In the National Assembly |08 September 2021
Changes in civil service reflects need for more efficient services, says VP Afif
Vice-President Ahmed Afif has stressed that changes the current government has undertaken and continues to make in the civil service reflects its push for a more efficient public service and has nothing to do with political affiliations.
VP Afif made this declaration yesterday following a private notice question from the leader of the opposition, Sebastien Pillay, in regards to the continuous changes and removal of high-level and senior civil servants from their position.
Mr Pillay also noted that government employees in high level posts, various professionals and technicians have been removed from their posts even after the restructuring announcements, some having changed posts without the government having made a public announcement as per the norm.
In his response, VP Afif stated that the government chooses employees based on their competency and their willingness and ability to implement the government’s strategies and policies.
In doing so, the government has had to reshuffle civil servants, moving them from their previous post to another more suited to their ability, or replace them but that these are not done with malice.
Referencing the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa’s manifesto during the last election, VP Afif observed that “there are no political maneuvers in the public administration by the government being run by President Ramkalawan. Seychelles is for all of its children”.
“This government has calmly worked towards fixing this country along with its public service. However even before this happened, we received a lot of letters of resignations from some high-level employees in the public service,” the vice- president continued.
“Some examples include Secretary of State Barry Faure, Secretary of State Dr Patrick Herminie, Secretary of State Aude Labaleine in the Office of the President, Mrs Jacqueline Moustache Belle in the Office of the President, Ambassador Dick Esparon, Ambassador Marie-Antoinette Rose, Ambassador Ronny Jumeau, Ambassador David Pierre. This was followed by resignations from some principal secretaries, who are principal secretary for environment Alain Decommarmond, principal secretary for lands Fanette Albert and more recently principal secretary for infrastructure Yves Choppy.”
Highlighting the government’s non-partisan outlook, the vice-president also highlighted the promotion of former deputy commissioner of police during the previous government, Ted Barbe, who is now the commissioner of police and the promotion of Lieutenant Colonel Jean Attala as the new Commander of the Seychelles Coast Guard.
VP Afif added that there is also a long list of opposition supporters and activists who still remain and work in the public service, stating that this in itself refutes allegations that the LDS government is appointing its own sympathisers.
“We are aiming to create a results-based Seychelles wherein Seychellois see an improvement in their lives and in the service they get from the public service. A Seychelles where anyone who has the ability to serve their country is provided with the equal opportunity to do so,” stated VP Afif.
Nonetheless, Vice-President Afif said that the government is still encountering issues whereby some public servants continue to drag their feet, or act dishonestly. We continue to hear the words corruption and sabotage, and this is when the government does not hesitate to eliminate these practices. I hope we do not hear an outcry of victimisation when this happens because our only goal is to modernise our public service and make it more efficient and at a higher standard.”
Vice-President Afif also mentioned a potential attempt to poison President Ramkalawan and noted that these actions should not be left without consequences.
Aside from resignations and reshuffling when LDS came to power, Jessie Esparon, chief secretary of the civil service, further explained that the department of public administration has observed that some senior public officials whose contracts have expired have opted to retire.
“Their retirements coincided with the end of their contracts while some whose contracts had yet to expire chose to end their contracts prematurely and take their benefits and retirements. Others have seen that their contracts have not been renewed […] None of the parties involved in a contract is obligated to renew the contract when it expires,” expanded Ms Esparon.