This presentation is about Seychelles, the people, our hopes and our dreams. It is from the people and for the people and about our heritage. It is about our families, our children and what we all strive for. It’s about our future and about our Islands, our Home.
It’s about Our Country writes Seychelles Business Man Basil J.W. Soundy, managing director of BODCO LIMITED, a leading construction company on the island. He continues in his address:
The people of the Seychelles Islands trace their ancestry back over 240 years, some families going as far back as six or more generations, to ancestors who were from France, Reunion, Mauritius, India, Madagascar, and elsewhere. These Islands are our country, our home, including Assomption, Aldabra, Astove and the Cosmoledo Atoll. We are One People.
Throughout our history we have welcomed people from around the world who wish to share our way of life. We are proud of our links with Europe, India, Africa and beyond, and we are proud of our diversity and heritage. Our cosmopolitan ancestry makes us a nation of people without racial bias or prejudice. We are One Seychelles.
We are a small nation with big achievements and even bigger prospects and despite our size we get on and do everything a country needs to do. We have a diverse society and the potential for a thriving economy, based upon tourism, fishing, the off-shore sector and the Blue Economy as well as mineral exploitation and the country’s potential oil and gas in our exclusive economic zone.
Britain liberated us and granted us our independence on the 29th June 1976, just 43 years ago. Britain gave us the means for our economy and community to flourish, which has formed the basis of our national passion for our country to do well. We are all proud to be Seychellois Islanders and despite the events of the 5th June 1977 and the years which followed under the political doctrine of the SPUP/SPPF/PLP/US, our determination to succeed makes us stronger and will help us to build a better future for all Seychellois as One Country.
We must build a philosophy, all of us, to unite the country and people to become self-reliant and hard working, to produce our own green and organic products, we have the land and the islands to do this. We must also become responsible managers of our natural resources, of our fisheries in our waters, ensuring that we protect these resources from the exploiters from the EU and elsewhere. We need to develop our own fishing fleets, purse-seiners and exports of value added fisheries products. We need to protect these resources for our future generations and
Our Country. Our Islands are truly “another world” so let us keep them that way WITHOUT militarization of the sanctuary of some of the rarest flora and fauna, and the most spectacular natural beauty on earth!
We must develop and manage the potential oil exploration industry with good environmental credentials, which engages our community and human resources. Many areas off-shore are now covered by licences and the Seychelles geological potential is excellent for petroleum and gas exploration. Seychelles must welcome the cooperation with international companies and institutions in this sector. However, we cannot allow our paradise islands to be spoilt by mismanagement.
Today our population is about 100,000. For us to attain the necessary economic stability and fundamentals, Seychelles needs to be open for business and reach out to new business partners, to new markets and to create a welcoming business environment to both local and foreign investors alike. We must all support these goals to enable more equitable business opportunities.
It is the wish of the people of Seychelles to ask their government to introduce measures to give all Seychellois citizens, both resident and abroad, as well as future residents and entrepreneurs all the support they need to undertake investment in our country. We need simple procedures and more straight forward information for investors, be they local or foreign. We need to welcome back our Seychellois brothers and sisters who are living and working overseas and help them resettle in Seychelles. They must be able to vote as citizens in elections too, no matter whereabouts they live in the world. We are One People and One Seychelles.
The business environment must be open and welcoming, and help with essential information to favourably assist all individuals and investors in establishing themselves in Seychelles, thereby contributing to the harmonious development and future prosperity of the country.
Seychellois have allowed politics to divide us. We must now use politics to unite us. I firmly believe we have a great future to look forward to and remain committed to matters of national importance. Seychelles is our home and we are ALL the custodians of our islands for future generations. Our heritage is our future. Let us keep it peaceful and pristine. We are One Seychelles.
Finally, we should always do what we can to protect all the flora and fauna and our environment, all the species for which this country is home, in the same way that we would like others to respect our right to live here. We must endeavor to ensure that visitors receive a warm and friendly welcome and help them to enjoy their brief time with us.
Here are my suggested ten good reasons for us to aim for and to choose Seychelles for business and as our home. It is our wish and our dream:-
- A Sovereign State that is neutral, democratic and independent with a stable government and institutions.
- An accessible location and exceptional quality of life in the heart of the Indian Ocean, bordering on the African Continent, the Middle East, the Asian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Australia.
- A united, welcoming and multicultural community, living in peaceful harmony in which English and French is widely spoken.
- A leisure destination with resorts and hotels as well as a nautical infrastructure in the best traditions.
- A unique economic and social model where the absence of debt and a well-structured budgetary balance is the long-term aim and which will guarantee the future.
- Sports, culture and festivities as part of everyday life, as well as the best sports fishing in the world.
- Exemplary domestic security, both for residents and visitors, which forms one of the government’s priorities, together with outstanding private schools, social services and private as well as public healthcare.
- A diversified business-friendly and forward looking economy, with a well-adapted taxation policy, and with a dynamic employment and consumer market that also impacts on the regional neighboring countries.
- An accessible, open, user-friendly and attentive government administration for both businesses and the public.
- A long–standing commitment to eco-responsible and sustainable development.
Many of the above “ten good reasons” need to be addressed and are, in my opinion, essential to good governance and stability. The Private Sector needs legal and policy certainties, not another new plan. The Private Sector has to be the engine of growth, not the government and not the parastatals. The driver of the economy can only be the Private Sector. The time is now for us all as One Country, One People, One Seychelles.