National Assembly ratifies Seychelles-EU fisheries accord | 19 June 2020
Seychelles and European Union’s Sustainable Fisheries Partnership agreement 2020-2026 and adjoining protocol was ratified on Wednesday by the National Assembly following a heated debate between the opposition, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS), and the minority party in the National Assembly, United Seychelles (US).
LDS representatives were of the opinion that Seychelles got the short end of the stick with the agreement and highlighted that the island country should have received much more from the agreement.
Through a negotiation team headed by Fisheries and Agriculture minister, Charles Bastienne, Seychelles was able to secure a sum of €58.2 million, to be doled out over 6 years – the largest amount ever received from a fisheries agreement.
Nonetheless, LDS MNAs pointed out that Seychelles could have negotiated for much from the EU while most US MNAs were more or less in favour of the agreement and accused LDS of having little faith in our local professionals.
“We should go back to the European Union and tell them to take Seychelles more seriously,” leader of the opposition, Wavel Ramkalawan, said while also adding that Seychelles deserves much more than the conditions set in the agreement.
Honourable Ramkalawan also referred to Western powers that have and are still exploiting the riches and resources of Africa, and noted that we should not fall victim to these entrapments.
“We should not have to fall to our knees and let Europe exploit Africa, taking the biggest chunk, hoping that we’ll be satisfied with the few sweets they throw our way,” he stated.
Various references to ‘colonialists’ were made by LDS members as well as by proportional MNA for US, Johan Loze.
Sebastien Pillay, on the other hand, noted that Seychelles received a comparably better deal than Mauritius and other countries.
For instance, for the first time in EU’s history of fisheries agreement with other countries, Seychelles has been able to negotiate for a sum of €1 million for the period of six years, or €175,000 per year, to be used for the sustainable management of the environment and marine ecosystem.
“Will Seychelles gain more from this agreement in the future? Yes, it will. Because, as time goes by, we are gradually putting emphasis on ways to improving and developing our fisheries sector – whether it be in the artisanal, semi-artisanal, commercial and industrial fisheries segments,” Hon. Pillay said.
Meanwhile Waven William, US representative for Grand Anse, who often holds diverging opinions from his colleagues in the same party, argued that the agreement should make provision for a mid-term review, given that a lot can change in the space of six years.
Once the debate on the subject was exhausted, the National Assembly ratified the EU-Seychelles fisheries partnership with 28 members voting in favour of the fisheries agreement and the protocol for its implementation.