How will the Seychellois working with the visitors from UAE vote?

A large number of Seychellois citizens are currently working at the three hotels where a very big Arab delegation has decided to spend an extended holiday here. They came in July and are reported to have asked for an extension to stay in Seychelles for up to the end of November this year.

This will mean that they will be in the country during the general elections which are scheduled for the 22nd to the 24th October this year. The prolongation of the their visit is a plus for Seychelles’ struggling tourism industry and is also providing very well paid jobs for those locals who have been picked to work for them at those hotels. There is only one downside and that is the fact that due to a heightened sense of COVID19 preparedness among those visitors, the Seychellois working at those hotels are not allowed to go home until the visitors leave the country. They are adequately compensated for this and have agreed to it.

All the same it does raise a query in relations to the elections. The workers have been asking whether they will get the opportunity to cast their votes or not. As they are not allowed out of their respective hotel premises, casting their vote is put in question. Reports indicate that those managing the visitors’ stay are conscious of the matter and are exploring different ideas as to how to deal with it.

There has been a proposal to have a special voting station at one of the hotels, with the staff being taken there and back directly under escort. However, this does present a logistical challenge to the Electoral Commission, which is already dealing with how to facilitate voting for those locals who are in quarantine.

Another possibility which the management is looking at, is that just before the elections, the visitors will go to other hotels on the outer islands and stay there for two weeks, so that the staff can go and vote and then return to their workplace, and be in a controlled environment well in advance of the return of their clients so that if anything un-towards happens to one of them, it will be detected well in time to prevent posing any danger to the visitors.

The Electoral Commission of Seychelles which is currently occupied with the start of the official campaign period is yet to make itself heard on these topics.

Voting aside, there have also been quite a lot of quiet complaints coming out from the hotels where the delegation is staying. The staff have no issues with their clients, but they have been expressing dissatisfaction towards the management, especially in relations to the service charge. Some claim that even if a group of staff is executing the same duties to the same clients daily, there are huge discrepancies in their service charge. They claim that even if they have queried about this the administration has turned a deaf ear to their questions. This newspaper will pursue the matter further.