Year 2012 news highlights


31-December-2012

January

‘Striving for our Seychelles’ is the national theme for 2012 declared by President James Michel in his traditional New Year message.

“‘Striving for our Seychelles’ is about promoting excellence, honesty, respect and integrity. It means giving our maximum in all that we do, for ourselves and our country. It is about the promotion of good values and attitude in our workplaces, hard work as a prerequisite for success, boosting the competence of our people and providing them with the resources they need to do their work well,” said the President.

President James Michel meets members of the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF) and the Seychelles Police in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and thanks them for their service.
This is during the traditional New Year’s Day gathering

Government announces that it has sought the Etihad Airways as a strategic partner to help redevelop our national airline. Etihad Airways -- the national airline of the United Arab Emirates – will invest to acquire a 40% stake in Air Seychelles Ltd as part of this strategic partnership, while the Seychelles Government will own 60%.

The Minister for Education, Employment and Human Resources, Macsuzy Mondon, lays the foundation stone for a primary school and creche at Ile Perseverance while President James Michel and the principal secretary for Land Use and Housing, Christian Lionnet, unveil the project’s banner.
 
In total three schools are planned to serve the future residents of Ile Perseverance – two primary schools with their associated creche and one secondary school.

The project is being financed partly by loans from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (Badea), the Opec Fund for International Development and the Seychelles government.
The contract for the first school is R39.9 million and the contractors are Allied Builders. The completion date is set for January 2013.

A new group of 26 students join the Seychelles Young Leaders Programme (SYLP), a specialist leadership training for potential young leaders in Seychelles.


February

The Seychelles government signs a visa waiver agreement for Seychelles diplomatic and special passports with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government.

The waiver is signed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs under secretary, Juma Mubarak Al Junaibi, at a ceremony held in Abu Dhabi.
“This waiver agreement is the first step in allowing Seychellois to travel more freely to the UAE,” says Mr Adam.

The Creole version of the ‘Earth Charter’ along with a poster which states its four principles are officially launched.

The ‘Earth Charter’ is a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It was completed in March 2000 at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) headquarters in Paris, France and launched at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Netherlands on June 29, 2000.

The four principles of the Charter are – respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, social and economic justice and democracy, non-violence and peace.

Seychelles signs an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) boundary agreement with the Comoros and a second accord which also involves Tanzania.

The first accord is signed by the Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, and his Comorian counterpart, Abdoulfatah Charif, while the second agreement also involves the Tanzanian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Bernard Membe.

President James Michel delivers his state-of-the-nation address in the National Assembly.
The President’s state-of-the-nation address is a requirement of the Constitution and is presented at the start of National Assembly sittings for the new year.  

Designated Minister Vincent Meriton – who is also the chairman of the 2012 national theme committee – launches this year’s national theme: Striving for our Seychelles (translated into Creole as Travay dir pour nou Sesel).

An agreement is signed between the University of Seychelles (UniSey) and the University of London that will start the process for giving UniSey the status of a ‘Recognised Centre’ of the University of London.

The formal agreement is signed in London between the vice-chancellor of UniSey, Dr Rolph Payet, and the vice-chancellor of the University of London, Professor Geoffrey Crossick in the presence of President James Michel, who is the chancellor of UniSey.


March

Designated Minister Vincent Merion officially launches the second Carnaval International de Victoria.

A clinic offering chiropractic services opens its doors in Seychelles, offering treatment that is an alternative to traditional medicine.

Based at Au Cap, Dr Choi’s chiropractic clinic is the first-ever to offer this type of healing service, which focuses on the relationship between the body's main structures – the skeleton, the muscles and the nerves – and the patient's health.

Two proportionally elected members of the National Assembly nominated by the ruling Parti Lepep are sworn in. They are Sylvianne Valmont and Maria Payet-Marie, who succeed Mitcy Larue and Marie-Louise Potter, who have been appointed respectively Minister for Health and ambassador by President James Michel in his government reshuffle.

Azarel Ernesta, formerly deputy clerk of the National Assembly, is also sworn in as the new clerk.
Ms Ernesta succeeds Veronique Bresson, now principal secretary for Employment and Human Resource Development.

President James Michel announces the first phase of government restructuring, with the appointment of ministers, principal secretaries and some chief executive posts.
With the restructuring, Seychelles now has three women ministers, one female Central Bank governor, one female vice-chancellor, one female pro-vice-chancellor, three new women chief executives, while seven out of the 15 principal secretaries are women.

