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President Ramkalawan satisfied with first public meeting   |16 May 2023

President Ramkalawan satisfied with first public meeting   

Yesterday’s meeting at Bel Ombre was well attended

President Wavel Ramkalawan has said he is very satisfied with the first public meeting held yesterday afternoon in Bel Ombre.

He was speaking after a three-hour meeting with the residents who came in numbers to the district’s community centre in search of answers and clarifications to their queries on issues related to their community and at national level.

“The number of people present shows that the Bel Ombre inhabitants are interested in having the meeting. The way the meeting went is an indication of how the other meetings will follow where people will be able to ask direct questions and we will be able to explain to them clearly on issues raised that will spare them to rely on presumption and rumours,” said President Ramkalawan.

The president noted that he is not holding those meetings for political gain but rather to respond to the people’s requests to meet up and to talk to him.

He noted that after two-and-a-half years in office it was important for him to have a conversation with the people on issues that matter and he is doing so with all the elected members of the National Assembly and district administrators of the respective districts.    

Around 50 questions were put to the head of state pertaining to various issues including fisheries, agriculture, business development, security and safety and some more personal questions related to land issues, substance abuse, and parenting.

Bel Ombre being a district which is highly dependent on fisheries, meant that some of the questions were related to the sector, including the setting up of a new association for fishermen, a request for the government to review the types of licenses that are given to various fisheries-related businesses depending on the standard of services they are offering, as well as a petition submitted to the minister responsible for fisheries questioning the development of the sector and its future.

Other matters raised were the employment of foreign fishermen on board semi-industrial vessels owned by locals as well as the issue of vandalism against their boats.

President Ramkalawan reassured the fishermen who intervened that he would look into their concerns promptly, with the help of Designated Minister Jean-François Ferrari as well as district officials.

With regard to security and safety, one issue was the police’s approach towards the inhabitants, which was described as bullying instead of a friendly and peaceful way of engaging with the people.

President Ramkalawan, who denounced such behaviour, urged assistant police commissioner Antoine Desnousse, who was present, to look into the matter and ensure the police and the residents have a better way of handling matters at district level.

Residents from Le Niole raised concerns about the roads in their zone, which they feel are unsafe, and proposed that government considers installing crash barriers in some areas for safety purposes.

Other matters related to red tapes in various ministries, and other service-related agencies where people have been waiting months and even years to have access to personal files or have had issues such as land, housing applications delayed without valid reasons.

Opportunities for small businesses were also raised with concerns of a lack of information for those wanting to develop or venture into entrepreneurship, difficulty to have access to funds from the Development Bank of Seychelles.

It should be noted that during the meeting, those who raised their concerns were referred to the officers present or had their details taken down for follow-ups.

President Ramkalawan re-assured the public that all their points will be dealt with promptly.

Today’s public meeting is taking place at English River at 5pm.


By Patrick Joubert/Patsy Canaya

Photos by Patrick Joubert

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