Seychelles President James Michel has congratulated Baroness Patricia Scotland on behalf of the people and Government of the Republic of Seychelles as she assumes the Office of Secretary General of the Commonwealth today.
In his message, President Michel remarked that Baroness Scotland’s election in November last year was strong recognition of not only her capabilities and trust that the Commonwealth family have placed in her abilities but also a testament to the pivotal role that women assume in the context of the Commonwealth and the world.
“I wish to congratulate you as the first woman to take up the post of Secretary General. This is truly a momentous occasion for women and highlights their potential,” said President Michel.
President Michel also emphasized that Baroness Scotland’s appointment as Secretary General will give greater impetus to the agenda of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) within the Commonwealth while also ensuring that the international community continues to address the vulnerabilities of Small Island States such as Seychelles.
President Michel said, “Count on our support in consolidating the important role that SIDS play in the development of our organization by making it a truly ‘Inclusive Commonwealth.’”
Mr. Michel also stressed the importance of the upcoming Commonwealth events to be hosted in Seychelles in the month of May, namely the Commonwealth Open Ended Ministerial Working Group Meeting on Small States and the Global Biennial Conference on Small States which will provide an important platform to continue the work to champion the development agenda of SIDS especially when it concerns combating climate change, promoting the Blue Economy, and realizing the sustainable development goals.
In a separate message, President Michel also thanked the outgoing Commonwealth Secretary General, Mr. Kamalesh Sharma, expressing his sincere appreciation for the active role he played and stewardship of the Commonwealth.
In his message, President Michel recalled Mr. Sharma’s visit to Seychelles as well as the other numerous exchanges they had on matters of pertinence to not only the functioning of the Commonwealth but also the role of Small Island Developing States within it.
President Michel remarked, “Seychelles very much appreciates the commitment that you have shown to our organization especially in terms of the various reforms undertaken to make the Commonwealth more responsive and more relevant to the needs of its members in the 21st century.”
He further added that Mr. Sharma has ensured that the Commonwealth strengthens its role in carrying out its mission of building peace and solidarity and forging ever-closer ties of friendship and collaboration among the Commonwealth family.
“Your tireless work during your tenure as Secretary General has today made the Commonwealth more connected to the people it serves and visible on the international scene,” said President Michel.
President Michel also noted that the Commonwealth family would continue to look to Mr. Sharma for guidance as the organization embarks on a new chapter in its history.
“You leave behind a legacy of commitment towards the promotion of the development agenda of Small Island Developing States especially were it concerns the need to derive maximum benefit from the opportunities presented by our Blue Economy,” said President Michel.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .