Open letter to the new PM

 

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“Gouverner pour le peuple – avec le peuple”

Dear Sir Anerood Jugnauth

Congratulations on your election victory, but there is something you need to know. Many of us didn’t vote for you. We voted against Ramgoolam. If you had been allied with him, you would surely have been humiliated instead of Bérenger. Do we have blind faith in you? No. It was not without reason that you were crushed 60-0 in 1995. In 2000, you were given another chance, but your party failed to live up to expectations and was replaced once more. Of course, the alternative turned out to be even worse. Will you do better this time? We hope so.

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Vincent Pellegrin interviews Dr Mu

1. Tell me about your experience, from early beginnings up to now, in an Environmental Non-Governmental Organization (ENGO).

The NGO I work for is actually a charity that a friend and I founded at the end of 2008. Its goals include promoting human rights as well as protecting the environment, expressed as environmental stewardship and social justice. The two are fundamentally linked since the poor destroy the environment out of need and the rich destroy it out of greed. Moreover, the UN Human Rights Council has long been seeking to establish the human right to enjoy a healthy environment. My experience to date has been an exploration of what this actually means in the Mauritian context. Continue reading

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: Continue reading

Feedback on MID reports

To the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.

We are delighted to provide feedback on the reports of the Working Groups for the MID policy development and indeed privileged to be part of the one on energy. Overall, we are happy with much of the work done so far and the comments below focus on exceptions to this. We also attempt to address some of the important issues we feel are missing from the reports and try to synthesise conflicting recommendations. After suggesting improvements to the MID process, we will turn to the security of the economy, nutrition, electricity and transport and then land use conflicts and nutrient recycling. Finally, we comment on individual recommendations that we consider notable. Continue reading

MID Vision Statement

Here is our take. What do you think?

By 2025, Mauritius will be a global leader in terms of quality of life. Our economy will serve this goal by providing equal opportunities and fair rewards in return for meaningful contribution to our collective well-being and supplying the highest quality goods and services to the world. Our society will provide security for every citizen, including food, shelter, health and personal safety. We will also enjoy the fullest freedoms of religion, expression and relationships, while respecting the rights and sensitivities of others and preserving and celebrating our diverse heritages. Our government will be transparent, accountable and inclusive, rivalling those of traditional democracies and our legal system and human rights record will be second to none. Our systems of education, training and development will be the best in Africa, permitting each of us to explore ourselves, discover our talents and achieve our full potential in any field, at any age. Our unique environment and biodiversity will be cherished, protected and, where possible, restored to its original pristine state, with each citizen and visitor enjoying equal rights of access and responsibility for its care. Above all, we will be a model of sustainability, ensuring that future generations enjoy a quality of life at least as great as our own and inspiring other nations by our example.

May Day

The morning after the May Day holiday, Mon Choisy public beach was once again looking like a rubbish dump. For how much longer will we treat our most precious resources as if they are valueless? And why do the political parties, which brought hundreds of their members to the beach yesterday, not set a better example?