Occasionally, the BBC produces a news story for April Fool’s day; the last one, in 2008, was a report, complete with video of penguins escaping the Antarctic winter by flying to South America. In 2013, did they make a global fool of our Prime Minister? The story was deadly serious, the flash flood in Port Louis that claimed the lives of our precious citizens on 30th March. Curiously the BBC first reported the story on 31st March and then repeated it the next day. The BBC’s children’s website described the calamity in only 5 sentences, the last one being:
The Mauritian Prime Minister blamed climate change for the floods.
WHAT!?! While it is impossible for us to do a survey of primary school students around the world, we believe, perhaps with the exception of Mauritius, most would consider this statement utterly ridiculous. The line was repeated in the main news bulletin on BBC World, presumably to let the whole planet would know that we have an idiot in charge of our country. Even when there was unprecedented melting of the Greenland’s ice sheets in July 2012, the BBC’s report contained a caveat from a top climate scientist:
…as always we cannot attribute any individual extreme event to climate change… Continue reading
While our politicians are, almost without exception, utterly corrupt and incompetent to run our country without putting our lives in unnecessary danger, they are masters of one thing: bull sh*t. Check out the report from the United Nations on the elimination of discrimination in Mauritius [link to report]. One example…
UN: “Mauritius should make every effort to ensure that women from marginalized communities had access to equal opportunities in the economic and political life of the country.”
MU Delegation: “The financing of political parties and the electoral system were being examined, with a view to making the latter more equitable especially in terms of the representation of women…[But] The Constitution did not allow for positive discrimination because it advocated for the equality of all citizens.”
Nowhere is the classic line from George Orwell’s socialist parody, Animal Farm, more true than Mauritius: “All animals are equal – but some are more equal than others”. Surely the fact that women in general, and those from disadvantaged communities in particular, are so poorly represented in the National Assembly is incontrovertible evidence of an extremely prejudiced, patriarchal society? Either Mauritian men are far superior to our women or discrimination is systemic. The chosen few help their friends, family and fellow freemasons with every discretionary decision that they make.
How do we bring about social justice for the downtrodden? Is it possible without first slaughtering the pigs?
[To the tune of dIre sTraits “Brothers in Arms”
Dedicated to Anjalay Coopen, Kaya and Berger Agathe]
These mist covered mountains
Are home now for We
And so are the lowlands
And even the Sea
We promise they’ll give you
Their fields and their farms
You’ll no longer burn to avenge
Your dead sister in arms
Through the streets of destruction
Baptisms of fire
We witnessed your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though you were hurt so bad
In fear and alarm
We left you alone there
Oh brothers in arms Continue reading
Our leaders recently denied a request for Greenpeace’s vessel – the Rainbow Warrior – to access Port Louis harbour during its tour of the Indian Ocean. Are they justified? Let us examine the objections reported to have come from Government House to find out. Continue reading
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
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
Who can refute the feminist perception that the men who reach the pinnacle of social hierarchies exhibit three primary compulsions: lust for money, lust for power and lust for sex? If we are to believe the revelations of a penitent king-maker, this model seems appropriate for the patriarchs of modern Mauritian politics. Apparently, one used high office to acquire obscene wealth, another sacrificed all his principles to occupy that office and the third makes Bill Clinton’s office antics appear relatively saintly. It is said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Is this always true? Continue reading
[Extract of his speech at the annual dinner for economic actors – see last sentence]
Now let me turn to our economic prospects and our high aspirations.
We are living in troubled and testing times. Several questions arise. Will we be agile enough to meet the severe tests ahead? What kind of growth should we seek? Should it not be more inclusive? And more equitable? We are trying hard to move into niche markets but is this enough? What else must we do to escape the middle-income trap, to be amongst the best small economies, not just in Africa, but in the wider world where our main competitors are to be found?
We have seen the likes of Malta, Singapore, Hong Kong, Ireland and others raising the bar to achieve GDP per capita, adjusted for purchasing power, more than twice the levels we have achieved despite our continued economic growth. Can we make the breakthrough? Are we prepared to do what it takes to do so? Continue reading
What if the real purpose of the current state visit of the President of Turkey to the UK was to gain support for a revolutionary proposal to overcome the impasse in Palestine? Intelligence sources have now revealed that the collective of the Bektashi Order of Sufis based in Mauritius has offered up to the global community a cunning plan to revive the ailing peace process. This vision was received during the community’s pilgrimage to Hacıbektaş in the Turkish region of central Anatolia in 2006. However, such a radical solution could only be taken seriously at a time when all other options were exhausted and people feared that the Middle East was on the brink of its final, self-destructive war. Continue reading
Our article in Business Magazine last week (click to open pdf version:)