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Brigadier Leopold Payet’s legacy defined by his loyalty.

Brigadier Leopold Payet was probably the only person still holding the responsibility given to him by the founder of SPUP/SPPF/Parti Lepep- former President France Albert René in June 1977.

Brigadier Payet has braved many storms but stood firmly in the position he accepted and delivered to the best of his abilities.
Brigadier, a man of few words, always with a straight face, has led the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF) to attain many success stories.    SPDF has not fought wars, but it has protected the sovereignty of Seychelles against the mercenary attacks in 1981, rescued Seychellois hostages from the grip  of  Somali pirates, and continues to safeguard the country’s vast sea territory,  against  poachers and other illegal activities on land and at sea that requires their services.
SPDF also engages in community activities to remain connected to the people. Their motto remains “service before self.”
Brigadier Payet, a KADA, or founding member of the SPDF which started off as the Seychelles People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), received the basic military training in June 1977. Later he became a sergeant, then an officer in 1979 with the rank of Lieutenant.
He made it through the hierarchy  to the rank of Colonel and in 2007 he was appointed Chief of Defence Forces. In 1992 he became Chief of Staff and was later promoted to Brigadier.
Announcing Brigadier’s retirement at the Seychelles Coast Guard President Danny Faure said that it was an honour to have had a child of Seychelles who has given 41 years of service to the SPDF and the country.
 “We must realise that before us, there  were  others,  who  worked hard for everything we have today and  everything  we are today. We owe them our respect. We cannot forget what they have done for us – true servants – that wear the SPDF uniform  with  pride,” said  the President. “I hope that we are able to preserve Brigadier Payet’s fundamental values in SPDF – his discipline, commitment, and selfless service for his country.”
This newspaper has accompanied Brigadier in several of his endeavors as head of the army. At ceremonies to welcome new recruits he used to welcome them and told them that they have received “training in our army. Ours is an army of free men joined in a common effort to preserve our people and country.”
Brigadier, like we’ve mentioned above rarely carries a smile but his polite, considerate and generous characters made him the man cut out to be at the forefront in meeting new challenges with regards to the country’s security.
In a past interview he told the people that “The great nation we have built, our high standards of living, our political and religious liberties are an inspiration and ideal to free men everywhere.”
He added that: “As a soldier of the Seychelles’ army, I was sworn in to bear true faith and allegiance. I am to serve my country honestly and faithfully, and to obey the orders of the President of the Republic of Seychelles. May all the other officers and soldiers do the same.”
Brigadier has served three presidents. His legacy will be defined by his loyalty.
And yes, you can take a man out of his place but not the place out of him. Brigadier will forever remain loyal to the principles that attracted him to the job he has held over four decades.
Brigadier Payet is the son of one of the forefathers of SPPF, Mr. Florent Payet, who had no idea, that he had fathered a future colonel, a future Brigadier.

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