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Sign of new times: Street names recalling coup in Seychelles' to be changed

Victoria, Seychelles | November 15, 2021, Monday @ 16:48 in National » GENERAL | By: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 4092
Sign of new times: Street names recalling coup in Seychelles' to be changed

5th June Avenue which is directly related to the 1977 coup d'état will become Constitution Avenue. (Seychelles Nation)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Fifteen streets in the Seychelles' capital of Victoria whose names are linked to the 1977 coup d'état will see their names changed, said a top official.

"We want people to be unified in this new Seychelles and remove the political divisions that exist," the Mayor of Victoria, David Andre, told SNA on Friday.

In December last year, two months after Wavel Ramkalawan was sworn in as President, he announced the creation of the committee responsible for reviewing the names of all roads in Victoria linked to the 1977 coup d'état.

On June 5th 1977, France-Albert René, who was the then prime minister, became President after overthrowing Mancham. Seychelles became a one-party state until 1993.

"There are many streets that have names that are directly related to the coup and we know that the coup is very controversial as some people are not comfortable with seeing the names displayed while they drive through," explained Andre.

With this in mind, the committee chaired by Andre gave Seychellois the chance to send in their proposals for new street names.

"We received many propositions from the Seychellois diaspora as well as people living in the country. So we sat down as a committee and discussed the names and this is how we came up with the names that we have presented to the cabinet of ministers," he said.

So far 15 streets will change names as soon as all formalities are completed. These are Liberation Street which will be named French Chang-Him street after the first Seychellois ordained as Bishop; Revolution Avenue will go back to its original name of Royal Street and 5th June Avenue to become Constitution Avenue.

Three new names have been added and these are Rue Danielle de St Jorre, after the late Minister for Foreign Affairs and Environment as well as Place Antoine Abel, after the late Seychellois writer. Francis Rachel Street will not only change its name to Rue Pierre de Possession but in a place close by there will be a replica of the stone of possession that was placed by Nicholas Morphey to claim Seychelles as French territory in 1756.

"Local sculptor James August has generously agreed to create the replica that we plan to place at the entry of l'Esplanade, not too far from where the stone was initially placed," he said.

Andre told SNA that some of the considerations taken "was to avoid removing the names of individuals related to the coup and then to replace them with someone who has links with the party that was recently elected into office as this would mean the process was not neutral."

He said that since the change of street names will incur some costs such as putting up road signs, local businesses have been contacted for sponsors.

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Tags: 1977 coup d'état, stone of possession

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