Delegates and crew try to keep pace with President abroad


23-February-2012

Mr Michel gives attentive STB staff some well-received advice in London (Photo by GT)

While some have been left behind or missed initial parts of key meetings, some foreign journalists are quickly learning how to cope with his pace and devising ways of being ahead as they should, rather than far behind.

Knowing Mr Michel, the Seychellois media team thought they would outpace him by arriving a day before him, trying to do interviews and filming or taking pictures in advance, but they are only shy to admit that in many instances they were a step behind, almost being overtaken by events with unfiled stories.

It turned out that the State House press office, Nation and Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation crew chose to work most of Tuesday night in their small quarters to do catch up, but their little secret of nocturnal workaholic behaviour leaked when they sent each other emails to clarify issues, thinking they would see the mail in the morning, but alas, the awake-and-about members started replying promptly showing they were all awake.

Professional cameraman Andrew Dunsmore quickly learned how Mr Michel works, and being on familiar grounds has been showing the Seychellois crew where the shortcuts are, for example around the London university premises and offices.

Mr Michel arrived in the UK on Tuesday and immediately launched a busy schedule that left A Seychellois student enjoys the kind of special moment each of them got from Mr Michel on Tuesday (Photo by GT)members of his delegation and media crew panting for breath trying to keep pace with him.

On one occasion his team left behind a senior member of his delegation so as to make it in time for a meeting with Commonwealth secretary general Kamalesh Sharma before taking off by car to another event.

The media group that slowed down to give the delegate a lift paid for it by missing a piece of the action where Mr Michel was headed.

Despite Seychelles’ renowned conservation efforts which he personally champions, the President managed to kill several birds with one stone when a number of events were moved to the university where he witnessed an important signing between the vice chancellor of UniSey Dr Rolph Payet and top University of London officials.

He also witnessed the handover by Minister Joel Morgan of a Seychelles giant tortoise to Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens and met Seychellois students studying in the UK as well as staff of the Seychelles Tourism Board based there.

It was only while meeting them one by one that Mr Michel deliberately slowed down, giving each of them a quiet one-on-one moment with the ear of a good physician. They clung to their dear President as he gave them fatherly advice. They later said it touched them to realise he slowed down for them.

“It made me proud to realise we have a President who cares and realises we are far away from home,” said one of them.

The President is in the UK as a Guest of Government at the invitation of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

He will also attend today’s London Conference on Somalia, hosted to seek solutions to the problems of, and emanating from the failed eastern Africa state like piracy.

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