President Faure brings support to inner island community | 25 March 2020
President Danny Faure visited Praslin and La Digue yesterday to bring his support to the communities now that economic activities on both islands, which are heavily dependent on tourism, have greatly reduced as a result of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
Upon reaching the islands, it was clear that both islands which usually welcome large numbers of guests daily seemed deserted, as if things had come to a stand still.
The visit started on La Digue where the president met the La Digue Business Association representative Robert Pool to discuss the concerns of the island’s business community. President Faure discussed the newly introduced measures which are to assist the business community as well as ensure that our economy continues to run.
This was followed by the Logan Hospital where nurse in charge Maria Cousin reassured President Faure that they are trying their best to cope with the situation.
There is currently one Diguois in isolation at an isolation centre located in close proximity to the hospital and the patient is being tested for COVID-19. The security of the isolation centre and the hospital is however a concern and President Faure did the needful so that the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF) reinforces its presence on the island to protect the facility with immediate effect.
President Faure also guaranteed the La Digue community that planned renovation work for the Logan Hospital, which is currently on tender, will continue as planned although there has been a stop to all future government projects. This is to ensure that health services are not interrupted on the island.
On Praslin, President Faure met Christopher Gill, chairperson of the Praslin Business Association, who had the opportunity to discuss the island’s main concerns which include cold storage for poultry and fish to ensure the alimentary security of the island as well as the worry of how long this situation will last.
Mr Gill expressed the business community’s appreciation that salaries of employees will be covered for the next three months but what would happen after these three months?
President Faure gave his commitment to see how best to handle the concerns discussed.
The president then stopped by the Baie Ste Anne hospital where nurse in charge, Myra Ernesta also explained how they were doing their best to provide health services during this difficult time. Renovation work on an isolation centre, located in the old hospital, should hopefully be completed this week. Until then the female medical ward is being used as the isolation centre.
Two blocks from the Pension Fund Building of the Praslin Holiday Home will be used as a quarantine facility should there be any patient requiring quarantine. However, Miss Ernesta shared one of their main concerns which is their disappointment with the public for taking away hand sterilizers at the hospital. The sterilizers are to be used while at the hospital and Miss Ernesta shared her hopes that the public would be more respectful towards the health care facilities. President Faure also visited the Inter Island Ferry Cat Rose and discussed with its owner William Rose. They discussed on the importance of keeping Praslin and La Digue linked via daily boat trips as well as newly introduced economic measures. Measures which Mr Rose generally believes are good though some will be somewhat tough.
As from next Monday, a new office will be opened on both La Digue and Praslin by the Ministry of Finance, in order to provide assistance and support in line with the economic measures announced. The new office will not only give out information but also receive queries from the community which shall be forwarded to their central office on Mahé.
“It is important that as the President of the Republic, I come to discuss with the Diguois and Praslinois to guarantee them that the government is trying its utmost to ensure that we mitigate the effects of this difficult situation. For this reason, various measures have been put in place to assist us in getting through this economic crisis. One of these is the guarantee of the salary of all employees in the private sector. This will also be done through other structures such as the Agency for Social Protection and Unemployment Relief Scheme (URS). We need an ongoing economy so we have to take all precautionary measures to ensure that we get through this tough phase together as a nation,” President Faure shared.
He assured the business community on both islands that all measures are being taken on a national level but he gave both chairpersons of the business associations direct contact to his economic advisor for further discussions.
President Faure called on all Diguois and Praslinois to come together as one and help alleviate the effects of this difficult time which will prolong into the upcoming months. “I have strong confidence in our health care system and I am convinced that we will be able to fight this virus. My worry, as the President, is the welfare of our nation and the wellbeing of our people. It is important that we all follow the Ministry of Health’s advice, respect the health care facilities and staff and each play our role in ensuring our safety,” President Faure shared while praising the hard work of the health care professionals around the country.
“I also call on all politicians to act in a responsible manner as the Minister of Finance deliberates in the National Assembly and please approve the newly proposed budget. Time is against us and we must act fast.”
Finally, President Faure called on all Seychellois to come together as one. “Seychelles will not succumb to this virus. We must be prepared for the crisis which we are facing and which will be much worse than the one we faced in 2008. There are hard times ahead which call for greater solidarity, understanding, cooperation and good communication. I take this opportunity to also thank the media houses who are doing their best to transmit as much information to the public.”
“Let us follow advice being given and respect those advising us. Let us be more disciplined towards our health and also towards the difficult times we are about to face as a nation,” President Faure shared.
The accompanying photographs show President Faure on his visit to Praslin and La Digue yesterday.
Text: Nadia Bedier
Photos: Romano Laurence