Seychelles’ Constitution turns 26 | 19 June 2019
Our Constitution is 26 years old! Indeed a great achievement for our small island state – Seychelles.
To commemorate this important event, three flag raising ceremonies were held at the same time on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
On Mahé, the ceremony took place at the ‘Moniman Lavwa Lanasyon’ at the Peace Park, Victoria. President Danny Faure graced the event together with Vice-President Vincent Meriton, Designated Minister Macsuzy Mondon, other ministers, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Wavel Ramkalawan, ambassadors, members of the National Assembly, leader of Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) Roger Mancienne. Members of the public also gathered to witness the flag being raised.
After the passing on the national flag from various groups of youth – Young Citizens, Scouts, Duke of Edinburg International Award programme – to the National Coast Guard, the flag was raised and at the same time the national anthem was sung by the Angel’s Choir.
The reflection of the day was also made by the Angel’s Choir, while Emilie Esparon and Karen Jeannevol interpreted their winning songs from the ‘Sesel Enspir mwan’ competition. A poem written by Reuben Lespoir ‘Mon Pei Byenneme’ was read by Rio Dubignon.
Talking about the importance of the flag raising ceremony, Alain Volcère, a member of the national celebration committee, noted that “in this ceremony we are putting emphasis on our Constitution together with the national symbols such as the national flag and the national anthem. This year we are celebrating the 26th anniversary of our Third Republic. We are dedicating this day to honour our Constitution which is the supreme law of the country and which inspires all of us. We are also reviving patriotism within our population and no matter what is our religious or political belief, our motto is national unity. We want our small country to advance in unity in diversity,” said Mr Volcère.
Speaking to Seychelles NATION, the leader of the opposition, Wavel Ramkalawan, said that “for us, today is a very important day. Since the Constitution has been adopted, we respect the document. We do not come here just to participate in the flag raising ceremony, but we are here to also honour the document that gives us our rights and our responsibilities. We hope Seychellois do take our Constitution seriously.”
As for Health Minister Jean-Paul Adam, he noted that “our Constitution is the supreme law that unites us. It represents the values that all of us Seychellois share. When we heard the words said by the youth today, it makes us proud of what we have accomplished so far as a nation and also gives us hope to build our future in unity”.
At the end of the ceremony, President Faure took time to greet all guests present.
To recall, the Constitution of Seychelles was adopted by the Constitutional Assembly in 1993. It was the first democratic one in the country’s history and gave rise to the Third Republic. Constitutional Day is celebrated on June 18, which until 2015 was observed as Seychelles’ National Day. The Constitution states that there shall be three national languages – Creole, English and French – and a person may use any of the national languages for any purpose, but a law may provide for the use of any one or more of the national languages for any specific purpose. It provides for three pillars of the government – the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary – which operate checks and balances on each other.
In the last two years, two amendments were made with regards to the mandate of a president. In 2016, the presidential and vice-presidential terms in office were brought down to two five-year mandates instead of three consecutive five-year terms. Another amendment in 2017 stated that Seychelles will hold new elections within 90 days if the island nation's President dies, resigns or is removed from office.
Until this year, the Constitution was available only in English. The first copy of the Creole version was presented to President Faure last year. Now the simplified version of the Constitution is available in all bookshops and 500 copies were distributed in schools last Monday.
On Praslin, the ceremony on Ile Eve was attended by Employment, Immigration and Civil Status Minister Myriam Telemaque, MNAs Churchill Gill and Wavel Woodcock, district administrators, members of the regional councils and invited guests.
The honour of hoisting the flag went to some scouts members, while Lindy Dubignon and Mike Cedras sang the national anthem.
This was followed by a reflection by Wallace Stravens and a patriotic song and poems by Grand Anse Praslin school students and Betty Constance.
On La Digue, the ceremony took place at Anse Calice.
This is the second year the flag raising ceremony takes place on both Praslin and La Digue after it first started in 2018 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of our country's Constitution.
Poem by Reuben Lespoir - Mon Pei Byenneme
Mon’n ekrir ou, avek lank tranpe
dan kouler larkansyel
dan mon lapriyer matinal
ou refren mon lespwar
Lo mandolin ek en gitar koko
mon sant melodi ou linosans
anba en pye zoranz lapo fin
mon deklar tou ou elegans
ou divinite i papiyonn dan mon leker
mon dwa ou respe
san dout, san kestyon
mon donn ou mon lwayote
pour sak papa ki bers son zanfan
sak manman ki larenn son lakour
Sesel, ou reste sa rwayonm
beni dan en lavalas lanmour
odela tou sa ki pir e manifik
ou reste pli gran…ou reste plis mazestye
omaz a tou bann zanset e nou bann ero
en ve pour en demen pli koloran e pli sakre
Sesel, mon zoli Sesel
les mwan abiy ou dan saten mon senserite
e laba kot lesyel ek lanmer i zwenn
kot bann potao e bann kokodmer i rakont listwar e zistwar
les mwan avek parfen divin nou kreater
apel ou mon pei byenneme !