The People’s Republic of China gives Seychelles a grant of 40 million Chinese Yuan (approximately R19 million) for a variety of local projects, especially housing.

The grant, signed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Paul Adam and the Chinese ambassador to Seychelles Shi Zhonjun, will go towards projects such as the new Glacis primary school, Les Mamelles and Corgat Estate housing projects.

The agreement also covers a solar energy project, where street lighting in the country will eventually be made to run on renewable energy source.

Seychelles President James Michel and Mauritian Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam sign two important treaties to share the management of the continental shelf of the Mascarene Plateau region.
 
As a result Seychelles and Mauritius now have joint jurisdiction over an additional area of 396,000 square kilometres.

The first treaty proclaims the extended continental shelf outer limits in order to provide for its recognition under the respective national laws and for the extended purposes of international law which entails depositing the coordinates and charts showing the outer limit boundaries of the extended continental shelf.

The second treaty provides an overarching framework for the establishment of a joint management (structure and mechanism) for the joint administration and management of the extended continental shelf which is to be proclaimed under the first treaty.


April

The President of the Republic of India, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, arrives in Seychelles on a two-day State visit at the invitation of President James Michel.

She is warmly received by President Michel and smiling delegations made up of our country’s top leaders, flag-waving Indian nationals based here and school children.

President Patil’s programme includes a call on State House and a special address to an extraordinary session of the National Assembly.

Lenstiti Kreol i selebre son zibile larzan (25enm lanniverser) dan en seremoni spesyal ki koensid avek Lasemenn Lektir ek Lazournen Enternasyonal pour Liv, Drwa Loter ek Propriyete Entelektyel.

Plizyer prezantasyon i ganny fer pour onor bann ki’n travay pour promouvwar nou lalang maternel tandis ki senk travayer lenstiti i ganny rekonpanse pour zot letan servis.

I osi annan trofe pour bann dimoun ki’n fer kontribisyon remarkab dan diferan domenn tel parey resers, literatir, teat, osi byen ki dan lanmizik.


May

The first batch of Air Seychelles cabin crew to qualify after re-training at Etihad Training Academy in Abu Dhabi receive their certificates.

The 18 young men and women, who had already served on Air Seychelles prior to the airline's strategic partnership with Etihad, have for six weeks undergone intensive training focusing primarily on safety aboard aircraft.

President James Michel and other dignitaries and private sector executives witness the historic landing of the eagerly awaited €27 million submarine fibre-optic cable at Beau Vallon.
The cable links us with the world network through Dar es Salaam.

The dignitaries, company representatives and school children symbolically pull the cable towards the shore near Beau Vallon’s La Plage restaurant where it is fed into a manhole and joined to a network that is expected to deliver faster and better internet and other telecommunication services.

Seychelles and China sign an agreement to transfer here suspected pirates, armed robbers and seized property after being captured by Chinese forces.
The accord is signed by the Chinese ambassador to Seychelles Shi Zhongjun and the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan, who also heads the high-level committee on piracy.

Twenty-year-old Sherlyn Furneau is crowned Seychelles’ 2012 beauty queen during the Miss Seychelles … Another World beauty pageant held at Le Meridien Barbarons Hotel.
Sherlyn also wins the Miss Personality title.

The first runner-up is 19-year-old Shanice Hoareau and the second princess is 18-year-old Natasha Robinson, both students at the Seychelles Tourism Academy.

The Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) gets a gift of 10 new buses from the People’s Republic of China.

The 30-seater, rear-engine buses, make Yutong, have been added to the daily commuters’ bus fleet and will only operate on non-hilly terrain due to their low-floor characteristics.

June

A unit which will coordinate communication and action against piracy is officially opened on Bois de Rose Avenue, where the former coastguard base was located.

During the ceremony the secretary general of the Indian Ocean Commission Calixte D’Offay and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Paul Adam also sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the unification by all stakeholders in anti-piracy efforts.

An initiative of the Indian Ocean Commission, the anti-piracy cell will have an expert from each country forming part of the commission and will lead coordination in efforts to combat piracy.

President James Michel opens the country’s first arboretum at the Biodiversity Centre at Barbarons by planting a coco de mer seed, paving the way for other VIPs to mark their visits to Seychelles by planting endemic trees the same way he has done in countries like Australia.

The idea for the 17-hectare biodiversity centre was conceived in 1998 with the aim of preserving the rare and endangered species of the Seychelles ecosystem as it serves as a focal point for education on the environment.

