Lalyans Seselwa calls for immediate lockdown, urgent dialogue to discuss emergency measures |23 March 2020
The leader of Lalyans Seselwa, Patrick Pillay, has expressed deep disappointment in and anger at President Danny Faure following his address on measures to address the COVID-19 on Friday evening.
In a short communique issued on Saturday afternoon, Mr Pillay denounced “in the strongest possible manner” the address made by President Faure on Friday evening “as political and not in the interest of the health of the Seychellois people and the wellbeing of Seychelles”.
In his communique Mr Pillay said the measures illustrate indecisiveness and highlight that Mr Faure has placed partisan politics and the forthcoming election before the lives of Seychellois and the wellbeing of Seychelles.
“There has to be consensus by all political parties,” he said, adding that Lalyans Seselwa is calling for an urgent dialogue on emergency measures to be implemented.
Speaking to Mr Pillay yesterday, Seychelles NATION wanted to find outwhy he considered the measures indecisive. Mr Pillay explained that the COVID-19 pandemic is a frightening situation that requires immediate action by the government and it is not a time for the head of state to come and talk about agricultural land allocation, taxes and the cost of electricity.
“This should be in the country’s long-term plan and for me, to talk about them at a time when the population is afraid for their lives and the lives of their children is inappropriate and I can only see that as a political strategy which is not at all addressing the serious public health situation at hand,” Mr Pillay said.
He went on to note that people in the community are really afraid and going around in panic buying everything they can because they don’t know what can happen.
He said community groups should be set up to go round visiting people who live alone and need support.
“People nowadays are very well informed and they watch all the international news channels and they see what is happening in the world and how other countries with more resources are handling the situation and they cannot be fooled,” Mr Pillay said.
Mr Pillay said he firmly believes the president should have announced a complete closure of our borders to allow us time to deal with confirmed cases and trace their contacts without pressure while a 14-day lockdown would at least allow all the concerned authorities to come together for an urgent dialogue on how best to implement emergency measures.
Furthermore, he added, the health workers, especially those working directly with the COVID-19 patients, are afraid, tired and overwhelmed as people with other medical and chronic conditions continue to fill the health centres and medical personnel need support and adequate medical supplies.
“A lockdown should have been the priority of the government to give the authorities time to better organise themselves.”
With regard to the measures to support businesses, Mr Pillay said this was not the priority at hand and all the focus should be on the health of the people and how to better contain the spread of the virus.
He has categorically rejected the idea of the government using hard earned taxpayers’ money to pay for the salaries of expatriate workers who are employed by companies with billions of rupees stowed away in different banks.
“The support should be to guarantee the salaries of Seychellois workers to ensure they don’t lose their job at this difficult time and those businesses who need the assistance should apply for it before their requests are analysed and considered,” Mr Pillay noted.