LDS Members Of The National Assembly Protecting Their Rich Friends

Wavel Ramkalawan playing games with private sector workers.

Last week the Hon. Wavel Ramkalawan, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, had the following motion on the order paper:

With the aim to reduce costs of living in Seychelles and fight poverty, which continues to impact on the population, this National Assembly is appealing to STC and all other retailers to take it upon themselves to import essential commodities for sale at the lowest possible prices.’

 It is important to note at this stage that there was no mention of the 13th month salary for private sector workers anywhere in his original motion for last week order paper. And that he was appealing to STC and other merchants only to address the high costs of living - not the government. If the Honorable Gentleman was genuine in doing something about the high costs of living he could have asked for an increment in salary for all the workers to meet the high prices in the shops and the exorbitant prices of fish, legume and fresh vegetables.

It was clear that Ramkalawan is playing a political game with the livelihood of the private sector workers, especially, to protect business people with whom he has close dealings. However, after our front page article last week, which challenged Ramkalawan’s commitment towards people employed in the private sector, he had sleepless nights over the weekend and on Monday this week he was quick to have the order paper revised to include a Private Notice Question (PNQ – item 4 on the order paper) for the Minister of Employment, Mr. Wallace Cosgrow.

We bring you the PNQ below, which was in four parts:

1. Why is it that the Government of Parti Lepep has not come forward yet to place the bill for the 13th Month salary before this Assembly?

2.: Will all businesses, meaning small businesses and big businesses will all have to give their workers the 13th month salary?

3.What are the criteria being used by Government to implement the 13th month salary for workers in the private sector?

4.: According to your analysis and discussions, what effect will the introduction of the 13th month salary have on the private sector and the economy of the country in general?

A closer look at the questions will clearly reveal that Wavel Ramkalawan was trying to kill two birds with one stone. On one hand he wanted to please private sector workers by asking - where is the bill for the 13th month salary?

However, in the other three questions that followed - Wavel cast doubts on the justification to award the 13th month salary to private sector workers. This was done with one thing in mind to protect and please the business people that the LDS have close links with; businesses that gives money to the LDS. The thousands and thousands of workers who voted for the LDS in the National Assembly elections doesn’t matter anymore now until the next election.

It was clear that Wavel had one leg in the train and the other still on the platform and the train was about to leave the station. He was playing a game, which he has now lost because this newspaper called his buff and he took the bait – he should have remained silent and not react to our front page article like the leader of government business, who also came under attack in that same article.

All eyes and ears, so to speak, are now on the bill that will be placed before the National Assembly in two weeks. If the PL Government delivers on its promise to private sector workers to present the bill then it will be left to Wavel and co to do their bit to award the 13th month salary to private sector workers. This newspaper has done its part to force the issue back onto the national agenda before 2016 ends. Now, it is up to the National Assembly to deliver. We wonder who is going to have the last laugh on that matter. Will Wavel bury the 13th month salary to please his friends in business or will it be a Happy Christmas for the private sector workers?


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