Seychelles from the Heart

POOL, Gilbert, T. FRANCE ALBERT RENĒ. Seychelles from the Heart. A Place to love (First Printers Pte Ltd):2010(Part One)

In his dedication the author writes:

“FRANCE ALBERT RENĒ .This one is for you on your 75th Birthday, and for the country and the people of Seychelles whose lives you have touched and marked”

In his ‘Foreword’ he writes that a man like France Albert René

“who has done as much as France Albert René to craft the paradigm and future of Seychelles deserves to be remembered and honoured when he turns 75.

The author, Gilbert POOL started to work “for and with” President RENĒ with the re-introduction of “multi-party democracy’ in Seychelles in 1992 until the President retired in 2004.

He held the post of Communication Advisor, then as Special Advisor and is said to have worked as “one of the “strategists” for all his election campaigns.

In “Appendix 2” of his book  the author writes that with the new Millennium, several years after the return to multi-party democracy, President René  wrote in “FIRST”(a magazine for World leaders:

“Since Independence [1976] an active agenda of social reform has been undertaken to bring medical care, education, health facilities and basic utilities to all its people”.

An active housing development programme was also launched, road building exercises, agricultural and marine projects were put in place to create the necessary infrastructure and economic development………including the building of a modern sea-port and airport, telecommunication facilities, hotels, road networks and the provision of electricity and water to most of the inhabitants of the country.

The social welfare system in place allows for free medical care to all residents of Seychelles and a free education system caters for the needs of one of the country’s most precious commodities-that of its human resources…….

Seychelles has, despite an expanding tourism industry, managed to preserve its natural environment and will continue to do so in order to allow future generations to inherit what nature has beautifully provided for us…..”

Appendix 1 of his book carries the addresses President René delivered to the people of Seychelles on 5 June 1977 and 6 June 1977. Justifying his acceptance [he was then Prime Minister] to form a government after the overthrow of the President, Sir James R Man Cham he concluded his first speech with the following words:

“I also want to ask all foreign countries not to interfere with the internal affairs of Seychelles. We shall keep on respecting the good relationship we have with foreign countries, but at the same time we are not going to allow anyone to try to make us their puppets”(224).

In ”France Albert René’s Place in History”, the author writes:

“The  arrival of “ce pti blanc René” was confusing to bewildering if nothing else: a white young upstart championing the rights of the predominantly black population, preferring to fraternize at “Chez Nous” rather than the ‘Seychelles Club”[for Whites Only], and God forbid, claiming self-government and independence from Britain rather than clinging on to Her Majesty’s satin robe(23).

Albert RENĒ is said to have “created and nurtured a benchmark society in which Seychellois live in peace and harmony and each one can be whatever or whoever he or she wants to be in life’(30).

In “1935-From Island Boy to Leader” , the author writes that France Albert René BORN ON 16 November 1935 received his primary and part of his secondary education at the St. Louis College with the Marist Brothers and the latter part at the Seychelles College with the Canadian Brothers of the Order of Christian instruction of Ploërmel.. He said that he called how “most of the other students came from well off families and I could not even afford a pair of shoes’ (36).

He is said to have studied Law, Political Science, Economics…..and “whilst in London…took part in politics, joining in the discussions of various political bodies, notably the British Labour Party in which he made many friends’(38).

The author concludes the ‘chapter’ by writing that among those who followed and became part of his key team during his very active years in Seychelles politics was Mr. James Alix MICHEL, the current president of Seychelles.

©Jean-Claude, ”Zan Klod”, P.MAHOUNE(Anthropologist/Political Scientist)

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