Following conflicting remarks circulating on social media regarding the process and the granting of a gainful occupation permit (GOP) to a foreign lawyer, in reference to the case of Miranda Ching who had come in from London to defend two suspects in the case of the missing US $50million, the principal secretary for immigration and civil status Alain Volcère yesterday clarified the circumstances surrounding the particular case.

“For a foreign lawyer to be authorised to practice law in Seychelles including right of audience, he or she needs to have a license and a gainful occupation permit (GOP). But to begin with, an application has to be submitted before the Supreme Court either by a law firm or an individual lawyer – the associate of the foreign lawyer. Among the documents the law firm or lawyer has to submit to the Supreme Court includes an affidavit and this is in line with the Legal Practitioner’s Act,” Mr Volcère explained.

He went on to note that once the Court is satisfied with the application, it will serve a court order that stipulates the compulsory conditions that should be adhered to by the foreign lawyer and these include having a GOP which he or she should submit to the Supreme Court once received in order to be granted a license to practice.

Mr Volcère specified that as per the foreign lawyer’s license and GOP, he or she is not permitted to provide any legal services to other people outside the specific case.

While it is the normal procedure for a GOP process to start while a person is still outside Seychelles, Mr Volcère said in relation to lawyer Miranda Ching’s case, it was registered on January 13, a day before she entered the country. Her application was processed on January 20 and on the same day she took her oath before leaving the country the following day.

Mr Volcère remarked that a GOP application was also submitted on that day but it was incomplete.

“She had to leave the country because she did not have a GOP,” Mr Volcère stressed, noting that until now no GOP application has been received for processing.

He further noted that all the different steps in the process have been followed and there only remains the GOP certificate to be obtained.

He said that under normal circumstances a GOP is processed and obtained in a week.

He further clarified that all GOPs should be paid for regardless if the  foreign employee is from a Commonwealth jurisdiction or not.

For her part the executive director in the employment department, Veronique Bresson, noted that the GOP process for foreign legal practitioners is different and more specific compared to other foreign employees as it includes the Court submission and subsequent Court order.

“The person in question felt that she needed to be present in the country to follow the Court process before exiting the country because she knows that she cannot start practicing without the GOP and that this cannot be processed if the person is in the country,” Ms Bresson clarified, noting that for the time being the employment department is yet to receive the GOP application.

 

Marie-Anne Lepathy

As the Covid-19 pandemic shows no sign of abating, parents are concerned about their children’s education and as more people lose their jobs and are not sure what to do and in what area to re-train, through an agreement signed with the department of Employment mid last year, the Computing and Additional Learning Centre is still offering a variety of extra lessons and training programmes in different areas.

Clivy Albert, the managing director of Computing and Additional Learning Centre based in the Salle d’Oeuvres Building in Victoria, said it will be 20 years this year since the centre has been offering extra classes for pupils and develop adult computer skill as well as provide training in different fields.

He said the different lessons are still in demand and people should not hesitate to come forward and seek to gain other skills.

“Computing and Additional Learning still focuses on giving new skills and broadening the knowledge and education of our people of all ages,” Mr Albert said.

The Computing and Additional Learning Centre has been offering a variety of extra classes in languages as well as mathematics and computer lessons for young primary pupils. For secondary students they have been offering extra classes mostly in physics, mathematics, English as well as computer lessons.

Mr Albert noted that it is thanks to the services of qualified part-time instructors in the different subjects who have been faithful to the centre over the years that it has succeeded to give additional skills to many young people as well as many mature students in different areas.

“Pupils with learning difficulties have seen themselves catching up on their lessons while those doing very well have sought extra classes to develop further,” Mr Albert said.

He noted that mathematics is a subject that many pupils struggle with and at the centre, they have helped a lot of them to cope better.

In terms of classes for adults, Mr Albert said the centre focuses mostly on offering basic courses in different subjects like accounting, human resource, customer service and do not ask for a lot of requirements in order to enroll on the courses.

