SEYCHELLES PRESIDENT OPENS NEW COAST GUARD BASE
A brand new base for the Seychelles Coast Guard was opened yesterday by President James Michel at Ile Perseverance in the presence of high ranking visitors from the United Arab Emirates, which funded the construction of the new facility and gave it to the Seychelles as a gift. Previously had the UAE also gifted several new ocean going high speed patrol boats to the Seychelles, allowing the archipelago to stage a determined and robust fight back against the ocean terrorists from Somalia.
The UAE and the Seychelles maintain warm and friendly relations, underscored by regular official and private visits of the respective heads of state and other government delegations. In fact, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has established a personal residence high above Victoria on the site previously occupied by a US surveillance station cementing the close ties between the two countries.
The new naval base also includes the new command centre for the Seychelles Coast Guard besides a number of added facilities like a helicopter base, maintenance and repair facilities fit for any major shipyard and state of the art quarters and offices for the Coast Guard personnel.
When discussing the opening of the base by email overnight with a regular source on the islands, the mood was overwhelmingly positive: our ties with the UAE have gone from strength to strength since President Michel came to office. They have donated to us this brand new navy installation, and several major patrol vessels, which has allowed our country to take the fight to the pirates and make shipping within our national waters and across the economic exclusion zone safer. Only the other day was it made public that we are now offering armed protection to vessels coming to Victoria harbour or transiting across our waters. This new facility is timely and was urgently needed. I know you are keen to write about this because our ties with the UAE are also impacting on tourism. Two of the UAEs flag airlines are now flying here, Emirates from Dubai is coming 12 times a week and Etihad from Abu Dhabi has just started flights 4 times a week but want o increase to daily flights also. This is very important for our tourism industry. It helps fill the beds of resorts, it offers enough seats for visitors and helps to promote Seychelles abroad. It really supports and assists the efforts of our tourism board and our private sector stakeholders.
Our government has struggled to develop the country and has taken with gratitude and appreciation the offers from the UAE. Earlier this year, when we had a severe water shortage, their President personally intervened and shipped us several new desalination plants which mitigated the worst shortages immediately. I think we need to appreciate this and not constantly talk of sell outs when we are the main beneficiaries of close diplomatic and commercial relations brought about by President Michel.
True words indeed which manifest themselves in action and material assistance while the flights from the UAE to the Seychelles are becoming more and more the backbone of the archipelagos tourism industry and most important air link after the national airline Air Seychelles.
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