6 Christian leaders in Seychelles are given citizenship
The 6 christian leaders takes a souvenir photo with President Faure and Vice President Meriton (Salifa Magnan, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles’ President Danny Faure has granted citizenship to six persons whom he describes as exemplary leaders and an inspiration to the people whose lives they touch everyday in their communities.
The six new Seychellois -- representatives of different Christian churches in the country -- were honoured in a symbolic ceremony held at State House on Thursday.
The Seychelles’ head of state has for the first time since coming into power last October granted Seychelles citizenship in accordance to Article 5(1) of the Amended Citizenship Act 1994.
This particular article gives the president the authority to call for a person to be registered as a citizen for distinguished service or under special circumstances “where the President is of opinion that a person has done signal honor or rendered distinguished service to Seychelles, or the person is otherwise meritorious.”
For the Right Reverend of the Anglican Diocese in Victoria, James Wong, being granted Seychellois citizenship represents a form of identification.
“When I came to Seychelles nine years ago, I came as a Mauritian working for the people of God in Seychelles. Today I am no longer a Mauritian trying to identify himself with the people of Seychelles -- I have become a Seychellois,” said Wong.
He said that now he can get to know the sorrows of others, rejoice with them and support them as a Seychellois.
Father Louison Emerick Bissila, who serves the Roman Catholic Parish of St. Esprit at Ile Perseverance, a reclaimed island on the outskirts of the capital Victoria, said that this was the biggest unexpected birthday gift he could have received. He got a call to go to the immigration office when he was celebrating his 41st birthday on May 10.
|The Seychelles’ head of state has for the first time since coming into power last October granted Seychelles citizenship in accordance to Article 5(1) of the Amended Citizenship Act 1994 (Salifa Magnan, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“It is a form of recognition for the job that we are doing, that through the grace of God has an impact [on the society]. It is also a form of encouragementto continue what we are doing well and rectify the wrongs,” said Bissila.
Bissila arrived in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, from Congo Brazzaville in December 2010 and began his pastoral duties in Parish of St. Therese in the eastern district of Plaisance.
Sister Marie Alice Vivien of St. Joseph of Cluny, known to the community as Sister Alice, told the press that she was moved and emotional to learn about the news.
“It is an honour and I wasn't expecting this. I love the mission that I am carrying out as it brings a lot of joy. I take care of the drug users, alcoholics, and homeless and this allows me to help this people regain their dignity,” said Vivien, who also has French and Mauritian nationalities.
She arrived in Seychelles on July 17, 2008 and has devoted these nine years doing missionary works and pastoral duties.
The other three priests to be honoured on Thursday were Father Pierre Madiela, Father Landry Mukoko Maketa, and Father Guy Inkumene.
Reputed for his praise and worship services at the St. Therese Parish, Madiela, born in Brazzaville Congo came to Seychelles December 2, 2010.
Maketa has for the past three years served the St. John Bosco Parish in the Point Larue district and comes from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
His fellow countryman Inkumene first arrived in Seychelles on November 21 and is based at the Parish for St. Jean-Baptiste at Glacis in the north of Mahe.