Bagatelle – a thing of little importance

But not according to Prime Minister Ramgoolam. To him, the new commercial centre represents another reason for holiday-makers to visit our shores: shopping tourism. We do not share his optimism.

So who will come shopping here? Wealthy Europeans? Why should they when they can have a much greater choice and better prices at Dubai airport, transit hub for Emirates? Travellers not only enjoy one of the world’s top ten airlines (far surpassing Air Mauritius which doesn’t even provide first class seats), they also benefit from being picked up closer to home from regional airports. What about the nouveau riche from South East Asia? Well, they are spoilt for choice with 2 duty free shopping islands in Malaysia (not to mention its world class shopping centres in Kuala Lumpur) and the superb Singapore airport right on their doorstep.

So, globally speaking, Bagatelle is a thing of little importance. Except for Mauritians, to whom it represents another step closer to European living standards. As long as you have a car. However, the MID working groups, criticised the development of out-of-town shopping centres as contradictory to the principles of sustainability for the following reasons:

  • They promote consumerism.
  • They promote the use of private transport, hence increasing congestion, GHG emissions and energy use.
  • They are incompatible with the light railway between Curepipe and Port Louis.
  • They take up land that could have contributed to the nation’s food security.

Why on earth don’t we actually implement the light railway and then regenerate urban centres like Curepipe and Rosehill? Because we have a government with no coherent strategy; who manage our country reactively and by the “flavour of the month“.

Worse than being short-sighted, they are continually destroying our priceless assets. Not least of which is Mauritius’ tourism image – “the model for Heaven”. The brand has been progressively watered down by Duval’s embarrassing slogan “it’s a pleasure”, the unsustainable and probably unachievable “2 million tourists by 2015” and Jugnauth’s “duty free shopping paradise”. By greatly increasing the number of rooms in the midst of a global recession, our hotels are having to compete with each other as well as other destinations to fill them. To reduce costs, service and quality are being sacrificed along with our reputation as an exclusive and luxurious destination. Need we mention the added stress on our lagoons which are already ecologically devastated? As we warned years ago, they are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

And that means destroying the prosperity of future generations. Why do we let them get away with it?



6 thoughts on “Bagatelle – a thing of little importance

  1. THANK YOU!!!!
    Finally someone with brains who could expressed what I feel. I have been telling everybody that this Bagatelle thing was a horrible project ever since I watched them destroy our beautiful, green Mauritian landscape and fill it with concrete.

    I am definitely sharing this.

  2. Actually It has been proven that the light railway will do no good to Mauritius …. It is highly expensive to buy and maintain, the ticket fares will have to be much higher than bus tickets and the amount of space being very limited, most of people will have to stand up during the peak times.

    The only viable solution is simply creating bus ways.

    • We agree with everything you say Arvin, except for one point. The LRT is not competing with the bus companies, it is competing with private cars. It does not have to be cheap – just a better option than driving your car to work. Look at London. There is a 2 tier system: rich people take the Tube (even though they get crushed in rush hour), poor people take the bus (less frequent and much slower). Our recommendation is an elevated rail above the main Quatre Bornes to Port Louis road corridor (not the M1). Expensive yes, but the redevelopment that it will bring to the urban areas will be priceless.

  3. I respect you but all the points you mentioned are flawed and I will tell you 1 by 1:
    1. you said promote consumerism and that is supposed to be a bad thing. False. Consumerism is very good in times of economic crisis in order to stop stagnation of the economy and permit flow of cash, this will also make businesses work.

    2. Anywhere in Mauritius you have the need for transportation. The site has been well designed since it is an all ground floor space. The use of high rise building is a not good for me, they are an eyesore and not eco friendly. I prefer that they design a ground floor and ecofriendly building. You should go there to have a look. Natural light is permitted in most spaces rather than the use of fluorescent tubes. Furthermore, Buses now pass thru the bagatelle and the bus stop is always full. I been there 3 times already. 1 time is a coincidence, 2 maybe.. 3 is definitely not. !

    3. False. It is absolutely compatible with LRT. The bagatelle is on the LRT planned pathway. And there will definitely by a stop to bagatelle. You can count on that.

    4. Land is not a problem in Mauritius. What about the Land that are being given to expats ? The thousands of hectares sold in IRS ?. This is a very small plot of land compared to the large extents given away to foreigners. At least this place Mauritians can profit of it. Can go there and have a relaxing time.

    To be honest, I enjoyed having a nice time at bagatelle. I feel the Mauritians needed a place to sit and relax and far from the daily ramblings of Mauritian life. They deserved a place like this.

    I wrote on my day at the Food Lovers Market 🙂 If anyone is interested to check out how nice it is.. Do pay me a visit at

    • In contrast Ashfaq we have little respect for you.

      1. Is consumerism sustainable? If the ideal economy is “the most economic use of Nature’s resources” then consumerism is the antithesis. High consumption in a weak economy reduces strategic investment and can only be achieved by increasing national indebtedness, which, if you care to notice, is the cause of the death of the Eurozone.

      2. We went there the first week it opened. Its foot print is horrendous. How much land has been covered with tarmac? If this model of development were duplicated over the island who would be able to call it green? The single storey construction is merely to save money. The f*ckers at ENL have land to burn so they don’t care about using it efficiently. Compare it with Caudan 2 where the car-parking is built in and virtually invisible.

      3. We were involved in the LRT project in 1998/9. The route then was along the old railway line. Where is your reference for the new one’s trajectory? We seriously doubt that the LRT will ever be built for the simple reason that the elite don’t like using “public” transport, hence the massive investment in roads.

      4. We are totally against land being sold to aliens. See our article in Business Magazine issue 1004.

      As we have said before, Bagatelle was constructed for the 200,000 ultra rich elite that Ramgoolam promised would be here by 2014. Read his speech. The shops will be for exclusive brands. Enjoy Bagatelle while you can. Soon its narrow entrance way will be closed to people like you.

      Ashfaq to call you a little cretin would be an insult to Pravind Jugnauth.

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