Seychelles NATION Miscellaneous September Archives [21st - 25th Sep]
 

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Seychelles hosts Pan-Commonwealth workshops
 
Victoria 25th September -  School Improvement Programmes in Small States (SIPSS) and education and human development in Commonwealth States are the subjects of two workshops that Seychelles will be hosting this week.
 
The first workshop entitled "Enhancing Quality in Education" opens today and ends tomorrow while the second one on "Building Capacity for Human Development" will run from September 27 to 29.
Both workshops will take place at the Plantation Club Resort, Val Mer and some 20 delegates from Seychelles are expected to attend.
The objective of the first workshop being organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat is to use the experiences and insights gained from School Improvement Programmes (SIP) in Seychelles and the Caribbean to develop guidelines on the design, implementation and management of (SIPSS).
In recent years, a number of small states have implemented the SIPs that have shown promise for improving the quality of education. Retracing the history and success of the SIP implemented in Seychelles during the last five years, Mrs McSuzy Mondon said that there is a possibility that after evaluating the progress of Seychelles' SIP, the Commonwealth Secretariat could adopt certain guidelines from it in the formulation of a model SIP for its member states.
Mrs Mondon, who is the director general of Technical and Further Education in the Ministry of Education, explained that the SIP which Seychelles was implementing, was a school-based programme, which aims at improving pupil's learning by giving schools and staff more responsibility for the management of change and reform in their individual schools.
Resource persons from the Commonwealth Secretariat will assist in the conceptualisation and development of framework and the model for SIPSS that will later be published.
Over 30 delegates are expected from Caribbean countries such as Barbados, Jamaica, St Lucia, Guyana, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago as well as delegates from Malta, Mauritius, Lesotho and Swaziland. Representatives of regional bodies and development partners such as OECS, CARICOM, SADC, DANIDA and UNESCO will also be present.
The SIP workshop will be followed by an Expert Group Consultative Meeting on Education and Human Development in Small States from September 27 to 29.
Organised by the Commonwealth jointly with UNESCO, this conference is a follow up of the 1985 meeting held in Mauritius.
According to Mrs Mondon, the aim of the three-day working sessions will evaluate the progress made by the education system of the Commonwealth countries during the last fifteen years following the 1985 recommendations. The conference in 1985 explored the impact and difficulties of education systems in small states and recommended new ways for them to strengthen collaboration.
At the end of the human development conference participants are expected to identify areas of priorities to emphasise on in the future and come up with fresh resolutions. These resolutions, Mrs Mondon said, would be presented at a conference which will regroup all education ministers of Commonwealth countries, to be held in Halifax, Canada in November.
Seychelles, she said, had already laid down the guidelines of issues to be stressed on during the coming conference, such as in areas of quality assurance, localisation of teaching posts, distance learning education and courses accreditation.

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Exhibition showcases 24 years in the life of an Ashanti King in exile
 
Victoria 25 September - An exhibition retracing the 24 years the exiled King Nana Agyiman Prempeh 1 of Ashanti (now Ghana) spent in Seychelles, was officially opened yesterday at the National Cultural Centre by Ghanaian Archbishop Robert Okine.
 