Nineteen couples from China who have chosen Seychelles to become husbands and wives, exchange their vows at a unique ceremony at the Le Meridien Barbarons Resort.

The wedding and honeymoon boil down to a tourism publicity stunt organised by STB, the Seychelles embassy in Beijing and the China-Seychelles Cultural Association, which this year is marking 150 years since the first Chinese decided to settle in Seychelles.

An exhibition and a symbolic beacon lighting ceremony are organised to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee and her memorable visit to Seychelles 40 years ago.

The Queen, the only other British monarch to have lived to celebrate 60 years on the throne -- besides her great great-grandmother, Queen Victoria -- arrived in Seychelles on June 4, 1972 aboard her royal yacht Britannia with her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. The highlight of the visit was her inauguration of the Seychelles International Airport.

Vice-President Danny Faure heads a Seychelles delegation to the June 20-25 Rio+20 Summit. 

The Rio+20 is a follow-up of the United Nations Earth Summit which was held in 1992 in the same city  and in which countries adopted a plan to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection.

The aim of this year’s conference, held 20 years later, is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress made in implementing actions from major summits on sustainable development and address new and emerging challenges faced by member countries.


July

Air Seychelles gets a state-of-the-art and its first ever Airbus aircraft.
The new Airbus 330-200 – christened Aldabra -- can carry 236 passengers in the economy class and 18 in the First Class cabin.
It is officially inaugurated by President James Michel shortly after landing at the Seychelles International Airport.

La communauté catholique, en particulier les fidèles du Village Pascal, célébre la consécration de la nouvelle chapelle de Notre-Dame du Sacré-Cœur.

La cérémonie est présidée par l’évêque de Port-Victoria, Mgr Denis Wiehe, assisté par le curé de la paroisse Père Collin Underwood et d’autres prêtres catholiques.

La chapelle a été construire par la compagnie Mahe Design & Build avec la contribution du gouvernement seychellois, la communauté de fidèles et d’autres bienfaiteurs.

The Seychelles Prison Services launches its first-ever strategic plan for a new era of administration and management of the prisons, a plan which will run from 2012 to 2016.

Stakeholders who have contributed towards the project include the police, probation services, the courts, health services, the church as well as non-governmental organisations, all of whom have worked together to find the best approach to manage offenders in a joint and effective way.

The strategic plan offers new and more effective methods to reduce repeat offenders and make our communities safer, while aiming to develop and implement a human rights approach to prison management and rehabilitation, which meets minimum international standards.

A contract is signed for the construction of a new R54 million industrial fishing quay on Ile du Port funded by the European Union (EU).

The new quay will serve as a logistics base for the industrial tuna purse seiner fleet to land their catches, and will also be suitable for the loading and unloading of fishing nets and salt.
 
It will be able to accommodate tuna boats and reefer ships not more than 4,200 tonnes and lengths between 80 to 110 metres with drafts not longer than eight metres.


August

Seychelles scoops the topmost award in Africa in Information Communications Technology (ICT) under a programme called UN E-Government Survey Ranking & Award 2012.

The award is presented by top United Nations officials in New York to the principal secretary for ICT Benjamin Choppy and the director general for the information technology division Lanka Dorby at the UN headquarters.

To mark the occasion, Vice-President Danny Faure presides over a ceremony to reward the other 37 staff of the division who work behind the scenes to propel Seychelles to the fore in all areas of ICT.

A new award – the First Lady’s Award – is launched to recognise a group of individuals and organisations who have made great contribution and effort in various spheres of life.

The first recipients of the awards -- in seven categories – are Geva Rene and Dr Philip Govinden (Noble Cause award); child ambassador for the Seychelles Children’s Foundation Jean-Michel Vidot, young tennis player Damien Laporte, Raymond Clarisse and young Praslinois Stephane Fred (Artistic Merit award); local artist Jude Ally (Friends of SCF award);

SCF artistic director Bennet Accouche (Seychelles Art and Music Advocate award); the chargée d’affaires of the Embassy of the Order of Malta in Seychelles, Alexandra Azais (Spirit of Excellence award); the Seychelles Scouts’ Association (Outstanding Initiative award); artist Sandra (Our Choice award).

Thirty-one youths receive their Gold Awards at State House after having successfully completed the final stage of the President’s Award Programme.
These new Gold Award holders receive their certificates from President James Michel, who is also the Patron of the President’s Awards Scheme in Seychelles.
The Award Programme for young people was introduced in Seychelles since 1976, under the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.
Every year Seychellois aged 14 to 25 join the programme for volunteering, physical, skills, expedition and residential activities.

