Speech of President James Michel during the 'Launching Of Moral And Social Renaissance'; 20th July 2011
Mon, 01 August 2011
Launching of Moral and Social Renaissance
Speech of President James Michel
20th July, 2011, ICCS
My fellow brothers and sisters,
It is the values and principles we have commonly inherited that are the strength of our our being as a nation. These values and principles are the compasses that guide our boat. We are all in the same the same boat.
We live in a world where, in spite of technological progress, there are too many conflicts, and too much suffering; but the Seychellois nation remains so far an examplary and peaceful society. We are proud of what we have accomplished and who we are as a people who live harmoniously together.
However, if we are not careful, our boat will capsize. We stand to lose everything that we have accomplished together as a people.
There are many indications of emerging problems in our society - social problems that are becoming more and more accentuated.
How many youths who instead of working to build a future, fall prey to drugs?
How many parents are traumatised by the fact that they no longer recognise the children they have raised and cherished; the children who are now bleeding them dry of their money to buy drugs that have become a basic necesity for them?
How many young girls, and boys, lose their dignity when they sell their bodies?
How many resources are wasted - medicine for example, or resources at school and at work even - all because of a lack of responsibility, negligence, or a 'don’t care’ attitude?
How many workers are not being productive at work, and who do not have a family life because of their alcohol addiction?
How much domestic violence, how much theft, how many other crimes are being committed every day in our society?
Even sadder, how many children are being neglected because of irresponsible parents?
I will stop here, but the list is very long.
The message is clear: we have to take actions to redress the wrongs in our society. We need a moral and social renaissance. We need a clean Seychelles.
All of us who are Seychellois, all of us who live in Seychelles; we have to get our society back on track. We have to clean up - together.
This renaissance demands that we are all involved. It is the responsibility of all of us; adults, the elderly, youths and young children. It is not the the problem of government only. Every organization in our society is implicated, be it in the private sector or the public sector, be it the different churches and religious groups, or NGOs and community groups. It is everybody’s concern and it is our patriotic duty. We are all in the same boat, and we must see to it that our compass is pointing in the right direction!
The problems that affect our society have to be analized not only in their global context but also in their particularities, at district or community levels. Let us look for the causes of these problems. Let us put our minds together to think of possible solutions and measures that we can take vis-a-vis these problems.
Our dialogue must take into account that our society has to remain open to the rest of the world and the benefits that this brings, and at the same time think about how to develop the ability to choose what is beneficial to us and to steer our children away from the negative tendencies.
As I said on the occasion of our National Day, this dialogue that we shall embark on will form the framework for an action plan to be implemented in the coming years, with the aim of promoting law and order, respect and harmony in our society. In other words, to promote a cleaner Seychelles.
This dialogue will take place at district level and also within the different sectors, private and public. It can also be done at school level, in working places, within organizations and associations, through information technology and other means. The National Committee for this dialogue under the direction of the Designated Minister, will provide the details.
I will be following this dialogue in their different forms very closely, and I will expect to see many suggestions.
As President, I am determined to do what is necesary to redress our country. I need everybody’s support in this. Our economic reforms will not bear fruit if we do not address our social ills.
I know that the majority of our Seychellois citizens desire that we take the necesary action to improve our situation and eliminate the harmful tendencies in our society.
In our New Seychelles, we need a radical change in our way of thinking about certain things; a change of mindset, where we will take our responsibilities, do our bit to make our families, communities and our country functional. A mindset where we do our bit to promote the values we have always had, and that we need to continually nurture in our Seychellois culture.
It is those same values that have held us together in our small country, that have helped us overcome our difficulties and that have made Seychelles a good place to live.
These values are, consideration for others, being helpful to others, taking care of our children and our old people, having self-respect, love for our work, politeness, and many others. All these are values cultivated by our elders, and we must recognize their importance and make them the basis of our children’s education.
If we all pay attention to these values and bring them into our way of life, we will succeed in bringing about a moral and social renaissance.
I am confident that we can and will do it. We need a clean Seychelles.
We, the people of Seychelles, are succeeding in redressing our economy even in a global situation that is extremely difficult. We have succeeded in dealing with several piracy attempts in our waters and we will continue to be vigilant. We are preparing ourselves to deal with climactic change. We must apply the same determination to bring about social, spiritual and moral change.
I wish to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to all those in our society who are already making a significant effort to bring about a moral and social renaissance:
Mothers and fathers who make it their duty to raise their children properly, who give them love and attention, and not just material things; parents who are not tolerant of their children’s bad habits... Grandparents who continue to keep a benevolent eye on their families and give good counsel.
Neighbours who work together to create a harmonious relationship in the neighbourhood.
Teachers, school counsellors, social workers, health workers and youth workers, members of the forces who keep law and order; all who devote themselves to the welfare of our society.
All the committees and councils in the districts, NGOs, churches and religious organizations, media workers, and volunteers, who have a hand in addressing problems and improving people’s lives.
Every person of goodwill who is contributing in one way or another towards making our society a better one...
I wish to say a special word for our youths and children.
Our beautiful country belongs to us all. However, in a way, it belongs more to you than to those of us who are older. You are the the future of this country, and you are the ones who will make it work tomorrow. It is very important that you grow up to develop all your potentials and become responsible and capable adults. You are each one of you, precious to your parents and your country. Take care of yourselves so that you may develop all your potentials and become an important resource that you can be proud of, and not instead, a problem to your family and your country.
I commend all young people who are already helping their fellow youths who are facing difficulties to pick themselves up and rebuild their lives.
My fellow brothers and sisters,
We have an important task ahead of us. My message is that we have certain serious problems in our society that we have to address; that we have to clean up. My message is also one of hope and determination. We have to face up to problems; we can solve our problems and work towards a renewal of our society. This national exercise that we we have begun today calls for everybody’s participation. Together, we will address these social scourges that are menacing the fabric of our society.
This national debate obliges us to go back to the community where it all begins, where our children are born, grow up and go to school. Let us talk, discuss, and add our own contributions to the effort to bring about a clean Seychelles. We have a duty to find out what we are doing wrong and also what we are doing well so that we can do even better. We have to ask questions and be analytic. We have to study the different situations and propose solutions.
Are our families, the fabric of our society, playing the important role of raising our children to become responsible citizens?
How can we become more severe in our actions against drug traffickers who are poisoning our youths and holding our workforce hostage?
Is our society equipped to help youths who have fallen into delinquency and who have become slaves to drugs and alcohol change their bad habits?
Are all levels of our society sincerely contributing towards the education of our children?
Are our educational institutions doing enough to teach our youths their civic duty?
What specific programmes can our government establish to inculcate in our youths a sense of resilience, realism, responsibility and patriotic fervor?
These are the sorts of reflections and questions that I hope to hear in this national exercise. There are of course certain technical resources and expertise perhaps that we will need to address certain aspects of our problem; the drug and alcohol problem, for example. But we can do it; we can bring about this renewal of our society, this social and moral renaissance, if we all put our strength, our hearts, and our willingness together.
We are in the same boat. We have no choice but to travel together. We all have to help to make this boat work. Together, we will reach port safe and sound - a renewed Seychelles, a clean Seychelles where we live in harmony, joy and peace. There is no time anymore to point a finger at others and make excuses. Every child of Seychelles is our child. We all have an important role to play.
Thank you, and may God continue to bless our little Seychelles.