ILLEGAL DRUG DEALINGS KEEP AUTHORITIES BUSY

SEYCHELLES: DRUGS/SNA/11/7/18 SABANews 1

Heroin in parcel coming in through the post office. (Pic. Anti-Narcotics Bureau)

VICTORIA – The authorities in SEYCHELLES say they have seized FIVE-POINT-63 kilograms of heroin so far this year.

Designated Minister MACSUZY MONDON has revealed the information this week in the National Assembly.

However, she says although the drug quantities are alarming, the State remains committed to fighting the problem of illicit drugs.

National news agency, SNA, says she has been responding to questions by the Leader of the Government Business in Parliament, CHARLES DE COMMARMOND.

The legislator wanted to know how much heroin the State had seized since JANUARY 2017, how much of the drug was in circulation, and what the authorities were doing to address the problem.

Minister MONDON says heroin and cannabis are the only TWO main types of drugs seized, while TWO people were arrested for cocaine – ONE in 2011 and another one this year.

She says cocaine is a rare type of drug entering the country, and there is no evidence so far to show the country, a group of 115 islands in the INDIAN Ocean, produces dangerous drugs like heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.

SNA says Mr COMMARMOND raised the questions to follow up on a presentation by Minister MONDON on a survey entitled SEYCHELLES Biological and Behavioural Surveillance of Heroin Users of 2017.

It says the study shows the number of heroin users in SEYCHELLES from age of 15 years and above is around FOUR-THOUSAND-800, which equals FIVE-POINT-SIX percent of the population.

Minister MONDON says it is difficult to know the exact amount of drugs in circulation in the country, but experts can use a formula to calculate.

She says, for example, if an individual heroin user consumes ZERO-POINT-THREE grams per day, multiplying the amount with the total number of users – FOUR-THOUSAND-800 – will produce some 144 grams in circulation daily.

Minister MONDON says it is vital for people to realise illegal drugs are entering the country through the seaports and airports, while a large amount is circulating at sea through marine activities.

The national news agency says SEYCHELLES made a number of illegal drug arrests this year, mostly at the airports.

It also says the authorities have detected about 300 black spots on the THREE most populated islands of MAHE, PRASLIN, and LA DIGUE, where illegal activities are taking place.

SNA further quotes Minister MONDON as saying the Anti-Narcotics Bureau and its foreign partners are actively engaged to investigate and share information on activities of dealers and traffickers.

The SEYCHELLES Minister says ONE major challenge is some countries in the INDIAN Ocean Region are giving less attention to drugs and focusing more on piracy and terrorist activities./Sabanews/cam

ROMAINVILLE TO HAVE SOLAR POWER FARMS ON TOP OF WIND TURBINES

SEYCHELLES: ELECTRICITY/SNA/3/7/18 SABANews 1

Seychelles Minister Phillipe Morin (Pic. Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture)

MAHE – SEYCHELLES plans to build solar power plants on the ROMAINVILLE Island, in line with the national vision to have 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

National news agency, SNA says the new schemes are in addition to FIVE wind turbines already on the man-made island – off the main island of MAHE.

It quotes Public Utilities Corporation Chief Executive Officer PHILIPPE MORIN as saying the FIRST project will comprise a ONE-megawatt solar.

He says the scheme is a State project implemented through a grant worth THREE-MILLION-400-THOUSAND US dollars from the INDIAN Government.

Mr MORIN says the ONE-megawatt solar farm is only ONE component of the project, because additional smaller units will be installed on public buildings and private homes all over MAHE.

He says State buildings will have THREE units of 100 kilowatts and 10 units of 30 kilowatts from the scheme, while 100 units of THREE kilowatts will be on private premises.

Mr MORIN says the Agency for Social Protection will decide who the beneficiaries will be, since the project is mainly targeting less fortunate families in the INDIAN Ocean island country.

He also says experts from INDIA are already in the country, and the authorities expect materials for the farm and other units to arrive by SEPTEMBER.

The group of 115 islands in the western INDIAN Ocean, which relies heavily on imported fossil fuel for power generation and transport, currently has TWO-POINT-FIVE percent of its national electrical energy from renewable sources.

However, Mr MORIN says the SECOND project on ROMAINVILLE Island is a FIVE-megawatt solar photovoltaic system.

The scheme is through a loan of EIGHT-MILLION-500-THOUSAND US dollars from ABU DHABI and the INTERNATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY AGENCY, IRENA.

