As the rival political parties begin to break a sweat over their campaign efforts, ONE SEYCHELLES members have noticed that many politicians are taking the time to read our ZILWA PUBLICATION and to remain abreast of our policies and suggestions to glaring problems being clumsily grappled with by the relevant authorities; or perhaps for inspiration after years of being out-of-touch with the electorate.
While it has amused the Party to find seasoned politicians doing a 180 switch on matters that they had downplayed or cast aside previously, parroting proposed solutions and policies almost verbatim from our Publication or from our Party’s manifesto, the reality is that bipolar tendencies such as this do little to strengthen the credibility and trustworthiness of said politicians within the cautious eyes of the electorate.
They have heard the politicians’ televised and heavily broadcasted views on key topics, including carers and Air Seychelles, noting with skepticism the contradictory statements made mere weeks prior. Another example of ONE SEYCHELLES taking the sheep to the water hole may be found in Government’s about-turn on their decision to sideline the needs of the ferry-owners linking Praslin, La Digue and Mahe.
In Zilwa Publication Issue #4, we wrote extensively on this issue, pointing out that ferry shuttles were an integral service, permitting locals to seek medical treatment, go to school, visit relatives, and contribute to the economy by engaging in ‘staycations’. With the shuttle services reducing in availability and frequency, people were beginning to suffer. The ferry operators were beginning to downsize, and people were losing their only source of needed income. On more than one occasion, passengers were left stranded at the jetty, waiting for a ferry that would not come because the business would work at an irreparable loss if the ferry did make the journey.
We suggested that Government offer fuel concessions to these businesses to guarantee continued connectivity between the islands for the locals. We shone a light on the glaring disparity between the amount paid by ferry operators for fuel and that paid by SPTC, IOT and PUC, with ferry operators expected to typically pay three times more for fuel than the others.
It took a few weeks, but Government has finally been pressured into reacting. They have only very recently announced a 50% reduction in tax payable on fuel the interisland ferries are using – A small gesture that will reduce the cost of fuel by about four rupees per liter. With other politicians and leaders looking to us for guidance, we will keep pushing forwards, and they will continue to follow in our wake.