Seychelles Tourism Minister works to preserve Creole culture

The Seychelles National Assembly has approved the Creole Institute Bill 2014 during its session on the July 8.

Seychelles Tourism Minister works to preserve Creole culture

The Seychelles National Assembly has approved the Creole Institute Bill 2014 during its session on the July 8. The bill was presented to the National Assembly by Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, who went to this National Assembly Session accompanied by Benjamine Rose, the PS for Culture, and Penda Choppy, the CEO of the Creole Institute.

Sitting in the Chair for the afternoon session on July 8 was Hon. Andre Pool, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. Minister Alain St.Ange presented the bill which had as its objective to establish a Creole Institute of Seychelles that would be known as the “Lenstiti Kreol” with a view to monitor, regulate, and promote the development of the Seychellois Creole language and culture, and to provide for its objects, functions, and powers and other related matters. The bill was also providing for the institute to become the secretariat of the International Institute.

When he addressed the National Assembly, Minister St.Ange said that the act before the House was also to make the Creole Institute an independent organization operating under the umbrella of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The Minister retraced the steps taken by the government of Seychelles to bring the Creole language to where it is today, sitting alongside French and English languages as one of the three official languages of Seychelles. “It was in 1981 that the government took the decision to create an institution to manage the development of Creole as a language. During that time the Creole Institute was but a section in the Ministry of Education. In 1987, the government moved to make the Creole Institute asseverate entity still within the Ministry of Education,” Minister St.Ange said.

He then went on to salute the effort and enthusiasm of the late Madame Danielle Jorre de St.Jorre to get the lovely and impressive building renovated through assistance received from the USA that is today the symbol of the Seychellois Creole culture and identity. In 2010, the government of Seychelles included the Creole Institute in the civil service reform that was being undertaken, and it was placed again under the umbrella of the Ministry of Education. It was soon after that it became clear that the role of the Creole Institute was not in education per se, but more focused on the provision of ways and means to develop Creole in all its dimension, but still at the same time assisting the Ministry of Education in the development of the needed tools for the teaching profession.

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In 2013, the Creole Institute was moved to become a body attached to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. “The Creole Institute has now become the institute with responsibility to look after our Seychellois Creole language. In July 2013, it was the President of the Republic, Mr. James Michel, who was on an official visit to La Reunion who called for the move to give the Creole Institute a more important role in international relations. I formed part of that presidential delegation to La Reunion when we discussed the government’s effort to ensure that Seychelles plays a key role in the development of the Creole language on the world stage. It was in that La Reunion visit in 2013 that we proposed that the Creole Institute takes an international dimension to enable it to better represent other Creole nations who had the desire to work to place their language and culture in the forefront. It was on January 10, 2013 as we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Commission that the Creole Institute became the International Creole Institute,” said the Minister.

The bill attracted a lot of debate from the House with Hon. Bernard Arnephy of Anse Boileau; Hon. Sebastien Pillay; Hon. Maria Payet-Martie; Hon. Chantal Guislain of La Digue and the Inner Islands; Hon. Emmanuel Fideria of Les Mamelles; Hon. Sylvianne Valmont; Hon. Berguitta Jeannevol of Mont Fleuri; Hon. Meggy Marie of Anse Aux Pins; Hon. David Pierre, the Leader of Government Business; and the Hon. Marie Antoinette Rose, the Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly all speaking and echoing their support for the bill which was then adopted with the support of the whole House.

Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .

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