Meanwhile, stakeholders have met at the International Centre of SEYCHELLES in the capital, VICTORIA, to discuss a national proposal to be submitted to the Green Climate Fund.

The Fund is a facility established within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change aimed to help developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices against weather variations.

The Principal Energy Policy Analyst in the Environment, Energy, and Climate Change Ministry says the proposal is in line with the SEYCHELLES 100 percent Renewable Energy Strategy.

THEODORE MARGUERITE also says delegates have met to understand the rationale of the plan and of the strategy, as well as getting clarity on the current national energy system.

SNA says the Green Climate Fund is a facility established within the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.

Mr MARGUERITE says SEYCHELLES is working on a proposal of 400-MILLION US dollars for submission to the SOUTH KOREA-based Green Climate Fund.

He says the process started in 2016 with help by consultants from the GREEN WERK group, a climate advisory network based in GERMANY.

ONE official, STEFAN WEHNER, says they are helping with the strategy and mobilising international climate finance; because preliminary studies have shown solar energy is the key source of renewable energy for the islands.

He says PV panels can be installed as rooftops are also available, with wind also as another resource, although in the end, a mix of technologies, the most cost-effective, will be considered for SEYCHELLES.

SEYCHELLES Public Utilities Corporation Chief Executive Officer MORIN says the country has to reinforce the electricity network in preparation for the planned targets./Sabanews/cam

GENDER VIOLENCE COSTS NATION MILLIONS OF DOLLARS YEARLY

SEYCHELLES: GENDER/SNA/28/6/18 SABANews 1

Delegates have agreed violence against women and girls are a priority development issue (Pic. SNA)

VICTORIA – SEYCHELLES is losing about 17-MILLION-300-THOUSAND US dollars each year due to violence against women and girls.

National news agency, SNA, says the information is in a new COMMONWEALTH report launched today (THURSDAY) in the capital, VICTORIA.

The study, entitled Measuring the Economic Cost of Violence against Women and Girls, says the amount of money lost represents ONE-POINT-TWO percent of the national GDP.

It says the losses are in the cost of health care, the justice system, social services, as well as the loss of earnings and productivity in the country’s economy.

Health Minister JEAN-PAUL ADAM says violence against women and girls makes everyone vulnerable and, unlike threats such as climate change, the problem is something that citizens can address right now.

He says the government appreciates immensely that the COMMONWEALTH has chosen SEYCHELLES as the pilot for the project.

The scheme seeks to contribute to efforts to end violence against women and girls through development of a revolutionary and living framework measuring the real impact violence has on society.

Minister JEAN-PAUL ADAM says his government is committed to acting, and it firstly needs to lead with advocacy and sensitisation as to the scale of the problem, acknowledging there is significant underreporting.

SNA says speakers during the launch of the study outlined that the 2016 national baseline study in SEYCHELLES, concluded there is a serious underreporting of gender-based violence.

It says the best sources of information on prevalence patterns and consequences are population-based surveys rather than police and hospital statistics or studies.

The National Bureau of Statistics key findings in the gender baseline survey of 2016 show 59 percent of women have experienced violence once in their lifetime.

The study further shows most of the violence occurs in the home between intimate partners, while 54 percent of women have experienced intimate partner violence.

At least 172 women out of the ONE-THOUSAND-560 respondents reported having experienced physical intimate partner violence, with 78 percent confirming they have experienced some form of abuse before they reached 18 years.

COMMONWEALTH Secretary General PATRICIA SCOTLAND presented the report to SEYCHELLES Minister Designated MACSUZY MONDON./Sabanews/cam

GOVERNMENT SIGNS DEAL WITH EU TO IMPROVE TRADE FACILITATION

SEYCHELLES: TRADE/SNA/21/6/18 SABANews 1

Foreign Affairs Secretary Barry Faure and EU Ambassador Marjaana Sall (Pic. SNA)

VICTORIA – SEYCHELLES has received about 12-MILLION US dollars to improve trade facilitation and enhance the capacity of the public and private sectors.

National news agency, SNA says the arrangement is under a newly signed economic partnership agreement with the EUROPEAN UNION.

It quotes the SEYCHELLES Foreign Affairs State Secretary BARRY FAURE as saying the accord goes beyond a conventional free trade agreement, because it opens the EU markets fully and immediately.

He says it allows long transition periods for partner countries to open up partially to EU imports while providing protection for sensitive imports.

The economic partnership agreement is expected to boost SEYCHELLES exports by encouraging economic diversification, production of higher value products and exploitation of niche markets.

SNA says currently, 58 percent of SEYCHELLOIS exports go to EUROPEAN markets.

