Seychelles up in arms over palace

2010-04-01 17:03

kalahari.com

  • Reef Fishes and Corals
    This colourful guide contains concise information on 234 reef fish and 36 coral species found along... Now R175.00
    buy now
Nairobi - A village in the Seychelles called La Misere is demanding millions in damages over pollution caused by the construction of a huge palace for the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, residents said on Thursday.

One of the richest men in the world, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, is building a lavish compound on the highest spot of the Indian Ocean nation's main island, on the site of a former US tracking station.

Now 350 households are filing for compensation because the United Arab Emirates president's hundreds of workers have polluted the village's water system and river with human excrement.

"La Misere was the place with the best clean drinkable water on the island. Now we have diesel and human waste to drink," said one long-time resident, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity.

The board of La Misere residents also said that farming was no longer sustainable and complained of noise disturbances, as around 100 trucks toil up and down the mountain every day with building material.

Growing resentment

Most of the homes in La Misere have demanded 650 000 Seychellois rupees ($55 000) in damages from the government, which opposition newspapers say sold the site to the Abu Dhabi crown prince for a symbolic rupee.

According to Forbes, Sheikh Khalifa is the world's third richest royal and has a fortune amounting to around $19bn and the world's tallest building named after him.

"Our property value is next to nothing now, as no one wants to be up here. Maybe that was Sheikh Khalifa's plan: to get everyone out of La Misere," said one angry resident.

The local community is charging that the Emirati prince brought his own construction company, workers and material in huge jumbo planes and has contributed nothing to the island's economy.

Sheikh Khalifa's six-storey palace complex will have a 360 degree view of Mahe, the main island of the Indian Ocean archipelago, a paradise destination where a growing number of wealthy foreigners are buying large swathes of land.

Resentment towards Sheikh Khalifa, who is also building a marina on the island, and other Gulf billionaires taking up huge stakes on the island is growing in the Seychelles.

State assets

"In my view, James Michel is selling out Seychelles interests to key Arab friends he has established since becoming president..., because his economic policies have failed and consequently his political position is threatened," Seychellois columnist Christopher Gill said.

Gill condemned the absence of legal tender procedures and what he termed "the wholesaling of our national heritage, which is resulting in the displacement of the Seychellois people from their land".

"He is treating the state's assets as his personal assets," said Gill, who has plans to create a nationalist party, charging that preferential treatments mean that very little in the way of taxes and revenue is generated for the country.

Saudi Arabia's Prince Walid bin Talal bin Abdel Aziz al Saud also has stakes in the Raffles hotel being built on the island of Praslin and has already erected a Four Seasons hotel in the south of the main island of Mahe.

The Seychelles government has so far acknowledged some shortcomings in the way the construction was supervised but blamed the contractor for the water pollution and environmental degradation.

It had not responded directly to questions over the sale of the land, but stressed that the UAE had granted $30m to the Seychelles in 2009 and was upgrading Victoria hospital.

- SAPA
Read more on:    seychelles  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Music

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The spotlight may be on you and you need to perform. This can be overwhelming and you need to stay as focussed and centred as you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.