Independence Day Message 2013 from President James A Michel
29 June 2013 | State House
On 29th June 1976 we, the people of Seychelles, turned a new page in our history. Our islands attained independence, a milestone in the long march towards a promising future. We took our rightful place among the community of nations.
As we mark 37 years of nationhood, we are happy to share the glory of a nation that is today walking tall. We have charted our own development. We have worked hard with our minds and hands. We have progressed on our own. Giving us many reasons to celebrate.
The story of our independence inspires our nation.
There were the patriots, the heroes. Our fathers and mothers, our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, were true patriots who loved Seychelles more than their lives. They had full confidence in the ability of our people to take charge of our own destiny. They dared. At the start they had to convince the doubters but they struggled on in the face of adversity. In the end they were vindicated and an entire nation triumphed.
Our freedom was won out of their determination, conviction and perseverance. They were the brave leaders who strongly believed that we, the Seychellois, needed to be free from colonial rule in order for us to take in hand our own development for a brighter future. We salute them for the fight, the motivation, the belief and the farsightedness. We also pay tribute to the thousands who joined them in the march towards independence. We remember those who are no longer with us. They are all our heroes. Their actions urge us and future generations to continue defending our freedom and striving for our nation’s progress.
Until 1976 we were a poor, neglected and under-developed group of islands. Few opportunities existed. But although we were poor and small, we nurtured big dreams. In the nearly four decades of independence we have developed rapidly to become an upper middle-income country. We export processed goods. Seychelles is an international business centre. Our tourism is a brand that sells our destination worldwide. We the Seychellois together established our modern health care system. We developed a decent housing programme. We have set up pension schemes for all, guaranteeing our elderly citizens a comfortable retirement.
One of the aspirations of our independence heroes was to give all our children the chance to a good start in life. By providing all our children access to at least 13 years of free education we have realised one of their many dreams. We know today that the foundation for our continued success as a free nation, in this fast changing world, rests on the education of all our children.
The fruits of independence are sweet, because we have improved the quality of life of our people.
Independent Seychelles is a lot richer than four decades ago. Richer, especially, in the quality of life that we enjoy. The most important of our many assets is our healthy and educated people. Individual Seychellois are taking the initiative and striving on their own. We have resilience. The success of our economic reform programme taught us how to turn difficulties into opportunities. Ownership of the opportunities is ours. We have stability, a beacon of light and hope in a world all too often riven by conflict. We have become a model of human development, a leader in sustainable development, a world-acclaimed defender of the environment.
Ours is a society of solidarity, compassion, with a comprehensive welfare system, where no one is left behind. Where national unity prevails. Where we can rise above our differences. Where hard work is the order of the day. These are the hallmarks of the New Seychelles.
We are happy that today, as we mark 37 years of nationhood, more than ever before we are focusing our national energy on the building of a more prosperous Seychelles. In spite of our diversity we are able to progress together because of our thriving democracy, because of the unity that gives us the strength for nation building.
On our independence anniversary, we renew our pledge to continue fostering unity, protecting our beloved Seychelles, defending our rights, accepting our responsibilities, working together to make our country an even greater place to live in. We rededicate our unity to the service of the New Seychelles.
Let us be inspired by the achievements of our independence. Let us value the greatness of our prospering, free nation.
It is our youth and children who, on every independence day anniversary, carry high the flame of the indomitable Seychellois spirit. At the inter-school athletics competition on 29th June they are the bearers of the symbols of our national identity. Their performances exude the energy of our young and dynamic nation. Every year we cheer them on, urging them to give their best. On their faces we see the reflection of our dignity, courage and hard work. They are the children of independent Seychelles, our joy. I wish them success in the athletics competitions.
I wish all Seychellois, here and everywhere in the world, a happy Independence Day.
We pray that God will continue to protect our nation.