On The Occasion Of His New Year Encounter With The Defence And Police Forces, January 2012
04 January 2012 | Defence
Chief of the Defence Forces,
The moment that you put on your uniforms, you acquire a huge responsibility. It is a responsibility that brings honour to you and to your country. This responsibility means that you have been confided with the task of guarding our freedom, our democracy, and also the task of protecting our motherland against all enemies, be it from within or from outside.
As your Commander-in-Chief, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to spend this moment with you; you who are exercising this responsibility, and who are doing it with diligence by putting Seychelles before all else. According to our established tradition, I am here with you today - at the beginning of the new year - to reaffirm my commitment, my respect and pride in our men and women who are serving Seychelles, who are defending our brothers and sisters. This is a sentiment shared by the whole Seychellois nation.
Looking back on the departed year, we can indeed say that our defence and police forces have accomplished their missions with success. You have accomplished your missions with honour and dignity, and often in very difficult conditions. When most of us are asleep, safely in our beds, you are watching over us. You have been there to protect us, defend our national sovereignty and defend our vital interests as a nation. You have been there to protect us from all sorts of banditry and criminal actions. You have been there every time your presence was required.
You have contributed towards winning more victories for Seychelles. It is thus appropriate for me today, as well as the whole Seychellois nation, to express our appreciation to the Seychelles Defence Forces and the Police Force. We offer our heartfelt thanks, and we commend you for the formidable job you have done. We ask you to continue to work hard and achieve yet more victories for Seychelles.
One of my priorities is the defence and protection of our people, and the interests of our country. Today we are faced with many threats. These are threats that come from within our territory as well as from outside. We have to combat these threats with all our might, all our determination and without pity. This is where the Police and Defence forces both have a fundamental role to play. You are not competing, but rather, complementing each other’s work.
We have noted that in spite of all our efforts, a small group of bandits, delinquents and criminals, keep on being a menace to law and order in our country, threatening the security of our citizens, and compromising the future of our children and youths. We shall never tolerate this. We will continue to fight against these criminal elements in our society.
At this point, I would like to congratulate the NDEA for their formidable achievements in this domain. Since its creation, the NDEA has been responsible for seizing drugs from within our communities worth around one hundred million rupees, and for arresting more than 2000 people in the business. Just imagine the suffering, ruptures and disasters this would have caused, had we not intervened in a timely manner!
We have to attack the drug problem affecting our society without pity. We have to combat crime and banditry with determination. We have to eliminate anti-social behaviours that bring shame to our country. In this new year, we have to transform the values of â€˜social renaissance’ into reality. We have to live these values each and every day.
I know that the Police are doing all they can to eliminate all the scourges that threaten our society. However, in spite of some positive results, there is a general perception that you are not doing enough. What you sometimes lack, perhaps, is a sense of duty, responsibility and professionalism. You are perhaps seen as not being visible enough, or not responding quickly enough to distress calls...
It is up to you, and you alone, to dispel these perceptions. You can easily do it. You have to do it with conviction, with love and sincerity. You must prove your leadership, and you need a leadership that is motivated, committed and inspiring. Today, at the beginning of this new year, I call upon all members of the Police Force to redouble your efforts in the struggle against crime, delinquence and hooliganism in our country. Your profession is a noble one -- Service without fear, without favours or malice.’ Follow this motto faithfully. This is how you will gain the respect and gratitude of the Seychellois people.
As for my Government, we will continue to equip you with more resources to improve you as individuals, to improve your organisations generally, and to improve your performance. This is first and foremost, and comes through advanced and continued training. I place much emphasis on this because I believe that this is what determines the Police Force as a disciplined force that is based on professionalism and integrity. It is for this reason that I have high hopes and confidence in the Young Police Leaders’ Programmeâ€ and in the Police Academy’s training programme. I take this opportunity to appeal to the youth to join the Police Force. Our country needs you. The New Seychelles is calling you!
We must never forget the raison d’etre’ of the Seychelles Defence Forces. It is the defence forces that guarantee our security against all threats - directly or indirectly. They are the ones who guarantee our value as a nation. They are the ones who guarantee our freedom. We must never forget the sacrifices they make for us.
