The Court in Seychelles has increased the award for Alain St.Ange, the withdrawn UNWTO’s candidate in 2017 to nearly 7 million rupees, effectively reimbursing most of his out of pocket expenses during his campaign period, giving him victory against the State.
The sum which includes 1 million rupees in moral damage is one of the highest sums to be awarded in the country’s jurisdiction for non-monetary damage to date. This will no doubt be a promising benchmark for claimants moving forward in similar causes of action.
In 2017, the Seychelles’ former President, Danny Faure, abruptly withdrew the State’s endorsement for Alain St.Ange’s candidature for the post of Secretary General of the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) only two days before election day in Madrid.
Invariably, St.Ange had already incurred significant personal expenses in furtherance of his campaign efforts on an international stage. He returned to Seychelles with a view of settling the matter amicably, but sought redress through the court system where his letters for compensation went unattended to by the President.
After several years, the matter has finally been concluded before the Court of Appeal, the highest Court in Seychelles, while the Attorney-General had sought, on appeal, to have the case dismissed in its entirety but St.Ange had appealed against quantum where he had noted candidly that the sum awarded at Supreme Court level was barely enough to cover his filing fees, but did little to compensate for the tremendous expenses he had incurred during his campaign.
The Attorney-General on appeal tried unsuccessfully to plead that the Government should be held to a different standard in law than a citizen in delictual actions.
Ultimately, if their arguments were to be successful, that would have the effect of making it harder for a citizen to bring a civil action against the State. Being one of the first of its kind in the jurisdiction, St.Ange’s case yesterday had the opposite effect following Judgment: widening the scope for citizens to challenge decisions taken by the Executive branch of Government.
Mr. St.Ange was seen, understandably, leaving the court house in good spirits yesterday morning after four years battling out the matter in an adversarial context, alongside his jubilant team of Seychellois Attorneys, comprising Mr. Kieran Shah, Mrs Michelle St.Ange-Ebrahim, and Mr. Frank Elizabeth.
The State was represented by Mr. Stephan Knights. While Mr. St.Ange interacted amiably, as usual, with the gathered press, there was no comment from the Attorney-General on his part.