National Assembly |30 March 2023
Terms of reference for new food security committee approved
The National Assembly yesterday approved a motion by Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) representative Florry Larue, to approve the terms of reference for the establishment of a new committee, the Committee for Food Security and Sustainable Development.
Hon. Larue argued that food security is becoming increasingly important in the face of global challenges, as evidenced by recent developments such as the Russia-Ukraine war.
All members of the proposed members of the committee are LDS members, with Hon. Larue as the chairperson, Hon. Waven William as deputy chairperson. Other members are Hon. Clifford Andre, Hon. John Hoareau, Hon. Norbert Loizeau, Hon. Regina Esparon and Hon. François Adelaide.
At this point, Hon. Larue called out to the United Seychelles (US) members to reconsider joining the committee.
“The committee will be responsible to conduct oversight work on the national policies, strategies, action plans and measures to achieve the highest possible status of food security and sustainable development for Seychelles,” Hon. Larue stated.
It will conduct oversight in the fields of agriculture, environment, climate change and energy, fisheries and the Blue Economy, land developments, Foreign Affairs and tourism, island developments, by interfacing with relevant government ministries, departments and agencies. It will also engage with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), nationally, regionally and internationally to achieve its purpose.
Additionally, the committee will make recommendations and will fulfill duties assigned by the National Assembly.
Hon. Waven William, LDS representative for Grand Anse, highlighted that the committee will be discharging its duties voluntarily and without an allowance.
He also called out to US members to put politics aside and to work together on the committee, in the interest of the nation.
Similarly, Chief Whip Sandy Arissol afforded his support for the committee, deeming it an important one. The committee should, like any other, be able to make recommendations, bring motions and produce reports “towards helping government and all farmers, and all of those who are close to the food security sector, a cause for concern for everyone”.
Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Hon. Sebastien Pillay, explained that the committee was initially presented to the assembly as one with advisory capacity, to which US objected. He pointed out that the Assembly already has a number of committees, with various duties.
“We maintain our position. The Assembly is not here to advise government. The Assembly is here to exercise oversight over the government and exercise checks and balances on government’s performance,” he stated.
For her part, Hon. Sylvanne Lemiel, who chairs the Committee of Government Assurances (Coga) questioned how exactly the committee will work with other sectors, and whether the roles of the committee is not a duplication of those of Coga and the Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC).
Hon. Larue in concluding assured the assembly that the committee will not overstep, but needs to cover the different sectors, since food security is a vast topic.
The committee’s term of reference was approved by twenty-three votes. Eight US members abstained from the vote.