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Activities to commemorate 250th anniversary of first settlers scaled back | 13 June 2020

Activities to commemorate 250th anniversary of first settlers scaled back

Mrs Francis (Photo: Jude Morel)

The National Preparatory Committee for the 250th anniversary of the first settlement in Seychelles yesterday announced the annulment of the majority of activities organised to commemorate the milestone anniversary, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Committee chairperson and chief executive officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Sherin Naiken, at a press conference held at the STB headquarters at Botanical House, noted that only a limited number of symbolic events that have a permanent footprint will be observed, in view of the current global health crisis and the economic strain on the country’s resources.

“Just like a lot of activities have been affected because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 250th celebration or commemoration of the first settlers in Seychelles unfortunately, most of the activities have been cancelled, for two main reasons. The first one is for economic reasons as a lot of the companies and individuals who had pledged to support the celebration are unfortunately no longer in a position to do so, and it is totally understandable. And of course, as probably, for those who followed the presentation of the new 2020 budget, will realise that the budget which was approved for 2020 has been considerably reduced and the other reason why most of the activities had to be cancelled, is given the new normal, certain activities which are not being encouraged at all, such as large gatherings but we are trying to at least materialise a few projects which we think will leave memories as it is a very big milestone for the country,” Mrs Francis explained.

Despite the scaling back of the celebrations, the erection of two monuments on Praslin and Mahé will go ahead. According to Mrs Francis, the new passenger jetty on Praslin will boast a life-sized seafarer’s monument, which is expected to arrive in the country once travel bans to the United Kingdom (UK) are lifted. Mrs Francis extended special help to promoter Robert Grandcourt and sponsors Hunt Deltel, the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA), the latter having adopted the monument and assuming the responsibility for maintenance of the structure.

The second monument to be erected in town comprises two parts, although the committee is aiming to complete at least the first part, comprising a piece to symbolise the three nationalities of the first settlers, for the unveiling. The second part of the Wall of History monument has been designed as an inventory of the island paradise’s history, with the complete piece envisioned as “one of the most striking landmarks in Victoria” and has been designed by three Seychellois sculptors.

“Apart from the monuments, we will also like to be able to have available a few keepsakes for the celebration and this includes our commemorative coins, which was launched last year, commemorative stamps and cups. Of course we also have the very comprehensive history book which we have been working on with quite a bit of authors and historians. To complement the history book project, we will also have a documentary series that we have worked on as well, for the celebration,” Mrs Francis added.

Two commemorative coins were unveiled and made available for sale in December 2019 in collaboration with the Central Bank of Seychelles, to mark the 250th day before the event. The commemorative book and anniversary mugs will be on sale at the National History Museum.

As part of the celebrations, the committee also started the broadcast of the television series ‘250 years: A history of our people’ produced with the support of the Seychelles Pension Fund for the occasion was aired on the national TV Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation.

The committee is still reviewing some scheduled activities including exhibitions at district-level and projects at school level.

Budget allocations for the celebrations have been scaled back from R5 million to R2.5 million.

 

Laura Pillay

 

The National Preparatory Committee for the 250th anniversary of the first settlement in Seychelles yesterday announced the annulment of the majority of activities organised to commemorate the milestone anniversary, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Committee chairperson and chief executive officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Sherin Naiken, at a press conference held at the STB headquarters at Botanical House, noted that only a limited number of symbolic events that have a permanent footprint will be observed, in view of the current global health crisis and the economic strain on the country’s resources.

“Just like a lot of activities have been affected because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 250th celebration or commemoration of the first settlers in Seychelles unfortunately, most of the activities have been cancelled, for two main reasons. The first one is for economic reasons as a lot of the companies and individuals who had pledged to support the celebration are unfortunately no longer in a position to do so, and it is totally understandable. And of course, as probably, for those who followed the presentation of the new 2020 budget, will realise that the budget which was approved for 2020 has been considerably reduced and the other reason why most of the activities had to be cancelled, is given the new normal, certain activities which are not being encouraged at all, such as large gatherings but we are trying to at least materialise a few projects which we think will leave memories as it is a very big milestone for the country,” Mrs Francis explained.

Despite the scaling back of the celebrations, the erection of two monuments on Praslin and Mahé will go ahead. According to Mrs Francis, the new passenger jetty on Praslin will boast a life-sized seafarer’s monument, which is expected to arrive in the country once travel bans to the United Kingdom (UK) are lifted. Mrs Francis extended special help to promoter Robert Grandcourt and sponsors Hunt Deltel, the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA), the latter having adopted the monument and assuming the responsibility for maintenance of the structure.

The second monument to be erected in town comprises two parts, although the committee is aiming to complete at least the first part, comprising a piece to symbolise the three nationalities of the first settlers, for the unveiling. The second part of the Wall of History monument has been designed as an inventory of the island paradise’s history, with the complete piece envisioned as “one of the most striking landmarks in Victoria” and has been designed by three Seychellois sculptors.

“Apart from the monuments, we will also like to be able to have available a few keepsakes for the celebration and this includes our commemorative coins, which was launched last year, commemorative stamps and cups. Of course we also have the very comprehensive history book which we have been working on with quite a bit of authors and historians. To complement the history book project, we will also have a documentary series that we have worked on as well, for the celebration,” Mrs Francis added.

Two commemorative coins were unveiled and made available for sale in December 2019 in collaboration with the Central Bank of Seychelles, to mark the 250th day before the event. The commemorative book and anniversary mugs will be on sale at the National History Museum.

As part of the celebrations, the committee also started the broadcast of the television series ‘250 years: A history of our people’ produced with the support of the Seychelles Pension Fund for the occasion was aired on the national TV Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation.

The committee is still reviewing some scheduled activities including exhibitions at district-level and projects at school level.

Budget allocations for the celebrations have been scaled back from R5 million to R2.5 million.

 

Laura Pillay

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