National Assembly leaders react to President Ramkalawan’s address |18 November 2020
The two leaders in the National Assembly provided their reactions to President Wavel Ramkalawan’s first address to the parliament, 24 days after he was inaugurated.
The address delivered yesterday was one which took note of the worrisome state of the economy and announced measures to address this.
In his reaction the leader of the opposition, Sebastien Pillay, said the difficult situation echoed out by President Ramkalawan is the same message that former President Danny Faure had attempted to convey to Seychellois in the past few months.
“It was a mixed speech; it started off as a campaign speech and then gradually moved towards addressing pertinent issues in the country. There were many interesting points that were raised by his predecessor such as the enormous difficulty the country is going through,” said Honourable Pillay.
“I think it’s important that Seychellois realise that this warning was being said by former President Danny Faure even though many of us chose not to listen.”
He also questioned whether these various grants and gifts announced in the speech come with conditions attached.
“I’m concerned that some of the measures that the government will be taking do not consider the reality. This is in term of the gifts from United Arab Emirates in regards to the hospital. We must ensure we know what this gift entails, might it be better that the gift goes to the economy to help towards the financial situation in the country,” he said.
Hon. Pillay continued by saying that he is also concerned about the announcement that Seychellois with foreign exchange will be allowed to import cars into the country as this will further decrease foreign exchange and might not be the best approach to take.
He further noted his confusion to the government’s decision to allow businesses to import vehicles using their own foreign exchange, noting that “luxury items” such as cars should not be a priority at the moment. Rather, foreign exchange should remain in the country and help provide essential goods.
“I think the government has its work cut out when it comes to responding to what the country is going through,” underlined Hon. Pillay.
In regards to President Ramkalawan’s message for respect and honesty, the leader of the opposition said that as leaders we must respect the offices of the land as this will translate into respect from the public.
“I feel that in the past we have not respected the office of former President Faure and this is something we need to change. We must work together in order to change our country and we must never within that process stifle the freedom of expression,” said Mr Pillay.
On his part the leader of government business, Bernard Georges said that the president’s address to the National Assembly highlighted the decisions that were made on a number of issues concerning the country.
“People were speculating on what the new government will be doing and the president’s speech put all those speculations to rest. We now know what the government is doing in terms of the measures it will take and I think that the country will be better off because of the decisions that have been taken.”
“We did not disappoint the public because concrete decisions were taken to address all of the issues. Some people will be happy and some will not but these decisions were necessary and appropriate.”
In regards to the president stating that Seychellois will be able to import cars using foreign exchange at their disposition, Hon. Georges stated that “we cannot control foreign exchange as we live in a free market” and the current government does not plan to control the foreign exchange market, of yet.
Elsie Pointe and Christophe Zialor