Tourism and Culture Minister Alain St.Ange was in the National Assembly this week for the question time session. He answered seven questions relating to tourism and culture.
The first was from the elected member for the Baie Ste. Anne on Praslin, Natasha Esther, who was seeking more details on the relocation of the public library in the district.
Minister St.Ange said in 2011, the government gave a plot of land on Eve island to build a cultural center for the Baie Ste. Anne and Grand Anse Praslin districts.
Following this decision, an architect was given the task of working on a concept, taking into account the facilities that the Department of Culture wanted to have and improve on Praslin such as the library, National Archives, National Heritage, and the Conservatoire of music.
He added that the Department of Culture has received the concept, consulted with the Praslin community, and the proposition has obtained positive feedback.
The proposed concept has also been submitted to the cabinet of ministers, and one of the amendments to be made was to include the characteristics of Praslin in the design. The project was put on hold as funds were not yet available. Minister St.Ange said the Department of Culture has made provisions in the 2017 budget for the project.
The second question was from the elected member for the English River district, Kevin Vidot, who asked the Minister to give more details on what was being done to encourage young people to take part in the promotion of the islands’ culture.
Minister St.Ange said the ministry recognizes the involvement of youth in promoting the islands’ Creole culture. He added that in the Department of Culture’s strategic plan, one of the main elements is to ensure that the youths of this country actively takes part in all cultural programs.
He gave details of the cultural programs which are available, and services being offered by the Culture Department, as well as well as its entities.
Mr. Vidot questioned the Minister on the proposed development of the La Bastille property and what was happening to the relocation of the staff located in this building.
Minister St.Ange also answered a question relating to the nature trails which are situated on private properties from the elected member for Anse Aux Pins, Meggy Marie, and that of Anse Boileau, Bernard Arnephy, who raised the issue of competitiveness in the tourism industry with the aim of reducing applicable rates of services offered. On the tourism-related question where the price was being questioned, Minister St.Ange said that consumers were allowed to vote with their feet and not to patronize establishments who were doing a disservice to the industry by overcharging. “Tourists will post their feedback on Facebook, on Trip Advisor, and other social media. This does no good to the establishment, especially in this very competitive time,” the Minister said.
Murielle Marie, the elected member of Au Cap, asked the minister if it was in the ministry’s plans to exempt students from post-secondary institutions from paying the fee of R200 for a Police Character Certificate when going on work attachment.
On his part, Emmanuel Fideria, the elected member for Les Mamelles, wanted the National Assembly to be briefed on what caused the delay in the completion of the Seychelles Tourism Academy project.
Minister St.Ange also gave detailed explanations about the policy guiding the Ministry of Tourism and Culture on each question raised. In lengthy answers, he elaborated on each subject matter raised and also took on the series of supplementary question from the floor after each of the questions.
The Minister was accompanied to the Seychelles National Assembly by the Principal for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, and that of Culture, Benjamine Rose, as well as the Chief Executives of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Naiken, and Seychelles Heritage Foundation, Miera Savy.
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