It further quotes Secretary FAURE as saying the agreement will support the upgrading of value chains in the manufacturing, agriculture and fisheries sectors, as well as job creation through high-value addition.

EU Ambassador MARJAANA SALL says the new support program will focus on reinforcing capacities of governmental institutions and private enterprises so they can better see trade opportunities in the region and with the EU.

The Envoy says more trade and higher export will boost economic growth, provide more opportunities for private sector development and create more jobs.

Private enterprises will benefit with assistance to increase their productive capacities through acquisition of new equipment and EUROPEAN know-how on how to produce high-value products with export potential.

Public institutions will get help with training so as to better understand and implement trade agreements, and better promote SEYCHELLES products abroad; while the parties have already identified 32 projects for implementation under the deal.

The agreement also makes provisions for business-to-business forum to put EUROPEAN and other regional importers, including investors, directly in touch with traders in the western INDIAN Ocean archipelago.

SEYCHELLES has to date received 46-MILLION US dollars in development aid from the EU under the European Development Fund covering sectors from environment to economic reform programs and education./Sabanews/cam

PRESIDENT SHOCKS OTHER LEADERS WITH TRASH FROM SEA

SEYCHELLES: MARIN/SNA/13/6/28 SABANews 1

Seychelles banned use of plastic bags, cups and cutlery long back (Pic. Africanews)

VICTORIA – President DANNY FAURE of SEYCHELLES has shocked the leaders of the Group of SEVEN nations with photographs of the damage to the ALDABRA atoll by plastic pollution and other types of litter from the rest of the world.

ALDABRA is said to be the world’s SECOND-largest coral atoll situated in the ALDABRA Group of islands in the INDIAN Ocean that form part of the Outer Islands of the SEYCHELLES, with a distance of ONE-THOUSAND-120 kilometres.

A statement from State House says President FAURE has addressed delegates from small islands developing states at the GROUP of SEVEN Summit in CANADA.

He says SEYCHELLES and other small island nations already have enough of a challenge managing their own waste, and do not need to take on the rest of the world’s trash.

ALDABRA, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in SEYCHELLES, is a remote atoll, a ring-shaped reef, island, or chain of islands formed of coral, and a clean-up project was launched last month.

The national news agency, SNA, says the scheme will conclude with an expedition to be led by the Queen’s College from the UNITED KINGDOM to remove tonnes of ocean trash.

It quotes President FAURE as saying the islands need help to handle the vast and increasing amounts of marine litter washing up on and polluting their beaches and coasts from way beyond their shores.

The SNA says the Group of SEVEN leaders, CANADA, FRANCE, GERMANY, ITALY, JAPAN, the UNITED KINGDOM and the UNITED STATES, have agreed the SEYCHELLES Leader has graphically made his point.

Their roundtable included FOUR island leaders from HAITI, JAMAICA, the MARSHALL Islands and SEYCHELLES to discuss the challenges of small islands developing states.

Canadian Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU invited President FAURE to a special session on oceans at the Group of SEVEN Summit since CANADA holds the presidency for 2018.

The SNA says the session has been held under the theme: Healthy, Productive and Resilient Oceans and Seas, Coasts and Communities.

President FAURE has further spoken about his national innovative financing for the blue economy and ocean sustainability.

When his country graduated to a high-income country in 2015, instead of complaining about losing grant funding, he said the island nation turned to pioneering new innovative sources of financing.

The national news agency says the sources included a FIRST-of-its-kind debt swap for ocean conservation and climate adaptation and the forthcoming and equally novel blue bonds, which fund the development of sustainable fisheries.

However, President FAURE says such new sources of finance will not be enough to meet the small island nations’ sustainable development and climate action obligations under the 2030 Agenda, the PARIS Agreement and the SAMOA Pathway.

He has called on the Group of SEVEN and multilateral partners to agree on a specific resilience index that takes into consideration the unique vulnerabilities to external shocks, be they climate change or economic, of small island states.

President FAURE says islands can no longer afford to see themselves as dots lost in a sea of blue, but as sentinels, the guardians of TWO THIRDS of the Blue Planet, and they must act accordingly.

The SEYCHELLES Head of State has further called on Prime Minister TRUDEAU and CANADA to play a prominent and proactive role in high seas negotiations that begin this SEPTEMBER at the UNITED NATIONS in NEW YORK./Sabanews/cam

GOVERNMENT IN MOVE TO LIMIT NUMBERS OF FOREIGN WORKERS

SEYCHELLES: LABOUR/SNA/5/6/18 SABANews 1

President Faure addressing members of the media in Victoria (Pic. SNA)

VICTORIA – SEYCHELLES has announced a number of plans, including limiting the number of foreign workers entering the country.

