The book “Actes and Monumentes” about the persecution of the Protestants in England and Scotland under the Roman Catholic Church recorded the first written use of the term “turncoat“.  It is an apt description of a person who changes allegiance to suit their particular situation.  With respect to the Assumption Island project to describe  the Leader of the Opposition Honourable Ramkalawan (Zwer Bihar) as “turncoat” is an understatement – the whole debacle begin with Zwer Bihar and ended with Zwer Bihar.

A timeline of the events leading to his rejection clearly shows this.  In early January this year, Zwer Bihar was on an official trip to address the Indian Council on World Affairs. Later In an interview with The Wire, Zwer Bihar initially blamed the Government under President Michel for not ratifying the Assumption Island project in 2015.

He went on to say that he had been in possession of a copy of the agreement with him since 2016.  Zwer Bihar also stated that with his support the agreement would be ratified in a couple of months.  This would be done after some amendments such as larger infrastructure and the setting of the jetty.  With this done and agreed through an exchange of letters between the two countries – Seychelles and India – the Seychelles National Assembly would ratify the agreement.

The letters setting out the amendments alluded to by Zwer Bihar were exchanged between Seychelles and India on 28th January, 2018.  At this point in time Zwer Bihar was supportive of the agreement and did not indicate otherwise.

The International Affairs Committee in the National Assembly also travelled to India, to discuss the Assumption Island project.  Details of the trip were never revealed to the Seychellois public showing the secrecy surrounding the project.

In the face of growing public dissent about the agreement, not a single member of the LDS majority in the National Assembly gave any indication of their views on the matter.   They had all been muzzled by the LDS leadership.

On Friday 9th March, 2018, Zwer Bihar threw the Assomption Project and all the people supporting the project under the bus.  His sudden change of heart was not about principle and values; it was about personal political survival in the face of public opposition to his behind the screen dealings with President Faure and the Indian Government.

It was clear from his address in the National Assembly that his rejection of the agreement was personal; it had nothing to do with Seychelles.  Not once did he mention Seychelles during this part of his speech.  Unlike the impression Zwer Bihar had given in his press interview with the Wire in India, now everything was blamed on ineffective dialogue with President Danny Faure.

Zwer Bihar had more than ample opportunity to comment privately about the drawbacks of the agreement.  He could have put through the changes that would have won his support in the agreement – this he did not do!

He has never used any available opportunity or mechanism to do so.  On the international scene especially with a global super power like India he destroyed any shred of credibility he possessed.

Whilst our Zwer Bihar had been gushing praise on India for the support given to Seychelles in the past, what explanation can he give for being nothing but a turncoat to India?  The man is a loose cannon when it comes to international politics causing more damage than anything else. It is also not the first time that he has shunned players on the international political arena.  This from a man who aspires to lead Seychelles!

Professor Troukler



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