Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mauritius and Seychelles sign security agreement

Mauritius and Seychelles have signed a framework agreement on security and combating crime aimed at deepening existing cooperation between the two countries.

The agreement was signed in Mauritius between Mr. Jean Paul Adam, Seychelles’ Minister for Foreign Affairs and Dr. Arvin Boolell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of Mauritius during the 10th session of the Seychelles-Mauritius Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two countries will share knowledge, experiences and best practices to combat transnational crimes such as piracy, drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorism and illegal fishing. It also established the basis under which the countries may negotiate and agree joint protection and patrol of their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).

The Joint Commission is held every two years and is aimed at deepening the cooperation between the two states. The two ministers stressed that the Joint Commission talks would add impetus to existing bilateral cooperation in the fields of tourism, agriculture and culture and that the regional partnership would promote the ‘blue economy’ and the ‘Vanilla Islands Initiative’.

Sources: Seychelles Nation (7/9/2013); Today in Seychelles (10/9/2013)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Chagos marine park is lawful, British High Court rules

A coral atoll in the Chagos Islands
Chagos islands

A UK government decision to create a marine park in the Indian Ocean has been upheld by the High Court.

The controversial reserve was set up around the UK-controlled Chagos Islands in 2010, with commercial fishing banned in areas.

Former residents said it would effectively bar them from returning because fishing was their livelihood. The islanders were evicted in the 1960s to make way for the US Air Force base on the largest island, Diego Garcia.

Sitting in the High Court in London, Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Mitting ruled the marine protected area (MPA) was "compatible with EU law". This latest challenge is part of the islanders' long-running legal battle for the right of return.

The marine park was created by British diplomat Colin Roberts in his role as commissioner for the British Indian Ocean Territory on the instructions of the then foreign secretary in April 2010. The move followed consultations with the US during which the Americans were assured the use of their base on Diego Garcia would not be adversely affected by the reserve.

Under cross-examination at the High Court, Mr Roberts denied that the marine park had been created for the "improper purpose" of keeping the Chagossians out, as the US wanted, and said it was for environmental and conservation purposes.

Lawyers for the islanders said a classified US government cable published by WikiLeaks, a website with a reputation for publishing sensitive material, supported their accusations. They said Mr Roberts was reported in the cable as telling US diplomats at the US embassy in London in May 2009 that the park would keep the Chagossians from resettling on the islands and mean "no human footprints" or "Man Fridays" in the territory.

Nigel Pleming QC, for the exiled islanders, asked Mr Roberts about the alleged "Man Fridays" comment and suggested to him that it was "a totemic phrase that offends". Talking generally, Mr Roberts said he "absolutely" agreed and would never have used the phrase in such circumstances, but he refused to answer specific questions about the authenticity and accuracy of the cable.

Initially, the judges ruled Mr Roberts should answer questions about the cable, and could not rely on a government policy of "neither confirming nor denying" allegations involving matters of national interest. But after further submissions on behalf of the foreign secretary, the judges ruled that the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964 meant the alleged cable, or copies of it held by newspapers, were inadmissible in evidence.

Olivier Bancoult, a spokesman for Chagossian exiles, gave his reaction to BBC News, speaking from his home in Mauritius, where most of the islanders were taken after their deportation.  "I am very disappointed that the judges did not consider the suffering of the Chagossian people," he said. "We don't understand how it is possible for foreigners - the Americans at the base - to live on the land of our birth while we natives are denied this right. It is one of the most shameful things for the British government to have done."

Mr Bancoult said he planned to launch an appeal against the judgement and to continue his campaign "to show the world that the British government has trampled on our rights".

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) welcomed the ruling and its recognition that "officials had acted properly and that the consultation process was valid". In a statement, the FCO also said that the Foreign Secretary William Hague had previously said that the policy towards Britain's Indian Ocean territories would be reviewed.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22852375#

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mauritius assists Seychelles

Works to clear debris after Felling  (Source: NDRF)
The Government of Mauritius has made available a generous donation of USD 100,000.00 to the Government of Seychelles to assist with relief and recovery in the wake of the disasters caused by tropical cyclone "Felleng".

Seychelles became the first victim to be affected by "Felleng" between 27th to 29th January 2013 prompting the government to declare a state of emergency over three main districts along the east coast of Mahe. The total cost of losses and damages to property, agricultural losses and other infrastructures amounted to approximately 9 Million US Dollars. 

President James Michel set up a National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) immediately in order to raise local and international financial assistance for the families who were left without a home during the floods, as well as those who will need to repair their homes, as well as the surrounding infrastructure 

In a meeting with the local media today, Mrs. Lekha Nair, the Chair of the NDRF thanked the Government of Mauritius for this very generous donation. The Honorary Consul of Mauritius in Seychelles, Dr. Nirmal Jivan Shah is a Board Member of the NDRF which is made up of 3 senior civil servants and 3 persons from civil society.

