During the past 5 weeks, this is the third time I am visiting Seychelles in my capacity as EU Ambassador since I took my post. This bears testimony to my commitment to further enhance our partnership, which is already very close and cordial.
Seychelles' commitment to meet its international obligations
The commitment of Seychelles to tackle and to meet its obligations on several international instances is remarkable. Let me for example mention here the country’s commitment to the Universal Peer Review Mechanism or to the review mechanism set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Although Seychelles is a relatively young free nation, it has made great progress in consolidating its democratic bases and in ensuring respect of the rule of law. Seychelles has also taken global commitments with regard to the respect of human rights as well as with respect to environmental rights, notably through the reduction of carbon emission.
The Government of Seychelles is currently implementing its commitments on the tax regime by amending laws on certain harmful regimes. This is yet another area in which the European Union is in very close consultations with the Government.
I wish to seize the opportunity to encourage the Government to pursue in this direction and to commend the leadership on its vision that is being translated in clear and unequivocal domestic and foreign policies. By following this path and by tackling the various hurdles, the country is adopting international best practices and forging closer ties with the international community.
The need to reinforce capacity of key institutional organisations : EU response
These overarching efforts represent an important workload in particular for key institutions like the Department of Legal Affairs. Indeed many of these commitments require changes in the law. For instance, abiding to global human rights resolutions require domestication of laws.
The question that arises is whether the local institutions have the required technical capacity and expertise to do so?
The reinforcement of capacity of local institutions is one of the areas on which President Faure requested EU support during our last Article 8 Political Dialogue. And I am therefore very pleased to say that we, at the EU, have made this our top priority.
We have allocated the Government an envelope of 4.5 million Seychelles Rupees to help the Office of the Attorney General in drafting urgent bills. We are convinced that this will bring an impactful and decisive support!
As of today, we understand that the Department of Legal Affairs needs to draft, on average, more than 55 laws every year. As pointed out by the Eastern and Southern African Anti Money Laundering group's (ESAAMLAG) report, the Department faces capacity constraints in particular with respect to human resources.
Thanks to the EU support, two long term experts will be based at the Department of Legal Affairs until August next year. Mr Hedley is here today with us and will provide us with more details on his intervention.
Mr Hedley will be joined by another expert who is an experienced lawyer. He will provide technical inputs in managing civil litigation cases as well as cases involving money laundering, corruption, including civil and criminal based proceedings for confiscation of proceeds of crimes.
With all this support, I am convinced that both the capacity and the track record of the Seychelles authorities will be further enhanced. And we look forward to be here next year to celebrate Seychelles' successes!
Thank you for your attention.