Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Air Seychelles Not Viable Says IMF

The Government has misled the Seychellois public again on a matter of much public interest – the state of finances at Air Seychelles. On Mar 12, 2015 Air Seychelles' website posted as follows “Air Seychelles, the national carrier of the Republic of Seychelles, today announced a third consecutive year of profitability after recording a net profit of US$3.2m for 2014.” Its CEO Manoj Papa added that “our increased profit figure is the result of higher revenue, greater productivity and an ongoing focus on costs.” In stark contrast to this, the IMF on Mar 28, 2015 confirmed that Air Seychelles “had declared a profit at a net level, which includes all revenue and costs, but had incurred a loss at an operating level". This is shameful for a Government that speaks of transparency. The public were not told that if you removed the subsidy that was provided by Government to Air Seychelles in in 2014-2015 of over $13.5m, Air Seychelles has actually run a loss of at least $10.3m and has only been kept flying because of tax payers’ money being thrown in. It is unacceptable that a public enterprise CEO should lie to the public who pays his salary. It is even worse that Government had hoped they would not be discovered on a lie of this magnitude especially as 2 Government Ministers sat on the Air Seychelles board. How can this Government be trusted in its presentation of public accounts? At the Registrar the last annual returns lodged have been for the period 2010-2011; this in itself is a violation of the law. This state of affairs calls for a full investigation of Air Seychelles and its accounts and is a matter that should be raised by the parliament if they are serious about public finances.

By Ahmed Afif

Monday, 30 March 2015

Conflict in Yemen results in near-miss off city skies


Two Gulf aircraft, re-routed through Indian airspace as the Yemeni skies were closed due to the ongoing conflict in the Arab nation, came within 25 seconds of colliding with each other on Sunday night, top AAI sources told Mirror.

The sources said the two planes - Etihad Airways flight EY 622 from Abu Dhabi to Seychelles and Emirates Airlines flight EK 706 from Seychelles to Dubai - breached the mandatory separation levels about 100 nautical miles off Mumbai.

While the Mumbai Air Traffic Control is preparing a preliminary report documenting the incident, officials told Mirror the two pilots reported a Resolution Advisory (RA).

An RA is an alert that goes off in the cockpit if there is another object less than 25 seconds from a collision. It also tells the pilot if the object is above him or below him.

"It appears that the TCAS or the traffic collision avoidance system display in the Emirates aircraft cockpit went off, leading to a scare," a senior Airports Authority of India officer investigating the incident told Mumbai Mirror.

A Traffic Collision Avoidance System - or Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance system (both abbreviated as TCAS, and pronounced tee-kas) - is an aircraft collision avoidance system designed to reduce mid-air collisions between aircraft.

An official said the two aircraft were re-routed through Indian airspace because the Yemeni airspace - controlled by Shia Houthi rebels - was closed for commercial flights.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Flight time between Middle East and Seychelles increases due to closure of Yemeni airspace

Flights between Seychelles and the Middle East are currently taking a longer route to reach their destinations, due to closure of Yemeni airspace. The Yemen Civil Aviation Authority made the decision to close their airspace yesterday as a precaution to commercial aviation, after military activities erupted in the region of Aden in Yemen.
Airlines are, therefore, making a detour to avoid the Sanaa airspace and are being dispatched out in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean using Muscat and Bombay airspace. This is affecting both the Emirates and Air Seychelles/Etihad flight schedules.
In the case of Emirates airline, the flying time has increased by approximately 45 minutes, from 4 hours, 5 minutes to 4 hours, 45 minutes.
Air Seychelles/Etihad has slightly over an hour added to the flight times for the Seychelles-Abu Dhabi sector and vice versa.
Other than those traveling to Seychelles, hundreds of flights using the Yemen airspace to access the Indian Ocean region as well as large parts of Africa en route from the Gulf area, and services to and from Europe transiting in the Yemeni airspace, are being affected.
Ms. Esmee Samson, the General Manager for Air Navigation Services at the SCAA, said: “Yesterday, we also had overflying traffic from Europe to the Indian Ocean Islands which were routing mostly in the Nairobi airspace but has as of today resumed their normal routing in the Seychelles airspace with their detour being further north.”
Seychelles, as a contracted state of International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), has welcomed this cautious approach although this situation will bring about considerable additional costs and slightly longer flight times.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport, Mr. Joel Morgan, said:
“Safety, security, and passenger rights have to be safeguarded at all costs always. Passengers traveling to our region can rest assured that as a government as a contracting state of ICAO we will always err on the side of caution and support actions from other authorities who are doing just that.”
It is for the moment unclear for how long this situation will be on-going, but the SCAA is monitoring the situation very closely as well as the ICAO Eastern and Southern African Office in Nairobi.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Is Gill suffering from Dementia?

