Getting to know our ministers: Rose-Marie Hoareau, Minister for Local Government & Community Affairs |06 January 2021
‘The ‘laisser-faire’ and ‘ek nou pa ek nou’ mindset need to change’
Seychelles has a new cabinet made up of 13 new appointed ministers. While some of them are familiar faces, a few others have not been in the limelight. In an effort to better acquaint ourselves with the new cabinet, Seychelles NATION has been sharing with its readers the profile of each minister on a regular basis.
The next minister we are portraying is Minister for Local Government & Community Affairs, Rose-Marie Hoareau. She does not think of herself as a ‘politician’ but brings up concerns as a ‘mum’, ‘grand-mother’ and a social worker. Minister Hoareau has also played a key role in the tourism industry and her professional life says it all. During her approval process as a minister, she stated clearly: “I am a hard-working person. Regardless of my age, I keep up with changes because you are never too old to learn. Wherever the president sends me I will start by learning with the people that are already there..”
Seychelles NATION: Who is Rose-Marie Hoareau?
Minister Hoareau: I was born in Victoria hospital and spent most of my years growing up at Cascade. I went to school at the Regina Mundi Convent and left Seychelles at the age of ten with my mum who went to further her studies in Edinburg (Scotland). In those days it took nearly a week to get to England, as one had to take a ship to Mombasa, overnight train to Nairobi and a flight from Nairobi to London via Paris. I later came back to Regina Mundi to complete my secondary education.
I was very honoured and humbled to be asked by the President to be part of his Cabinet – something which took me by complete surprise. The call to contribute to the historic change that was happening in our country was one not to be taken lightly. Although the task at hand is indeed a very challenging one, I feel proud to be part of a great team under the leadership of President Ramkalawan. The experience gained over the years in management and leadership in the private sector will serve me in good stead in the discharge of my duties at the Ministry of Local Government & Community Affairs.
Seychelles NATION: Tell our readers about your journey from your young adult years to your professional years
Minister Hoareau: Upon returning from the UK having completed my studies in Education in September 1977, I began my career as a teacher, passionate about sharing my knowledge with the children of Seychelles. However, as the three years of my bond came to an end, I became very conscious that the radical changes being implemented by the government of the day would lead to catastrophic consequences further down the line… the changes included automatic promotion from one class to the next whether you qualified or not, disciplining children became an issue, removal of the teaching of English and French from the curriculum, the ‘camarade’ philosophy came into being and slowly but surely respect for others and the education system began to deteriorate.. and this I figured at the very start would not bode well for the country.
In view of the above, it was with much sadness that I left the teaching profession in 1980. When the opportunity to join insurance firm Sacos as a ‘founding team member’ presented itself, I took the challenge and underwent training as an Insurance Underwriter.
Seychelles NATION: Can you please tell us a bit about your family…
Minister Hoareau: I have two grown-up children – Lissa and Vivian – whom I am very proud of and two gorgeous grandchildren – Alexander and Isabelle – who have their Nana firmly wrapped around their little fingers..
Sadly, my mum, Elva Brassel, who was the ‘rock’ of our family, passed away seven years ago and to this day we miss her dearly. She would have been so proud that her daughter is occupying the post of minister for this government.
Seychelles NATION: You were also a key figure in the development of our tourism industry, please share with us this phase of your life..
Minister Hoareau: My career in tourism began in 1985 as marketing manager with Seychelles Hotels, a government-owned parastatal with 9 hotels in the group. From 1985 to 1998 I played a key role in marketing and sales for Mason’s Travel and Travel Services Seychelles. I joined the airline industry in May 1998 as head of British Airways in Seychelles and seven years later after the departure of BA from Seychelles due to ‘blocked funds’ with the government of the day, I was appointed commercial manager with Qatar Airways. History repeated itself in 2013 and we saw the last Qatar Airways flight leave Seychelles, after which I joined the Seychelles Tourism Board as director of marketing. My career in tourism gave me the opportunity to travel the globe, something which I enjoyed so much, experiencing different cultures, meeting amazing people and making wonderful memories.
Prior to becoming a minister I worked for MCB (Mauritius Commercial Bank) for three years as its sales & service manager, responsible for customer service training, quality assurance standards, special events, CSR projects and more.
Seychelles NATION: You are also well known for your charitable work, tell us more about it.
Minister Hoareau: I am a founder member and twice President of the Soroptimist International Club of Victoria. The Club which was chartered in Seychelles in April 1994 is made up of an amazing group of women who work hard to improve the well-being of women and children in need. The Club’s motto is ‘Awareness, Advocacy and Action’ and we are always seeking new members to help us in our quest. It must also be said that although we do a lot of great work, we also make time to have fun. Everyone knows that the Soroptimist ladies throw the best fund raising gala events!
I am also a committee member of The Poppy Ball charity. The Poppy Ball under the Patronage of the British High Commission has over the years raised considerable amount of funds for our Seychellois war veterans. We’re hoping that once the Covid-19 pandemic is put under control, we can have another one of our awesome and prestigious Poppy Ball events.
Seychelles NATION: And now, having been appointed as minister, what will be your main duty and how accessible will you be to the public?
Minister Hoareau: I want to bring efficiency, accountability, discipline, to name but a few, to the Ministry of LGCA which will no doubt lead to better performance and results. The ‘laisser-faire’and ‘ek nou pa ek nou’ mindset need to change.
It is no secret that the introduction of district administrators in districts was to promote the previous regime and keep it in power at all cost. The role of a district administrator in 2021 will be completely different and will be more in line in serving the community as a whole no matter what your political beliefs may be, while promoting good values, working closely with the elderly and disabled etc so that the community spirit as a whole can become more engaged and dynamic. There is a need to revamp the activities at district level through educational, cultural,and craft activities – the young learning from the elders of the district, etc etc..while encouraging and empowering the people in the communities to be less dependent on government agencies.
I place a lot of importance on staff welfare and one of my priorities in 2021, budget permitting, is to bring the DA buildings and community centres to an acceptable standard. Having just completed a survey it is regrettable that many LGCA buildings are currently in deplorable condition. It is inexcusable that for many years, regular maintenance was not done by the previous administration.
Seychelles NATION: Minister many of our readers and public have noted that you have remained the same and have kept your style despite now being a minister….
Minister Hoareau: For me being a minister is a job like other jobs I was doing. I cannot see the title ever changing me; my personality is the same; my friends are the same and basically life is normal for me. Being a minister is a demanding role, but it does not call for a change of character or personality. I will carry on with my charity work and after work I go home to my normal life. I can’t see my dress style or personality changing. I think it’s too late for that. Although my dress sense has remained the same, I do of course follow protocol when a jacket is required – something my children tease me about no end !!
Compiled by Vidya Gappy