“Many people often believe that these courses demand a lot and that they would never be able to enroll on and see themselves succeeding which is not at all the case because we at the Computing and Additional Learning Centre firmly believe in giving people a second chance in life. This is their chance to develop their skills as well as their confidence,” Mr Albert said.

He went on to note that through an agreement signed with the department of Employment last year, the centre has helped re-skilled over 70 people who had lost their jobs because of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic by upgrading their computer knowledge and skills and giving them training in basic accounting.

“Today I am happy that these people are doing other jobs and are moving on in their lives. People should not be afraid to come forward and seize the opportunity for a second chance in life. Computer knowledge today is very important, it is the basis for online learning as well as for all the small basic everyday life activities,” Mr Albert pointed out.

He noted that people should not be afraid because to start with they will only have to learn the basics about a computer and the rest they will gradually learn as they go along.

Meanwhile Mr Albert has pointed out that over the years there has been a remarkable decrease in the number of pupils who enroll for computer lessons because he says many parents, once their children can manipulate different electronic gadgets, they believe they are computer literate which is not at all the case.

“Often when their school lessons involve producing works in Microsoft Word or Excel they are unable to do so and often it is difficult to convince the parents that manipulating the different electronic gadgets are different from computer knowledge. Such knowledge is crucial for home schooling and parents should be aware of these issues at a time when a lot of emphasis is being placed on virtual and home schooling and online learning,” Mr Albert remarked.

Mr Albert went on to note that prices for extra classes for pupils can be paid on a termly basis and parents can always discuss payment terms for the different packages and agree on something which is reasonable for both parties.

Looking back on the achievements of the centre almost 20 years later Mr Albert said he is proud and happy at the number of people – both pupils and adults – who have gone through the centre and are doing well in their lives.

“I am full of pride when people started off by learning the very basic at the centre and later went on to join other learning centres like The Guy Morel Institute to further their studies,” Mr Albert said.      

Mr Albert said lessons are expected to start soon as more parents seek extra lessons for their children to boost their learning as Covid-19 continue to interrupt face to face learning.

For more information call 4226241/ 2512691 to get a new start in your life as well as boost your child’s education during those difficult times.

 

Compiled by Marie-Anne Lepathy

Children and staff from four children’s homes on Mahé were happy to welcome First Lady Linda Ramkalawan and Employment and Social Affairs Minister Patricia Francourt who visited them yesterday.

First Lady Ramkalawan and Minister Francourt used the visits to the President’s Village (Port Glaud), La Solitude (La Misère) and Foyer de Nazareth (Anse Etoile) whose residents were joined by those from the Foyer de La Providence (St Elizabeth, Victoria), to bring gifts and greetings for the festive season from President Wavel Ramkalawan and also interact with the children and staff.

In order to enhance labour market efficiency by providing actors with relevant and timely information for decision-making, the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs has officially launched the first phase of the country’s first Labour Market Information System (LMIS).

An LMIS is the information on the labour market presented in a consolidated and structured way, and accessible to different users.

It is built on consolidating labour market data collected from different providers (public and private).

The modules of the first phase of the LMIS have been developed by the ministry responsible for employment in close collaboration with the Department of Information Communications Technology (DICT).

They will be used to register vacancies, jobseekers, job placements, and application of redundancy.

The different modules will also assist the ministry to better serve and understand the needs of its clients, while providing information for labour market statistics and analysis.

The first phase of the project was launched yesterday by Vice-President Ahmed Afif, during a ceremony held at the Exiles Club in Victoria, in the presence of Minister for Employment and Social Affairs Patricia Francourt and principal secretary for Employment Jules Baker.

In her introductory remarks, Minister Francourt noted that we are living and working in a digital era, where many parts of our lives and the economy depends on information technology, and as the expectations of clients – the public – increase, they rely on public servants to deliver services timely and efficiently.

She said through these modules, the ministry will be better able to collect, compile and standardise more information on jobs in demand through registered vacancies and the people seeking employment.

This, she said, will also in turn enable it to provide a quicker feedback to its clients and to monitor their employment status.

Minister Francourt further noted that since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic the volume of data recorded by the Employment department has increased, while the move to digitalise the services and to implement the LMIS has been underway for a long time.