For some years now, Seychelles has been facing a serious threat from outside our territories. We are in a situation where our territorial integrity and our sovereignty as a nation are threatened. It is a situation where our freedom of movement and our lifestyle as a maritime nation is threatened. This situation poses a serious threat to our economic survival and our socio-economic development. This means that we are at war; we are at war against piracy!
Our defence forces have led a heroic combat in order to keep this threat far from us. Our soldiers have gone on several offensives against Somali pirates. Each time, they have shown their bravery, professionalism and resilience. We have not shied away from our responsibility. We have fulfilled our obligations towards our people and the international community -- and we have been victorious. We are a small country with limited human and material resources, and our achievement is an example to others. Seychelles has come out victorious! Seychelles will never allow itself to be conquered by fear.
Our defence forces will continue to play an active role in the fight against piracy. However, I repeat that the solution is not found at sea. We have to attack the source of the problem. The source of the problem is Somalia itself. As long as the international community does not show the same determination in Somalia that they show in circumstances that suit them, as long as Somalia remains a vulnerable state, piracy and terrorism will continue to be the scourge of our region.
More than ever, we have to be vigilant. We have to prepare ourselves for all eventualities. The defence forces are in the forefront of this combat. They need the support of every Seychellois in order for them to accomplish their mission. They need more resources, more training, more men and women willing to put themselves in the service of Seychelles...
In the name of every Seychellois, I salute the exemplary work being done by the defence forces. I salute, in particular, the bravery, extraordinary exploits and tenacity of the Coast Guards, Tazar and Air Wing. You bring honour to our country. We thank you for your devotion, your service and commitment towards the nation.
My Government will continue to give more resources to the defence forces; more equipment and facilities. Last year, we acquired a new naval base. We have acquired new boats, new airplanes. All these have considerably improved our operational capacity and our capacity for intervention. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude towards our partners who have put these facilities at our disposal. Thank you for your friendship towards our country. Thank you for your solidarity!
My Government will continue to look into the possibility of improving your service conditions. Already, the defence forces have a scheme of service that guarantees good working conditions that are very motivating. Take the opportunity that this offers!
Finally, I would like to once again emphasize the need for training. Training programmes such as the Young Military Leaders’ Programme or the programmes offered by the military academy are essential for the development of the SPDF and for the forming of its future leaders. We will continue to recruit youths in this programme. The youth is the future of the SPDF. In the SPDF, there are a lot of opportunities for personal and professional development. I hope that many youths will chose a military career - a noble career that demands a lot of sacrifices, discipline and determination.
Officers, soldiers, policemen,
The theme for 2012 is Striving for our Seychelles. In my message for the New Year, I elaborated on the significance of this theme. I have particularly stressed on the need to work hard for the advancement and progress of our country. Our country’s future depends on the hard work, individual and collective, of all its children. Love for our country, loyalty to Seychelles and our patriotism are the motivation that should drive us to do more and do better for our motherland.
The defence forces and the police force are two pillar institutions of our society. We depend on them for our security and protection. They are the pride of our nation. Hard work is part of their every day routine. They are used to hard work. This new year also brings new challenges. I know that you are not afraid of any challenges and obstacles that might come your way. I know, and every Seychellois is convinced, that you can surmount any obstacles in your path. You will do this through hard work. You will do this through courage and determination. You will do this for the New Seychelles.
In the name of the people of Seychelles, I thank you for all your hard work during this past year. I wish to express my gratitude for your commitment and your sacrifices for the nation. We are proud of your accomplishments. We also thank your families who are there for you in your difficult, but noble task.
At the beginning of this new year, I hope that you will continue to serve Seychelles with passion, devotion, enthusiasm and pride - sentiments that I myself, as your Commander-in- Chief, share. I hope that together, we will work even harder in order to realize our vision for a New Seychelles. I am counting on you. Seychelles is counting on you.
I wish all members of the defence forces and the police force, and all their families, a happy and prosperous New Year.
Long live Seychelles!