In addition to photos, maps and other relevant documents describing the life of the exiled King, his family and followers, the exhibition showcases items such as clothing and Ghanaian artefacts such as the replica of the Golden stool of Ashanti, the symbol of authority.
The exhibition has been organised by the History Museum to commemorate the 100th anniversary of King Prempeh’s exile to Seychelles.
Described as one of the most famous deportees to Seychelles, King Prempeh arrived on the islands on September 11, 1900 as a political prisoner, along with his three wives, twelve of his chiefs and several slaves. He was repatriated to Ghana 24 years later after repeated popular petitions by the Ashantis supported by prominent groups and individuals.
Present at the opening of the exhibition was the Minister for Culture and Information, Mr Ronny Jumeau, other officials from that ministry, Bishop French Chang Him from the Anglican Church, Museum officers and other invited guests.
In his address, Archbishop Okine retraced the arrival of King Prempeh in Seychelles on September 11, the good treatment he received from the people of Seychelles, his determination to learn to read and write and his gradual transformation from being an Ashanti warrior to his adoption of the European Christian way of life.
"It is worthy to note that within a few years of his deportation, King Prempeh ceased to endow himself in his popular native costume, giving way to wearing European attire, suits. Also of great significance, he at about the same time made the transforming decision to convert to a monogamous Christian life," Archbishop Okine said, adding that this also led him to change his name to Edward, the then reigning Monarch of England.
Archbishop Okine also revealed that during their stay in Seychelles many of the Ashantis had married Seychellois and upon their return to Ghana in 1924 had set up a small community, where Creole was still being used today as the medium of communication.
As a sign of appreciation of the hospitality given to King Prempeh 1 and his entourage by the people of Seychelles, Archbishop Okine presented Minister Jumeau with a carving, depicting a traditional Ghanaian ruler with his subjects. The carving will be included in the National Art Collection.
Archbishop Okine also passed on warmest wishes and blessing to the people and government of Seychelles from the Anglican Church of Ghana, the current King of Ashanti, His Majesty Osei Tutu 11 and the Ghanaian government.
The exhibition will remain open for the public until Friday next week.

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The search is on for Miss Malaika!

Victoria 25 September - Sun City is beckoning. This is the chance for women aged between 18 and 30 to make their mark on the African continent. The Miss Malaika beauty pageant, a fairly new contest, is inviting young participants from the Seychelles. Malaika, meaning Angel in Swahili, is looking for authentic beauty in young African women. Indeed it is a contest based on pure natural beauty, that is both physical and inner charm.
 
It aims at celebrating the various African cultures and its peoples. A press release from the organisers says that they are looking for women who can speak about the continent and the rest of the world.
"Now it is time to celebrate African beauty in all its manifestations," says the press release. At a time when world knowledge of the African continent is more on its problems rather than its merits, Miss Malaika beauty pageant could perhaps prove that Africa is also rich in a diversity of interesting cultures and peoples.
"Realising that Africa also needs to show the rest of the world images of the continent not regularly seen on international news broadcasts, has lead Mr Ernest Coovi Adjovi (who created the pageant) to find tangible ways to celebrate Africa’s rich diversity and creativity," says the press release.
The contest is open for any young woman fitting the criteria and considers herself to be of African origin. Women wishing to participate must have been matriculated, single and childless. They must be free from cosmetic surgery, do not wear wigs or ear extensions, and they will be judged on their knowledge of the continent and the rest of the world, as well being well versed with current affairs on the African continent. The pageant itself will have four segments and these include interview, tropical wear, traditional wear and formal wear. The crowning ceremony, which will take place on December 16, 2000 at Sun City in South Africa, is expected to be broadcast live to 360 million viewers worldwide.
The prizes include a BMW convertible, jewellery, cash, among other rewards.
Those interested and for more information about the contest itself, they can contact the local coordinator, Mr Galen Bresson at Paradise FM after 4 p.m. or on telephone number 22 41 32.

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International Day for the Elderly
Activities galore for local senior citizens
 
Victoria 25th September -  A host of activities ranging from picnic, tea and lunch to exchange visits, cultural animation and mass, have been planned for members of the Senior Citizens clubs in all districts on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue to mark this year’s International Day for the Elderly on October 1.
 
While these activities are being coordinated by the Ministry of Local Government, Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Manpower Development on its part will be hosting a special lunch for all residents of the Homes for the Elderly on Mahe.
The commemoration of the Day for the Elderly in the country this year will be a time of rededication and commitment by the senior citizens to lead a healthier and active lifestyle.
With the launching of the Senior Citizens clubs the Ministry of Local Government, Youth and Sports have successfully established an important structure for the senior citizens in all districts of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. The clubs’ membership is on the rise and more senior citizens are being encouraged to join.
The Ministry of Local Government, Youth and Sports on this occasion would like to urge other agencies, local sponsors, NGOs, churches, youth groups and the schools to come up with ideas, resources, programmes to contribute to the welfare of the senior citizens.
On its part the ministry has pledged to continue to do more in the way of developing further programmes and activities for this group of people.
Recently a group of senior citizens participated in a three-day seminar in Mauritius on the theme "Senior Citizens in the Third Millennium".

