Representatives from both the Catholic and Anglican churches were present at the service, at 1400 hours on Friday, August 19 at the beach where the attacks took place, first claiming the life of a French national, 36-year old Nicholas Virolle, and then British honeymooner, Ian Redmond, in freak incidents totally out of character with the benign nature of Seychelles’ marine environment.
Alain St.Ange, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board; and his Deputy, Elsia Grandcourt; Sebastien Pillay, the Director General in the President’s Office; Jenifer Sinon, the CEO; and members of the Hospitality and Tourism Association, police, government, and members of the public all attended the service in support of and in sympathy with the families of the two victims.
Seychelles’ last reported incident involving a shark took place almost half a century ago, and the twin attacks in the space of a month have taken the entire country by surprise. The authorities have asked for assistance from South African shark experts who are expected to arrive in the country tomorrow to assess a situation, which has no precedent and no obvious explanation.
Minister Joel Morgan started the ceremony by expressing the Seychelles government’s sympathy to the two grieving familities. He assured the visitors present at the ceremony and the people of Praslin Island of the determination of the government of Seychelles to make the beaches safe again. Alain St.Ange, on his part, said that as everyone was gathered to pray for the two grieving families to have the strength and courage to cope in this difficult period. It was also important to pray for the people of the island of Praslin to help them surmount this difficult period where their lives have been placed under pressure with access to the ocean around their best beaches blocked and their businesses suffering as a result of that total ban on swimming at Anse Lazio and its surrounding beaches.
Roman Catholic Priest Fr. Adrien and Fr. John from the Anglican Church conducted an emotional alfresco joint service on the beach at Anse Lazio itself.
Meanwhile, the widow of Ian Redmond was interviewed, stated, “The last thing I would want is for any of these events to affect the Seychelles island people, their livelihoods, and the tourism in the area. It’s a beautiful area, people must come. It’s a one-off accident, and I know that everybody is doing everything they can to ensure that the islands are safe - the restaurants on the beaches and the places on the beaches and the hotels shouldn’t be affected by it.”