The South African “Fantastic 8” in the Seychelles Police (part three)

How Commissioner Labonte presides over sad goings-on in the Force where Seychellois are humiliated and South Africans are put on a pedestal (Part Three)

ne of the saddest parts of our trilogy on the presence of the 8 South African police officers in the Seychelles force is that Commissioner Kishnan Labonte constantly praises the South Africans in public while putting down the Seychellois.

Local Police officers speak with frustration how one of  the Deputy Commissioners of police was once humiliated by the Commissioner because his South African pet Jan Celliers reported him for something that Celliers did not like, and now he has to tread carefully so as not to upset the man. 

It has come to a point that no one dares to upset Celliers, unless they want to feel the full wrath of Commissioner Labonte.

 The Police Commissioner, who is supposed to be the pride of our nation, one of the three people to stand on the podium by the President on the National Day, has become the sidekick of a crafty, selfish and ambitious old man who does not give a hoot about the wellbeing of the country and the safety of the people of Seychelles.

 What is known though, is that Celliers as head of Financial Crime Investigation has such a ‘folie de grandeur’ that he wants to have an office in almost every government ministry.


How humiliating can it be that whenever a Seychellois officer talks to Commissioner Labonte, he would quickly say: “I will have to talk to Celliers or I will talk to Thavers”, while he has two local Deputy Commissioners.

 That is done even in their presence.  How humiliating!  This shows that he has no interest in developing young people. 

One thing is blatantly clear from all this – between Celliers and Labonte, both are just there waiting for a very fat severance package, with Celliers probably banking in staying to be a consultant to the mess he has orchestrated, while both of them keep saying that Seychellois are not good enough!

It is also clear that under the South Africans Seychellois will not be better, for no training programme appears to have been put in place. Time that should have been spent training and mentoring Seychellois cadres have been spent at overseas conferences and workshops while local officers have been moved around or forced to resign.

Two young Seychellois professionals trained in finance and who aspired to make a career in Financial Criminal Investigation Unit have had to run away.  One is now working in private sector, and the other is an announcer with a local radio. 

This is how talents are wasted to make way for retired octogenarian bent of organizing their retirement severance package. 


It is said that Celliers wants only ‘yes men’. People who will not think, people who will not ask questions, people who are blind, deaf and dumb to his incompetence.  Celliers wants to preserve his stay in Seychelles, earn a fat retirement package and stay as a consultant.

Sadly, out of probably ten or eleven staff at Financial Criminal Investigation Unit, four of them are foreigners, and they are the top four.  Jan Celliers, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Heins Prinsloo: Superintendent, Gerard Botes: Superintendent, and Michelle Murphy, Superintendent.

It is said that Murphy is just doing administrative work that could have been done by a Seychellois, while raking in a fat salary, fatter than any Seychellois can ever aspire to.

Commissioner Labonte with Celliers in tow goes around saying there are no qualified Seychellois.  Correction! There ARE qualified Seychellois, but none of them are prepared to work for peanuts for a group of lazy octogenarians and pleasures seekers building their fat pensions.

125,000 A MONTH

If salary is a morale booster, there is one reason why the presence of the Fantastic Eight is killing the force.  Celliers, for all his plodding around, is earning in excess of 125,000 rupees a month.

From a well-placed sources within the police who did not want to divulge the exact package, on average, each officer is taking AT LEAST one hundred thousand per month. Celliers earns more than the Commissioner, in fact, he earns more than the president. 

While Seychellois are being asked to make sacrifices, or told that they cannot be paid a lot of money, they see the Fantastic Eight raking millions every month together combined, how would you think they feel while they are the ones who is doing all the work.

If within the force is a problem, relations with partners and stakeholders outside the force is even bad.  Celliers does not want to cooperate with the Financial Units, rather he wants to control them. 

He evens complain working with the Attorney General.  He feels that as a white man, he is the expert at everything.  He is reluctant to work with Seychelles Licensing authority because he cannot control them. 

Everyone you talk to, the word Jan Celliers brings cringes to their faces or bad taste in their mouth.  While the country pampers the “Fantastic 8” the security of the country is at risk.

Any leader whose legacy is a failure, was never fit to be in that position at all.  As we are now, Seychelles needs all its children, but in the force, everyone is hanging on to see the back of both of the local made Laurel and Hardy without the sad comedy.