Parti Lepep retains the National Assembly seat for the district of Anse Aux Pins in a by-election. The party’s candidate, Meggy Sodie Marie -- a former teacher at the Seychelles Institute of Technology (SIT) – wins 1,317 votes.

Independent candidate Lucas Georges is second with 650 votes, while Jane Carpin of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) comes out third, scoring 170 votes.

The by-election was necessary following the resignation of former MNA for that district, Dr Jhowla Manoo.

The Seychelles East African System (SEAS) is now in full commercial operation.
The fibre optic cable system, which is owned by the Seychelles Cable Systems Ltd (SCS), landed in Seychelles at the end of May, and has been undergoing tests and commissioning for the past few months.


September

China gives R145 million (RMB 70 million) for a number of projects and five ambulances to Seychelles.
An agreement to that effect is signed by China’s Assistant Minister for Commerce Li Rongcan and Seychelles Health Minister Mitcy Larue.

An expo called EduTech@Seychelles is launched to showcase developments and promote the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in education.

The forum is the platform used by the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with a number of other partners, in promoting the use of technologies in teaching and learning.

It is also the platform used by educational institutions and stakeholders to connect and to discover the developments in technology.

Seychelles’ renewable energy plans gets a big boost with the signing by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) of an agreement to install a grid-connected rooftop photovoltaic systems.

The signing paves the way to increase grid-connected solar energy systems in selected areas of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue as well as on some outer islands, to gradually reduce our dependence on fossil fuel.

Vice-President Danny Faure addresses the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, laying out Seychelles’ intention to bid for a non-permanent seat in 2017, based on the country’s commitments to the rule of law in the Indian ocean Region, as well as its consistent advocacy on the cause of small island developing states (Sids) and climate change.

The World Bank board of executive directors approves a Sustainability and Competitiveness Development Policy Loan (DPL) of US $7 million for Seychelles.

The loan will assist the country in its implementation of its economic reform programme to improve the business climate and public financial management as well as help the government to better target social assistance.

 

October

The Seychelles East Africa System (SEAS) fibre optic cable is damaged by an anchor from a ship off the coast of Tanzania and about 15km from the cable landing station there. 

Bann krwayan Katolik sorti partou dan pei i rasanble dan Katedral Imakile Konsepsyon pour asiste lanmes louvertir Lannen Lafwa.

Lannen Lafwa, deklare par Lepap Benoit XVI, i apartir le 11 Oktob 2012 ziska le 24 Novanm 2013, zour lafet Kris Rwa.

O komansman son lomeli Levek Denis Wiehe, asiste par bann lezot pret dyosez, i dir ki «Lafwa se fer konfyans Bon Dye. Met nou konfyans dan li e krwar dan li antyerman. Se sa ki tou kretyen pe ganny apele pour fer pandan sa Lannen Lafwa».

A memorial to commemorate 150 years of the devastating landslide (lavalas) of 1862 is unveiled next to Liberty House by President James Michel, accompanied by Environment and Energy Minister Professor Rolph Payet.

The memorial is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture in collaboration with that of Environment and Energy, the Seychelles Heritage Foundation and the department of risk and disaster management (DRDM).

Besides the names of President Michel and Prof. Payet, and an artist’s impression of the widespread devastation, also on the memorial is a poem on the landslide written by Anglican Bishop Vincent Ryan.

Monsenyer Denis Wiehe, Levek Por Viktorya, i kree en nouvo parwas lo zil Perseverans e nonm Per Louison Emerick Bissila Mbila, en pret spiriten, koman premye kire sa parwas.

Per Louison pou travay ansanm avek en seminaris spiriten kenyan, Ronald Otieno, ki pe fer en staz isi Sesel.

Pointe Larue is voted the cleanest district for this year and Jemmy Rachel the best cleaning contractor in that district.

The names of the winners are revealed during a ceremony at the Roche Caïman district administration to award prizes to the cleanest district, cleanest bin sites, and beautification of the town and town outskirts.

This is the third year that the competition takes place and is organised to reward districts that have made the most effort to keep their community clean.


November

The Chinese embassy, through its Ambassador Shi Zhongjun, sign an agreement to finance several community projects at Bel Ombre.

The projects will include road resurfacing and building pavements and bus shelters.
Ambassador Zhongjun says this is the first time he has signed a contract for a community project.