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Seychelles at joint World Bank/IMF meeting

Victoria 25th September - A vice-presidential delegation is representing Seychelles at the joint World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) annual meeting which starts tomorrow in Prague, Czech Republic.
 
Vice-President James Michel, who is also the Minister for Finance, is accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Jeremie Bonnelame, and senior officials of the ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs.
A press statement from Maison Queau de Quinssy said the issue of debt relief for the developing countries and poverty eradication would again dominate the joint World Bank/IMF annual meeting.
During a press conference ahead of this year’s meeting, the current President of the World Bank Group, Mr James Wolfensohn, stressed on the need to address the growing inequalities between developed and developing countries. Today 20% of the planet’s population controls 80% of the world’s GDP. In the same context, Mr Wolfensohn expressed his pleasure at the growing awareness around the world about issues of equity, poverty and globalisation.
The Seychelles delegation will also be participating in the First Annual Small States Forum. This meeting, a joint initiative of the World Bank, IMF, Commonwealth, UNCTAD and WTO, will provide the opportunity for small states to discuss the work of the Joint Task Force on Small States. It will be another forum for small states to voice their particular concerns and problems relating to economic development.
The Seychelles delegation will also use the occasion to meet with our development partners for further exchanges in the area of economic and social development, as well as environmental protection.
The World Bank has funded several projects in Seychelles, including the Baie Lazare water supply system, the design of the new Environment Management Plan of Seychelles for 2000-2010, Management of Avian Ecosystems, and Management of the Marine Ecosystems.

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India to send naval advisor to Seychelles

Victoria 25th September - India would soon post a naval advisor to Seychelles, to complement the work being done by a military advisor who currently briefs his country on the training needs of the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF).
 
This was said yesterday by the deputy chief of the Indian Army responsible for training, Lieutenant General R. K. Sawhney, when he called on Vice-President James Michel.
Saying that his country was well aware of SPDF’s training needs, Lt. Gen. Sawhney said that India always strove to meet them through appropriate arrangements made through India’s defence advisor for Seychelles, who liaised with High Commissioner O’neil Wallang.
Briefing the press after meeting the Vice-President, Lt. Gen. Sawhney, who was accompanied by H.E. Wallang said that he had also paid a courtesy call on Foreign Affairs Minister Jeremie Bonnelame and also held talks with the Chief of Staff of the SPDF, Colonel Leopold Payet.
The general said he had invited the SPDF commander to India to see for himself what training opportunities existed there and the potential the Indian facilities had for the training of Seychellois defence forces personnel.

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Marketing and Customer Care
CWS to host regional workshop
 
Victoria 25th September -  Cable & Wireless (Seychelles) Ltd has announced that it will be hosting the African multilateral event on Marketing and Customer Care on behalf of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO).
 
The regional workshop, to be held at the Berjaya Mahé Beach Hotel from today to September 29, 2000, will be officially opened by Mr Errol Dias, the principal secretary in the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications.
The workshop, through a series of presentations, discussions and work groups, will address the marketing and customer care issues and help delegates develop customer-focused strategies and marketing plans to meet the needs of their companies.
Executives and senior managers with a responsibility for the customer base, marketing to customers defining customer care policy or managing the customer interface will be attending the workshop. CTO representatives and consultants will be managing and lecturing.
A total of 27 participants from various African countries will be attending the workshop. These include Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leonne, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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Tropical tunas, tagging, billfish to highlight IOTC meetings

Victoria 22nd September - Tropical tunas, a fish tagging exercise and the billfish will be the focus of a series of meetings that the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) is organising starting tomorrow.
 
