President Michel tours La Digue-● Inspects projects, visits residents


The President was accompanied by the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Vincent Meriton, senior State House staff, members of the La Digue bodies, including the island’s member of the National Assembly Chantale Ghislain and district administrator Barbara Barallon.

President Michel later told the press he believed in always remaining connected to the people and being on the field to find out how they are doing, and to know their joys, hopes and aspirations, to find out how his government can further assist them.

The meeting with members of the three La Digue agencies was held at the district administrator’s office at La Passe.

Besides the members of the newly set up La Digue Trust Fund, officials of the La Digue Development Board, including its chairperson Monica Figaro and the L’Union Estate Board, chaired by Gregoire Payet, were also present.

President Michel said later that the discussions focussed on ways to redynamise and implement socio-economic projects and give a new  impulse to La Digue’s development.

The newly set up La Digue Trust Fund, chaired by the principal secretary for Presidential Affairs, Lise Bastienne, will consider applications for finding assistance for development projects.

The Fund will be partly financed from the profits of L’Union Estate and by government and private sector investments.

President Michel said that the three bodies will encourage the involvement of La Digue residents in various activities so that they take ownership of the island’s socio-economic development.

The 2011 national theme Renesans Sosyal was also discussed and the President said that structures have been set up to allow all leaders to canvass it to the full.

One such development which the President and his delegation toured was the proposed site of a children’s playground, in front of the DA’s office at La Passe. This, President Michel said, is intended to be a small leisure park for children, and parents will be encouraged to accompany them for relaxation together.

The new board members of L’Union Estate have been asked to re-look at the property’s objectives. President Michel said the new board is expected to come up with a master plan which, among other things, will feature an artisanal village, where visitors can watch craftsmen at work and purchase some of their Seychelles souvenirs there.

He noted that La Digue was known as an island where Creole culture still runs strong and he  believes that much more can still be done to make it more attractive to tourists. 

“There is a need to maximise expenditure by tourists,” he said, noting that most of the revenue must remain on the island, to benefit its residents more.

During its tour of La Digue, the Presidential delegation also inspected several access roads and other projects. One was Lo Glasi, an area in upper La Passe, where the road was recently extended by 50 metres, but may be prolonged to benefit more residents.

Another feature of interest was the marsh called Lanmar Soupap, which encompasses a fairly large area of lower La Passe, which is being hit by siltation with the resulting erosion of adjoining properties.

Among residents whom President Michel visited was Rannie Jeanne, a district administrator for many years and now retired. She however sits on the newly set up Trust Fund.

The oldest resident visited was Anne Nibourette, aged 83, looked after by her carer, Marie-Paule Morel.

On La Digue, President Michel also availed of the opportunity to visit three sons of Mark Songoire, one of the two fishermen aboard the Aride seized by pirates last week. This was at the home of their mother, Marie-Thérèse Rose, at Anse Réunion.

The President reassured the family that the government was committed to securing the hostages’ freedom and that no stone will be left unturned in efforts to ensure that they are reunited with their loved ones back in Seychelles.

On Tuesday, the President, accompanied by ministers Meriton and Joel Morgan had visited other relatives of Mark Songoire on Mahe, well as those of Rolly Tambara, the other hostage of the Aride.

Our selection of photos, taken by our photographer Louis Toussaint, show highlights of President Michel’s La Digue visit on Thursday.    

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