Toast by Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan, President of the Republic of Seychelles on the occasion of The Banquet hosted by The Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, H.E. Mr. Pravind Jugnauth, day 2 November 2020
H.E. Mr. Pravind Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius and Mrs. Jugnauth
Ladies and gentlemen
I am delighted and deeply honoured to undertake my first State Visit as the President of the Republic of Seychelles, to the Republic of Mauritius. On behalf of my delegation, I would like to express my most heartfelt gratitude to Your Excellency, for the esteemed invitation, for giving us a warm welcome on arrival and for graciously hosting us this evening. This symbolic visit marks a new era in our countries’ exceptional longstanding friendship as brotherly neighbours.
Moris e Sesel, koman vwazen pros dan losean endyen, I partaz en leritaz atase avek losean, renforsi par bann lyen istorik e kiltirel, preserve par nou de pei. Se akoz sa koneksyon sitan inik, ki mon vizit i demontre nou langazman pou renouvle e aprofondi fondasyon nou korperasyon.
Ekselans, lenvidans nou similarite i pli aparan dan nou koneksyon kiltirel erite ek nou ban zanset. Plizyer zenerasyon in danse avek lafyerte sa lanmizik egzotik ‘sega’, zepise par nou langaz kreol. Letan nou santer seselwa i kriye, ‘sant ankor lo pei later set kouler’, son dalon morisyen i reponn ‘sesel bizou losean endyen’. Ozordi avek bokou konviksyon, nou de nasyon i debout ini ansanm, solid e determinen, pou protez, defann e ranforsi sa lanmitye spesyal.
I also wish to take this opportunity to commend Mauritius for working alongside Seychelles as a strong partner in advancing the cause of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The disastrous impacts of climate change and the peculiar vulnerabilities faced by island states have required our joint efforts in advocating for an agenda that reflects fairness and equity in various international forums. We recognize the commendable contribution of Mauritius in regional cooperation, both as a sovereign states and as an active members of regional institutions such as the “Commission de l’Océan Indien”. Seychelles commits to working alongside Mauritius to ensure that our region remains secure, stable and prosperous.
Over the past few decades, both our countries have adopted a people centered approach to development, which overtime has resulted in high development indicators. We worked hard to reach the current level of prosperity which our people enjoy, and are regarded by the rest of the world as models of development in Africa. However, our hard-working gains are today being threatened by the fallout from this unprecedented crisis caused by the pandemic.
Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,
The challenges we face today are certainly unprecedented. In the aftermath of this crisis our vulnerabilities as small island developing states have worsened. The Covid 19 pandemic, already wreaking havoc across the globe, have disrupted our plans and left us in a grievous situation which requires that we take bold initiatives to preserve our gains and mitigate the challenges. Over the past few months, Seychelles has reached out to the international community to advocate for a re-assessment of policies associated with facilitating economic recovery for small island developing states.
The process in adopting a vulnerability index and facilitating concessionary financial packages for SIDS by development partners has been slow. But clearly, with the obvious effects of this pandemic, there is a need for a more robust response to economic recovery. It is therefore essential, that we further appeal to development partners and international financial institutions, to highlight the specific vulnerabilities of small island states and request that measures are taken to facilitate access to concessionary finance to address post-Covid-19 recovery efforts. I call on Mauritius to join Seychelles in advocating for such initiatives.
Over the years, Seychelles has promoted the Blue Economy Concept, which encompasses blue economic activities. The Blue Economy will require substantial investment, and I would like to encourage regional investors from our islands to consider investing in the region’s blue economic initiatives and projects. The Finance sector should be involved, and I take this opportunity to thank Mauritian investors that have investments and assets in Seychelles, such as the Mauritius Commercial Bank and other hotel investors.
Maritime security, is also an item that is at the top of the agenda of our countries. Seychelles hosts the Regional Centre for Operations Coordination, which has the participation of Mauritius in curbing maritime crimes, especially illicit trade in narcotics and weapons, blue crimes and human trafficking amongst others. We look forward to sharing other joint programmes and operations in the maritime sector.
Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,
The Covid pandemic struck the core of one of our shared economic pillars, the tourism industry. As world-renowned tourism destinations, both our islands have been severely affected by international and self-imposed lock downs, which was necessary to protect the health of our population. This has resulted in a significant reduction of visitor arrivals. As we have economies that are dependent on the tourism industry, we have to find ways to ensure the safety of both visitors and our people. We need to work as a region through the “Ile Vanille” initiative, to revamp and revive this important sector and attract tourists back to this part of the world.
It is clear that for the foreseeable future, we will need to accelerate our efforts to further diversify our economy, with existing resources and through sustainable means. During the next two days, I hope that we will have the opportunity to discuss trade links and connectivity between our two countries and the region.
The fisheries sector in the Indian Ocean provides food to hundreds of millions of people and is an important contributor to food security, poverty alleviation, job creation and income generation. Fisheries is not only part of our island culture but also another important pillar of our economies. In my new administration, I have appointed a Minister for Fisheries with the added portfolio of the Blue Economy. We are aware that our fish stocks have to be carefully managed and since we share the Indian Ocean and as neighbors, I welcome a closer engagement with Mauritius in this sector.
The commitments of our countries to widen our scope of collaboration culminated in the signing of two key Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), namely an MoU in “Cooperation in Information and Communication Technology” and an MoU in “Security and Crime Combatting between the Police Forces of Seychelles and Mauritius”. In looking forward to the benefits of these instruments, Seychelles affirms its dedication to explore further, other avenues for enriching our partnership for the shared benefits of our peoples.
As we partake in the delights of this beautiful evening, and exchanging views on various important matters of mutual interest, let us also seize this moment to reflect on the dynamics of the ever-changing global trends, especially those affecting our region. Day by day, the importance of brotherly alliances and strategic partnerships are becoming a necessity. More than ever, Seychelles and Mauritius have to rally our efforts in addressing the ever-increasing streams of challenges emanating from the shift and realignments in the realm of geopolitics. Alone we may be weak, but together we are stronger.
The recent peaceful transition of power in Seychelles and the adherence to democratic ideals are accomplishments we share with Mauritius. Today, as leaders and defenders of democratic principles, please allow me to applaud you for the stability that has reigned over the country and your dedication to pursuing peace and prosperity for the people of Mauritius.
Excellence, Monsieur le Premier Ministre,
En me faisant l’honneur et l’amitié de m’inviter à effectuer cette visite dans votre beau pays, vous m’avez appelé, « Frère ». En effet la qualité de l'accueil qui nous a été réservé et l'attention méticuleuse dont nous sommes entourés depuis que nous avons foulé le sol mauricien, montrent en effet que l'amitié et la fraternité entre frères et sœurs de l’Océan Indien sont pour vous, plus que des mots, mais des valeurs et une donnée incontournable de notre marche en avant, au nom du passé, du présent et pour le futur.
Je veux que vous en soyez vivement remercié. Car cette visite vient traduire la profondeur des liens de fraternité et de considération qui nous unissent, et la solidité des relations de coopération et de solidarité qui existent entre nos deux pays. Elle montre aussi la sensibilité commune que nous avons face aux grands problèmes de notre temps et les angoisses que nous partageons devant les menaces et les facteurs potentiels de crise.
En cet instant de célébration de notre fraternité, je voudrais donc souligner, avec force, l’importance que mon Gouvernement accorde à ses relations prioritaires avec Maurice. Car ce sont des relations portées avant tout, par une histoire riche d'échanges multiples, de liens de sang et de valeurs culturelles partagées. Des relations approfondies, élargies et enrichies, tout au long de notre histoire commune, par une solidarité exemplaire et une coopération entre nos iles, au bénéfice de nos peuples.
Et c’est sur cette note, le cœur plein d’affection et de fierté, celles-là mêmes que je ressens chaque fois que je mets le pied à Maurice, que je vous invite à lever le verre pour l’amitié Mauricio-Seychelloise, pour la consolidation de notre partenariat, et pour la bonne Santé du Premier Ministre Jugnauth et du peuple frère de Maurice.
Je vous remercie de votre aimable attention !» All speeches