According to the secretary general of the IOTC, Mr David Ardill, these annual working parties that bring together scientists from the 20 member states of the organisation, the European Union and other countries with fishing or research interests in the Indian Ocean, form part of the IOTC scientific process.
During the course of the sessions, the scientists will report their findings of research done throughout the year to the scientific committee, which will then make recommendations to the Commission. Based on these recommendations, the IOTC would have to take whatever decisions necessary to manage the tuna stock in the Indian Ocean, Mr Ardill said.
The first working party will be held at the Reef Golf Club Hotel from September 23 to 27 and will focus on tropical tunas.
Like last year, the group of scientists will look at the bigeye tuna, one of the highest valued and more heavily exploited species of tuna.
"We will look at the bigeye tuna with the specific intention of deciding whether it is necessary to limit catches on fish aggregation devices during certain seasons and regions because there is the belief that possibly, too many baby tunas are being caught," Mr Ardill noted.
Besides the bigeye tuna, the working party will also look at other species like the skipjack and the yellowfin.
The second working party to be held in the SFA (Seychelles Fishing Authority) meeting room on September 29 and 30, will be concerned with the design of a large scale tagging exercise in the Indian Ocean.
This exercise will involve catching the fish, putting a small plastic tag on it and then releasing it alive.
Explaining the purpose of the operation, Mr Ardill said that when the fish is recaptured, it would provide the scientists with information about its growth rate, its migration patterns and the stock of fish.
"These are very big and complex operations. We will be designing the operations so as to optimise what we can get from them and hopefully, generate interests of major aid donors because such a tagging operation would cost at least $5 million and last several years," said Mr Ardill.
The third meeting from October 1 to 4, will focus on billfish, more particularly the swordfish.
According to Mr Ardill this species was not heavily exploited in the past, but now an increasing number of countries including Seychelles, Reunion and South Africa are becoming interested in it, hence the need to study its status.
Commenting on the aim of the working parties and how Seychelles stands to benefit, Mr Ardill noted that fishing is the number one foreign exchange earner for our country and if it were to collapse, it would be an economic disaster for Seychelles.
Therefore, he said, Seychelles should be very conscious of the need to manage tuna fisheries, to ensure that in the future catch rates would remain economically viable.

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World Heart Day to be observed on Sunday

Victoria 22nd September - The first World Heart Day (WHD) will be commemorated on Sunday, September 24 under the theme: "Walking: a simple solution," according to the Unit for Prevention and Control of Cardiovascular Disease (UPCCD) of the Ministry of Health.
 
The day will be marked by the start of sessions of brisk walks lasting one hour which will commence on Monday and be held every Monday and Thursday from 4.20 p.m.
The walks will begin from the Yellow Roof Building of Victoria Hospital and UPCCD has invited all interested persons to join at any time regardless of their age.
According to a spokesperson for the unit, commemorating the Day is aimed at increasing public awareness on cardiovascular disease, promoting its prevention and control and ultimately improving public health.
This slogan chosen is meant to encourage promotion of physical exercise which has established benefits on health and reminds people that walking can be practiced by all.
In a press release, the unit says that today in Seychelles, cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death and accounts for approximately 35% of all deaths. While myocardial infarction is on the rise, stroke is currently particularly frequent in Seychelles and many dozens of fatal cases occur each year, including in young or middle-aged persons.
The latest treatments for heart disease have limited efficacy despite extreme sophistication and very high cost. In contrast, prevention of cardiovascular disease is highly effective and is therefore of vital importance. Several large studies have conclusively shown that persons with healthy lifestyles can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 50-80% and can improve their quality of life with a gain of up to 10-30 years, the press release says.
 
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Clean up the World 2000
National clean-up activities this weekend
Victoria 21st September - This year’s Clean up the World Campaign being held locally under the theme "Reduce, re-use and recycle for the love of Seychelles", will take place this weekend and members of the public are being urged to participate actively in all the activities being organised.
 
According to Mr Barry Joseph, SWAC’s (Solid Waste and Cleaning Agency) chief task force supervisor, the activities will start tomorrow and will involve general cleaning activities by schoolchildren, staff from the Division of Environment, SWAC and other groups in the community.
This year, Mr Joseph said, the cleaning activities would focus on destroying creepers in certain designated areas. These invasive vegetation, he noted, was a threat to other plants around the country.
Some of the areas identified include the compound of the Farmers’ Training Centre (FTC) at Grand Anse and near the Bel Eau School.
Mr Joseph said that on Friday, students of the FTC together with staff of Seychelles Breweries will be destroying creepers on the compound, while employees of the Environment Division and members of Soroptimist will be cleaning at Bel eau.
For Saturday and Sunday, Mr Joseph is urging groups in the districts to get together as well as individual households to clean their communities and living environment.
He called on them to put all the litter and waste in proper carrier bags to facilitate collection by the agency later. All litter-filled bags should be placed by the roadside for collection by midday on Sunday.
Mr Joseph took the opportunity to launch an appeal to all pick-up drivers to come and give a helping hand in the collection of the bags, at the same time urging members of the public to bring any heavy scrap metals such as parts of derelict cars themselves at the Providence dumping site.
Another appeal is for members of the public to separate their rubbish, particularly where metals are concerned, to limit the occurrence of accidents to those collecting it.
Similar activities will also be held on Praslin and La Digue.
One of the main activities in this year’s Clean Up the World Campaign will be a recycling fair to be held at the Stad Popiler car park on September 29.
This fair is being organised by SWAC in collaboration with SIDEC (Seychelles Industrial Development Corporation).

