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James R. Mancham (Credit: Seychelles News Agency)

Secretary-General pays tribute to Seychelles founding president

11 January 2017

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, has expressed her deepest condolences on the death of the former Seychelles president, Sir James Mancham.

Sir James served as the country’s first president. He died suddenly after a suspected stroke on Sunday.

Secretary-General Scotland has written to the President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, to convey the Commonwealth’s condolences. She said, “Sir James’s contribution to the Commonwealth stretched over very many years, both as President and as an elder statesman, including when he led the Seychelles delegation at the most recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2015.

“We remember his life and career with deep respect, cherishing the memory of his long and esteemed record of service to the people of Seychelles, and to the wider Commonwealth family. His passing comes as we move from marking ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’ to ‘A peace-building Commonwealth’, attitudes and approaches that were deeply embedded in all that Sir James sought to achieve, and which will be carried forward in the legacy he bequeaths to us.”

Sir James was deposed in a coup while attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which was taking place in the United Kingdom during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. When he returned to the Seychelles, 15 years later, Sir James became a respected ambassador for his country and gained a reputation as an advocate for world peace, receiving the International Jurist Award at the International Conference of Jurists 2010.