HC Deb 26 June 1991 vol 193 c989
11. Mr. Bellingham

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next plans to visit the Seychelles.

Mrs. Chalker

Neither my right hon. Friend nor I have any current plans to do so. I met the Seychelles Foreign Minister, Mrs. de St. Jorre, when she paid an official visit to Britain in March last year, and meet her often at multilateral gatherings. We have made it clear that, as elsewhere, we support freedom of expression and genuine political participation.

Mr. Bellingham

If my right hon. Friend goes to the Seychelles, she will witness at first hand the antics of a particularly vile extreme socialist regime. She will see numerous abuses of human rights, and no sign of democracy. When such regimes are being increasingly rejected elsewhere, is it not time for Her Majesty's Government to get tough, and to tell Albert Rene that, unless he reforms his country, aid will be cut off?

Mrs. Chalker

We regard the Seychelles as a one-party socialist state which exercises undue restrictions on freedom of association and of expression. I have made it absolutely clear to the Foreign Minister of the Seychelles that we believe in freedom, both political and economic, and that we are looking for change. I agree with my hon. Friend—there are few signs of the moves for change that we intend to come about. Certainly, the help that we have given the Seychelles people—help with health and education—is very limited; I hope that it will assist the people, but we are not in business to help a Government of that kind.

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