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Seychelles to host Pan-Commonwealth Workshop on School Improvement in Small States.

Victoria 21st September - In recent years, a number of small states have implemented school improvement programmes that have shown promise for improving the quality of education. Since the last five years, Seychelles is one of those countries that have been very active in designing and implementing its own model of a school improvement programme.
 
The School Improvement Programme (SIP), which Seychelles is implementing, is a school-based programme, which aims at improving pupil's learning by giving schools and staff more responsibility for the management of change and reform in their individual schools. The School Improvement Programmes believes that 'improvement' comes in the first place from within the schools, and that school managers and staff are the best people to bring about qualitative changes given the right type of support from the centre.
Through the School Improvement Programme, staff in schools have collaboratively audited their schools, chosen their priorities, and designed and implemented action plans to bring about the necessary improvements. School Improvement Steering and Support Committee members, and School Improvement Coordinators at the regional level, provide assistance to schools in the planning, implementation and evaluation of their school development plans. The School Improvement Programme is an important innovation, because it is the first time that ideas of whole-school improvement and development are introduced in schools.
The School Improvement Programme has brought some positive changes to the culture and management of schools. There is more team-work and shared learning taking place, and more involvement of staff in decision-making. Schools are more focussed on teaching and learning and are becoming more systematic in monitoring and evaluating performance. The quality of school-based staff development is improving steadily. Although the impact of the programme on the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom has yet to be evaluated, the results of a recent survey carried out among teachers, show that over 80% of them consider development planning to be an important factor in making schools better.
The objective of this international workshop being organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat is to use the experiences and insights gained from school improvement programmes in Seychelles and the Caribbean to develop guidelines on the design, implementation and management of SIPSS. The workshop is intended to be highly interactive with a focus on making full use of the participants' experiences and expertise.
Resource persons from the Commonwealth Secretariat will assist in the conceptualisation and development of framework and models for SIPSS that will later be published.
Over 30 delegates are expected from Caribbean countries such as Barbados, Jamaica, St Lucia, Guyana, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago as well as delegates from Malta Mauritius, Lesotho and Swaziland. Representatives of regional bodies and development partners such as OECS, CARICOM, SADC, DANIDA and UNESCO will be present. The workshop will be held at the Plantation Club Resort from the 25th to the 27th September, 2000. It will be followed by an Expert Group Consultative Meeting on Education and Human Development in Small States from the 27th to the 29th September.

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Conference on offshore centres
Delegates call for understanding between centres and financial market
Victoria 21st September - The conference on offshore centres in the cyber age ended yesterday after the delegates explored avenues for greater mutual understanding between the smaller specialised centres and their markets.
 
