Conscience is the Chamber of Justice

The Mauritius Islands in the Indian Ocean have no laws to regulate political parties. When the islands gained their independence from the UK in 1968, the integrity of politicians rendered regulation redundant. Today, the sons of those leaders have taken over the family business and political parties now have more in common with the Mafia than their democratic counterparts in the US and Europe. A lone crusader has set out to challenge their domination of the nation. His story, like a John le Carré novel, stretches the bounds of credibility.
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Electric Vehicles: Green Leaf vs. Black Coal

During MID week at the University of Mauritius in March 2009, Nissan presented its plan for our island to be the 7th nation in the world where the Leaf, their new electric car, would be available for sale. In February 2012, we became the first country in the southern hemisphere to have the vehicles delivered, so why does it appear that we might be the last place on earth where one is actually sold? Some say this is because the government cannot determine what import duty to levy on each car, but might this apparent confusion actually be the fruit of incoherent policies? Continue reading

The Next Generation

“Education, education, education” has long been a mantra of Reef Conservation Mauritius so how are they getting the message across to the current generation of students? To find out, we paid a visit to “Nauticaz”, a facility provided by Attitude Resorts at Marina Hotel, Anse la Raie and operated by Reef. It comprises a small class room which doubles as a laboratory, a library and a beautiful marine aquarium.

We were introduced to one of the instructors who exemplifies the old adage that “the best way to learn is to teach”. Olivier Eyries is a French university student on a short internship in Mauritius organised by AISEC who wanted to find out more about the environment. His task was to take students from Hampstead Junior School, Pamplemousses on an informative tour of the surroundings.
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Old King Coal

Few countries are at greater risk from man-made climate change than Mauritius. The Maldives may be more dependent on their beaches and Bangladesh on its agricultural land, but can we afford to lose either? Low lying countries and island states are quite rightly joining their voices this week at Rio+20 to call for global agreements to cut greenhouse gas emissions. So why is our government undermining the cause by repeatedly declaring its commitment to coal? Continue reading

MID Life Crisis

When the Prime Minister announced that he and Joël de Rosnay had conceived Maurice Ile Durable during a brief encounter in Paris, did he imagine that the gestation period would last 3 years 9 months? Finally, the long-awaited MID Strategy is about to be born… Or is it?

At the MID workshop last Thursday, some participants were calling for delivery to be postponed for another year. Had they peeked at the baby and seen the 4 limbs, head and body that they had carefully constructed in the 6 Working Groups, stitched together like Frankenstein’s monster? Alas it is worse than that. One participant summarised the overall conclusion to a long round of applause: “For the moment, the strategy we have looks more like Mauritius Green Washing than Maurice Ile Durable.” Continue reading

Feedback: Daft MID Strategy

Overview

MID was launched in 2008 in Paris and 2009 in Mauritius, promising to fundamentally change Mauritian society and its impact on Nature in four major spheres: economic, social, political and environmental. A visioning exercise was conducted in 2010 to capture the population’s dreams for the future of the Republic. However, the output has been ignored and this has been rightly criticised by the Truth and Justice Commission. Instead of a co-created, inspiring blue-print for the future, the MID Vision is a bland statement of a few generic elements of sustainable development within a framework that is far from comprehensive. There is little in the MID Vision that permits one to visualise the future and indeed there is nothing in it that is specific to Mauritius – it could just as easily apply to France. Continue reading