- The respected founding President of Seychelles, James Richard Mancham, today called for a unity "government of national reconstruction" as they island nation is in its deepest ever economic crisis and receives aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The painful Seychelles economic reform programme, launched with the support of the IMF on 1 November, today caused the archipelago's founding President to call for the formation of a government of national reconstruction.
Normally occupied in international peace negotiations, Mr Mancham said it now was his duty to speak out as the Seychelles is going through a severe economic malaise with the sudden discovery by the people, that their country is bankrupt and that government had taken public loans in excess of US$ 800 million and private loans in excess of US$ 500 million.
"Whilst we must be more concerned with the present and the future – it would still be important to know the story of debt accumulation and discover how much we owe can be regarded as 'illegitimate' – for example, those loans taken for useless projects, or at usurious rates of interest or primarily to benefit the donor country rather than the recipient Nation," Mr Mancham stated.
He called on the Seychelles government to audit the debt and release details of what was spent on. "If loans were lent recklessly, or tinged with corruption, they should not be repaid," Mr Mancham said. Likewise, those here who had taken money illegitimately should return it to the country.
Taking note of a recent statement by President James Michel - that all citizens should work together and make big sacrifices to get the nation out of the economic mess – Mr Mancham said that the only way to make this happen peacefully and in unity, would be through the creation of a unity government, which would "involve all active political parties committed to look at our situation in a transparent way through a Seychelles First philosophy."
He further explained that, over the last two decades, "the interest of some individuals and in the interest of the political party, have taken priority over the interest of the nation."
Mr Mancham was the first President of Seychelles, ruling from independence in 1976. He was deposed by his Prime Minister France-Albert René in June 1977. President René in 2004 transferred powers to his deputy, Mr Michel.
Mr René also founded Seychelles People's United Party - the forerunner to today's Seychelles People's Progressive Front, which has ruled the archipelago since the 1977 coup. Mr René's party was the sole legal political party in the country from 1979 to 1993. Later elections have been deemed unfair by the country's opposition.
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