Hon. Chadien’s Challenge

MT 60 Years Ago – 2nd YEAR NO. 42 – 27th May 1955

Editorially Speaking

What Hon Chadien did last Sunday to support his assertion that two cows died of poisoning cannot go unnoticed.

It is something unique. It is something spectacular. It is a challenge.

The public has for some time past been following with keen interest the poison controversy. Everybody wants to know what led to the untimely death of the cows. Was it cruel Fate or the hands of cruel Man?

Hon Chadien has not minced matters from the start. He accused the Bassin Estate for having poisoned its fodder. No sooner was the accusation made that the Manager of the estate defied the Hon Member of Plaine Wilhems to substantiate his accusation.

Matters really came to a head when the Hon Nominee Mr Sauzier took up the question in Council. The Hon Colonial Secretary acted with such swiftness that he unwittingly created the impression that he had a weakness for Hon Nominees.

When the Hon Colonial Secretary made known his views last Friday after a personal enquiry, one would have thought that his findings would end the controversy. But far from it. The controversy is still raging because Hon Chadien refuses to be beaten.

In the words of Cerneen Mr Newton had “reduit à néant les allégations de l’Hon Mr Chadien”. And what about Hon Chadien’s test? “Le résultat de l’analyse, dit-on, a été positif, la terre contenant des traces d’arsenic. « Le Cernéen was unable to see that Hon Chadien had given a lie to Mr Newton’s report.

Hon Chadien did not carry out his test behind closed doors. He did it in the open. He did not ask the members of his party only to be there but also the press, the head of the Police Department, the head of the Medical Department, the Government Analyst. If Government authorities chose to stay away and not be a witness, Hon Chadien is not to be blamed. He acted as a gentleman by giving a chance to the other party.

And now what will happen? What will carry more weight: The Hon Colonial Secretary’s report or Hon Chadien’s test? It appears that Hon Chadien has gained the upper hand.

By carrying out his test, Hon Chadien has hurled a challenge to Government and to those who think that it was ill fate that carried away the cows. We are anxious to know how that challenge will be met.

(M.Times – 13th May 1955)

* * *

Editorially Speaking

Reduction in the Price of Rice

The Government of Mauritius has reduced the retail price of Government imported rice from 42 cents to 36 cents per lb as from the 16th instant. Last year the Government entered into an agreement with the Government of Burma for the supply of rice at £52.8s.11d (Rs 702.77c) per ton FOB for the year 1955. The Financial Times discloses that the Burmese Government has reduced the basic price for rice to be delivered during 1955 under the four-year trade agreement with Ceylon from £ 48 per ton to £ 42 per ton FOB. Has the Government of Burma agreed to reduce the price of rice to be supplied to Mauritius? If yes, what is the reduction in the price?

It is doubtful whether at 36c per lb Government will be able to sell its stock. The latest quotation of Patna Shifted grade I is around Rs 630 per ton CIF Port Louis. This rice is likely to be sold at about 36 to 38 cents per lb retail.

As the Government-imported rice is of an inferior quality, consumers will prefer buying rice of a better quality by paying even an extra two cents per lb. This will inevitably compel a further reduction in the present price. In the exporting countries there is a tendency of a further drop in the price of rice.

The Financial Times of the 15th March, 1955, commenting that news notes: “Traders are inclined to believe that the decline in rice prices will resume. The sharp fall last year and the tendency for Japanese requirements to fall pose problems for exporting countries like Burma and Thailand. Japan hopes to reduce rice imports during this year by half a million tons.”

When the Financial Secretary declared in the Council of Government the Government’s decision to reduce the price of rice, he was cheered. But does Government really deserve the praise? We are still bound for almost three more years with Burma for the supply of our rice at a price which is much higher than the ruling market price. It is too early to make a guess of what will be the Colony’s loss in this unfortunate transaction when the agreement comes to an end.

(M.Times – 20th May 1955)

* * *

Thank you, Mr Rey!

Speaking about the cleanliness campaign in Port Louis we said some time ago that the Municipal Authorities ought to pay immediate attention to good roads, clean roads and the Pleasure Ground.

Today we want to thank the Mayor of Port Louis for meeting our wishes to some extent.

We want to thank him in particular for renovating Labourdonnais Street – although we have an uncanny feeling that had it not been for the races which bring so many distinguished visitors to our capital through it, Labourdonnais Street would not have received such a thorough new look. It looks really royal.

We hope the side streets too will have their day. Beside the princely Labourdonnais Street we cannot have a number of Cinderellas in tatters. We mean, of course, the big holes in some of our streets.

By the look of Labourdonnais Street one can infer that the Municipality of Port Louis has money to spend. What is needed now is a survey to know what the crying needs of our streets are. The survey won’t be difficult. Holes are gaping for redress. What about filling them up first of all, Mr Rey?

And please don’t forget Ruisseau du Pouce. Thank you.

(M.Times – 20th May 1955)

* * *

Editorially Speaking

The School Certificate Examination

The minimum requirements for the listing of Schools for the “B” Certificate by the Local Examination Syndicate of the University of Cambridge which will take effect as from the 1st January 1957 is, as shown below. Unless a school furnishes these requirements it will not be allowed to present candidates for the School Certificate Examinations:

“(a) The School shall provide a five-year secondary school course including preparation for the Cambridge School Certificate Examination in Arts and in Science subjects.

(b) Forms I to V (School Certificate Class) shall be organised as separate classes or as separate sections of the same class, so that the size of anyone class or any section of the class shall not exceed 35 pupils.

(c)Teachers of Forms I to IV shall possess at least a School Certificate or its equivalent with Credit in English Language and of Form V, a Higher School Certificate or its equivalent, provided that at least two teachers of Form V shall hold a degree in Arts and in Science respectively.

(d) The Curriculum of Forms I to V shall include facilities for the teaching of Art, Music, Physical Education and games.

(e) The School buildings, classrooms, laboratory accommodation, grounds and the general sanitary conditions of the school shall be to the satisfaction of the Direction of Education.

(f) The School shall be provided with an adequate reading library and a laboratory satisfying the University of Cambridge minimum requirements for teaching science at School Certificate level OR in the case of girls, a domestic science room, adequately equipped for the teaching of the subject at School Certificate level.”

We have already drawn the attention of the authorities about the poor standard of education, classroom conditions, etc, of our private secondary schools. The requirements of the Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate in themselves are not bad.

But there is a snag. Schools which will be able to furnish these requirements will, we think, have attained the standard required to qualify them for grant by the Government. Will they then be given grants? If they are not given, they won’t be able to compete with the nine State Aided Secondary Schools which are receiving 75% of the salary paid to their teachers. Besides, as Government does not control admissions in those schools and as most of them belong to a particular denomination, student not belonging to that denomination will, we fear, get little chance to be admitted. These new regulations can materialize the cherished dream of the ruling class: sound secondary education for a few.

(M.Times – 27th May 1955)


*  Published in print Edition on 10 July 2015

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