State-of-the-National address by President Wavel Ramkalawan |11 March 2023
President Ramkalawan announces nationwide public meetings
By Laura Pillay
President Wavel Ramkalawan will be holding a series of nationwide public meetings as of early April, whereby the agenda is to be established by the public, and they will have an opportunity to pose any questions and make suggestions towards the progress and development of Seychelles.
The head of state made the announcement yesterday evening, during the State-of-the-Nation address, which he delivered before the National Assembly.
President Ramkalawan called on all members of the National Assembly to encourage constituentsfrom each of the 26 districts to attend the meetings.
Reconciliation and unity
Having arrived at the mid-term in his five-year mandate, the president reiterated the theme on which his election campaign was based, and said he has “remained loyal to the theme ‘Seychelles for all of her children’,” because he is loyal towards his country.
President Ramkalawan vowed to lead a democratic Seychelles where freedom reigns and the children have hope for the future.
“I will continuously to emphasise national reconciliation and recognising each Seychellois’ ability on a meritorious basis, and I will continuously proclaim fairness and justice. On top of this, Seychelles under my administration will remain as a country which is governed by the principle of the rule of law,” he said.
“As your head of state, I will safeguard your liberty, I will safeguard the liberty of each individual and person on Seychelles’ soil, and wherever I am, I will float the Seychelles flag as high as possible,” President Ramkalawan asserted.
He further affirmed his commitment to listening to the nation, taking difficult decisions, and respecting the nation’s will.
On another note, the president urged citizens to reject and refuse to partake in any activities with ill intentions and which would lead to destruction, in saying that he is aware of various plans to sabotage his reign, citing sabotage to the landfill, sabotage to the Persévérance electricity station which could have resulted in the death of numerous patients at the Family Hospital, attempts to import arms through Mombasa, Kenya, as well as secret meetings held by former military professionals with the aim of “blowing” Seychelles up.
“Let us live in peace and harmony. Let us move away from the mind to destroy our country,”President Ramkalawan urged.
Briefly recapping a moment of Seychelles’ history which led to the establishment, President Ramkalawan noted that on March 28, the Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission (TRNUC) will officially hand over its report. The same report will also be tabled to the National Assembly and will be accessible to the public, who will have the opportunity to see for themselves the recommendations made by the commission.
Performance and reliance on government
President Ramkalawan during his address took a moment to highlight the various accomplishments of his government since their rise to power in October 2020 and said they have worked hard to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic and economic decline, which characterised the year 2020.
He, however, recognised that the population remains frustrated with service delivery and non-performance in public service administration, as well as in the private sector. He said his administration is placing much emphasis on performance, to ensure that each citizen discharges their responsibility towards the advancement of the whole population.
“Seychelles for all of her children means that all citizens must work and give their best, and want the best for their country,” he said.
He noted that there are three categories of people who are hindering progress in this area; including those who support the opposition party and who are failing to give their best on purpose, those who are trying to punish deserving members of the population for a number of reasons, and a third category who he categorised as “lazy”.
“Let us seek solutions and not drag our feet. I would like to see a civil service where people see a path ahead, where people have confidence that the issue that they put forward is being addressed,” the president added.
The president however congratulated all workers who are giving their all towards the progression of the country.
He also made a plea for citizens to stop relying on the government for everything, and to thoroughly think things through, prior to blaming government for all that is wrong in the country.
In addition, for those who make use of social media platforms for such purposes and to spread disinformation, the Cybercrimes and Other Crimes Act (2021), which was passed by the National Assembly, will be applied in full force for individuals who through social media platforms bully and insult others.
Accomplishments and projects
The president stated that he is proud of all that his government has achieved over the past two years.
“This government is working for its citizens,” asserted President Ramkalawan.
In particular he highlighted major renovations to the National Library which will be completed later this year, the much-delayed Carnegie project which is underway and the newly-launched project to upgrade Lenstiti Kreol.
The construction of Belonie school and recently completed National Institute of Health and Social Studies (NIHSS) are all projects realised by his government, he stated.
Furthermore, a number of sporting facilities are being renovated, including the Palais des Sports he said. Numerous projects on Praslin and La Digue have also been made possible by his administration, he added, including the La Digue hospital and new cargo port.
A number of police stations which were closed are to re-open their doors soon after renovation works, President Ramkalawan added.
“There are many more housing projects which are underway, and many more which are starting off” he reassured, noting that some projects are being funded by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Major works to address flooding-prone areas are also a major accomplishment, President Ramkalawan stated.
“If all works well, we have intentions and we are planning to construct a new Seychelles Hospital, which will replace the one we currently have at Mont Fleuri,”he announced, and was met with the acclamation of members.
Price reductions in the tariff for electricity and in fuel have also been major achievements, and are indicative of the government’s commitment to keep the cost of living as low as possible for the population.
“We need to ensure that our country fights the drug crisis. Drugs are still affecting our youths and our nation. I ask the people to help the administration in this fight,” President Ramkalawan pleaded.
He said drugs are impacting on the education system, the health services, Seychelles’ workforce, and that it has far-reaching implications for the small society.
President Ramkalawan also congratulated the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) and all others involved in tackling the problem.
According to him, the SDF on Wednesday night directed the French Navy forces to a dhow where they were able to destroy 1,065 kilograms of heroin. Despite lacking facilities at the airport, a number of seizures have taken place, he added. Last week over 500 grams of cocaine were seized, while other consignments are on alert, and will be seized.
It was at this point that he commended the National Assembly for passing the Tenth Amendment, to allow the military to join the police in their operations.
President Ramkalawan congratulated the National Assembly for their hard work and dedication, and expressed his wish for all members to work with seriousness, and up to the expected standards during the 2023 term when the institution will be commemorating its 30th anniversary, and in the years going forward. He further said that each member should act in an exemplary manner as leaders, so as to raise the institution’s standards.
“Keep giving our country the best laws possible, and at the same time, I wish that our Assembly is a place where the standards will be raised much higher, and which will be exemplary to our children,” President Ramkalawan stated.
The head of state further congratulated Speaker Mancienne on his election as the president of the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF), wishing him all the best in the position.
In concluding his address, the president asked that each citizen consider how to have the country’s best interests at heart, and how to float the Seychelles flag high.