AIR SEYCHELLES RETAINS UK MOD CONTRACT
‘Outstanding performance’ was according to a regular source one of the main factors for the Ministry of Defence in Britain to renew the contract for Air Seychelles to operate regular personnel charters and supply flights from Brize Norton air force base in the UK to the Falklands’ Mt. Pleasant Airfield via the Ascension islands’ Wide Awake Airfield. The regular ‘air-bridge’ is a key element to keep the islands connected to the ‘home country’ and reaffirms the islanders’ strong ties as part of Britain.
Air Seychelles was initially contracted in 2009 for their operational skills, flying very long haul into remote and isolated islands, but even competitors for these flights eventually had to concede that HM was doing a superb job.
Air Seychelles operates one of their B767-300ER aircraft, which is in addition to their standard C / Y configuration also equipped with a medical suite capable of airlifting urgent medical cases to the UK for treatment. The airline operates flights twice a week – besides additional special charters – under traffic rights granted by the British Civil Aviation Authority. Flying the Creole Spirit across the World.
EASTERN AFRICAN STAND BY FORCE TO EXERCISE IN SOUTH SUDAN
Information was just received that the Eastern African Stand By Force has agreed to hold an exercise later in the year in South Sudan, most likely soon after the Independence has become a reality. Key member states of the group are of course also members in the East African Community, which itself as in more recent times created a military stand by brigade composed of units from the presently 5 members. The move, according to a reliable source, is giving further indication that the new Republic of South Sudan will be seeking the closest possible ties with her East African neighbours and sees their economic future in the South rather than the other direction.
Sources in South Sudan’s capital city Juba have meanwhile termed the shooting of a cabinet minister and his body guard yesterday as a ‘criminal offence with no connections to politics’ after the driver of the minister apparently forced his way into the office before shooting both. The killer, notably an in-law of the minister, appears to have harboured personal grievances for some time before all senses left him and he decided to take out his anger and frustration with the gun. Said the same source: ‘please tell that security in South Sudan is good, there is no change about that. This was an individual crime which we shall punish accordingly. Visitors need not fear as we provide good security in Juba and the South Sudan’.
COUNCILS PRAISE FOR HIGHWAY ATTRACTS PROMPT ‘INDUCEMENT’ ALLEGATIONS
No sooner had several councils enroute the controversial Serengeti highway made their support for Tanzanian president Kikwete known, did allegations enter the fray that they were given inducements and promises of ‘other goodies and big jobs’ were made, if only they’d come out loudly in support of the project. Opposed by all serious conservation organizations, top environmental experts, UNESCO, WWF, AWF and many similar global bodies, this has seemingly not deterred Kikwete’s government to go flat out in their attempt to ‘kill the Serengeti’, in the process overturning the verdicts and commitments made by Tanzania’s founding father Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. Even senior staff at TANAPA and SENAPA are quietly opposed to the highway across the crucial annual migration paths but it is understood that anyone of them openly opposing the plans or being quoted publicly, especially in international media or publications in this regard, may be subject to immediate disciplinary measures, possible dismissal and even trumped up criminal charges.
Said a regular source in Arusha in response to questions raised: ‘the present generation of politicians is the greediest we ever had. Nyerere’s generation made many mistakes and their Ujamaa policy crippled us economically, but at least he had the guts to stand up and say sorry and that he was wrong. But today’s politicians are only interested in eating, maintaining power and clobbering the opposition including killing them, as we recently saw here in Arusha when police became executioners for the regime. This highway is a mistake, and only when the big herds are decimated, the tourists stay away and we are a pariah of conservation will people start to listen. Even then I expect the Kikwetes of today will blame others for their own mistakes and failures’.
Damning words from a senior stakeholder in the tourism sector who spent his entire adult life in the sector and has a sizeable investment to worry about, should indeed game numbers – as widely predicted – drop and tourists listen to the de-campaigning promised to the Tanzanian government, the moment he bulldozers start rolling.
Watch this space and don’t shoot the messenger who only reports on such issues and has no hand in them otherwise.