“I will reopen the Tourism Industry”
The date was set for Friday 09/10/2020 at 7pm live on SBC TV, a remarkable date on the 2020 calendar on all accounts. The lineup was composed of Mr. Danny Faure for the United Seychelles (US), Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan for the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) and the articulate Mr. Alain St.Ange representing the One Seychelles (OS) political party. It was clear from the get-go who was the man amongst the boys, as soon as they took their positions at the podium. St. Ange took center stage with two boys on each side; Faure to his right and Ramkalawan to his left, easily positioned for St.Ange to smack either kid if they ‘got out of hand’ or unruly.
The moderators were well-dressed but sloppy in discharging the task in hand; Renaud had absolutely no experience in the exercise that he was about to discharge and it showed throughout the debate. He should have politely refused the task and allowed for a younger contender (Clive Camille) who is far better at this job, to discharge this most historic duty, which Bernardin made a mess of…. Maybe he couldn’t resist the limelight.
It was visibly clear that the incumbent was under tremendous pressure, with Ramkalawan showing signs of nerves; St.Ange looked cool as a cucumber. Renaud made his first gaffe of the night by going straight into the questions without asking the three candidates to introduce themselves. The questions were not well framed and direct enough, one would say that most questions were open-ended questions, which allowed the candidates to provide any answer.
The first blow as expected came from Ramkalawan aimed at the US candidate; stating that taxes were being collected in the country on the basis of “ek nou pa ek nou”. The question was clearly on what they were going to do to bring the informal sector into the mainstream. Renaud failed to interject to bring the debate back on track. However, Ramkalawan made a massive mistake by saying that both St.Ange and Faure had been in government and had done nothing to enact legislation for the collection of taxes from all sectors. St.Ange was quick to highlight that it was Wavel Ramkalawan who was in the majority in the legislative for the last four years and had failed to address this situation that he was accusing others of not doing. Ramkalawan went in a spin and Bernardin Renaud came to his rescue. Wavel’s shallow thinking was made apparent when he stated that drug traffickers were also victims, because they could end up being caught by the police.
While Danny was struggling badly to defend the accusations against him on one hand, Ramkalawan answers were shallow for someone who wants to become the next President of the country; his answers had no substance and he had to ride on the coattail of St.Ange for the rest of the debate.
St.Ange said clearly that on assuming the presidency he will open the tourism industry completely. He said that if we don’t the tourism industry will be destroyed beyond repair. St.Ange also said that he will keep the tourism portfolio at State House under his full control for him to personally oversee the reconstruction of the industry. He went on to say that we will have representatives in the departure lounge to test every single passenger for Covid-19 using the three minute test kit before they board the aircrafts to Seychelles – as it is now being done in Germany. St.Ange was clear and precise in his deliberations and the feedback from the general public reflects his superiority over the other two candidates. The next presidential debate is scheduled for Friday 16th October, 7pm, live on SBC.