COVID-19 : A message of solidarity and unity from the Mayor of Victoria | 28 March 2020
‘Together we will emerge from this crisis more united than ever’
The Mayor of Victoria, David Andre, joins mayors across the world to convey a message of solidarity and unity to people in cities and communities everywhere amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Andre’s message reads:
“The dreaded coronavirus is ripping across the globe and all cities, towns and communities everywhere are being affected. Seychelles and our small capital Victoria has not been spared.
“I salute the leadership of our Public Health Commissioner Dr Jude Gedeon, our public health affairs maestro and his team for making bold decisions unprecedented for our country to get us through this pandemic. I also salute Dr Danny Louange and his health care agency team for the professional attention given to all under their care.
“On the frontline fighting against the coronavirus are our health professionals and volunteers. We will finally start to understand the meaning of patriotism more as cultivating the health and life of our community. When the danger subsides we will all have to recognise their sacrifice as true patriotism and thank them for service to the country.
“As individuals we also have our responsibility, we should be willing to trade some of our freedoms for the greater good of the public. Let us take time to listen to the professionals and experts in their respective domains, follow the rules, engage in positive and constructive dialogues and let us all be serious in whatever we do. We need to find new ways to connect and support each other in this moment of adversity. Human solidarity is stronger than any powerful military contingent. Let us uplift each other and spread love and compassion. Let us also reflect on our vulnerability and reconsider who we really are and what we value and in the long run, I hope it will help us rediscover the better versions of ourselves.
“When the storm is over can it be to simply return to business as usual? This pandemic is prompting us to change our habits in ways that could make longer contribution to sustainable development and climate protection. Bold decisions that we never had the courage to take have been made and this is the chance for our leaders and professionals to come together for dialogue and craft this new way forward. The time for change is now. This is the time when all our leaders can and must show the way forward.
“Many countries are now seriously considering some issues for the future which are also relevant to our country.
“Focus on local agriculture and fisheries. This is the time when we should all be thinking about self-sufficiency and be encouraged to grow more food at home and at community levels and create some kind of collection and supply chain at community level to capture the demand. Some kind of similar scheme should also apply for fisheries.
“Embrace working from home. Working from home, video conferencing, working shorter weeks or staggering office hours can help reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, cut short waiting and commuting hours and reduce traffic and pollution around the island and in Victoria. Some companies and even government ministries may find remote work to be more effective.
“Sectors such as travel and hospitality will be hit the hardest. Will we be aiming for more and more tourists and more foreign labour in the future? Will it be necessary to enhance the health screening of visitors and security measures already in place at the ports of entry?
“Modify vital infrastructure. How will we reduce crowding and promote distancing in waiting areas? Should airlines consider reducing their passenger counts and keep middle seats open during future crisis? Do we need to design changes in bus stations and other public areas to prevent the spread of infectious diseases?
“The creative arts have also been hit hard. After dealing with piracy of art works, performing arts and art centres that bring together large groups of people are now closed. The artists, government and the private sector need to come together to find funding and expertise to keep the cultural scenes alive and protect the arts and creative economy.
“Involvement of civil society. The role of civil society organisations cannot be ignored. Civil society organisations and volunteer groups must have their space in the lives of communities so that they may develop and make their contributions through outreach activities and develop their capacities to properly assist in emergency situations.
“Now is the time to change course towards greater national solidarity and functionality and to promote more constructive patterns in our cultural and political discourse. We all need to work together to put in place bold and unprecedented measures to bolster the economic situation of our country as well as our workers and businesses. We also have to remain vigilant and invest in measures to prepare for future pandemics or catastrophes and any other social or economic lockdown that may happen.
“Human goodness, love, compassion, generosity and solidarity in our community for our children and youth, our breadwinners, our elderly, our workers of essential services and volunteers will hopefully be the great benefits to come out of this whole awful mess. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“Together we will emerge from this crisis more united than ever.
“Reste touzour dan linite
Fer monte nou paviyon
Ansanm pour tou leternite
Exceptionally Just for the coming days: ‘Dekoste Seselwa’”
Mayor of Victoria