First Seychelles National Awards: 10 persons recognised for special contributions

Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan received the Medal of the Republic. (State House) 

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Ten people have been recognised for their contributions to Seychelles in the first-ever National Awards ceremony held Tuesday at State House.

The National Awards was created in 2022 and this is the first group of people to be given the award aimed at recognising their extraordinary service to Seychelles in various fields or through their acts of bravery.

There are three types of awards – the Medal of the Republic, the Medal of Honour and the Medal of Merit.

Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan received the Medal of the Republic and Sir James Mancham was recognised as the first President of the island nation.

The chairman of the National Awards Committee, Robert Grandcourt, told reporters that “the highest award is set in article 7 (1) of the National Awards Act 2022, which states that the medal of the Republic of Seychelles shall be conferred upon the president on his assumption of office, or at any other time during his term of office.”

He added that according to the act, the President may confer the same medal on any person who served as President before the commencement of this Act.

The recipients of the Medal of Honour are Caroline Abel – the first female governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles; the late Anglican Archbishop Emeritus French Chang-Him; the late environmentalist – Antonio Constance, better known in Seychelles as ‘Mazaren’, and Luc Grandcourt who received the award for his heroic acts after he saved numerous lives when the boat he was on sank.

Governor Caroline Abel was one of the recipients of the Medal of Honour. (State House) Photo License: CC-BY  

“This award represents all the hard work that I have put in through the years in my role as governor, especially during the pandemic, where I was able to educate the public about the state of the Seychelles economy,” said Abel.  

She thanked her staff at the Central Bank of Seychelles for their working tirelessly and dedicated the award to them, along with her family who has always stood by her.

Recipients of the Medal of Merit are Harry Dingwall, the person who has donated the most amount of blood to the Ministry of Health; the late Helen Fontaine – a former theatre nurse; the late Regina Melanie, who contributed immensely to the documentation and promotion of the Creole language and singer Joe Samy who has composed and written many songs about the beauty of Seychelles.

Harry Dingwall was one of the recipients of a Medal of Merit as the person who donated the most amount of blood to the Ministry of Health. (State House) Photo License: CC-BY 

“After the award, if I let myself go, I could have exploded with joy when I learned that I would be receiving this medal, it gave me a new lease of life and it has encouraged me to keep doing what I love,” said Samy.

In his address before the awards were presented, Ramkalawan spoke of the importance to give thanks to people when they are still alive so they know that their contributions are valued.

“We have Seychellois who have been recognised by other nations and organisations, but there was something missing here in Seychelles. We did not know how to recognise our people and this is why what we are celebrating today is of such immense importance,” he said.

The first National Awards ceremony was due to be handed out in 2022 but was delayed as the law regarding this merit was not ready in time, and so it was moved to this year instead.

The chairman of the National Awards Committee, Robert Grandcourt, said that they had received over 50 nominations from the public and had to go through all of them, before picking the first group of recipients.

He has urged the people to keep sending their nominations, with all the details that tell the stories of the many good people in Seychelles.

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