The Seychelles, the British colony in the Indian Ocean, will be independent by the end of this year and the country is preparing for the arrival of Soviet naval personnel and equipment.
The Seychelles, the British colony in the Indian Ocean, will be independent by the end of this year and the country is preparing for the arrival of Soviet naval personnel and equipment. The remote chain of 80 islands and atolls seems certain to become a base for the Russian Indian Ocean Fleat.
General elections will be held in the colony next Thursday (April 25th) and both Government and Opposition support the Soviet presence.
The Chief Minister of the Seychelles, Mr. James Mancham has made independence from britain the corner stone of his election campaign. He has told the voters that Britain has shown no interest in integration and that independence is inevitable.
There are no military bases in the Seychelles. Apart from Diego Garcia, Britain and its allies have Aldabra and other Indian Ocean islands as potential bases. But it seems likely an independent Seychelles will seek advantages for itself...and present indications are that the nation will turn to the Soviet Union. Campaigning for the elections has been spirited and a number of rallies have been held on different islands.
SYNOPSIS: The winds of change are sweeping the Seychelles... a British colony which has come into world prominence following the Soviet naval buildup in the Indian Ocean. The people of the remote chain of eighty islands and atolls go to the polls on April the 25th. Campaigning has been spirited but there is in fact little difference of opinion between the Government and Opposition.
Opposition supporters have marched through the capital, Port Victoria, to show their support for independence from Britain. Observers agree this will come before the end of the year. This rally was held in Gordon Square. General feeling in the Seychelles is that Britain has little interest in the colony and that independence is inevitable.
This rally was addressed by Opposition leader Albert Rene who made independence from Britain his main theme.
One of the Opposition candidates in the elections Mr. Ribert, was among the speakers. Among later speakers were trade union leaders. They've been courted by Moscow and it seems certain the Seychelles can expect substantial aid from the Soviet Union in return for docking facilities.
The heady prospect of independence is the main talking point in the Seychelles, and political of both parties are keen to further their cause with demands for a quick end to British colonialisation. Life in the islands has always been easy. Fish and food are abundant for most of the year, though the wet season causes a brief end to fishing because of high seas, but the tourist industry has given the economy a new boost and with the prospect of Soviet aid later in the year, the politicians see a bright future for the Seychelles.