Following the resignation of Jean Paul Isaac in April 2013 from Seychelles Freedom Party, Mr Christopher Gill decided to proceed with a new blog called Seychelles Reality. Gill and myself were the administrators. Both of us were in possession of the log in password. He wrote and posted his own articles and i did the same on my side.

All the articles
in which he attacked and insulted  the SNP Leader, Mr Wavel Ramkalawan referring to him as "corrupt" and a "Priest Millionaire" were written and posted by Mr Gill.

Because of a lawsuit of one million rupees taken out by Mr Ramkalawan against him, he is now trying to distance himself from his own mistakes. Trying to evade responsibility.

On the twelve of November 2014, i resigned from Seychelles Freedom Party due to our differences with reference to Marco Francis fake degree posted on the blog. He asked me to remove the article in which i refused. I immediately changed the password and the logo so that he could not get access to the blog.

Most people knows Gill is a person who seems to make every situation toxic and impossible. He likes to pass his own dishonest and illegal behaviour on others, like when he crossed the floor, he blamed Albert Rene because according to him, his life was in danger. He even threatened other people with arson if he does not get his own way.

Marshland at Iles Des Palmes

One example is about a comment posted on facebook where he said that my property is built on marshland. I wonder where on Praslin in which you can build a property without marshland. The whole island is covered with marshland unless you buy a piece of land on top of Vallee De Mai. Iles des Palmes wooden huts are built on marsh land and as a result a few of his huts are on the verge of falling into the sea due to coastal erosion.
Coastal Erosion at Iles Des Palmes

Whether the issue is caused by a personality disorder or some other underlying issues, he needs to seek urgent medical help or else he is doomed, similar to his political life in which no one trust him in Seychelles.

Gill has no leadership qualities of any kind that would qualify him to be anything more than a dog catcher on Praslin. He is now a poor excuse for a human.

Think before you speak bozo!


Lankan assets found in Dubai

Investigators who commenced an investigation into financial deals of the Rajapaksa regime had traced $2 billion in Dubai banks, The Economic Times has reported. Of this, one account of a Rajapaksa family member allegedly has $1.064 billion, other two by two different persons have $500 million each in two separate accounts, the source said.
The report states that India along with the US have been approached to assist in the investigation to trace this huge amount. Both New Delhi and Washington are assisting with the probe, an Indian official source added. The Dubai money is estimated to account for 20% of the total amount Lankan authorities allege has been illicitly stashed abroad by the former president and his family. The family, however, has denied any wrongdoings and described the allegations as baseless.
President Maithripala Sirisena had during his visit to New Delhi last month shared details of the amount allegedly stashed away by Rajapaksa family in St Martin Islands, Hong Kong, Macau, Seychelles. He had also shared details about the huge investments allegedly made in real estate projects in Dubai, Uganda and Kenya.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

India, Seychelles agree to lease Assumption Island for 'infrastructure development'

