Seychelles quietly marks National Day without usual celebrations
The National Day is usually highlighted every year by a military parade at the Unity Stadium at Roche Caiman, but no such ceremony will be held this year because of COVID-19. Archive photo: (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles observed a quiet 44 years of independence on Monday with no customary national activities for the first time amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 2015, June 29, which marks the day Seychelles gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1976, is celebrated as the National Day, and usually the highlight every year is a military parade at the Unity Stadium at Roche Caiman, though no parade will be held this year.
In his national address to mark this day, President Danny Faure, wished all Seychellois here and around the world a happy Independence Day and called on everyone to come together.
"This year we must celebrate our National Day differently given the public health emergency, and we all have to respect the guidance to avoid large public gatherings during this period. I thank you all for your understanding and spirit of solidarity."
Faure said that during the 44 years, Seychelles has accomplished a great deal and Seychellois have worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to bring the country to where it is today.
"Unfortunately, the world and Seychelles was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Seychelles and countries around the world have been badly affected; and as a small country, we are suffering from the severe impact of COVID-19 on our economy," he added.
The head of state said that moments of crisis are also moments of opportunity, and in this difficult time "let us take the chance to reflect on what we can do – individually, as a family, as a community, and as a nation – to get through these difficult times and reclaim our path to progress."
This was echoed by Roger Mancienne, the Leader of the opposition party Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS).
"This year, we celebrate under a dark cloud as we face a very difficult time ahead. It is right that we speak of national unity. Our nation was born with this promise that we would live as one people, able to work together to overcome dangers that threaten all of us, and to achieve goals that serve us all," said Mancienne.
President Faure said, "Our Independence Day is a date that unites us all and is a powerful symbol of our national unity. Let us renew our commitment as citizens to reinforce our national unity. Let us promote this unity and spirit of working together to ensure we get through this storm together as a nation."
"Today is a moment of pride for our small blessed country and despite the difficulties, despite the tough times we will continue to go even further. With unity, with devotion to our motherland and the willingness to pull together for Seychelles, we will triumph. This is the key to our wellbeing and our future," Faure added.
The Leader of LDS said that although this year's anniversary is more solemn than in other years and without extravagant ceremonies or parties "it does not stop us from celebrating what is truly the most important. That is, that we are a free people, with laws and institutions that protect the rights of everyone."
Mancienne joined together with other leaders of LDS, their Members of the National Assembly and district representatives to extend the best wishes to Seychellois everywhere for Independence Day.