The national news agency, SNA, says President DANNY FAURE has revealed the development during a media conference in the capital, VICTORIA.

He says the authorities have also set up training institutions to educate SEYCHELLOIS (SEY-CHE-LLWA) workers to take up positions currently occupied by the foreigners.

However, President FAURE says the country will always need foreign labour to ensure continued development and to fill in gaps in the labour market.

In another development, he says all staff being laid-off at the AIR SEYCHELLES will receive a SIX-month package including the allowances.

SNA says AIR SEYCHELLES has announced it will retrench 126 workers, instead of the around 174 announced earlier this year.

It quotes President FAURE as saying his country will no longer contract INDIA to build a military base on ASSUMPTION Island.

He says the state will put funds for us to build the coastguard facility because it is vital to have a military post in the area.

SEYCHELLES and INDIA signed an agreement earlier this year to build military facilities on the remote island of ASSUMPTION, but the project quickly became controversial.

The national news agency says while the government supported the plan opposition members in the National Assembly and many private citizens were against it.

Meanwhile, President FAURE says the recent reshuffle of the Cabinet did not include the reallocation of the principal secretaries and chief executives, as all changes were at the head of the ministries.

He says the current situation did not allow him to put other people in the positions, but the changes should not affect State business; and there needs to be continuity in the work while priorities should not change.

The SEYCHELLES Head of State held his SECOND live press conference for 2018 this MONDAY at State House in VICTORIA./Sabanews/cam

LENGTH OF PAID PATERNITY LEAVE INCREASED

SEYCHELLES: EMPLOYMENT/SNA/31/5/18 SABANews 1

Seychelles new fathers to get extended paternity leave (Pic. SNA)

VICTORIA – New fathers in SEYCHELLES will now have more days of paternity leave following revision of the law governing workers’ rights and obligations.

Employment officials say the doubling of the time a new father takes off work at the birth or immediately following childbirth means the country has taken the lead in the INDIAN Ocean Region in the category.

It says the Ministry of Employment, Immigration, and Civil Status has increased the length of paid paternity leave from FIVE to 10 days, effective since 15 MAY.

The national news agency says the revised law places SEYCHELLES SECOND behind KENYA in terms of paid paternity leave.

It says MADAGASCAR, BURUNDI, MAURITANIA, and TOGO make provision for 10 paid days for family events, while a father in the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC can get up to 15 days for special circumstances.

Employment Department Labour Relations Director General STEVE MONNAIE says after creating a ministry for the family, the government found there is need for more programs for families.

He says the increased paternity leave will encourage fathers to play their role in the lives of their newly born children by helping the mothers.

The revision of paternity leave comes at the same time when working mothers who have given birth as of 15 MAY are entitled to 16 weeks maternity leave, instead of the previous 14 weeks.

National Family Council Chairperson ROBERT MOUMOU says an increase from FIVE to 10 days is reasonable and a good initiative that recognises both parents are vital in the life of the child.

He says the bonding period is equally important for both parents, and his group appreciates that the government has seen the importance.

The official says although 10 days is not enough, there are economic factors that can disturb the working place and the economy of SEYCHELLES, which has a population of just about 95-THOUSAND./Sabanews/cam

STATE JOINS OTHER MEMBERS TO LOBBY FOR FISHING OPPORTUNITIES

SEYCHELLES: TUNA/SNA/24/5/18 SABANews 1

Seychelles pushes for better share of Indian Ocean (Pic. SNA)

VICTORIA – SEYCHELLES has joined NINE other countries to propose the allocation of fishing opportunities for the INDIAN Ocean Tuna Commission species at the 22ND Session this month in THAILAND.

The authority responsible for the management of tuna species in the INDIAN Ocean says all countries should have a fair share of the saltwater fish, extensively fished commercially, and is popular as a game fish.

The national news agency says SEYCHELLES Head of delegation, NIRMAL JIVAN SHAH, has disclosed the issue lies in the way quotas are allocated to each nation.

The official, who is also Chairperson of the SEYCHELLES Fishing Authority, says the main principle is to base the allocation on historical catches within a national Exclusive Economic Zone.

However, the problem is most coastal states, including SEYCHELLES, have never had historical catches because they did not have a local fleet catching tuna.