will be leasing the Assumption Island, one of the 115 islands that constitute the Seychelles.
On paper, the island will be leased for 'island development' for tourism purposes, but in actuality, it could be put to use as a listening and surveillance post.
This arrangement is similar to that with the Mauritius authorities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently on a day long visit to the Seychelles, spoke of the agreements signed between the two sides with respect to Assumption Island.
"Our agreement today on the of in the gives a strong boost to this partnership," Prime Minister Modi said here.
"President Michel and I underlined the importance of comprehensive cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region. We expressed support for a more active and productive Indian Ocean Rim Association. Our development partnership is also a strong pillar of our relations," he added.
Prime Minister Modi also spoke of the 'unique' and 'special' relationship between India and Seychelles.
"We regard as a vital partner in our Indian Ocean neighbourhood. Our relationship is unique and special. It is founded on deep sense of mutual trust and confidence. It is marked by a spirit of respect and equality; and enormous goodwill and warmth. It draws strength from our shared values of democracy and inclusiveness. It is nurtured by a common purpose - progress of our people and peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean Region," he said.
"Seychelles has made impressive progress. It has shown that size is no barrier to the scale of achievements. This visit and my conversation with President Michel have reinforced my conviction in the strength and the importance of this relationship. Our security partnership is strong. It has enabled us to fulfil our shared responsibility to advance maritime security in the region. It is a privilege to be a partner of Seychelles in the development of its security capabilities," he added.
Speaking of matters of security cooperation between the two nations, Prime Minister Modi spoke of the coastal surveillance radar project, that he is scheduled to launch with President Michel later in the day.
"Today, I am pleased to announce that we will be giving one more Dornier aircraft to Seychelles. Later today, I will have the honour to launch the Coastal Surveillance Radar Project. This is another symbol of our cooperation. These steps will enable Seychelles to secure these beautiful islands and the vast expanse of waters around them. Seychelles will also continue to make an enormous contribution to the safety and security of the Indian Ocean Region," he said.
"Our agreement today on hydrographic survey adds a new dimension to our maritime cooperation. I thank Seychelles for their confidence in India. We also hope that Seychelles will soon be a full partner in the maritime security cooperation between India, Maldives and Sri Lanka," he added.
Assumption Island is one of the 115 islands scattered over 1.5 million square kilometres of sea in the middle of the Western Indian Ocean. The islands fall into two distinct groups - the Inner Islands that lie within the relatively shallow Seychelles Plateau - and the Outer Islands that lie beyond the Plateau up to ten degrees south of the Equator.
The Assumption Island is 11.74 square kilometres in size and is part of the Aldabra Group.elations between India and Seychelles have been characterized by close cooperation and understanding, specifically in the defence sector.
In 1986, India had executed 'Operation Flowers are Blooming' in Seychelles, when on a request by then-president Rene, prime minister Rajiv Gandhi instructed then Indian Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Tahiliani, to dispatch the frigate INS Vindhyagiri to avert a coup.
In 2009, on the request of Seychelles, India dispatched naval ships to patrol its exclusive economic zone and guard it against piracy. India has also helped Seychelles' armed forces in capacity building.
In 2014, an Indian naval ship, the INS Tarasa, was gifted to Seychelles to augment surveillance and patrolling capacity of Seychelles waters. Several Indian ships have since made port calls in Victoria.
Seychelles had earlier offered China its harbour for refuelling and docking of Chinese warships stationed in the Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy operations.
India was alarmed by the development, though Beijing tried to assuage Indian fears that it was not looking at Seychelles as a military base, but only as a pit stop for refuelling purposes.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Modi to commission surveillance radar system in Mahe

India will set up 32 surveillance stations fitted with navigational military radars in Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives and Sri Lanka to keep an eye on the Chinese maritime traffic in the Indian Ocean region.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving for a five-day tour of the island nations, during which he would commission the first coastal surveillance radar system in the Mahe island in Seychelles.

The remaining seven stations in Seychelles would be up and running in the next six months. Five of them would be at Mahe whereas three would be located in outer islands.

While the prime minister was initially scheduled to visit all the four islands housing these coastal radars, Maldives was dropped out of his itinerary because of the ongoing political turmoil.

The India Ocean surveillance radar network comprises eight stations each in Seychelles and Mauritius and 10 in Maldives. Former defence minister A K Antony commissioned the snooping stations in Mauritius about two years ago.

The six units in Sri Lanka, however, do not have the radar at the moment but only the automatic identification system (AIS) and electro-optical instruments. Other islands would have all the three components – maritime navigational radar that operate in the I-band frequency, AIS for boats weighing more than 300 tonnes and the electro-optical system for imaging.

While the network would aid these islands to monitor their Exclusive Economic Zone, India can use the data to keep an eye on the Chinese maritime traffic.

“We have to do it for our own interest. Else, someone else (read China) will gain in the time we lose,” said a source.

The 10 coastal radar stations in Maldives are soon expected to receive the Cabinet approval. Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan visited Mauritius in January when he reviewed the progress of several naval projects, including the coastal stations.