Visits to Assumption

What a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money!

A visit to his ancestral home of Bihar, India, by one local Parliamentarian of Indian Origin has had repercussions thousands of miles away on a small isolated island by the name of Assumption situated right in the middle of the Indian Ocean. For years, the Island nation of Seychelles, to which Assumption belongs, has been polarized politically despite being metropolitan and a melting pot.

It has indeed been quite a while since the Seychellois have politically been united on any issue. But the attempted molestation of their sovereignty by India in connivance with some local corrupt politicians has galvanized the nation against India’s endeavor to establish a military base on Assumption in their quest to outsmart the Chinese in their geopolitical dogfight in the region.

Demonstrations in Victoria, an unruly public meeting, a growing chorus for a referendum on the issue, uproar in the media especially the social media and a bye-election gone wrong for the mainstream parties have sent a delegation of 25 persons comprising of parliamentarians including the One of Indian Origin, Chief Executive Officer (a very close buddy of the Parliamentarian of Indian Origin), Special Advisor to the Vice-President and an arrogant High Commissioner from the Indian Elite packing to Assumption this week. But the question that boggles the mind is to do what?

That visit was followed the next day by yet another visit, this time comprising of 17 journalists, with no clear sense of purpose. Photos posted on the social media showed a beautiful virgin island not far from the world heritage of Aldabra, very much similar to the ones taken by the Parliamentarian of Indian Origin on his visit to that island only last year as Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Islands. Indeed, as expected, nothing much has changed. So why were the visits done at all?

According to a very confidential source, the trips cost the government over a million rupees, enough to build three low cost houses for those poor families badly in need of a house.

Whilst the delegations were busy taking photos and having a sumptuous lunch, the people of Seychelles were still seeking answers to many questions. First and foremost, why are the politicians adamant that the project goes ahead despite stiff resistance from the population? A tape of a meeting of the LDS (majority party in the National Assembly) parliamentary caucus believed to have been secretly recorded by the guy vying for the position of Speaker revealed a callous Wavel Ramkalawan (leader of the Opposition) and Jean-Francois Ferrari (chairperson of the International Affairs Committee) conniving to fool their supporters to enable the ratification to go through. Why should they go to that extent?  Although the government has signed the Agreement with India, it needs to be ratified by the National Assembly for it to be valid. There is definitely something fishy about the whole Assumption deal.

Whilst the whole world knows that India wants to establish a military base on Assumption to further her geopolitical ambitions, our politicians, who signed the deal and will soon have to decide on its ratification, are claiming that they are not aware of the contents of the Agreement. Why? Who is going to put an end to this madness?

An interview by President James Michel, the person who signed the first Agreement, to the local television network TeleSesel greatly contradicts the interview given by Mr. Barry Faure, Foreign Secretary and tasked with selling the dubious Agreement to the Seychellois nation. The former president averred that the agreement was for ten years and that India was to build a base for our coastguard similar to the one built by the United Arab Emirates at Ile du Port. But Mr. Faure, the younger brother of the present President, maintains that the Agreement is for 20 years. Given these contradictions, shouldn’t the Agreement be made public? Why should the new Agreement be shrouded in secrecy? What has changed? What exactly did Wavel Ramkalawan bargain with the Indians and why has President Danny Faure obliged?

Whilst this charade goes on, people are expressing concern that an environmental impact assessment has not been done despite India’s intention to build a 300-metre port and a modern airfield to cater for jet-fighters on Assumption, a mere 20 miles from Aldabra, home to 200,000 giant tortoises and a world heritage.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on the National Assembly. Will they throw out that murky deal or will they blindly follow Wavel Ramkalawan and acquiesce? Time will surely tell even if the time on Assumption is presently Indian time. But all concerned should know that we shall not stand idly and let Seychelles be raped nor will we be fooled by cheap politicking such as the visits of those parliamentarians to Assumption.



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