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Constitutional Court declares tourism vertical integration policy null and void | 10 July 2019

The Constitutional Court has ruled the tourism policy on vertical integration, which came into effect early last year, as “null and void” and therefore unenforceable against tour operators.

In the matter brought before the court by businessman Joseph Albert and his legal representative Anthony Derjacques, Mr Albert relied on the argument that the policy is a violation of his right to his property as the policy imposes certain restrictions on business organisations in the tourism sector.

Mr Derjacques explained certain restrictions and limitations imposed by the policy including a 150-room limit, no more than five boats to a hotel and no more than 1,450 seats for boats such as Cat Cocos.

“The policy has limited my client’s actions because he has already reached the threshold. He has the capital so, for his businesses that are successful and he wants to grow these further. We brought the action before the Constitutional court under Article 26 which states that if you have a share or an interest in a business you have the right to develop your business further,” Mr Derjacques noted.

Asked what will happen next, Mr Derjacques noted that the government can consult with the Attorney General’s office, to bring a law on account of the court’s decision and statement that the government cannot rely on policy.

“The court pointed out that there is the Fair Trading Act and this doesn’t allow any monopolies. Government needs to decide if it needs to bring a law now, it cannot rely on policy. For instance, the National Assembly just approved the Tourism Bill and under Section 3 it says that the Minister can make policy but government has been told a clear message which was in another case, Talma v the government that the government cannot use policy to infringe on the human rights of any Seychellois. This was clear before and the government did not abide so it was necessary to make it clearer,” Mr Derjacques concluded.

 

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