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Hindus in Seychelles pray for Alain St.Ange

Hindus in Seychelles pray for Alain St.Ange

Many Seychellois of Indian origin turned up at the Seychelles Hindu Kovil Sangam Temple in Victoria despite heavy rains on Saturday evening to offer special thanksgiving prayers for Seychelles former Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Minister Alain St.Ange.

Speaker after speaker at the event underscored how pivotal the minister has been in taking the country’s tourism industry to much greater heights and in bringing special recognition to the Indian community of Seychelles by launching the Seychelles-India Day Celebrations.

The most touching speeches came from Hindu devotees — who said they are “ordinary” people — who gave testimonies of how Minister St.Ange “went out of his way to receive, help or recognize them” in Seychelles, abroad or during travel.

“Even though the minister was traveling in the Business Class and I was in the Economy, at one stage he waited for me and we dined together,” said one speaker, explaining how humbled he was by the experience.

Others who included prominent businessmen and a renowned lawyer said it was with gratitude that they hosted the special Pooja at the Quincy Street Seychelles Hindu Kovil Sangam Temple, but also with mixed feelings because they “will miss the former minister’s special contribution and support to their community”.

“We wish you the best in in your bid to serve the tourism industry at the highest international level, but we will miss you,” said one of the speakers.

But the minister reassured them by saying even if he secures the World Tourism Organisation’s secretary general’s post he is pursuing, “I will always return to Seychelles from time to time”.

“I am a humble Seychellois from La Digue and I will, naturally come back home from time to time,” said Mr St.Ange.

With regard to the much gratitude he received, Mr St.Ange said all he did was in line with his job, adding it was his duty to also say “thank you” to the Indian community for supporting his initiatives.

Thanking the late founding President Sir James Mancham for initiating tourism in Seychelles, the speakers said former President Albert Rene and former President James Michel nurtured the industry, but said it was Mr St.Ange who gave it the biggest thrust to propel it to where it is now.

On the culture front, the former minister responded to the Hindu’s gratitude for promoting their recognition by saying: “We the Seychellois stem from three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa yes, but we all know that historically we come from five main branches France, Africa, the UK, India and China”,

“We celebrated days focusing on the other two pillars of origins, with events like the Francophonie activities, FetAfrik and the Creole Festival so why not a Seychelles-India Day or Seychelles-China Day,” he said, thanking the Indians for their cooperation with efforts to get them to celebrate as Indian Seychellois regardless of their cults of origin” said Mr St.Ange as he called the Indian Community gathered as friends.

Mr Veera Pandiyan Pillay, Chairman of the Seychelles Hindu Kovil Sangam used the celebrations to present Mr St.Ange with a letter of thanks and also of endorsement for his bid as the Seychelles Candidate for the Post of Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

This is the second group to dedicate a special evening for the outgoing Minister. Some two weeks ago at the Seychelles Hoteliers organized a special farewell ceremony at the Avani Barbarons Beach Hotel to say thank you to the former Tourism Minister.

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