They did this through discussions following the presentation of a dozen papers by experts in various fields spanning from taxation, electronic business, insurance, banking to legislation.
Professor Jens Meyer of the German Technical University, presented a paper on the impact of e-business and the Internet on international companies, needed to develop through which he said that market economies, regardless of their size, needed to develop a competitive and effective e-business strategy.
Also on Tuesday, Ms Julian Ware, a tax law consultant, explained how to select the best Internet-enabled offshore jurisdiction for implementing a tax efficient e-business strategy for the creation of wealth.
Delegates, who came from 27 countries, also heard how, when and where best to establish a captive insurance company, before Rt. Hon. Lord Anthony St. John of Bletso delved into offshore banking services for the international business community.
His presentation was a review of traditional banking services available for companies established in international business centres, back to back loans and other financial products. He also touched on group treasury operations and opportunities for offshore Internet banking.
Dr Shelton Jolicoeur of International Law and Corporate Services (Pty), Ltd of Seychelles, presented a paper on the impact of regulation on international financial centres.
He gave comparative profiles of the global regulatory environment and advised: Know your customer policies. He then outlined the obligations of legal and accountancy practitioners, management companies banks, financial institutions and trust companies in the prevention of fraud and financial crime.
Mr Iqbal Rajahbalee, a former assistant solicitor in Mauritius, discussed tax treaties of the Indian Ocean.
Mr Rajahbalee, who was the first executive director of the Mauritius Offshore Business Activities Authority, centred his talk on Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar and Botswana. He talked of the salient features of the treaty network of Seychelles and Mauritius stating the applications of the treaties in a changing environment. Perspectives for future development.
The managing director of a UK tax consultancy firm, Dr Michael O. Brien, advised that when setting up an international structure many factors must be considered such as tax efficiency, appearance and ease of operation. He said that UK structures could provide all of these to which could be added the plethora of tax treaties.
The head of UK’s KPMG, Mr Andrew Smith covered the establishment of offshore mutual funds, focusing on operational criteria, appointment of custodians, administrators, distribution regulation. He also gave a review of new offshore mutual fund legislation and the opportunities for mutual fund and unit trust managers and financial institutions.
Mauritian Dr Ludovic C. Verbist, who now directs several companies in Geneva explained how offshore banking and financial services met the challenges brought about by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) , Forum for Financial Stability and other bodies.
The managing director of Station Africa, used the Seychelles International Trade Zone as a case study.
One of Africa’s successful wide telecommunication entrepreneurs, Mr Nicholas Acton, gave a first hand experiences of Station Africa's implantation in the Seychelles International Trade Zone (SITZ) and the services that his companies were able to provide.
According to SIBS, the main sponsors of the conference were OCRA World Wide,
Station Africa Telecoms, NouvoBanq, Seychelles International Mercantile Bank Corporation, Casino Des Iles, State Assurance Corporation of Seychelles, Hunt, Deltel & Co Ltd, Cable & Wireless, DHL World Wide Express, Corvina Investment, Development Bank of Seychelles, International Corporate Agent Ltd, Seychelles Saving Bank and International Law & Corporate Services.
In the centre pages of Seychelles Weekend Nation on Saturday, we hope to carry excerpts of Attorney at Law Francis Chang Sam’s contribution on the Seychelles legislative and regulatory framework for international business.

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Website aims to serve worldwide Seychellois community

Victoria 20th Seotember - To date, it is believed that there are no websites which cater to the needs of the Seychellois overseas who wish to find out about happenings at home, especially on the social side. With this in mind, Seychellois Gwilym Sicobo aims to fill this gap on the information superhighway and hopes that his site, www.seynews.com , will be the focal point for the Seychellois all over the world.

While the website is still under construction, Mr Sicobo is urging the Seychellois here and overseas to start contributing news of social events via e-mail to webmaster@seynews.com. He said he welcomed such events as weddings, birthdays, christenings, holy communions, family events, hobbies, illnesses, accidents, deaths, successes, achievements and job promotions. Information providers can also attach scanned photographs of the events in JPEG format. In the future, the website initiator said an office would be opened in Victoria to receive pictures and news from people who did not have access to the Internet. In the meantime, they can send their stories and pictures via snail mail (the post) to : 45, Whalebone Grove, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Essex RM6 6BT, United Kingdom.

"This is a service to the Seychellois, and it's free for people to feature events on the site," he said.

Mr Sicobo, a UK resident who works with Corporate Graphics International, a website design and corporate branding company in London, said the Seychellois overseas would like to know of events involving their friends and relatives here, as well as elsewhere. Big communities of Seychellois are living in the UK, Canada and Australia, and Mr Sicobo hopes that his website, which is to be launched in December, can be a link between these communities and the Seychelles islands.

He also hopes to set up "chat rooms" on the site for the Seychellois and their friends to discuss issues of interest. Mr Sicobo, however, frowns on politics as a topic of discussion, as his aim is to unite the Seychellois, not divide them.

