Africa: St. Ange berates inferior treatment of Seychellois by government, especially in the tourism industry

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Presidential candidate of the One Seychelles political party, Alain St. Ange has spoken out against the second-class treatment of Seychellois by the government of the island nation.

Writing in a special edition of his publication, the Saint Ange Tourism Report, the former Minister of Tourism of Seychelles pointed out that, “Many are wondering whether foreign hotels with their head offices based in their home countries, and their company’s main bank accounts being based abroad, are also being subjected to the same level of scrutiny as Seychellois business-owners are?”

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Seychellois are today second-class citizens in their very own Country. This observation is echoed widely to reflect the fact that there is a glaring disparity between the treatment received by expatriates, and that which is received by Seychellois, particularly within the tourism industry, in terms of salary and level of respect being afforded.

We are also seeing discriminatory practices being endorsed at Government-level. The most recent example of this is the “triage“ process being applied by the relevant authorities to decide, on an obscure set of criteria, which tourism-reliant businesses shall benefit from Government aid, and which shall have to weather the storm on their own.

A positive bank balance rendered many of the applicants illegible for support, despite their savings having been earmarked for necessary refurbishments, and not for months of having to pay salaries to all their staff while the Country closed its borders to the world for a prolonged period of time.

With countless applications being rejected, it is unclear where the 1.2 billion Rupee package that was meant to help keep the private sector afloat, is being spent today. A particular small tourism establishment comprising four small apartments and one Seychellois cleaning lady to attend to them was denied aid; the employee has now lost her job because the owner of the establishment cannot afford to keep her on payroll in this economic crisis.

Many are wondering whether foreign hotels with their head offices based in their home countries, and their company’s main bank accounts being based abroad, are also being subjected to the same level of scrutiny as Seychellois business-owners are? Are they being requested to provide their foreign bank statements when applying for financial aid from the Seychelles Government in the same fashion as Seychellois are being made to? With several of these large establishments reportedly receiving aid, resentment is brewing amongst the locals who have been made to jump through hurdles, only to be rejected on the basis of their business having been successful prior to COVID19 reaching our shores.

Hundreds of Seychellois have recently lost their jobs, and many are resorting to welfare in order to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. Many have gained years of experience in their chosen field, and most have spent years training for their roles or industry. In their new jobs, they will be competing against returning graduates and other more experienced recruits for promotions. With their aversion to being “reskilled“ for a role that is far outside the scope of their chosen profession warring against their dire need for a steady income, in view of the exorbitant cost of living we are experiencing today, many Seychellois find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place.

It is a hard time to be a Seychellois, and our Government, through their arbitrary exercises of power and their discriminatory policies, are guaranteeing that this remains the status quo for a long time to come.

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