Points to Ponder
A First Point: Generally, Mauritians are religious minded, they have respect for the God they believe in as well as for the Laws of Nature. Those very few Mauritians who are atheists and have no belief at all in the Laws of God do believe in the Laws of Nature. For us, the Laws of Nature are the same as the Laws of God. The terms Laws of God and the Laws of Nature are one and the same matter. Nature has created the male and the female of every species and one of their main functions is to procreate and propagate the species. This applies to human beings as well as to all beings, from the higher animals to the lowest species as well as to the plants. And God has created the male for a specific purpose and the female for a different purpose. And this is the first Law of Nature. Whoever goes against the Law of Nature or against God will bear the consequences.
I am writing on this point because Paul Bérenger, the leader of the opposition, has found no subject more important or more interesting to debate than the question of the rights of homosexuals in the country. Either the leader of the opposition is really interested in homosexuals or he has run out of ideas – I mean really important matters that affect the vast majority of Mauritians. Is he really serious about matters relating to homosexuals or is he trying to bring up one of his jokes? I do not know.
And now I hear politicians talking of some special law that needs to be introduced to protect the rights of homosexuals. This reminds me of that special law in relation with the rights of children and women. I would have thought that all human beings must enjoy the same rights; if one group enjoys special rights, why not the others?
How is it possible for the State to go against the dictates of God, of any religion whatsoever, or against the Laws of Nature and accept the marriage of homosexuals and have a new definition of marriage? The politicians should not bring in new — supposedly progressive — laws and especially should not amend our Constitution to satisfy one or two tiny minority groups. The laws that we have on our Statute Books are adequate to give full protection to every Mauritian. I do think that our politicians have better things to do, unless…
Local Government elections: Who cares?
A Second Point: We have two main political alliances that carry some credibility with the electorate at the national level. One of the alliances is the Labour Party-PMSD-MSM alliance and the other is the MMM-Madun Dulloo-Ashock Jugnauth alliance. At the moment we can say that the Labour Party-PMSD-MSM alliance is by far the stronger alliance and we have as evidence the two previous elections. Though the MMM-Madun Dulloo-Ashock Jugnauth alliance conceded defeat at the polls, it keeps on boasting about being the strongest political force in the country but come the general election time, it suffers from yet another major defeat.
The question that I am now putting is simple: Is there a possibility, however remote this may be, for a candidate from another party to get elected at a future general election? Or, is there even a remote possibility for an independent candidate to have a chance of representing the electors of a particular constituency before the National Assembly?
This idea seems to be so remote that it sounds almost impossible to envisage such a possibility. The blame should lie essentially with the smaller parties as well as with the independent candidates who are really interested to serve the public as politicians. Both the small parties as well as the independents get busy until such time that a general election is declared and contested, and pack up once results are declared. Not for good, however. They’ll surface again as soon as the next general election is declared.
This is not the way to do politics. Why do the politicians not go back to their respective constituencies to look after the welfare of the people – i.e. ‘occupy’ the political “terrain” between two elections? Their task will be so much easier given that the main politicians are more or less absent from their constituencies during that time? I am sure the people will pay more attention to them, and the electors will return the favour in good time.
Local government elections will be held soon. How many potential candidates are politically busy in the areas and wards where they want to sit as candidates? And I am talking of politicians of every hue.
What are the main political parties doing? Nothing, if you will ask me. The Labour Party-PMSD-MSM alliance is so quiet that you would think that this alliance is not interested at all with local government elections.
We were expecting that the MMM-Madun Dulloo-Ashock Jugnauth alliance would be very busy selecting its candidates, campaigning in the different wards and telling the electors about its programme it will hope to implement in case it wins a majority of seats in the different municipalities and district councils. This alliance also does not seem interested with the local government elections.
