| Assembly approves Mr Bonnelame’s ambassadorial appointment - 02.03.2005
Members of the majority SPPF party in the National Assembly Tuesday March 1 endorsed the appointment of former Foreign Affairs minister Jeremie Bonnelame as Ambassador for Seychelles overseas.
A motion seeking the approval of Mr Bonnelame in this post was presented to the Assembly by Honourable Patrick Herminie, the Leader of Government Business.
Mr Bonnelame, 67, was appointed as the Permanent Representative for Seychelles to the United Nations (UN), United States (US) and a number of other countries, by President James Michel in February’s cabinet reshuffle. He replaces Mr Claude Morel, who has been appointed the principal secretary for Foreign Affairs.
Hon. Herminie said the motion tabled was in line with article 64 (1) of the Constitution which makes provision for the Assembly to give its approval after such an appointment has been made by the President.
Describing Mr Bonnelame as one of the country’s seasoned politicians, Hon. Herminie said he had vast experience in diplomatic and external affairs, a field in which he has been actively involved since the 1980s.
Between 1981 and 1983 Mr Bonnelame was the principal secretary in the then Ministry of External Affairs, between 1993 and 1997 he occupied the post of secretary general of the Indian Ocean Commission and from 1997 to the end of February this year he was the Foreign Affairs minister.
In addition to these he has also had other responsibilities such as being the President of the Ministerial Council of the Tuna Association (Phase 11), governor of the Board of Governors of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) and has over the past 12 years represented Seychelles at various international and bilateral meetings with the UN, European Union (EU), African Union (former OAU), Non-Aligned Movement, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), among others.
Though they agreed that Mr Bonnelame has all the necessary qualifications for this post, members of the Opposition however chose to abstain from voting on the grounds that Mr Bonnelame is past retirement age.
Hon. Wavel Ramkalawan, the Leader of the Opposition, said he did not understand the reason for replacing Mr Morel who, according to him, was not only well versed in this field but also still young.
Government, he said, could have used this as an opportunity to encourage more youths to take up diplomatic careers and if there was a need for change, “I would have preferred if somebody younger was considered.”
Hon. Alain St Ange presented similar arguments.
In his summing-up, Hon. Herminie said Mr Bonnelame’s mental faculty was still intact and his age should not be a barrier to prevent him from making full use of qualifications, competencies and experience acquired over the years to continue to serve his country in a more effective manner.
He pointed out that it was a normal practice in diplomatic circles worldwide for ministers to become ambassadors and that this was not an SPPF invention.