Points to Ponder

Whatever happened to the Remake?

A FIRST POINT: What is happening on the political front? Let’s first consider the alliance that was forged between the MMM and the MSM on the one hand, and with Sir Anerood Jugnauth in his personal capacity on the other. Paul Bérenger is the leader of the MMM; Pravind Jugnauth leads the MSM. Sir Anerood Jugnauth is not the leader of any party, he stands on his own. He joined the alliance in his personal capacity, yet he has been designated as a prime ministerial candidate without any supporting party.

However, any reasonable person will tell you that Sir Anerood Jugnauth is the real leader of the MSM, and whoever does not support this proposition is not conversant with the power equations within the MSM. On Saturday last, the MSM gave a press conference where Sir Anerood led the charge against the government of Navin Ramgoolam, and was followed by Pravind Jugnauth. My question is: who is the leader of the MSM? Is it the father or the son? The electorate is entitled to know.

And the MMM must tell its followers who is the equivalent of Paul Bérenger within the MSM. Is it Pravind Jugnauth? If so, he must discuss the conditions of the coalition with Pravind and then both leaders will have to discuss matters with Sir Anerood. The latter seems to be above Paul Bérenger and well above Pravind Jugnauth.

Has this point been made clear to the followers of the MMM and are the latter comfortable with this state of affairs? It would seem that this constitutes one of the points that are not accepted by the rank and file of the MMM.

Then there is the other point that troubles Paul Berenger’s followers: the 50% ‘concession’ in terms of electoral tickets to the MSM (or is it to Sir Anerood?) for the next general election, especially given that it was Paul Berenger himself who had been saying that the MSM represents but 3-4% of the electorate. Paul Bérenger’s followers are waiting for answers from their leader; in the meantime, they are getting impatient.

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Last week there were press reports about some very serious problems that the yet-to-be finalised MMM-MSM alliance would be facing; it was also suggested that the yet-to-be finalised alliance would be called off. The reason appeared to be simple: both parties suspected each other of holding secret negotiations with the Labour Party. How true is this?

Can one imagine Alan Ganoo going to meet Navin Ramgooolam just to talk about electoral reform without talking about the conditions on which a Labour Party-MMM alliance could be finalized?

The MSM had sent Showkutally Soodhun to meet Xavier Duval to find out if he would be interested with a PMSD-MSM alliance. Or, why not, another Labour Party-PMSD-MSM alliance?

Such matters cannot be kept under wraps for long. At the end of the day, everybody knew what was happening, hence the serious problems that cropped up in the yet-to-be finalized MMM-MSM alliance.

We are now told that the MMM will take a few weeks to decide on whether it will go into an alliance with the MSM. It seems that there will be no alliance between the two parties unless the MSM agrees to far fewer tickets than what it had been promised earlier. Only time will tell if the MSM will cow down to the MMM.

People are waiting for some clear-cut answers. They cannot be taken for a ride much longer. And Paul Berenger can read the minds of his followers very clearly.

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Slip of the tongue?

A SECOND POINT: “Bourrique”. That was the word used to qualify the Honourable Herve Aimé, Minister of Local Government by the Honourable Paul Bérenger, leader of the MMM and also the leader of the opposition in our Parliament.

What does the word “bourrique” mean? According to ‘Le Petit Robert’, it means ‘une ânesse not even “un âne’ and the second meaning is ‘une personne bête et têtue. I do not know Herve Aime well enough to judge him. Paul Bérenger must tell us which of the two characteristics better qualifies the Hon Member because he should know — better than most of us, I’d say, for having been close to him. But if I were to go by the qualification used by Paul Bérenger, all Members should go by the same qualification given that they assemble together on a more or less regular basis. You know the oft-quoted saying, that ‘birds of the same feather flock together, don’t you? I do not know whether this is indeed the case. Our readers can form their own opinion.

I have to make a few remarks on this issue of ‘bourrique’. First, it is about the standard of parliamentary practice. Members are supposed to be ‘Honourable Members’ and their conduct and behaviour should be of the expected standard — not that of louts. Their language and speech must be refined — one appropriate for use in any sitting room or for addressing any member of a cultured family. But if you are used to the language and speech of a lout, then nothing can be done because you do not know better. Unfortunately, those who follow such politicians will learn the same type of behaviour and language.

Members of Parliament are supposed to set the best example of proper and right conduct – in and outside Parliament. It’s indeed our misfortune to have in our midst MPs who have no qualms about stooping to the lowest level possible to slander their adversaries for political reasons. I wonder what impression such untoward behaviour will leave on our students’ minds. The same people are saying on public platforms that women should be encouraged to join politics! Do you think the ladies will gladly join politics in these circumstances? Unless they are of the same ilk and are willing to cross swords on the same terms and conditions …

When Paul Bérenger called Hervé Aimée “bourrique”, was it due to a slip of the tongue, or did he do it deliberately — because this is what he thinks of Hervé Aimé and the likes of him? This is a matter that he has to explain to us.

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The Trial of our Jury System

A THIRD POINT: The jury system that we have adopted for the trial of accused parties in some criminal cases has served us well. The latest case is the trial of the two parties who were accused of murdering an Irish national. A jury goes by the evidence that is presented in Court, under the direction and guidance of the Presiding Judge.

Whenever a person meets a violent death, we are all sorry for the person and his relatives and friends, and our expectation is that the criminal should be brought to justice as quickly as possible. It is the duty of the Police to gather all the relevant evidence, and the Director of Public Prosecutions starts the prosecution.

Is the evidence gathering process carried out in complete fairness? I will categorically say no. How many criminal cases are brought before our Courts that do not depend on confessions of the accused parties? Very few indeed. So many accused parties say that unfair methods are used by the Police Officers to make them confess to crimes that they have not committed. I cannot say whether what the accused parties say reflects the truth or not.

Why do Police Officers rely on confessions to bring a case to Court? It would appear that that is the only type of evidence in which they are interested. Once they get the confession they feel satisfied that they have done a good job.

I do understand that in certain cases, especially as regards those involving hardened criminals, the officers cannot proceed with kids’ gloves and other methods should be used. The Police Officers should be given the necessary training to look for scientific evidence and they must be given the necessary equipment to do their job. Maybe there must be a separate department with well-qualified officers working under a chief officer who has had a full training in the scientific approach to solving crime.

I would also say that when an accused party decides to confess for having committed a crime, let him be brought before an officer who is not a Police Officer, who will record the confession. In these circumstances, s/he will not be able to challenge the admissibility of the confession for whatsoever reason.

Concerning the death of the Irish lady, the legal advisers representing the two accused have done their duty towards their respective clients. They have done nothing more and nothing less than what is expected of any barrister.

We are a sovereign country, we have our own justice system and we do not work under the supervision of the Irish Police or the Irish government. Our jury is as good as the jury in any country. They have done their duty.


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