This, she said, is part of the ministry’s strategic plan and decent work country programme with the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

“I must say that the Covid-19 pandemic has also accelerated this change given that labour market statistics have become of paramount importance more than ever before, in order to understand the economic outlook,” added Minister Francourt who further noted that the availability of reliable data will support this digital transformation and improve the employment analysis.

Minister Francourt also added that the ministry intends to do better and more and that it is its plan to engage private employment agencies to use this system and for the modules to go online for jobseekers and employers to submit applications directly online.

This, she added, will be another milestone that we look forward to.

She said the next phase of the LMIS will cover modules such as non-Seychellois employment and that the Ministry is also working in partnership with the National Bureau of Statistics and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to adopt the organisation’s system of LMIS where all data at national level related to employment will be centralised, compiled, analysed and published.

She thanked the Employment and DICT teams who have worked tirelessly on the development of the forms, programming of the system and facilitating the necessary training to Employment officers on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.

“Your work is appreciated and you have persevered even when our office operations were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic,” added Minister Francourt.

LMIS provides an essential basis for employment and labour policies, and inform the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies that are better focused and targeted, while it also contributes to a reduction in the transaction costs of labour markets as they help overcome incomplete information of labour market agents.

 

Roland Duval

    Lights

 

Employment Department in collaboration with the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) officially launched the first phase of the Internal Labour Market Information System (LMIS) for the Employment Services and Industrial Relations Modules on Thursday 16th December 2021.

The creation of the modules is to register vacancies, jobseekers, job placements and applications of redundancy. The system will better assist the Ministry to understand the needs of its clients and it will also provide information for labour market statistics and analysis.

The ceremony began with the opening remarks from the Minister for Employment and Social Affairs Mrs. Patricia Francourt where the Minister thanked the Vice-President Mr. Ahmed Afif for his presence, which affirms his continued commitment towards efficient service delivery across Government through information technological tools. Minister Francourt expressed her appreciation to the Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade, Mr Naadir Hassan, for his support in reinforcing the collaboration of the LMIS implementation process between the Departments of Employment and ICT.

Minister Francourt also extended her thanks to the Employment and DICT teams who have worked tirelessly on the development of the forms, programming of the system and facilitating the necessary training to the Employment officers on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.

The Minister continued by adding that as we are living and working in a digital era, where many parts of our life and the economy depends on information technology. As the expectations of the clients - the public increase, they rely on public servants to deliver services timely and efficiently. Therefore introducing the online system will better able the Ministry to collect, compile and standardize more information on jobs in demand through registered vacancies and the people seeking employment. This will also in turn enable the Ministry to provide a quicker feedback to its clients and to monitor their employment status.

Mr. Gerard Gill Director of Software Development from DICT and the officers from Employment Department demonstrated how they will access and insert information of Employer, Employees and Job seekers in the module.

The Vice-President received the honour to press the button to officially launch the live version of the modules. The ceremony was ended after Principal Secretary of Employment Department Mr. Jules Baker and other officials from DICT gave a brief explanation of the next phase of the LMIS.

 

Eight young persons living with disabilities who have followed and completed a six-month vocational training programme, have been rewarded for their achievements and hard work.

Ibrahim Dodin was rewarded for his outstanding performance as well as for being the best overall performer.

The Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, Mrs. Patricia Francourt participated and delivered a speech in a Virtual Validation and Launch of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Programme Development of the Blue Economy in African Island States: Decent Work, Prosperity, Sustainability on 23-24 November, 2021. The event follows a regional workshop organized by the ILO in 2019,  and hosted by Seychelles under the theme “Creating a sustainable future of work and a just transition towards Blue economy in African Island states.”

Children who feel they are being abused or need advice and guidance in times of difficulties and distress can now just call 116 for assistance.

The free, three-digit helpline number, also to be used by adults to report child abuse cases, was officially unveiled by Vice-President  Ahmed Afif in a ceremony held at the Paradis Des Enfants on Saturday morning to commemorate Universal Children’s Day, which also fell on Saturday.