Saying that this is his personal initiative, Mr Sicobo said part of the site would be devoted to tourism and corporate advertisements, while personal advertisements such as on the sale of properties, would also be welcome. Advertisements should be addressed to adverts@seynews.com .

"I expect that this will be the first and only site for the Seychellois community all over the world," he said, adding that its success depends on the support of everyone.

He said he did not know how the site would evolve, but proposed that the site is linked to the Nation Online site, local tourism sites, etc.

"I can also feature the latest music offerings from Seychelles, and provide a shopping link so that those visiting the site can buy the latest CDs," he said, adding that the shopping site can also feature local spices, souvenirs and foodstuff. Other items might also be featured so that the people in Seychelles can buy things from overseas.

Among his other plans for the site are an online Who's Who, e-mail and telephone directory for the Seychellois all over the world.

Mr Sicobo said he would be helped in this inititiative by friends in Seychelles and overseas.

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WHO/ African Regional Committee Meeting
New health strategy adopted

Victoria 20th September - The 46 countries participating in the 50th Regional Committee Meeting of the African Region have adopted a new ‘Health for All’ strategy, the Agenda 2020, to guide health devlopment in African countries.

The meeting was convened by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and was held in the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou from August 28 to September 2. The annual regional meeting was an opportunity for African health ministers to take stock of progress and achievements of all the countries in providing better health care systems and to share experiences in different health areas. The success of the ‘Health for All by the year 2000’ policy, adopted by WHO in 1977, was one of the key issues discussed at the meeting.

Speaking to the press yesterday Health Minister Jacquelin Dugasse, who represented Seychelles at the meeting, revealed that the majority of the African countries had not been able to achieve the different targets set under the ‘Health for All’ policy. Extending the policy for another 20 years is expected to give these countries time to catch up with its implementation.

The provisions made under the Agenda 2020, Minister Dugasse said, emphasised on more political commitments and greater mobilisation of both human and financial resources vis a vis the health sector in the African countries, points which are expected to give fresh impetus to the implementation of the ‘Health for All’ policy.

The WHO regional office in Africa has also renewed its commitment to continue to provide technical support and to monitor the progress of the countries yet to adopt the ‘Health for All’ policy.

Minister Dugasse said Seychelles was one of the few countries which had made remarkable success in its endeavour to implement the ‘Health for All’ policy, noting that the country had successfully realised 90% of the targets set.

As examples of Seychelles’ achievements in this area Minister Dugasse cited the decentralisation of health, zero maternal mortality rate, immunisation, low infant mortality rate and higher life expectancy.

"For the next 20 years, we hope to consolidate and preserve what we have achieved in the different health care sectors, continue to promote a healthy environment, and to improve in areas where we have not excelled, for instance the home base care practice," Minister Dugasse explained.

Another area which he added the ministry needed to work on was promoting healthy living. The health system, he explained, had effectively eliminated most infectious diseases, but was now challenged by a new breed of ‘social’ diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases, which together were responsible for more than 50% of deaths in the country.

On the issue of the spread of the pandemic HIV/AIDS, Mr Dugasse said the African countries had voiced their concerns about the expensive cost of treatment and appealed for concrete actions to be taken in reducing the cost of the HIV/AIDS drugs.

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Indian army General to visit Seychelles

Victoria 21st September - The Deputy Chief of the Indian Army responsible for Training and Coordination, Lieutenant General R.K. Sawhney, PVSM, AVSM, is expected in Seychelles today for a two-day visit, the High Commission of India in Seychelles has announced.

Lt. Gen. Sawhney’s visit, which will also take in some southern African countries and Mauritius, forms part of the on-going cooperation between the defence forces of Seychelles and India, especially in the training of personnel.

India allocates a good number of slots under the ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation) programme every year for short-term training courses in India for SPDF (Seychelles People’s Defence Forces) personnel and also deputes senior defence officers to Seychelles.

