At midnight next Monday (28 June) the islands of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean will become independent of Britain, ending 200 years of colonial rule.
LV Vegetation on mountain
LV House at foot of mountain
GV PAN FROM Houses across stadium TO new harbour
GV Decorated street
SV People preparing flags to hang from
LV Flags in street
LV Clock tower in centre of Victoria
LV ZOOM TO Illuminated flag
Men paint and fix flags to poles (3 shots)
GV St. Paul's Cathedral
GV Kings gate House
GV Victoria House nearing completion
LV Workmen using cement mixer
TV PAN Latanier roofs of the agricultural & national exhibition stand
SV Workmen fixing leaves to fencing
SCU Minister of Agriculture, Uzice (centre) checking progress of work
SV & CU Carpenters and painters working on site
LV President-elect Mancham arrives at stadium
CU Presidential flag
SV & CU President (beard and glasses) watching troops rehearsing march-past (3 shots)
It was announced last Thursday (17 June) that the Seychelles have applied to join the European Economic Community's Lome Trade and Aid Convention. The application had been made through the British Mission to the EEC. Within its limited financial resources, the new republic of Seychelles will also consider membership of the United Nations. The Government has already applied for membership of the Organisation of African Unity.
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Background: At midnight next Monday (28 June) the islands of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean will become independent of Britain, ending 200 years of colonial rule.
SYNOPSIS: Lying a thousand miles form the coast of East Africa, the islands were first ruled by the French, and then by the British. A century ago, General Charles Gordon was so impressed by the beauty of the Seychelles that he became convinced that they were the original site of the Garden of Eden. If he was right, then Adam and Eve's offspring have grown to a multi-racial population of 58,000 people.
Most of them are poor, and the island's economic problems will be the most urgent ones facing the government after independence. But preparations are well advanced for the big day, and the people are generally looking forward to taking over their island property. The newly independent Seychelles will be looking to britain to help the economy become totally self-sufficient within the first 10 years. The Government hopes to encourage foreign investment and international aid.
Though the vast majority of the people live a meagre existence, hunger is not a problem, but malnutrition is. The majority of the population are the descendants of African slaves brought over by the original French colonists. The old colonial buildings are now having to live cheek by jowl with modern buildings which will symbolise the new spirit of independence.
The national exhibition area will be one of the focal points of the independence celebrations. The Government intends to boost the two main industries, agriculture and tourism, while diversifying into other areas. Another major priority will be the development of the fishing industry, which has never come close to realising its full potential.
In addition to the descendants of African origins, there are also small numbers of Indians and Chinese, British officials and retired expatriates. The Seychelles therefore present an extraordinary example of racial mixing, though the minorities have largely maintained their ethnic identity, their land and their comparative wealth. The President-elect, Mr. James Mancham, will lead this mixed community into independence.
This bearded 36 year-old was originally a strong opponent of independence. But he became Prime Minister on an independence ticket in 1974. He aims to make the Seychelles--if not wealthy--then at least modestly prosperous.