High commissioner outlines fruits of ties with UK


09-June-2012

He did so during a reception he and his wife Lydia hosted at their residence to mark the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth and the diamond jubilee of her reign, giving interesting statistics of some of the things the Queen has done during the last 60 years.

Among those who attended the event were President James Michel, Vice-President Danny Faure and top political and government leaders.

Mr Forbes said in 2009 the two countries negotiated and signed piracy prisoner transfer agreements for both the UK and European Union (EU) with Seychelles, “laying the foundation of the relationship between our respective militaries and have seen over 100 captured Somali pirates brought before the courts.  A record the Seychelles should be proud of in my opinion”.

He said in order to support Seychelles’ work on piracy they have worked closely with the French embassy the EU as well as the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime to support the criminal justice sector here.

“UK projects have included giving a small patrol boat for the coastguard, upgrading the Seychelles defence force aircraft with a state-of-the-art maritime reconnaissance system, training a new dog unit for the Seychelles police, providing training and equipment including vehicles for the police and prison, seconding UK officers to the prison and providing lawyers from the UK to prosecute the pirate cases and other serious offences such as murders.”

Mr Forbes also said the UK has given equipment and training to the judiciary, funded a number of post graduate scholarships for Seychellois to study in the UK and built a new centre to track down and bring to justice the leaders of the pirate gangs.
“We are also working with the government on a comprehensive police project which should include senior UK police officers to help drive fundamental reform of the Seychelles police force,” he said.

Mr Forbes said the diamond jubilee marked a marvellous achievement for Queen Elizabeth:
“She is the second longest serving British monarch in history after Queen Victoria
“Since 1952 the Queen has given Royal Assent to more than 3,500 Acts of Parliament and given regular audiences to 12 prime ministers.

“There have been six Roman Catholic Popes during the Queen’s reign,” he said, adding that Queen Elizabeth is patron of over 600 charities and organisations, over 400 of which she has held since 1952.
“Since 1952, the Queen has conferred over 404,500 honours and awards – including to a number of people here today – myself included.

“The Queen has answered around three and a half million items of correspondence.
“In 60 years, the Queen has undertaken 261 official overseas visits, including 96 state visits, to 116 countries – some of you will of course remember her visit to the Seychelles in 1972.

“I think you will all agree that she is a very special person,” said Mr Forbes.
He paid a special tribute to Amy Bowers who was the high commission’s vice-consul “and friend who sadly passed away on May 20.

“I know Amy loved working at the high commission and she was fantastic at what she did.  I will never forget when she accompanied me to Praslin following the fatal shark attack on a young British honeymooner last year.  Her sense of compassion and empathy was amazing and I know it meant a great deal to the young widow we helped and all those she came in to touch with.  She is a great loss to the high commission and her family and friends.  I for one will miss her a great deal,” he said.

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