Lt. Gen. Sawhney is an alumni of the College of Defence Management in Secunderabad, India, and also of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. He belongs to the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles Regiment of Infantry. In an illustrious career spanning 38 years, he has held many prestigious command and staff appointment positions including Command of an Infantry Brigade, a RAPID Division and the elite Strike Corps. He was deeply involved in the successful anti-insurgency operations in North-East India. He was appointed Vice-Chief of the Army in June, 2000. For his outstanding achievements, he has been conferred two of the highest awards – the Param Vishita Seva Medal (PSVM) and the Ati Vishita Seva Medal (AVSM).

In Seychelles the visiting General is expected to call on high dignitaries including the Vice-President and the Foreign Affairs Minister, besides meeting with the SPDF Chief of Staff.

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Company acts positively, brings down unsightly building

Victoria 21st September - An ancient and unsightly building at the corner of Benezet and Market Streets is finally being pulled down "to clean up the area," according to one of the directors of the company that owns the property on which the derelict structure stood.

Saying the property belonged to Cherubin and Morin Company, the spokesperson said that the decision to bring down the structure was reached after new plans for developing the area were available. Nevertheless, the man said that no construction would be done immediately after the ongoing demolition work.

Seychelles Nation carried an article on July 26 decrying the presence of the building in that busy part of town, regretting the obvious danger to public health it posed as a breeding place for rodents, and the potential risks the passers-by were exposed to by its torn sharp corrugated iron sheets.

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Exhibition tracing life of King Prempeh of Ashanti opens tomorrow

Victoria 21st September - An exhibition tracing the life of King Nana Agyiman Prempeh I of Ashanti, once deported to Seychelles as a political exile, opens tomorrow at the National Cultural Centre.

Organised by the History Museum, the exhibition will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the King’s arrival in Seychelles in the year 1900.

According to the assistant museum curator, Mrs Bella Lebon, King Prempeh I of Ashanti (present day Ghana) arrived in Seychelles precisely on September 11, 1900, but they decided to organise the exhibition on September 22, to coincide with the arrival of Archbishop Robert Okine from Ghana who will be given the honour to officially open the exhibition.

She explained that the exhibition, which would comprise mainly of photos, maps and supporting documents, would focus on three stages of King Prempeh’s life namely, his reign and dethronement in Ghana, the route which brought him to Seychelles, together with his followers, the life he led while being here and his departure from our country 24 years later and his life thereafter in Ghana.

In addition, artefacts related to Ghanaian tradition will also be on show, such as a wooden replica of the famous Golden stool of Ashanti, symbolising the throne of authority.

Furthermore, a video of his son’s visit to Seychelles in 1991 will also be played at the exhibition. The video shows Francis Prempeh visiting the tombs where the Ashantis were buried and also some of the remaining descendants of the Prempeh family in Seychelles.

Mrs Lebon explained that the exhibition was a bit similar to the one organised during Fet Afrik, but that this one goes into greater details. She is urging members of the public, particularly schoolchildren, to come and see the exhibition, as there are a lot of interesting things and information on display which could be used in educational projects.

The exhibition will be open during working hours and will go on for a week.

When King Prempeh arrived in Seychelles on SS Dwarka he was accompanied by 55 followers including the Queen Mother, three of his wives, an interpreter, twelve of his chiefs and many slaves.

In 1901, nine months later, they were joined by a second batch of 21 political prisoners, among them 17 chiefs and two sub-queens. When he left only 12 of the original exiles had survived but 59 children had been born to the Ashantis and Seychellois wives or "concubines".

King Prempeh who had been described by the British not in flattering terms as "a native savage potentate dressed in his native costume" (leopard skin) on his arrival, returned in European clothes (morning coat, shining boots and spots, collar and cravat and crowned by a grey top hat (Webb 1964:101).

King Prempeh had been converted into a Christian adopting the name of Edward, King of England. He had to abandon, too, his wives from his polygamous unions as he adopted the Anglican religion.

One of the greatest legacies of King Prempeh’s passage to Seychelles is perhaps the residence of the daughter of his son, James, Huguette Prempeh in Rochon, Mahe.

In 1924 when he was allowed to return home King Prempeh wrote:

"During the 24 years of my exile in Seychelles, I have appreciated the kindness of one and all in this community with whom I have had very friendly relations.

"Although I will be far from you, I shall never forget the unfailing courtesy and respect shown to me by all classes of the population and the beautiful sight of Seychelles."

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