National Assembly delays debate on appointment of new culture ambassador | 11 July 2019
The appointment of renowned artist Patrick Victor as ambassador at large to the Republic of Seychelles has been delayed by the members of the National Assembly (MNAs).
Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) MNAs voted in favour of adjourning the debate on the motion requesting for the National Assembly’s approval of the nominated candidate, while 12 United Seychelles (US) members voted against.
It is to be noted that Waven William, US elected member for Grand Anse Mahé, voted along with LDS members.
The motion, tabled by the leader of government business Charles De Commarmond and seconded by Honourable Simon Gill, was brought in accordance with Article 64(1) of the Constitution.
Once approved in the post, Patrick Victor who is nothing short of a cultural icon will be tasked with promoting Seychelles culture, traditions and heritage on international platforms.
67-year-old Victor is a well-known and respected musician, songwriter, singer, playwright, actor and activist of the Creole culture.
He has amassed a number of accolades locally, regionally and internationally.
“We have observed that our culture is fading away and we have to re-invigorate it. For this to happen, it is important that we look into all means to do so and therefore the president decided that it would be of significant help to have a dedicated person tasked with creating cultural links on international platforms, whether it be regionally, in Africa or in organisations such as the Unesco,” Hon. De Commarmond explained.
“If approved, Mr Victor will be the designated person which the president could send out as a special envoy, representing the president of the republic.”
Hon. De Commarmond further added that Mr Victor expects to play a key role in the preparation of next year’s 250th celebration of the arrival of the first settlers in Seychelles in 1770.
The meetings related to the celebrations are expected to start next month, Hon. De Commarmond continued, and therefore it is essential for Mr Victor to be appointed at this junction in order for him to undertake his role in that regard.
He highlighted that Mr Victor will not receive a salary while in this post although the expenses related to his duties will be billed to the government.
Nonetheless, LDS MNAs who intervened remarked that they were not against the appointment of Mr Victor, whom they respect, but rather they were against decisions such as these that are made by the president and the executive branch on a whim.
Hon. Jean-François Ferrari, chairperson of the International Affairs Committee (IAC), said that, to become more effective, the executive should take decisions based on a clear and systematic framework.
“The talents of Patrick Victor, his abilities, and the joie-de-vivre he brings to those who can barely carry a tune, his poetry, his mandolin; all of these are without question appreciated by all Seychellois. Every Seychellois loves Patrick Victor,” Hon. Wavel Ramkalawan, leader of the opposition, highlighted.
Yet, Hon. Ramkalawan motioned that the National Assembly should adjourn the debate because there are a number of questions the departments of foreign affairs and culture should first answer and clarify.
“At this point we cannot ascertain the direction in which we are heading […] The National Assembly, particularly the IAC, needs clarifications from the department of foreign affairs and the department of culture, in order to better understand the implications of the new post.”
With his motion for adjournment voted in favour of by a majority, the debate on the appointment of Mr Victor as ambassador at large expects to continue after the IAC meets with the mentioned departments.
This meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow at 10am.