Source: NDRF

Monday, April 29, 2013

Chagos : les documents Wikileaks jugés irrecevables

La Haute Cour de Londres a tranché : le Groupe Réfugiés Chagos (GRC) ne pourra pas utiliser les
correspondances diplomatiques anglo-américaines révélées par Wikileaks portant sur la création d’une Marine Protected Area autour de l’archipel des Chagos. Cela dans le cadre du procès instruit par Olivier Bancoult, président du GRC, contestant la légalité de la réserve marine la plus étendue du monde.

A l’heure des arguments, Steven Kovats, représentant légal du Foreign Office (FO), a, d’abord, tenté de faire valoir la politique gouvernementale de “neither confirm nor deny” (NCND) par rapport aux documents susmentionnés qui font état d’une machination de Londres et de Washington pour empêcher les Chagossiens de retourner sur leur terre natale. Puis, il a eu recours à l’article 24 de la Convention de Vienne sur les relations diplomatiques de 1961 selon lequel “les archives et les documents de la mission sont inviolables à tout moment et en quelque lieu qu’ils se trouvent”.

C’est justement en se basant sur la clause 24 de cette convention que les juges Richards et Mitting ont émis un jugement favorable au gouvernement britannique qui est, toutefois, en nette contradiction avec d’autres cas où les documents de Wikileaks ont été jugés recevables.

Malgré la déception, le GRC ne compte nullement baisser les bras, envisageant d’avoir recours au Comité des droits de l’Homme des Nations unies pour contester la violation des droits sur l’International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Le GRC compte également relancer la pétition initiée en mars 2012 qui a récolté plus de 20 000 signatures à Maurice et à l’étranger. Cette initiative vise à demander à l’administration américaine d’accepter sa part de responsabilité sur les torts causés à la communauté chagossienne.

Source: Le Matinal - http://www.lematinal.com

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Felix Maurel: Private investigator insinuate foul play, inquiry to move to Farquhar

A private investigator engaged by the Maurel family to help determined what happened to Felix Maurel who disappeared on Farquhar in April of 2010 has said his investigation suggest that was foul play involved given the circumstances of the disappearance.

The South African gave evidence in court on the third day of the hearing late last month, when the court concluded that it needs to retrace the footsteps of Mr Maurel on location at Farquhar itself in order to have a clearer insight into what could have happened.

The cost for the expedition is to be shouldered by the Maurel family, the same people who ordered the inquest initially and arrangements are ongoing for all parties concerned to go to Farquhar sometime later this month. 

In his statement to the court the South African investigator said he does not believe Mr Maurel went into the sea, or that he drowned for that matter as a result of that.

Most deponents in the case has suggested theoretically that Mr Maurel wnet into the sea at some point during the walk, as it was a very hot day and the sea was calm and inviting.

But the investigator said according to an experiment he carried out on his visit on the island, the body of Maurel would have remained afloat had he drowned, and would have been spotted by the search parties during the early days of the search.

Other testimonies adduced before the court so far state that Mr Maurel disappeared after abandoning a walk fifteen minutes into it accompanied by a bunch of friends he was holidaying with on Farquhar. 

Witnesses say he left the group to go back to where the boat was anchored, stating he was tired and not feeling well. 

But the skipper said Mr Maurel never made it back to the boat, stressing that he never left the boat out of view at any given time as he waited for group to return.

Source: Le Seychellois Hebdo

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ancient long-lost continent discovered under Mauritius

It’s not Atlantis, but a drowned continent has been discovered under Mauritius. The strip of continent, now at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, once connected Madagascar, Seychelles and India. As tectonic movement shifted the land masses apart, this land mass, now named Mauritia by researchers, was pushed to the bottom of the ocean, where it was broken apart by underwater volcanoes.

Evidence for this drowned, long-lost land comes from Mauritius where till date the oldest rocks collected on the island dated to about 8.9 million years ago, Yet grain-by-grain analyses of beach sand that says Bjørn Jamtveit, a geologist at the University of Oslo and his colleagues collected on the Mauritian coast revealed around 20 semi-preious zircons — tiny crystals of zirconium silicate that are resistant to erosion or chemical change — that were far older. The zircons had crystallized within granites or other igneous rocks at least 660 million years ago, says Jamtveit. One of these zircons was at least 1.97 billion years old.

Jamtveit and his colleagues suggest that rocks containing the travelling zircons originated in ancient fragments of continental crust located beneath Mauritius. They say that volcanic eruptions brought pieces of the crust to Earth’s surface, where the zircons eroded from their parent rocks to pepper the island’s sands. The team's work has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.


