mardi 3 juillet 2007

Cabinet Reshuffle or Playing Musical Chairs In Seychelles

It is the prerogative of the head of state to appoint and reshuffle the cabinet.

In exercising this priviledge, the head of state seeks to lay down the thrust of national policies and priorities as well as to chart the course that the state administration will follow.

Other than the inevitable and quasi universal portfolios of Health, Finance, Education, Employment, Sports and Culture, the cabinet portfolios in every country give a clear message of what the administration will do and the areas of priority thrusts for national development, based on the economic realities of the country and the potential it has and needs to harness and harvest to secure sustainable national economic and social development.

The thrust can be for developing basic economic mainstays which latter vary from country to country. Some have vast natural resources and other development potential (oil, timber, and valuable minerals, fisheries, agriculture, tourism.) Where viable natural resources are wanting, the thrust for national development often are laid on the services sector, such as human resources, trade and commerce.
The boss at State House declared he wanted to : set new policies, transform the way things are done in the country, focus on efficiency, reduce bureaucracy,
have a government that relinquishes its role as an employer and takes on the role of facilitator. In short an annouced change for everybody’s betterment. Sustainable national economic development was not to be part of the game.

Indeed the new administration annouced on 3rd July (2007) seems to lack a discernible thrust of national priorities, and appears to be more of a musical chair play, shifting personalities around and regrouping of portfolios with a timely (if sometimes deserving) retirement and what can pass as an ill-disguised move to maintain the Party heriditary allegiances.

Not unsurprisingly, the focus of the new administration seems to be more on the usual services delivery. These are (not in order of priority):

Health, Education, Foreign Affairs, Human Resource Development, Revenue Collection, Environment, Transport, Housing, Community Development, Youth, Sports, Culture, Young Leaders, Investment, Land Use, Information, Communication, Technology, Planning Authority, Reclamation Work, Natural Ressources, Social Development.

There is no indication of adequate emphasis on our most viable national economic mainstays such as Fisheries and Tourism ( though there is a new portfolio for oil exploration.)

Fisheries is probably covered within the Natural Ressources Division along with Agriculture. Both remain at the same level of national emphasis as the more services-oriented Transport and Environment sectors. They apparently are not deserving of any particular emphasis. A Fishing Authority is to be run by an executive formerly (reportedly) from a revenue collection office.

Tourism is relegated from the attention of the Vice President to a board headed by a former Principal Secretary.

The new cabinet also has the usual mix of overlapping roles.

The office of the president has a high executive in charge of Young Leaders, while another high executive in a Ministry is responsible for youth affairs.

Civil Aviation is not to be confounded with the Transport Division. The latter is barracked to land transport and presumably to road construction and maintenance.

Land Use and Urban Planning remain two distinct areas of responsibility. The former is even quaintly regrouped with Investment and Industries.

Environment seems to be deserving of such national import that it has both ministerial and presidential attention.

Regrettably, while reclamation work seems to have been elevated to national importance, there is scant focus on internal security and policing. No indication either that the oft-declared quests for higher moral values, stronger families, intensified fight against social evils (illegal drugs use and trafficking, crime, domestic violence) greater national unity and harmony will receive any particular national attention.

What can one say? Good Luck to the new team. Do the best you can!

A little word of appreciation for Mrs Sylvette Pool though. She 's been in there since mid 1980s and has charted Information, Culture, Youth, Sports portfolios through good and bad times. Have a battery-recharging retirement Ma'am! You deserve it!