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When President begs for “poisonous gifts”.

Seychelles' newly-elected president, Wavel Ramkalawan has traveled again to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in less than five months since assuming the presidency.
The trip was money down the drain- unless it was paid by a generous sheikh or the UAE government.
The same person who has in the past lambasted his predecessor’s visits abroad, also visited Mauritius only weeks after he was elected president.
To save face on his recent return from the UAE he said that this year government will not pay Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, but negotiations will continue on a mode of payment and eventually, Air Seychelles will be fully Seychellois-owned.
Pardon our ignorance Mr. President, but we already knew that.
If next year or in two to three years it happens that the debt the government has with Etihad is paid and the shares are returned to Air Seychelles, Ramkalawan would have done nothing commendable or admirable because until 2012 Air Seychelles was hitherto 100% Seychellois-owned.
The 2008 world financial crisis is largely responsible for the airline’s troubles which ultimately led to the partnership with Etihad. Many well-established and wealthier commercial airlines closed down then, but Air Seychelles survived and saved jobs.
Negotiations on how to honor the obligation with Etihad started with the United Seychelles Government- the same one which did not hesitate to step in to help the airline without having to threaten the livelihood of the staff or cause emotional distress like the present government has been doing.
Lacking courage, the new government has passed the buck onto the National Assembly represented by both political parties. Or it is probably buying time before it will simply hand over the entire operations of the airline and the airport to the UAE.
The intention of this newspaper is not to disparage the relationship that Seychelles enjoys with the United Arab Emirates.
United Seychelles is grateful for the assistance it received back when it was in government, especially in the housing sector.
It shall be recalled that today Ile Perseverance has unique residential buildings branded high class for social housing by visitors, thanks to the support received from the UAE Government. Just as well the previous government was appreciative of the support received in other spheres of the country’s development.
The relationship that Seychelles has with other countries and foreign investors was based on mutual respect which is why the former government was able to hold discussions to prioritize the public’s views on issues that were sensitive such as the construction of two major tourism projects in the south of Mahe.
What is agonizing is the new president appearing as a hypocritical person. Now he is contradicting what he has said in the past.
His second visit to the Middle East country amidst a pandemic is indecorous for our country now portrayed as a real charity case.
He has in the past viewed donations or assistance from such countries as poisonous gifts- he publicly stated in the National Assembly. Now that he needs their financial backing, dressed in a suit he ignored health protocols in place to go visit UAE. If only these people could have heard his statements made about the gifts donated to Seychelles by their government when he was LOTO.
He has once again ignored protocols because health professionals have been advising Seychellois not to travel unless out of necessity.
Let’s say the main purpose of the president’s visit there was to discuss the bond that Air Seychelles has with Etihad, then why didn’t he hold discussions by the virtual medium. There is always another way to convey messages or sign documents during a pandemic. The world is in a new abnormal time.
Anyway, the president failed to get a better deal- the government will not pay Etihad this year, but negotiations on payments will continue.
Nonetheless, the goodies the president may feel proud to have brought back are somehow déjà vu- except for the dogs.
The Seychelles president traveled to the UAE during covid-19 to get (detection) dogs to help his country fight drugs. How hilarious!
The former President Mr. Danny Faure and Secretary of State Dr. Patrick Herminie visited UAE and was briefed on assistance Seychelles would receive to construct a rehabilitation center.
So, it was old news to be told by the president to expect technical support in the coming months. And, it is not as if the president would have carried the donations of covid vaccines in his luggage. Again, discussions could have been held by the virtual medium.
He is taking credit that Seychelles is the first country in Africa to vaccinate its people when the vaccines are donations from countries with which Seychelles has fostered a bilateral relationship over many years.
President Faure also initiated discussions with WHO and his government had plans to vaccinate the Seychellois public.
The new president’s second visit to the UAE when his own country recorded 153 new cases of covid-19 infections with cumulative cases topping 2000 cases and a gradual increase in the number of deaths recorded, is inexcusable. He is not a doctor or a front-liner, but he wanted to become president. When the pot is hot, you grab the handle.
Is last weekend’s visit a trend to be expected from him, that each time there is a problem he will jump on a plane to the UAE? To think that LDS spent four years in the National Assembly insulting the United Seychelles Government for accepting aid!
Seychelles' new president is probably in quarantine after visiting UAE, shall we expect a mass to be held at the State House to honor the memories of the deceased with suspected or confirmed coronavirus?
When United Seychelles lost the elections in October 2020, this newspaper hinted that there would be a difference in the relationship that our foreign friends will have with the present government compared with the former.

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