A R32.6 million contract is signed for the construction of a new facility at Providence to process fish.

The construction work will be undertaken by Qinqjian International (Sey) Group and the project is financed by the government of Seychelles under the Seychelles/European Union fisheries Sectoral Programme 2012.

The facilities will be built on an undeveloped plot of land at Providence’s Zone 6.
The project is in line with the government’s policy to increase value addition in the fisheries sector.

Rolly Tambara and Marc Songoire, the two Seychellois fishermen who had been held hostage by Somali pirates for the past year, arrive back home.

They are received at the airport by President James Michel and other top government officials amid high emotions.

Mr Michel, who is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, congratulates the Seychelles Negotiation Team for successfully ensuring the liberation of Messrs Tambara and Songoire from the hands of Somali pirates.

Mr Tambara, aged 70, and Mr Songoire, aged 63, were taken hostage by Somali pirates while they were fishing on October 30, 2011, and this was communicated to the Seychelles authorities November 2, 2011.

A group of 16 overjoyed Seychellois families receive their keys to their new apartments.
This follows completion of work on sixteen two-bedroom units at upper Les Mamelles as part of a bigger re-development project for that district.

The aim of the project, started in the year 2000, is to pull down the old colonial-style shelters which have served their purposes and are now out of touch with the modern way of living.

The Seychelles Interfaith Council (Sifco), representing over a dozen religious denominations locally, hosts the second interfaith symposium in Victoria.

The interfaith network of the Indian Ocean island countries links Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles.  The first such symposium was held in Mauritius in October 2009.

The symposium is attended by seven delegates from Reunion, three from Madagascar, two from Mauritius and those from Sifco.

The most recent member of Sifco is Fr Sergios Janosevic of the Orthodox Church.

Seychelles secures financing for a total 54 million euros for a major water and sanitation project, which will start next year.

The agreement for the first concessionary loan for 10 million euros with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is signed at Liberty House between the Minister for Finance, Investment and Trade, Pierre Laporte, and the director of the Regional Agency of the AFD for Mauritius, Seychelles and the Commission de l’Océan Indien, Laurence Breton-Moyet.

The project will cover renewal and expansion of water supply systems on the three main islands, increase the capacity of four existing desalination plants and upgrade the Hermitage and Cascade water works.  It will also involve major sewage works on Mahé and La Digue to avoid contamination of water supply systems.

December

Seychelles and Belgium sign a military cooperation agreement.
Under this accord, a Seychellois coastguard will board Belgian frigate Louise-Marie for a month and learn how that country’s forces deal with piracy and related threats.

The Minister for Finance, Trade and Investment Pierre Laporte delivers the 2013 Budget Address to the National Assembly.

The Budget Address mark the start of National Assembly proceedings on the Appropriation Bill 2013, which is proposing a sum of R5,412,155,000.00 for the next fiscal year.

The ministry with the biggest allocation remains Health (R496,186,000), followed by the Ministry of Education with R413,821,000.

The European Union (EU) disburses 2.5 million euros (approx R43 million) of grant funds for 2012 to assist the government of Seychelles in sustaining the implementation of its comprehensive economic reform programme.

This is EU's fourth and last disbursement through budget support under the Seychelles Economic Reform Programme (SERP) which was agreed for a total of 16.5 million euros for the period 2009-2012.

The Housing Finance Company (HFC) is restructured under two main corporate bodies – the HFC and Property Management Company (PMC).

The HFC now operates under the Financial Institutions Act, which brings this institution under the regulatory umbrella of the Central Bank of Seychelles – similar to other local financial institutions like commercial banks. HFC’s function will now be restricted to the lending of money.
The PMC has been created with its main function to manage the stock of government properties, currently a function of the HFC.

The Seychelles and Indian governments sign an agreement for a US $10 million line of credit which will be provided by the Export-Import Bank of India to the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS).
The funds raised through this new facility will be used by the DBS to finance projects in various development sectors in line with its mandate.

One of the key conditions of this credit line is that 75% of the funds should be used to import products or services from India. 

The loan carries an interest rate of 1.75%, is repayable over 20 years, and also has a moratorium on amortisation on five years.

More than 70 young people from all over the country who have excelled and been exemplary to other youths, taken part in activities at various levels and more, are rewarded in a Youth Award ceremony.

Among the various prizes for the awardees are certificates, trophies and accommodation on various islands.

 

 

 

 

 


 

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