Apropos Anil Gayan – a brief reflection on ‘opinion’ and ‘fact’ – and bias

Opinion

By a Bus Conductor’s Daughter

What a deafening din around us these days regarding this gentleman.

Granted that he is brashly outspoken, to the point of frequently courting controversy. He may be irritating, but does that make of him an enemy of the people?

In the middle of all this cacophony about his comments on ‘honour-killing’, further screeching is heard from lines published in L’Express of 29 May 2019: Anil Gayan: fils de chauffeur d’autobus mais à l’arrogance marquée.

 Parts of the above-mentioned article beg comment.

So here goes.

Who but someone close to Anil Gayan could have so much personal detail on him?

Allow me to reproduce, within quotes, a few of the opinions expressed by the perceptive author/s of the article.

Gayan wins a seat in the 1982 elections: ‘cela s’explique en partie par son appartenance au clan Boolell’. (!)

Gayan wins a seat in the 2000 elections: ‘fait surprenant, il bat son colistier, Soudesh Roopun, par quelque 2 200 votes. Allez comprendre quel «travay soumarin» s’y était déroulé, pour expliquer une telle performance.’ (!!)

Gayan is not elected in 2005: ‘battu par plus de 3 000 voix, par Soudesh Roopun. Suprême cas de baté-randé.’ (!!!)

Gayan was the representative of Mauritius at the UN conferences on the Law of the Sea in the 1970s: he obviously had the blessings of his ubiquitously generous Mamou Satcam (Boolell). (!!!!)

Another of the ‘facts’ of the article concern the trips that Anil Gayan undertook to attend those Law of the Sea Conferences, as an officer of the Parquet in the 1970s.

I’ll skip the comments about his having furthered his career on the basis of his academic and professional qualifications.

Let’s go to the central point: the costs of those trips.

Well, a little bit of delving into the history of the Parquet would tell us that in those days, the Solicitor General was no less a figure than the larger-than-life Louis Edwin Venchard, who could by no stretch of the imagination be believed to have been naïve or ‘manipulable’.  Why, in Heaven’s name, would he have recommended such supposedly unjustified expenditure for the benefit of a young, as yet little-known, and subordinate colleague? To please Sir Satcam? Was no one at the Ministry of Finance looking? Or are we to understand that the Government machinery had come to a standstill – only to accommodate Anil Gayan?

The piece in l’Express, otherwise seemingly so well-informed on the career of Anil Gayan, is silent on several matters: the African group of countries’ representatives on several occasions selected Gayan as their spokesperson at UN meetings; after 2005, he lectured on international law and international relations in foreign universities; he was called upon by international agencies to lead observer delegations at elections in several countries. Such achievements in Gayan’s career do not seem to deserve mention. Is that because it would not be possible to credibly attribute them to the largesse of mamou Satcam (who had, sadly, passed away in the meantime)?

His wife’s appointment at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute was the Honourable Prime Minister’s prerogative.

His friend’s appointment is a matter which has been the subject of widespread debate, and for which he seems to have been accused, tried, judged and sentenced many times over already, in Assembly, in the ever-eager media and even more eager public opinion. What’s new?

Speaking about his friendships, one is worthy of note: when Anil Gayan, as a freshly qualified lawyer, started off in the early 70s, he met and became friends with late Kader Bhayat, at the time one of the leading figures of the MMM. They remained friends throughout their careers. Food for thought.

Anil Gayan may make many people uncomfortable, but in this particular instance, he is being unjustifiably harassed. This is, of course, but a personal view, and therefore is – perhaps – subject to some bias.


* Published in print edition on 31 May 2019

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