Image: Prof.Trond H. Torsvik. University of Oslo

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Former Mauritian minister calls on leaders in Seychelles

Mr Gayan during his call on President Michel yesterday
Source: Seychelles Nation

Former Foreign Affairs Minister of Mauritius Anil Gayan called on President James Michel at State House on Tuesday April 2nd.

He also met Vice-President Danny Faure during his courtesy call on which he was accompanied by secretary of state for foreign affairs Barry Faure and ambassador Callixte d’Offay, who was previously serving as the secretary general of the Indian Ocean Commission whose headquarters is in Mauritius. Mr d’Offay is a roving ambassador to the Indian Ocean Islands (Mauritius, Madagascar and Comoros) and also a special envoy to La Reunion.

A lawyer by profession, Mr Gayan has been a member of the Mauritian parliament and has worked closely with major regional and global organisations.

Source: Seychelles Nation http://www.nation.sc/index.php?art=31012

Wednesday, April 3, 2013



 Date: April 02, 2013

1. A number of people and private companies have expressed their spontaneous willingness to make financial contributions to assist the victims of the recent flash flood which occurred on Saturday 30 March 2013.

 2. Government has decided that all such donations should be channeled to the Prime Minister’s Relief and Support Fund. The contributions should be deposited in the State Bank of Mauritius Limited, Port Louis in Account Number 61025100004021.

Prime Minister’s Office
Home Affairs
2 April 2013

Source: Republic of Mauritius website: www.gov.mu

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Seychelles President extends message of solidarity to Mauritius





President James Michel has expressed his ‘great distress and dismay’ following the flash floods that have struck Port Louis, where there has been loss of life and widespread damage was caused.

In his message to Mauritian Prime Minister Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, President Michel extended Seychelles’ solidarity with its sister island of Mauritius.

“In this time of national mourning, I wanted to personally assure you of our solidarity and support, as the people of Mauritius attempt to come to terms with this loss. Please accept on my own behalf and the people of Seychelles our deepest condolences on your terrible loss,” said the President.

 The President said that the people of Seychelles and Mauritius are linked by more than just history; sharing a thread of kinship which means that such tragedies are keenly felt by all Seychellois families.

 “We share your grief at this moment and extend to you our most heartfelt and sincere sympathies. The Mauritian people, and in particular those families who have lost loved ones, are in our thoughts and prayers. This tragedy comes at a time where our region is still reeling from a number of natural disasters- including the disastrous rains that struck Seychelles in the aftermath of the Tropical Depression Felleng in January and catastrophic destruction caused by cyclone Haruna in Madagascar in February. The vulnerability of our islands is further illustrated in the wake of these events.”

The President said that Seychelles will strengthen its resolve to further improve regional cooperation in disaster reduction and mitigation, while becoming even more determined to speak out strongly- and with one voice- against the catastrophic impact of climate change and extreme weather events on islands. 

“Please rest assured of our support in this moment of great difficulty for the nation of Mauritius. I have every confidence that your personal resolve and leadership will also provide inspiration for Mauritius' society as a whole to emerge from this tragedy as a stronger, more united and determined society.”

Source: Office of the President, State House, Mahe, Seychelles.

The Disappearance of Felix Maurel

Source: Seychelles Weekly

The Magistrate Court in Seychelles will soon make known its findings in an inquest in the disappearance of Felix Maurel, the former Director of the well known Mauritian insurance company La Prudence. Mr. Maurel went missing while holidaying on Farquhar,an outer island in the Seychelles group, on the 7th of April 2010.

The inquest was asked for by the family of Mr. Maurel, who without proof of his death, is requesting that the court confirms presumption of death. The case was heard over 3 days, during which the people who accompanied Mr. Maurel on a boating trip to Farquhar on the day in question gave evidence of what happened,

Source: Le Seychellois Hebdo Vol. 3. No. 11. 28 March 2013

BAR COUNCIL : Renforcement de la coopération entre Maurice et les Seychelles

L’ambassadeure Marie-France Roussety, Me Clifford André (Bar Association des Seychelles), Me Urmila Banymandhub-Boolell (Bar Association de Maurice) et Me Yahia Nazroo

Source: Le Mauricien

La Bar Association des Seychelles et celle de Maurice ont signé vendredi un mémorandum d’entente (Memorandum of Understanding) dans le but de renforcer leur coopération. Les deux pays partagent beaucoup de choses surtout au niveau du droit, a soutenu la nouvelle Chairperson du barreau mauricien, Me Urmila Banymandhub-Boolell.

