Speech by President James Michel at the opening of the Parti Lepep Symposium, “a New Seychelles, A New Frontier”

01 March 2014 | Politics

Speech by President James Michel at the opening of the Parti Lepep Symposium, “a New Seychelles, A New Frontier”

Saturday 01st March 2014

Secretary General,
Central Committee members,
Distinguished guests, 
People of Seychelles,

Seychelles in 1964! The Seychelles People’s United Party was born into struggle. The struggle for a free Seychelles. The struggle for the dignity of all Seychellois. The struggle for fraternity and solidarity. The struggle for social justice.  
Those were the noble ideals the SPUP was fighting for at the time. Those were the ideals that fed the fervor of the revolutionary patriots of the time. Founding father President France Albert, inspired by those ideals, spearheaded that struggle. We owe him a debt of gratitude. We salute him for his hard work which lifted us, made us stand strongly and proclaim loudly: Seychellois, today power is ours! 
During the 50 years of its existence, our party has progressed through many stages. The struggle for independence. Liberation on June 5th 1977. The establishment of single-party system. The transformation of the SPUP into the Seychelles People’s Progressive Front. It was a front that was open to all in society and for all Seychellois. Afterwards there was the return to multiparty. And finally the transformation of SPPF into Parti Lepep. 
Parti Lepep is the proud and legitimate heir of SPUP and its successor the SPPF. A party that has always been close to all Seychellois. A modern political party equipped with contemporary methods of work to face the new challenges. A party that has achieved a lot for Seychelles.
Our goals of 50 years ago remain vivid in our minds.  We accomplished them through hard work, through devotion to the progress of the people, through numerous sacrifices, and above all through our commitment to the ideals that inspired us 50 years ago.
The struggle continues today. We have to carry on this struggle on several fronts. By adopting new methods of work. By being open to changes. By modernizing the party structures where necessary. 
The golden jubilee of our party is a solemn occasion when we pose ourselves several questions.  Certain questions on the consolidation and perpetualisation of the existence of our party. 
This is the objective of this symposium -- brainstorming on our performances, methods of work, the future of our party, the future of Seychelles in the next 50 years …
Parti Lepep has proven itself by the many successes it has accomplished. It has received the mandate and responsibilities from the people to guide Seychelles. It is steering the Seychelles ship into port. It will continue to remain at the helm of our ship of state after the next elections … and the elections that will come after. It takes its responsibilities seriously.  It will continue to be at the helm of our Seychelles ship, supported by a competent crew, equipped with modern tools.  
This is our mission. A mission aimed at a new reality. A mission that is clear. In order to achieve it, our strategy needs to be well defined. It needs to be in conformity with the reality of the New Seychelles.  
Our party needs to become a mirror of all Seychellois. Whereby all Seychellois see themselves in it.

Together, let us use this symposium to explore ways to accomplish our mission.
What is our mission?
Our mission is to prepare for and lead the future of our country for the next 50 years!
Seychelles is today considered by international institutions as an upper middle income country. Are we satisfied with this present classification? What are the potentials we have to grow and diversify our economy?  Can we transform Seychelles into a high income country in the coming years? And what do we need to achieve after that?
The second point is the development of human resource. Our human resource is our greatest asset. All developments depend on our people. The transformation of Seychelles into a knowledge-based society depends on our people. How do we continue to empower our people, above all our youth? How do we give them more training, more knowledge? How do we channel the energy of our people towards the realization of our development objectives and national prosperity?
Sustainable development is one of our major preoccupations as a small island state. We need to innovate, look for ways to overcome our vulnerability, and to be increasingly better prepared for natural disasters caused by climate change.
A lot has been said about climate change. But we need more concrete actions. Seychelles’ leadership role has been recognized in all matters concerning the environment. It is at the forefront in advocating the cause of small island states. How do we strengthen our leadership role in these domains? What can we do more to promote the interests and defend the cause of small islands states, and our own interests?
Our proactive diplomacy has secured us a place on the international stage. But apart from the environment surely there are other areas in which Seychelles can play an effective role and act decisively. How do we position ourselves on the international stage? Where and how do we see Seychelles’ insertion in a globalised world in the medium term, and also during the next 50 years?      
Our progress -- the realization of our national and social development goals -- depends on the strengthening of democracy, transparency and good governance in our country, and ownership of the process. Parti Lepep firmly believes in the principles of democracy. We believe that our institutions should continue to evolve, to become stronger. We believe that the people should take ownership of these institutions. They should take ownership of the development process, especially at the community level.
Our progress also depends on the strengthening of our cultural, moral and spiritual heritage. Faced with the admission of an erosion of the values, what can we do to strengthen the moral and spiritual ideals in our schools and in society in general?
Without national unity, without social cohesion, and in the absence of harmony among our people, we will never achieve greater progress. We will never be able to consolidate and build on our achievements. The New Seychelles will never be able to stand. I always talk about national unity. For me, there is nothing more important than national unity. I always talk about the importance to strengthen it. The need to bring the Seychellois people together. Do away with division. The necessity to eliminate political polarization which may be dividing us. The need to get rid of rancor that may still exists.
Parti Lepep is a unifying party, a party for all Seychellois. This is why I believe the time has come to think about the new symbol -- a powerful symbol -- which will unify us more as a nation.   What can we do as a party to bring more unity in our country? What new symbol can we adopt to promote greater national unity, even more solidarity and fraternity among us? The symbol of a united Seychelles, a Seychelles that is at peace with itself, a Seychelles free of ill will, a happy and prosperous Seychelles. I will always strive towards this goal. And I call on you-- all the Seychellois people -- to join me in accomplishing this objective. 
Finally, the major question -- the crucial one -- is: Where does our party come from, where has it reached now and where do we want to go in the future? Fifty years ago our party led the struggle against colonialism, against repression, against injustice.  It led the fight for freedom, for independence, for the dignity of all Seychellois. We have accomplished all of these objectives.
But today how many young people, the children of the militants of the time, can identify themselves with this struggle? With this era? With 5th June?
We have to be realistic. We need to adapt with time. Adapt with changes on the local and international scenes, but at the same time we should never betray our fundamental principles. Never abandon our ideals.
And this is what we are doing.

Parti Lepep has always faced challenges. It has never run away from challenges. It has never been afraid of challenges. Today, more than ever, we are not afraid of changes, because we have to evolve with time.

Parti Lepep is the party that has Seychelles at heart. Parti Lepep represents a “New Frontier”.  A New Seychelles, a New Frontier … let this theme inspire us in our work during this symposium.
Let us rise as the political party that is responsible, realistic and relevant. Let us not miss the rendezvous with our destiny. It is appealing to us to hold the New Seychelles and cradle it on the way to the new frontier.
Thank you.


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