The Seychelles Minister for Home Affairs, Environment, and Transport, Mr. Joel Morgan, has strongly condemned the Regar newspaper for publishing an article in their last issue which features an installation plan of the new Seychelles Coast Guard base.
“By publishing this article, Regar has compromised national security and has placed the lives of the officers of the Coast Guard at risk. This information has the potential to get into the hands of Somali pirates and may damage our anti-piracy operations,” said Minister Morgan.
Minister Morgan said the military plans are considered to be an official secret and that disclosure of the secret is an offense under the law. He said that the police have started investigating how the plans were disclosed to Regar.
Minister Morgan has said the document which Regar published is the copy of the first draft of the military base, which was proposed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Navy in February this year, and that it has since been amended by the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF).
“The Coast Guard base does not have a mosque, as the first draft shows, because the SPDF requested a prayer room for the Coast Guard officers. The base will, therefore, have a multi-denominational prayer room.”
Minister Morgan also stated that the new naval base will not be hosting 150 UAE troops as alleged by Regar. “The base will host naval officers from around the world just as we currently are doing at the Seychelles Coast Guard Headquarters. The UAE Navy will help in the training of Seychellois officers, as will the Indian Navy, the French Navy, and many other partners. This forms part of the coordinated effort to combat piracy, and we are proud to have so many international partner navies involved in our training and capacity-building efforts.”
Last week the government of the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement with the government of Seychelles to fund the construction of a new Seychelles Coast Guard base on Ile Perseverance in a project worth US$15 million.