Tuck-shop operators launch their association |19 April 2021
The tuck-shop operators in schools on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue have officially launched their association.
The launch of the Tuck-Shop Operators Association took place in a short ceremony held at the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) secretariat, Providence, on Saturday in the presence of SCCI chairman Oliver Bastienne and other SCCI members.
Although with limited membership at the moment, the aim of the association is to group all tuck-shop operators under one umbrella so as to voice out their concerns with relevant authorities. It is also to help them in capacity building and to help in developing their businesses further.
The chairman of the association is Joseph Payet, tuck-shop operator from Ile Perseverance primary school while the vice-chairperson is Dianette Hetimier, tuck-shop operator from La Retraite primary school. The secretary is Maria Celestine, tuck-shop operator from Plaisance secondary school and the treasurer is Desita Belle, tuck-shop operator from Bel Eau primary school and who was not present.
In his speech for the occasion, Mr Payet, who thanked SCCI for granting space to hold the launch ceremony among other assistance, said the association is there to unite all tuck-shop operators so that going forward with one voice they will get to overcome their challenges.
He claimed that tuck-shop operators encounter many challenges such as with rents, inappropriate facilities to operate, conflicting operational procedures with regard to both its policies and that from the schools and the issue concerning the dedicated fund which he said they still need to meet with the authority for further discussion, among other challenges.
“The problem at times is that we have a policy to abide by and the school management has its own policy. Sometimes issues may arise regarding both policies which can create frictions. Most of the time we see ourselves stuck in the middle as things are not in our favour. I think we and the school management have to find a common ground to ease the way we run our business for the benefit of the children and this association will serve the purpose,” he said, noting that tuck-shop operators are not only there to make money but also as a guidance on nutrition for students.
Mr Payet said that the association has been quickly formed in this time of the pandemic so as to kick-start discussions with the authority, especially with its partner, the Ministry of Education.
He noted that they have not been able to physically meet up with tuck-shop operators from the two other islands other than on Facebook and whatsapp, noting that the association will meet up with them when restrictions of movement are relaxed further.
He thanked them for understanding the urgency to form the association.
“Through the association, we also want to help our members to apart from just doing the tuck-shop business, to diversify in other areas of doing business, especially during the school’s holidays, so that they can continue to earn a living. Our businesses have been heavily affected by the pandemic,” he added.
He urged other stuck-shop operators to join together for a common purpose and vision.
In addressing the members of the association, Mr Bastienne congratulated the association for officially coming into being, saying that small businesses who are struggling in this time of the pandemic, especially with finance, need all the support.
He said that SCCI will help the association meet with other stakeholders, namely the Enterprise Seychelles Agency (ESA), in getting assisted, including in capacity building, while SCCI will continue to open its doors to assist them.
As the association has a zero bank account at Credit Union, Mr Bastienne took the opportunity to contribute R1000 in the account as SCCI’s contribution.
After the launch the members got together for a meeting.
Other tuck-shop operators on the executive committee are Charles Celestine (Plaisance secondary school), Marie-Claire Cedras (Beau Vallon secondary school) and Claudette Jean-Baptiste from Bel Ombre primary school.