vendredi 5 octobre 2007


Mr James Michel, President of Seychelles, is reported by the Seychelles daily newspaper, Nation of 5-10-2007 to have exulted at Seychelles having scored 2nd place on the 2007 Mo Ibrahim Index on Good Governance for 2005 of 48 sub-sahara African countries !

Every Seychellois who has their country at heart should be proud that Seychelles has been recognized at an international level as a leader in good governance’ he is reported to have stated.

But this does not mean that everything is right and that we must rest on our laurels. We have to continually improve on our successes so that our governance record becomes the best, and this we can achieve if we all work together,”

He apparently aims to ‘create a modern Seychelles with a strong economy as well as engage in an “active” diplomacy on the international scene so as to further highlight the country’s attributes to the world.

Coming out ‘second best governed country in Africa’ as the Nation puts it is indeed cause for pride in being a Seychellois.

In that regard I fully agree with the President. He has every right to exult because, let’s face it, he does represent the whole country, and the ranking reflects to a large extent, the policies and programs of the Government he heads!

I also agree with his reported comment that not everything is right.

Indeed, if he truly aims to make Seychelles the best governed country in sub-Saharan Africa, he must therefore focus attention on those areas where the 2000, 2002 and 2005 reports showed consistently low scores.

If the 2007 Mo Ibrahim Index were to be compared to a school report card, then Seychelles as a student was following a course on Good Governance comprising some 56 subjects in 5 main modules. In matters of good governance, a score below 80% is not good enough! The aim must be to be closer to 100%.

Student Seychelles therefore performed excellently with scores of 100% in 25 subjects ranging from press freedom to health matters, road networks, literacy, armed conflicts, opposition participation in elections, to respect of physical rights, etc.

Student Seychelles performed well with scores of 80%-99.9% in 14 subjects ranging from Health matters to the Judiciary, Education, Internet usage, to some aspect of the national economy, etc.

In these areas, one recognises the dogged determination of the professionals that pushed the country forward despite the often hard and intimidating local conditions.

In 10 subjects however, where scores range from 30% to 78.5%, student Seychelles needs to seriously get to work in order to improve on performance and achievement. Of particular attention is the subject respect for civil rights where the poor score of 30% is unchanged since 2000 whilst first - placed Mauritius scored 100% and 90% respectively

Of similar concern is the subject of GDP per capita growth that has plummeted from an average 52.8% in 2000 to the current 34.1%. Whilst first – placed Mauritius scored 50.5% in 2000, 47.4% in 2002 and is currently at 52.4%

There is no reason why student Seychelles should fail to achieve top scores for subjects of Free and Fair Elections, (50%) Levels of Violent Crime, (50%) Public Sector Corruption (52%), and Independence of the Judiciary (78.6%).

Student Seychelles was not rated for some 7 subjects ranging from electrical outages per year to % of 15-49 years old living with HIV.

Most of the areas of low scores fall directly in the presidential lap.

They are known and have consistently pervaded the national efforts for transparency and good governance over several years.

They have been the core of grievances from the opposition and the country at large. We do not need the Mo Ibrahim Index to re-confirm it for us.

However, this having been done, and the President deriving obvious satisfaction from the trustworthiness of the report, he has therefore the remaining years of his current presidency to both maintain current levels of good achievement and also to ensure:

1. Respect for civil rights

2. Free and Fair Elections

3. Lower levels of Violent crime

4. Eradication of Public Sector Corruption

5. Full and effective Independence of the Judiciary

6. Better GDP per capita growth.

It is a pity that his advisers seemed not to have fully briefed him on the whole extent of the report. He would have deduced that priority areas for better scores are not a strong economy (however vital this one may be ) nor active diplomacy!

mercredi 3 octobre 2007

Seychelles and large-scale commercialisation of forged pharmaceutical products?

Is Seychelles truly a new haven for large-scale commercialisation
of forged pharmaceutical products?

I was following a peak time news report on a main national TV channel in this EU country! Right in there with the other news was the one about fake pharmaceutical products that were reportedly flooding the so-called third world countries and even some EU states!

The news report deplored that some Asian countries such as India, were at the forefront in large –scale industrial forgery of everything from upscale clothing, software, food products to pharmaceuticals

Of the latter, the new rage is for so-called generic products that are selling over the net at prices that defy competition. And the best selling is the little miracle blue pill! Except that the blue is only a dodgy paint-job imitating the Viagra pill, but is unlikely to contain Sildenafil Citrate or any of the other active agents for Tadalafil or Vardenafil.!

I was about to go ‘ so what, the world is full of shysters out to make a fast buck,’ when the reporter revealed its bomb-shell, right there before its trusted millions of viewers.

The Seychelles is among the countries harbouring Indian companies, which commercialise fake Viagra pills over the net.

The report produced a net screen clearly showing the name ‘Seychelles’. I noticed an URL on the page shown and wanted to check it out for myself.

The site claims to have been “established since Feb 2005,’ and to be ‘one of the most affordable and reliable online pharmacies, … dedicated to bringing you a range of generic pharmaceuticals at reasonable prices and from reputable manufactures.

We are located in Seychelles and have several shipping locations around the world in order to satisfy the needs of our customers

To me, the site is quite innocuous and there is not much to distinguish it from the millions of others doing business over the net, if not for the lack of a Seychelles’ local address and a contact phone N° that could place its office anywhere between Kamtchatka to Timbouktou. It is child’s play for a company that wishes to operate behind the anonymity of the net to write up a web page and give a bogus location.

Except that French authorities seem to have managed to lay hands on some of the pharmaceutical products the company had sold to some EU pharmacies.

The Viagra and other products were all fake! EU pharmacies were conned by carefully planned marketing con-jobs, including substitution of de-activated products codes.

That’s for the news report! And it had to be featured a few hours after Mr. James Michel, President of the Seychelles had met his French counterpart, Mr Nicholas Sarkozy!

I was saddened that my beloved country had to be named as part of the ring of cyber-crime, though there was no proof that the company targeted by the news report is actually based in my homeland

Notwithstanding, Seychelles' national authorities should be diligent in assessing the merits of companies registered to do business from our shores. The world must know that it is not only our natural landscape that is pristine and attractive. So must be our national pride and conscience, and we must strive never to lose these to base cupidity in the quest to fill the national coffers!