Mr SHAH says distant water fishing nations want 90 percent of what they have caught to be theirs and the coastal countries to get 10 percent, which will leave them with low allocations.

It is not only a disadvantage to SEYCHELLES but also to present and future generations, who will presumably want the tuna fisheries to be sustainable and continue to earn them money.

SEYCHELLES, an archipelago in the western INDIAN Ocean, with an Exclusive Economic Zone of ONE-MILLION-370-THOUSAND square kilometres, has fisheries as the SECOND top contributor to its economy.

The 10 countries are proposing for all historical catches taken inside an Exclusive Economic Zone of a country, irrespective of who caught it, to be attributed to the coastal state and all historical catches taken on the high seas, to the catching state.

SEYCHELLES is party to the INDIAN Ocean Tuna Commission, an intergovernmental grouping that co-ordinates the regulation and management of tuna in the INDIAN Ocean territory./Sabanews/cam

PARLIAMENT APPROVES RIGHT TO INFORMATION BILL

SEYCHELLES: LEGISLATION/SNA/23/5/18 SABANews 1

More access to information now guaranteed

VICTORIA – The SEYCHELLES National Assembly has approved a bill giving people the right to access information held by public bodies.

Vice President VINCENT MERITON has tabled the proposed law in Parliament, saying government officials should become more open and accountable to the population.

He says SEYCHELLOIS have had comparatively easy access to information but there have still been talks about people having not been able to exercise the right easily.

SEYCHELLES News Agency says when President DANNY FAURE signs the Bill into law, it will apply to institutions performing government functions, bodies such as parastatals, and non-governmental groups financed directly by the State.

It quotes a journalist from the TODAY newspaper as saying she has observed accessing information has become easier for independent media houses in the past THREE years.

SASHA-LEE MARIVEL says much will depend on the information officers, as they will be the people mandated to be the bridge between the information and the public or journalists.

She says the Bill is useful if journalists are willing to put in the research and work behind the data, because information is useless if it is not studied, contextualised, and given meaning.

MARIVEL says real journalism is about ethics, and information for the sake of information alone is not good enough. Reporters need to put it together in a way that will benefit the reader, not some political agenda or personal mileage.

Meanwhile, Vice President MERITON says although the Bill provides for disclosure of information from relevant authorities, it also exempts some classes of information from disclosure.

He says the exemptions include information that might comprise State security, endanger the life and safety of an individual or cause damage to the national economic model.

Vice President MERITON says the new law also aims to counter corruption and malpractices by facilitating transparency, good governance, and accountability.

Public bodies will have to ensure access to their data by revealing information within 30 days of it being generated, provide employee directories yearly, travel and hospitality expenses, budget, revenue and expenditures, as well as details of processes and procedures.

SEYCHELLES Government offices will also report to the Information Commission to be created under the Access to Information Act./Sabanews/cam

ANOTHER SCORE FOR REGIONAL COMMON AGENDA

SADC: COOPERATION/SNA/8/5/18 SABANews 1

Presidents Masisis of Botswana and Faure of Seychelles (Pic. SNA)

VICTORIA – President MOKGWEETSI MASISI of BOTSWANA has visited yet another SADC country on his tour of the region following his inauguration on the FIRST of APRIL.

He has met with the President DANNY FAURE of SEYCHELLES and discussed the various bilateral engagements of the TWO countries, mainly on the positive ties they share in the field of education.

BOTSWANA and SEYCHELLES have a SEPTEMBER 2015 deal under which secondary school teachers from the western INDIAN Ocean island nation can pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Education at the University of BOTSWANA.

SEYCHELLES national news agency, SNA, says in exchange, teachers from BOTSWANA can fill the shortage of teachers in different schools in SEYCHELLES.

It says the TWO leaders and their respective delegations had breakfast before the morning meeting, to enhance relations in the context of a proposed General Cooperation Agreement.

President MASISI has visited the SEYCHELLES Botanical Gardens after his meeting at State House, and has taken part in a tree planting activity before leaving on TUESDAY afternoon.

The 55-year-old BOTSWANA Leader is the FIFTH Head of State after President IAN KHAMA, who stepped down after completing the constitutional maximum of 10 years in office.

SNA says the next general elections in BOTSWANA are scheduled to take place in October 2019.
BOTSWANA and SEYCHELLES are members of the SADC Regional economic BLOCK comprising 15 member states.

SADC came into being in 1992 with commitment to regional integration and poverty eradication within Sub-SAHARAN AFRICA, through economic development as well as ensuring peace and security./Sabanews/cam