United Seychelles Vice-Presidential candidate Maurice Loustau-Lalanne |20 October 2020
‘We cannot continue to accept mediocrity and tardiness’
Seychelles NATION: What are you hoping to achieve in the role of vice- president?
Maurice Loustau-Lalanne: Article 66A(1) of the Constitution creates the position of Vice-President who shall perform the functions set out by the Constitution, an Act or by the President. Once I am assigned by the President the political responsibility of one or more ministries I will ensure that my office works to deliver timely on all matters affecting the lives and livelihood of all Seychellois. The VP’s Office will be among the top most efficient and effective.
As VP I will support the President in his work and assist him in keeping an overall look at the different portfolios and the performance of ministries. I shall encourage consultation and collaboration among ministries to ensure that the different parts of government work in cooperation and deliver expeditiously and effectively.
Seychelles NATION: The role requires decisiveness. Share some examples of your ability and willingness to be decisive.
Maurice Loustau-Lalanne: I have always believed in cutting my losses early in life. If something is not working you change it as quickly as possible before the matter becomes worse. As Minister for Finance I did not waste time in bringing a new amended Budget 2020 to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic within one month of the first imported case into Seychelles. I took decisive action in alleged cases of corruption and implemented the recommendations of the Auditor General to improve accountability, transparency and good governance.
Seychelles NATION: Who or what have influenced your principles and way of thinking?
Maurice Loustau-Lalanne: My parents, my wife and my mentor the late Mr Guy Morel. Working in the public service I worked hard to replace my expatriate bosses and this helped me gain tremendous knowledge and experience from a wide spectrum of professionals. I always associated myself with working hard and a path of continuous learning. I have always considered service to citizens and my country as a core responsibility in whatever job I have done.
Seychelles NATION: What are some major challenges the society is presently facing?
Maurice Loustau-Lalanne: The main challenge is the economy which was projected to grow by 3.9% and now with Covid-19 it is likely to shrink by 24%. Our response has had to be quick and decisive.
The second challenge we face is drugs. We need to act on several fronts to once and for all put an end to this scourge. This will also kill our economy if we do not act swiftly.
The third challenge is law and order. We need this to ensure safety, security and stability in Seychelles. Three essential ingredients for tourism, investment and confidence in our economy, in our government. Improvements in these areas will enable us to improve in all sectors and make our people enjoy a better quality of life and Seychelles a great place to live in and for our children to progress.
Seychelles NATION: When entering this position, what would be your top three priorities and how would you tackle them?
Maurice Loustau-Lalanne: Work closely with the President and the new Cabinet of Ministers in the new government of national unity to deliver a better, faster and more compassionate service to all our citizens and to do this we need to ensure we have competent, hardworking Seychellois men and women in the right jobs. We cannot continue to accept mediocrity and tardiness.
Next would be to deliver a new budget 2021 to the Seychellois and have this new budget approved by parliament latest in January 2021. We need to continue to provide support to the private sector and to workers as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect the economy.
Thirdly invest in sectors that will earn more foreign exchange as tourism slowly makes its recovery to pre-Covid levels.
Seychelles NATION: What will you do to hold accountable the individuals and institutions responsible for mismanagement of public funds?
Maurice Loustau-Lalanne: Support the existing institutions that have the mandate to audit, investigate and prosecute any person(s) just like we have been doing. Justice must be served always. We must pursue the practice of good governance, transparency and accountability. Where necessary, amend the laws and regulations and build capacity in these institutions to ensure we do our jobs according to the procedures set while being proactive and innovative. Resources must be used for achieving goals and targets set. Public servants must see it as a worthy and honourable endeavour to serve citizens and move the country forward.
Seychelles NATION: Do you have the qualities for the position and why people should trust you with their vote?
Maurice Loustau-Lalanne: My loyalty to President (Danny) Faure is 100%. Once a decision is made after consultation we need to execute that decision. Remain fair and firm and be truthful always. I suppose my public record speaks for itself. The post of vice-president will be a great honour for me and I shall put all my knowledge, experience and energy into serving diligently and honourably.
Seychelles NATION: What made you accept the position of vice-president?
Maurice Loustau-Lalanne: In accepting the President’s invitation to be his running mate I explained why. President Faure decided to change direction and bring in someone outside the party, with experience and with a work ethic similar to his. This major change in direction will bring a different and better result. Wait and see. I still have work to do and I cannot sit idly and let Seychelles be divided. The message KOSTE pour SESEL was for me the important calling.
Seychelles NATION: Why do you believe you can complement the work of your presidential candidate to make the team that the people will look up to?
Maurice Loustau-Lalanne: We are both thinkers on the same wavelength. We have compassion, we make decisions with our minds but always with a degree of compassion, we have a heart for all Seychellois. Our styles may be different and while he is experienced in politics, I am coming in as somebody who has never frequented a political party. But we both see the good that taking political partisanship out of the running of public affairs and out of day to day relations can do for Seychelles.
Seychelles NATION: How do you plan to help manage public expectation?
Maurice Loustau-Lalanne: I never overpromise. You must also learn to say NO and this I have done numerous times as Minister for Finance. I am not the most liked or popular minister in the Cabinet for that very reason. We have to provide the necessary explanations in all cases and give hope to our people. That they will all understand.
Seychelles NATION: People will be looking up to you to bring a lot of changes at different levels. Are you ready and fully prepared to face public concerns?
Maurice Loustau-Lalanne: A leader must always take responsibility. That is true leadership. For as long as there have been consultations on proposed changes and all partners agree, there should be no issues of public concern. There will also be cases where there is no unanimous decision and I will be decisive and render a fair outcome.
Seychelles NATION: If you were to convince the people that you will bring a new way of doing things in government, what would you tell them?
Maurice Loustau-Lalanne: We shall maintain and improve on the good things in the way that the government is working, address the shortcomings and failings, promote a culture of continuous improvement and ensure induction and refresher courses for public servants. The public service must respond to the legitimate needs and expectations of the Seychellois in a timely manner. It must execute the decisions of the President and Cabinet, decisions based on consideration of all relevant factors which it has contributed to bringing to the attention of the Cabinet. There will be no laissez-faire and corrective action will be taken where necessary.
Departments will work in synergy with one another. Greater and better use of digital tools will improve timely delivery of services and help in decision-making. Departments will report on their work regularly and the views of the public will be sought in the continuous endeavour for improvement.
Being Minister for Finance at a time when the country faces difficulties, I have the experience and I know what needs to be done to make ministries and other government bodies understand the situation and get them all to adopt a no-nonsense approach to their work and delivering results.
The executive will work in a spirit of cooperation and respect of each other’s role with the National Assembly to achieve results for the Seychellois people.