certain concerns over alleged delays in payments under the Financial Assistance for Job Retention Scheme (FA4JR), as well as the group of nurses who recently arrived from Kenya and police officers from Botswana who were reported to be in quarantine at an undisclosed location, but are in actual fact in quarantine at the Bay View Guest House at a cost of R50,000 daily, questioning whether there was a tender process and the necessity for such a facility in consideration of the existing three quarantine facilities including on South-East island, Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay and Perseverance Coastguard facility.

Honourable Ramkalawan also expressed concern over the decision to open borders by June 1 as well as the continuous devaluation of the Rupee, providing a simple formula to iterate how Seychellois employees are experiencing a 20 percent salary cut and reduced buying power by at least 23 percent, urging business owners and authorities such as the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) to be considerate of each other and to refrain from practices such as price-fixing and others that result in consumers feeling the crunch.

Honourable Ramkalawan also touched on the decision to not remove Value Added Tax (VAT) on more essential goods as of April 1.

“Together as a nation, we need to address the issue of the economy and how we can build it up. The time is now for us to do this,” Honourable Ramkalawan concluded.

A parliamentary reporter was present during yesterday’s sitting to assist the Deputy Clerk on account of the assembly’s heavy workload in the coming weeks.

 

Laura Pillay

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