The Labour Party-PMSD-MSM alliance now controls all the municipalities and district councils. I am informed that most of the councillors in all the areas will not be selected again to stand as candidates. And this because of their poor performance. So fresh candidates should be chosen, and they must be given adequate time to canvass the areas where they will be called upon to operate; they must be acquainted with the electors and the electors must accept them. All this cannot be done in a fortnight.
The question of amending the present Local Government Act is on the cards, but as of now it would appear only one new section will be added to the Act. This relates to the provision which will not allow Members of the National Assembly to sit as councillors of local government bodies at the same time. On the face of it, this looks like a good measure.
Medical group to withdraw from Mauritius?
A Third Point: An Indian educational group has set up the Dr DY Patil Medical College in Quatre Bornes with a view to training specialist medical doctors. Any institution that can help us in that field will be most welcome, provided a very high standard is maintained. The specialists that will come out of the Medical College should have the right to practice in Mauritius as well as in any other country, like the British Isles, Canada, the United States, Australia, Ireland and South Africa. That is, their qualification must be recognized in all those countries and they will be allowed to practice over there on the same terms as the doctors qualified in those same countries. I do hope that the Dr DY Patil Medical School has given such a guarantee to the authorities here.
Since some time, there is a persistent rumour that in India, the Dr YM Patil Medical School has been “deregistered” by the authorities. I do not know who started such a rumour, when and where. You must know how pernicious a rumour can be and if there is no truth in it, then it must be destroyed in the bud. Otherwise it will do a lot of harm to the institution.
It can very well be that certain people do not want the institution to operate in Mauritius because they want to promote the interests of others.
If there is some problem on the Indian side, this must be brought to the attention of the authorities here and of the other stakeholders as well. And remedial action should be taken before any damage is done.
I am also informed that a foremost foreign medical group is now withdrawing from Mauritius.
People have been complaining about the fact that that clinic is only interested to make as much money as possible in the shortest time possible. There are examples galore. When a person passes away at the clinic, the dead body is kept for as long as they can and everybody knows that the longer the body is kept in the clinic, the higher the fees claimed. It is very easy to say that there are lots of formalities before the relatives can remove the dead bodies but nobody believes them.
Patients are so to say forced to get admitted in the clinic, even when their medical condition does not warrant an admission. Various types of analysis, which may not be necessary at all, are carried out. In such circumstances it is no wonder that the group would wish to withdraw from Mauritius as it does not want its good name to be sullied.
In Prison for the Holidays
A Fourth Point: Just imagine that about 85 percent of our prison population are likely to break the law again and again and go back to prison. I have said it before: the prison system that we have does not meet the requirements of our society that aspires to have a crime-free society.
A prison sentence in Mauritius is like a holiday at the expense of the State for most of the prisoners. And most of the latter look forward to going back to their prison cells with a view to extending their holidays, permanently that is. What are the authorities doing in the meantime? Giving the prisoners a first-class treatment with the best food, including fruits and tea and I do not know what at regular hours. And those same prisoners do not get that sort of treatment at home. In the circumstances, it is but natural that they will continue with their life of crime and go back to prison where they will get everything including visits to doctors and this also free of any hassles.
A prison sentence must be looked at as a punishment for a criminal act done by the prisoner and the prisoner must be made to feel that he is being punished. At the same time, he must make good to the victim of his criminal act for everything that the latter has suffered and lost.
Prisoners must be made to do hard labour for which they will be paid — not more than half of what an ordinary worker usually receives — Prisoners will have to pay for their food and lodging. Those who not work will not be fed at the expense of the State. What is this nonsense that provides for the payment of an allowance to the relatives of a prisoner during the time that the supposed bread earner is in prison? Let the prisoner feed his wife and his children from the little sum of money that he earns. Such people, as well as others, cannot have children at the expense of the State.
If such a regime is not enforced in our penal system, the number of prisoners will go on increasing and there will be more than 85% among the recidivists. Why do we have to copy blindly what is being done in other countries? We must be concerned with what is happening in Mauritius. If you have to copy from other countries, why not copy the example of Singapore?
* Published in print edition on 8 July 2011