BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONER BIDS FAREWELL
The British High Commissioner to Seychelles, H.E. Matthew Forbes, has paid a farewell call on President James Michel at State House this morning following a three year tenure in Seychelles.
President James Michel thanked High Commissioner Forbes for his efforts to increase the level of cooperation between Seychelles and United Kingdom and in particular his efforts to support Seychelles in the fight against piracy.
“ We are very grateful for your assistance in gathering support for the anti-piracy efforts. The UK has been a key player in the coordinated effort to stop the spread of this criminal activity. When I visited the UK this year, we reaffirmed our bonds of friendship and our cooperation reached new heights. I wish you every success in your new posting,” said President Michel.
High Commissioner Forbes spoke warmly of his stay in Seychelles, particularly in the role he played in establishing projects to counter piracy in the Seychelles region both at bilateral level as well as cooperation with the European Union.
“I came at a time when piracy was beginning....We have made a lot of progress. I think we worked together very well with the Seychelles. The way that the Seychelles has stood up to piracy and the support that they have been given by the international community, has been quite remarkable...also the international community coming together to fight piracy, all nations, all sorts of backgrounds and political beliefs fighting with a common cause, has been very interesting to watch and be part of. It has been a fantastic three years,” said Mr. Forbes.
High Commissioner Forbes said that relations between Seychelles and Britain are as ‘strong as they have ever been’ and that he is confident that this will continue in the future.
- The UK is currently aiding Seychelles in military training and capacity building, the fight against piracy, training the Police force as well as assistance with equipment for police work.
- The British Royal Navy intensified maritime patrolling in the Seychelles EEZ since 2008, which is ongoing under NATO and EUNAVFOR operations.
- In July 2010, the UK donated a patrol boat, a Tyne Class ex-RNLI, to assist the Seychelles Coast Guard in the anti-piracy effort.
- President Michel made his first official visit to the UK in February 2012, where he met with HM. Queen Elizabeth II and the Prime Minister David Cameron as well as attending the London Conference on Somalia. During the visit, the President signed an MOU with Prime Minister Cameron for the construction of a new Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecution and Intelligence coordination Centre (RAPPICC) in Seychelles. The RAPPICC, which the UK is funding with £550,000, will gather intelligence for the use of law enforcement agencies, in order to provide necessary evidence for prosecutions related to piracy activity in both the region and around the world. President Michel. President Michel also met with President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo of the Republic of Somaliland and signed an agreement which securing the first transfer of convicted pirates from Seychelles to Somaliland, with the aid of the British Government.
- The UK government seconded British prosecutors to the Attorney General’s office to assist with the prosecution of captured suspected pirates in Seychelles.
- President James Michel, as the Chancellor of the University of Seychelles and HRH The Princess Royal Princess Anne, as the Chancellor of the University of London, together inaugurated the University of Seychelles in November 2010. The University of Seychelles is currently working towards becoming a recognised centre of the University of London programmes.