Construction of new National Assembly building begins |24 March 2008
The stone-laying was done by the Chinese Ambassador to the Seychelles, H.E. Mr Geng Wenbing, whose government is partly financing the building, and the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Patrick Herminie, in the presence of President James Michel, Vice-President Joseph Belmont (VP) and a number of Cabinet Ministers.
Also present to witness the occasion were the former Speaker Francis McGregor, Leader of Government Business in the Assembly, Marie-Louise Potter and members of the National Assembly from the ruling Seychelles People’s Progressive Front (SPPF) among other guests.
The Clerk to the National Assembly, Marie-Nella Azemia and the chairperson of the board of China Shenyang International Cooperation, Tang Lezhen, signed the contract for the project.
Addressing the guests, Speaker Herminie said the event was of singular importance in the history of legislative development in Seychelles.
“For the first time ever, in our 250 years of history as a colony and an independent and sovereign state, the legislature, one of the three branches of the government will have its own house with its own precinct; an important milestone in the expansion of multi-party democracy.
“Despite all those long years of waiting, we are indeed very happy that today’s event falls in the year with the theme ‘Our constitution, the voice of our nation,’” he said.
Dr Herminie also explained that the various functions of the National Assembly, be it legislative, critical, deliberative, informative and representative, warrant that the institution is held in high esteem and with dignity and that the attainment of such noble objectives is hampered when the House does not have its own house, which very often impacts on its ability to impose its jurisdiction and to fulfill constitutional obligations.
Regarding certain people’s opinion that the location for the National Assembly building was inappropriate, Speaker Herminie noted that the building will turn the place into the most impressive part of the Greater Victoria to be, and that the dignity will always be high as long as the National Assembly is kept as a vivacious, dynamic and energetic institution of supreme political significance and above petty politics.
“We must have the boldness to hope and to dream and the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dream. If, at the beginning, I had talked about resilience and perseverance, it is only fitting that towards the end of my brief discourse I recognize the invaluable and determined contributions of the Head of State, President James Michel, the invaluable and determined contributions of former Speaker McGregor and of the Chinese government represented here by H.E. Wenbing, the resident ambassador for keeping the all-encompassing spirit of hope alive so that today we can be witness to the laying of the foundation stone of the first National Assembly building ever built on our soil” he concluded.
The construction work on new National Assembly building which is being financed jointly by the Seychelles and the Chinese government will be carried out by China Shenyang International Cooperation which was also responsible for construction of the national swimming at Roche Caïman and the East Coast housing project.
In his address for the occasion, Ambassador Wenbing described the launching of the project as a testimony to the profound friendship between the two countries and Assemblies and that it also proves that the existing amicable cooperation is reaching a new level.
He further stated that the celebration was not only about the start of the construction work but also about the traditional friendship between Seychelles and China, particularly the fruitful cooperation in recent years.
“As it is well known, the Sino-Seychelles relation entered a phase of rapid development since the historic visits of our two Presidents in 2006 and 2007 respectively. We witnessed the momentum of development of the diversified, comprehensive cooperation between China and Seychelles which also enriches the content of the new partnership between our two countries.
The friendly exchanges and cooperation between our two Assemblies have greatly strengthened our friendship. I firmly believe that under the support and concern of our leaders and through our unremitting efforts, our friendship and corporation will be further extended in all areas thus bringing more benefit to our two peoples,” he added.