December 7 disasters |12 December 2023
National Assembly conveys sympathy and thanks
The first half hour of the National Assembly’s sitting yesterday was dedicated to the victims of the recent calamities that hit the country last week with the Speaker and members of the House expressing sympathy to the families who lost their loved ones, and incurred damages during the unprecedented events.
When addressing the members, Speaker Roger Mancienne expressed his profound sadness and condolences to the families of the deceased in the northern region as well as to those affected by the blast in Petit Paris.
“We extend our compassion and solidary towards individuals and organisations that suffered damages that disturbed their lives, disrupt their normal activities and future plans,” said the Speaker.
“Words would not be enough to express exactly how we feel,” he added.
Mr Mancienne also commended all those who came forward to assist those in need and allay their pain.
The MNAs whose districts were directly impacted by the disasters also shared their experience and the ordeal as well as the tasks undertaken since Wednesday last week to attend to those in need.
Elected member for Glacis, Regina Esparon, thanked all those including individuals, government and private entities that came to the aid of families in the north.
She was followed by the elected member for Beau Vallon, John Hoareau, who also expressed deep sympathy to those affected in the flooding and landslides in the northern region
This was echoed by the elected member for Bel Ombre, Sandy Arissol, who had words of thanks for those who turned up to ensure the northern region was taken care of.
An emotional Mr Arissol recalled the evening and the tragedies that ensued leading to the death of one of their residents.
It should be noted that the Seychelles Meteorological Services recorded around 375 millimetres of rain within 24 hours in the northern part of Mahé. Beau Vallon recorded 37 cases of landslide, 31 cases of flooding and 19 cases of collapsed walls. Whereas Glacis had 12 reported cases of landslide, 15 cases of flooding, and two cases of collapsed wall. In Bel Ombre the statistics were 13, eight and three respectively, whereas Anse Etoile had fewer cases; three of landslide and three cases of flooding.
An emotional Philippe Monthy, the elected member for Cascade, also shared his district’s ordeal following the blast on Thursday morning and thanked all those who gave a helping hand and continue to assist the district in the aftermath of this tragic incident, which caused many injuries and led to displaced families.
Leaders of the two caucuses also expressed words of sympathy and thanks.
The leader of the opposition, Sebastien Pillay, said the indescribable events caused damages and led to anxiety.
He said despite it happening in few districts, it concerns the whole country as everyone has a family member, friend or colleague who has been directly affected by either the storm or the blast.
He also emphasised the need for the country to relook at all safety and security measures in place to ensure such events do not recur.
« I am convinced our nation will overcome these disasters and as a national assembly we have to come together to make proposals to the government for the country’s safety,” said Mr Pillay.
His words of sympathy and thanks were echoed by the leader of government business, Bernard Georges, who on behalf of his caucus, sympathised with those affected. However, he said despite the disasters, there is also hope.
“A nation is not measured by its suffering during a time of distress but its resilience and force to overcome the challenges sent our way,” said Mr Georges, adding the past few days had testified Seychelles’ resilience.
He said despite few complaints and negativity the majority of the people rallied to help the country. “So I would like to tell the people that we are here for you and we will come out of these calamities stronger and more resilient.” The House also observed one minute of silence at the request of the leader of the opposition.
It should be noted that a request by Mr Pillay for the National Assembly to debate a Motion on the setting up of a commission of enquiry into the blast in Petit Paris was rejected by the Speaker.
Mr Mancienne did not accept Mr Pillay’s call on the grounds that an investigation was already under way into the incident and that it would not be appropriate to make such a request at this point in time.
He however noted the assembly’s right to address the matter and its outcomes.
He therefore proposed that the Assembly Business Committee could consider taking up the item in one of its meetings.