STRONG PARTNERSHIP FOR TACKLING TRANSNATIONAL CRIME
President James Michel has met with the British Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Alistair Burt MP, at State House this morning.
Minister Burt is on an official visit to Seychelles for the opening of the Regional Anti-Piracy Intelligence and Coordination Centre (RAPPICC), which was a joint project agreed upon by President Michel and British Prime Minister David Cameron during Mr. Michel’s official visit to the UK in February 2012.
President Michel and Minister Burt discussed the progress that has been made in the fight against piracy at sea and on the ground in Somalia, since the London Conference on Somalia last year. Mr. Michel said that the conference was a ‘window of opportunity’ and that improvements had been achieved in Somalia in terms of capacity building and the stability of government but that much more effort would be needed to return the rule of law in Somalia.
The President also said that Seychelles would work to ensure that the multi-national and multi-disciplinary RAPPICC, of which Seychelles is Co-Director with Britain, would become a successful centre for tackling transnational crime.
“ We are grateful for the support that Britain has extended to us in the fight against piracy in terms of capacity building and resources in the prison system, in the legal assistance for the prosecution of pirates, as well as anti-piracy patrols. We are building a strong partnership in intelligence gathering as well, in order to catch the financiers of piracy, and RAPPICC will provide the key coordination for our partnership efforts,” said President Michel.
Minister Alistair Burt said that RAPPIC will emphasize the work that is done on cooperative information sharing which ‘will send a message out to those who organise the gangs of piracy that they have no impunity and they are being targeted.’
“None of this would have happened without the cooperation and the active engagement of those in the Seychelles and the President leading this and the encouragement that he has given and the work that has been done in the past year has been of immense value to the world’s shipping and to those whose safety depends on it,” said Minister Burt following the meeting.
Following their meeting, President Michel and Minister Burt attended the official opening ceremony of the RAPPICC, where they unveiled the plaque for the newly built centre.
- Present during the meeting at State House were the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport, Mr Joël Morgan, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Paul Adam, British High Commissioner, Mrs. Lindsay Skoll, EUNAVFOR Operational Commander, Rear Admiral Bob TARRANT.
- Minister Burt’s current portfolio includes the Middle East, North Africa, Sri Lanka and the Maldives and North America. He is also Minister responsible for Arab Partnership, Counter Piracy, Counter Terrorism and Counter Proliferation.
- Seychelles President James Michel and British Prime Minister David Cameron signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the creation of the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecution and Intelligence Coordination Centre (RAPPICC) in Seychelles, at a meeting at Number 10, Downing Street on 22nd February 2012. At the time of the signing of the agreement the UK pledged financial assistance of £550,000 for the RAPPICC.
- RAPPICC will gather intelligence for the use of law enforcement agencies, in order to provide necessary evidence for prosecutions related to piracy activity in both the region and around the world.
- Minister Morgan chairs the Steering Committee of RAPPICC. Many nations of the region as well as international partners and law enforcements agencies of the world will be coordinating and working in the RAPPICC, which is a multi-national centre.