Assembly approves last two committees | 12 November 2020
In its session on Tuesday afternoon the National Assembly voted to maintain the two remaining select committees which were established in the Sixth National Assembly, namely the Communicable Diseases, HIV/Aids and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Committee and the Media, Youth and Culture Committee.
This was through two motions tabled before the House.
Also in this session the two parties in the Assembly named their members for all the different Assembly committees.
The motion asking the Assembly to appoint the Communicable Diseases, HIV/Aids and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Committee was tabled by majority party member Clive Roucou who was the chairperson of the committee. He called for the Seventh Assembly to maintain the committee as well as its term of reference noting that it was very active as it carried out the different activities listed on its programme.
The committee worked closely with various local and international stakeholders and partners namely the Ministry of Health, National Aids Council, Haso, UNAids, Southern Africa HIV & Aids Information Dissemination Service (SAFAids) among others. Members also work with key population groups in society namely the youth, prisoners, substance abusers among others.
Mr Roucou further stated that the main aim of such a committee is to meet the various requirements/recommendations of the SADC-Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) relating to the fight against HIV/Aids and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights in all member countries including Seychelles.
He noted that in its work the committee came to discover that Seychelles also had numerous shortcomings and gaps more particularly in relation to its reproductive health provision.
Mr Roucou affirmed that the committee strived to help address that.
“Being part of the committee was an opportunity for Assembly members to better understand besides that of Seychelles the different challenges, weaknesses and shortcomings each member country is facing in relation to fighting the disease and to strengthen their respective Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights processes.
He said members were able to take part in various capacity building trainings and awareness sessions held both locally and abroad.
For his part elected member for Beau Vallon John Hoareau, who is the vice-chairperson of the committee, added that its work also included speaking on behalf of minority groups in society and voicing the concerns of prisoners, raise the issue of sexually active schoolchildren, health concerns of sex workers with the aim of reducing the transmission of HIV/Aids and hepatitis C among other diseases.
He added that the work of the committee complemented that of the department of health.
Several other Assembly members also expressed their support for the committee stressing on its importance and stating how it can further contribute to reducing the prevalence of diseases.
Members voted 33 for and none against to approve the committee.
The motion for the Media, Youth and Culture Committee was tabled by elected member for Grand Anse Praslin Wavel Woodcock who was a member of the committee which was chaired in the Sixth Assembly by elected member for Mont Buxton Gervais Henrie. The vice-chair was Flory Larue.
Mr Woodcock reminded members that when it was first established the committee covered only the media but it later went on to include youth and culture.
Its aim, Mr Woodock explained, was to engage with all media houses to encourage wider dissemination and reporting of Assembly deliberations with the aim to educate the public, increase their interest and keep them informed on the work of the National Assembly.
He said the committee through the media commission strived to ensure that all Assembly deliberations were aired live on the national television and today a channel has been dedicated to all Assembly work.
Mr Woodcock hailed this as a great achievement for the committee.
The committee eventually broaden its terms of reference to cover youth and culture to allow it to have an oversight on and to assess and review programmes and ministerial policies which have a direct impact on the two areas.
Among other achievements of the committee are media debates organised on May 3 which is Press Freedom Day to promote freedom of expression, members of the committee were interviewed on the different radio stations on World Radio Day where they talked about the committee and parliamentary work. A series of meetings were held with different stakeholders and media houses, site visits to cultural venues were conducted for members to take note of and discuss concerns of the different groups.
“The committee should be maintained to allow it to continue to promote the Assembly committee work in engaging different stakeholders to push and implement programmes that have direct impact on youth, to have a direct oversight on the development of arts and culture in the country with the aim of boosting revenue earnings.
For his part Naddy Zialor, new Assembly member, noted that the work of the committee was visible in the community and he affirmed that it is through the work of the different committees that parliamentarians can remain connected to people in the different communities.
Several other members expressed their support for the committee and detailed how they planned to make their contributions to ensure the committee remains active and relevant.
34 Assembly members voted for and no one against to maintain the committee in the seventh National Assembly.