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Seychelles Ministers address British High Commission workshop for regional consular personnel

Seychelles Ministers address British High Commission workshop for regional consular personnel (Forimmediaterelease.net) The Seychelles Minister for Internal Affairs and Transport and the Minister for Tourism and Culture were invited to address a workshop organised by the British High Commissioner accredited in Seychelles, Mrs. Lindsay Skoll.

Minister Joel Morgan and Minister Alain St.Ange delivered their speech after High Commissioner Lindsay Skoll had welcome the UK delegates based in ten different regional countries. The workshop had been organized on Indian Ocean consular policy awareness on the Somali piracy effects. Seychelles, as a small country, spends a large amount of money annually to keep itself ready to provide the necessary security of its population and its tourism trade against the any move by the organized criminal groups based in Somalia.

The Seychelles Minister responsible for Internal Affairs explained at the workshop the positioning of the Seychelles and the African coast and the Economic Exclusive Zone of the islands. The Minister explained that Seychelles remains committed in protecting its seas against the organized criminal groups based in Somalia.

In his address, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, said that it’s the misperception of Seychelles geographical location in regards to the zone affected by the organized criminal groups based in Somalia which needs to be emphasized to ensure that the safely label and the image of Seychelles remains untouched.

“In our case, the ignorance of the size of Seychelles’ enormous EEZ at one million square miles, often conspires with lack of knowledge about the exact geographical specificities of our 115 islands, to create the illusion in some consumers’ minds that we are fighting pirates from behind sandbags in central Victoria,” Minister Alain St.Ange said.

The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture said that his Ministry remains active in clarifying this very point right across the world. “The Seychelles waters are over four times the size of France,” Minister Alain St.Ange said. This statement he said left many travel agents, potential customers, and the press surprised about the location of the Seychelles from the African coast and from the organized criminal groups based in Somalia. “The statement that the Seychelles waters are over four times the size of France brings the perception created by the press into context, and brings out questions that can clear the confused mind,” the Seychelles Tourism Minister said.

“A sad reference that creates such misrepresentation and the perception that we are sitting in the middle of pirate-infested waters, which you know and which we know is not the case, but geographically speaking, Seychelles is often over- referenced in reports of piracy, and this may create a perception, and more often than not, it does create that perception in consumers’ minds” Minister Alain St.Ange said.

The Seychelles Minister went on to say that Seychelles was blessed with diversity of its islands and its people. This diversity cannot be allowed to be discredited by the organized criminal groups based in Somalia. The potential of Seychelles’ coral island groups over and above its group of granitic islands must continue to be marketed without any fear.

In conclusion, Minister St. Ange said that Seychelles should exhort the pressure on the community of nations to share the burden of ridding Africa of the organized criminal groups based in Somalia. “This is not a matter only for Seychelles but that it remains one for the community of nations at large,” said Minister Alain St.Ange.
The Indian Ocean Consular policy awareness on piracy was attended by consular personnel from ten regional countries all from British High Commissions across Eastern Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and representatives of the Foreign Commonwealth Office in London. Its aim was to discuss issues of mutual relevance across the region and develop appropriate responses to British nationals affected by piracy and its related crimes.

The British High Commission in Seychelles was mandated to host the workshop because of its location at the heart of the Indian Ocean and in recognition of the regional leadership and commitment Seychelles is showing in the fight against piracy.

The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture and the Minister for Home affairs and Transport, Joel Morgan, both took the floor for the opening of the workshop. Both Ministers made keynote addresses in the presence of the British High Commissioner to Seychelles, Lindsay Skoll.

PHOTO (Top - L to R): Minister for Home Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan, Lindsay Skoll British High Commissioner for Seychelles, and Alain St.Ange Minister for Tourism and Culture.

MEDIA CONTACT: seychellesupdatednews@googlemail.com

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