Lors d’une cérémonie très sobre vendredi, Me Clifford André, membre du comité de gestion de la Bar Association des Seychelles, et la chairperson du barreau mauricien Me Urmila Banymandhub-Boolell ont soutenu que cet accord renforcera la coopération entre les deux pays qui partagent déjà beaucoup au niveau politique et économique. L’ambassadeure de Maurice aux Seychelles Marie-France Roussety et le secrétaire du Bar Council Me Yahia Nazroo étaient présents en tant que témoins de cet accord.
« La décision de signer ce mémorandum d’entente date de plusieurs années et a été à l’agenda d’un comité antérieur… Nous sommes néanmoins heureux de pouvoir signer cet accord aujourd’hui », a soutenu Me Urmila Banymandhub-Boolell. Et d’ajouter : « Nous partageons tant de choses, surtout au niveau du droit. Nous serons heureux d’apporter notre soutien aux Seychelles pour la formation dans la profession légale. »
La Chairperson du Bar Council a déclaré que l’archipel des Seychelles est plus un partenaire qu’un concurrent. Selon Me Urmila Banymandhub-Boolell, il reste encore beaucoup à faire, surtout dans le secteur financier et l’arbitrage internationale. Elle a fait comprendre que la coopération régionale entre les deux pays est primordiale surtout en ces temps de crise. Elle souhaite ainsi que le mémorandum d’entente permette aux membres des deux associations de s’enrichir.

De son côté, Me Clifford André a soutenu que les deux pays ont beaucoup à gagner de cet accord. « Nous allons nous assurer que les échanges entre les deux pays sont fructueux et que ce ne soit pas un document qu’on met dans un tiroir », a-t-il dit. Le représentant du Managing Committee de la Bar Association des Seychelles a rappelé que plusieurs magistrats mauriciens travaillent aux Seychelles et que certains exerceront peut être à la Cour d’appel.

Marie-France Roussety a quant à elle déclaré que l’Attorney General Yatin Varma lui avait fait part de l’importance de cet accord. « Même aux Seychelles, on m’a fait comprendre sa nécessité », a-t-elle précisé.

Maurice et les Seychelles sont co-gestionnaires d’une zone maritime de 396 000 km2, soit une zone du plateau continental des Mascareignes située au-delà de la zone économique exclusive des deux pays. Ils partagent également la volonté de combattre la piraterie dans l’océan Indien.

Soulignons que la Senior Magistrate de la cour intermédiaire de Maurice Asha Egan-Ramano travaille actuellement aux Seychelles en tant que juge. Le chef juge seychellois Frederick Egonda-Ntende est venu plusieurs fois à Maurice. Il était au pays l’année dernière lors de la célébration de la Law Day.

Source: Article paru dans Le Mauricien | 18 March, 2013 - 15:42

Regional Ministers meet in Seychelles for closer economic ties

Source: Seychelles Nation
Dateline: March 20

The two-day meeting – the second of its kind – took place at the Kempinski resort on 18 and 19th March and was chaired by the Seychelles Minister for Finance, Trade and Investment Pierre Laporte.

The countries represented were Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and Zambia. Also present were representatives of global organisations like the World Bank. Mauritius was represented by the Honourable Arvin Boolel, Minister for Forreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade

The delegates decided what follow-up action is necessary and signed minutes of the just-concluded meeting.

When he launched the meeting, Mr Laporte reminded them that in the previous meeting they set up the goal of speeding up the pace of economic integration among our countries to boost trade and investment. 

“We agreed that we need to implement reforms that would streamline trade regulation and processes, improve business climate, enhance trade in services, improve public financial management, trade facilitation and trade logistics, value addition in agricultural sector and eliminate non tariff barriers,” he said.

“We also gave ourselves some months to come up with a clear roadmap for removal of constraints to trade and investment based on the matrix we agreed,” he said, noting that public-private national working groups had been formed and they have discussed the priorities at the national level.”

He said that during a February 2013 meeting held in Mauritius to prepare for the just-ended ministerial meeting, technicians came up with an action matrix which indicated the desired goals, the constraints the countries faced and actions needed to remove the hurdles within three years.

Saying the delegates came from “five like-minded countries”, he said they sought to agree on a set of policy reforms they would like to prioritise to strengthen economic linkages and support the exchange in goods and services among our economies.

The ministers also sought to identify areas needing technical assistance and/or peer to peer knowledge sharing and learning that can be supported by our development partners like the World Bank.
He noted with gratitude that the bank was represented and supported the meeting.

Mr Laporte said this week’s meeting came just before the Bank-Fund Spring forum to be held in April 2013, offering a chance for the Accelerated Programme for Economic Integration to be discussed with the vice-president of the World Bank and to request for technical and financial support for the programme.

Source. The Seychelles Nation


Monday, April 1, 2013

About the Seychelles

Seychelles, officially the Republic of Seychelles, is a 115-island country spanning an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, some 1,500 kilometres east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar.

Capital: Victoria, Seychelles
Currency: Seychelles rupee
Continent: Africa
Official language: French Language, English language, Seselwa Creole French Language
Government: Presidential system, Unitary state, Representative democracy, Republic
Population: 86,000 (2011) World Bank