REPORT ON MEETING OF LDS LEADERS WITH PRESIDENT AT STATE HOUSE
The third meeting of LDS leaders with the President was held today at State House. The following is a brief report on items covered.
1. Suspension of Ministers connected to cases under investigation
LDS called for the suspension of two ministers who have been connected to cases which require investigation.
One is the case of Minister Charles Bastienne who has been alleged to have received payment from a Nepali businessman in respect of recruitment of Nepali security guards, reported in the media this week. LDS is submitting this case to the Anti-Corruption Commission.
The other is in connection with a seizure of heroine on Praslin reported on SBC in which a link to Minister Mitcy Larue has been reported. This involves a police investigation. LDS believes that Mrs. Larue cannot continue as minister with oversight on police matters while this case is ongoing.
2. Investigation of DBS Loan schemes
LDS called for an investigation into loan schemes operated by Development Bank of Seychelles to check allegations of abuse and improper management.
3. Progress on issues raised in previous meetings.
The meeting reviewed the progress made on several issues of concern raised in previous meeting. Among the items covered:
i. Proposals for Reforms : The drafts for a Freedom of Information Bill and a new Seychelles Human Rights Commission Bill were presented and will now be taken up by the National Assembly. Progress is being made on several Constitutional and amendments which will be part of a package of reforms which to be brought to the Assembly by March next year. These will apply to Electoral Commission, Constitutional Appointments Authority, SBC , anti-Corruption Commission and several others.
ii. CSR Tax : The list of recipients of the CSR Tax will be revised for next year so that politically affiliated organisations (e.g. Jj Spirit Foundation) will not be eligible.
iii. Replacement of Mayor of Victoria : The Members of the National Assembly whose districts fall within Victoria will name a candidate for Mayor for appointment by the President until a new system for election of the Mayor is put in place together with district council elections in 2018.
iv. Cost of living and doing business : The mandate of the STC will be reviewed to direct it to the core goal of anchoring prices of commodities.
The Minister for Finance has taken up discussions with the telecommunications companies to reduce costs of services. Opening up the local market to other companies is being considered.
v. District Administration : Instructions have been issued to district administrators that district facilities should be open to all. MNAs will be entitled to use facilities for any function serving their constituents, such as meetings. without any charge. A reasonable fee will be charged for use by other parties.
4. Matters brought to the attention of LDS by the President.
i. Offices for MNAs . A programme of setting up offices for MNAs will begin next year. The order in which needs are addressed will be decided by leaders in the Assembly.
ii. Pensions for MNAs. A new Pension Scheme for MNAs will be presented to the National Assembly for consideration. They will be eligible for pensions at age 60 after serving one term or at age 55 after serving three full terms.
iii. 2017 Budget : The 2017 Budget will address measures to reduce the cost of living and to ensure inclusiveness in economic growth. A property tax for foreign owned properties will be introduced.
Roger Mancienne December 02, 2016
Chairman, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa