Aspects of Mauritian Life

Mauritius Times 60 Years – Friday 6th April 1956 —

Trouble About Fodder, Thefts at Central Flacq and more…

Since last week a small village in Pamplemousses has become the focus of attention of the Police and the District Administration. At any moment disturbance may flare up between the sugar estate authorities and the villagers. The longstanding question of fodder has once more drawn public attention. The estate refuses to give fodder any more. It even refuses paid permit as it was done previously to allow the inhabitants to cut undergrowth in cane fields.

From place to place on the path leading to the fields were found sharp nails which were fixed in such a way on bits of rubber that they would easily stand pointing upwards. Seventeen persons had their feet pierced by those nails. These happenings have been reported to the police and the injured received treatment at the Long Mountain Hospital. Who are those responsible for such criminal behaviour? We hope that after inquiry Government will make a declaration on the whole issue.

Mr Stirling, the Labour Commissioner and Mr Toureau, the Civil Commissioner have visited the place and the injured. They are actively engaged in bringing about a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Messrs Ramnarain, Baboolall and other officials of the Amalgamated Labourers Union are on the spot. They are busy negotiating on behalf of the inhabitants of the locality with the estate authorities. Let us hope that wisdom will prevail in both camps. The estate authorities must realise that it is not in their interest to be surrounded by a hostile population on whom the estate should call on for labour from time to time.

The question of fodder is a complex problem. Superficially it appears that the estates have the right to refuse people cutting the undergrowth in their fields. It is their property after all. But taking into consideration the human side of the question we cannot but feel pity for those labourers who must rear cattle to implement their meagre wages during crop season and subsist on the proceeds of their cattle during intercrop season when they are jobless. What has the Government done to provide work to labourers during intercrop seasons? What provision government has made to provide fodder to cow breeders? If by mishap a disturbance bursts out, will not the Government have to share morally part of the blame?

* * *

Thefts at Central Flacq

We have received a deputation from Central Flacq which complained that since some time thieves are operating freely in their village.

On the night of the 12th March, for instance, three thefts were committed. The first at a tailor’s, Mr Frank Ricaud, where the thieves got away with clothes. The second was committed at Mr Dhowtal’s, who lost some jewels and clothes, and the third theft at Mr Nayeck’s who has a combined watchmaking and tailoring shop. There the thieves stole some half a dozen watches and clothes. Last week, opposite the District Court only a hundred and fifty yards from the Police Station at Mr Roshni’s jewellers shop, jewellery was stolen.

The deputation is of opinion that the C. Flacq Police is unable to check the growing cases of robbery. There is only one patrolling van which is probably too busy with other jobs. Patrol on foot and on bicycle by the regular police at night could have helped to frighten the thieves.

We hope the Acting Commissioner of Police will look into the matter.

* * *

 B. de Chalain v/s M. Beejadhur

Hier, devant le tribunal correctionnel de Port Louis, présidé par le magistrat D. Ramphul, a commencé le procès intenté par M. B. Guy de Chalain contre M. A. Beejadhur, rédacteur en chef d’Advance, qu’il accuse de l’avoir diffamé dans le compte rendu du match Fire Brigade vs Dodos qui eut lieu au Stade Georges V, le 18 février.

Me G. d’Arifat parait pour M. de Chalain et Me R. Rault défend M. Beejadhur.

A l’audience d’hier les témoins suivants furent entendus : MM. G. de Chalain, Ph. Houeix, A. Beejadhur, M. Nayna, A. Foiret, R. Philippe et E. Chankye.

Interrogé par Me Rault, M. Chankye dit, notamment, qu’il considérait l’arbitrage de M. de Chalain du match en question comme étant « inconsidéré et fantaisiste ». Il affirma que M. de Chalain se montrait brutal envers les joueurs de la Fire Brigade à chaque fois qu’il leur donnait un avertissement, tandis que quand ce fut le cas pour les joueurs de Dodos, M. de Chalain le faisait avec « force courbettes et politesse ».

Chankye ajoute que certaines décisions de l’arbitre soulevaient des murmures des spectateurs des troisièmes aussi bien que de ceux des tribunes. Par la suite on ne pouvait plus comprendre les décisions de M. de Chalain. Il sanctionnait des fautes imaginaires contre les Dodos. Il semblait à M. Chankye que M. de Chalain le faisait pour se racheter aux yeux du public.

Le témoin est ensuite longuement contre-interrogé par Me G. d’Arifat.

A 5.30 pm l’affaire est renvoyée au 23 avril pour être continuée.



(Mauritius Times – Friday 6th April 1956)


*  Published in print edition on 6 October 2017


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