Mauritius Times 60 Years Ago – 1st YEAR NO. 17 – SATURDAY 4th December 1954
In many respects Mauritius is one of the most developed British Colonies, yet its Constitution cannot be ranked among the advanced ones. Constitutionally speaking, Mauritius has moved at snail’s pace. Whenever there has been any aspiration for a better and wider Constitution, the reactionary elements have done their utmost to hamper the political progress of the Colony.
They have tried to divide and subdivide public opinion. Monsieur Noel Marrier d’Unienville, the director of LE CERNEEN, the mouthpiece of the anti-labour groups which are against any political advancement has, as it has already been proved in these columns, distorted and misrepresented facts, accused, insulted and ridiculed those who are for further constitutional advancement.
The population voted for responsible Government
The 1953 General Elections were carried on a referendum for a Responsible Government. The people voted for Responsible Government in spite of NMU’s relentless anti-labour campaign and his assertion that Responsible Government would inevitably mean the annexation of Mauritius to India and its subsequent submission to Communist dictatorship. During the last election campaign the anti-labour groups roused the passion of their partisans to such an extent that some of them in a fury damaged the residence of Hon Dr Ramgoolam. Disturbances followed at Port-Louis, Phoenix and elsewhere. A young independent candidate of the coloured population was insulted and slapped at Curepipe because he made Responsible Government and Adult Suffrage the platform of his campaign. But for the cool and tactful attitude adopted by the labour leaders a grave riot would have flared up.
NMU’s Party of Law & Order?
Mr Noel Marrier d’Unienville is now agitating for the formation of a Party of Law and Order. One of the aims of that party will be “the maintenance in Mauritius of British Rule with sufficient powers to ensure the continuance of a coherent and orderly administration”. (Vide Le Cerneen of 27.8.54). Has British Authority become so weak in Mauritius that NMU should form a party to maintain it? What is the motive behind the project of creating such a party? Throughout history, in the name of Law and Order, abominable crimes have been perpetrated by people who have practised racial superiority in its most disgusting forms and have established economic and moral slavery. White Americans, to “uphold” Law and Order, founded the Ku-Klux-Klan movement. The atrocities committed by that gang on the Negroes have shocked the world.
A section of the European community of Kenya not satisfied with their Government’s method of dealing with the Kikuyu problem established a security forces “to maintain law and order”. The Parliamentary delegation which inquired into the Mau Mau trouble in January 1954, writing in the Kenya Report blamed the promoters. “We were also disturbed by the attitude of a section of European public opinion towards the sanctity of law and the general question of Police malpractices. For example, we were informed that a fund had recently been started with the object of paying the legal expenses of European members of the security forces committing offences in the course of their duty. Activity of this kind… is tantamount to giving moral support to breaches of law.”
Provoke Riot and Stop Constitutional Chances
As things stand the peaceful and responsible citizen has ground for apprehension. We have received information that people are touring the villages, holding private meetings and rousing hatred. It is even whispered that a move is being made to provoke a riot if the Secretary of States advocates any appreciable change in the Constitution. It will serve a pretext to the opposition that Mauritius is not yet ripe to shoulder responsibility. We wish to think that the information we have received are not true. There are responsible persons on both sides who will not tolerate goondaism and who will fight the constitutional means in case they don’t like it. Relying on past experience we think it is our duty to alert public opinion and to request the local authorities to keep a vigilant eye on what is going on around us. The Intelligence Service of the Police Department should be reinforced; the movement of the suspected propagandists be trailed and rabble-rousers whether of the Labour or anti-Labour groups, be dealt with severely.
Responsible leaders on both sides will agree that Law and Order must prevail in their country and that the Government of Mauritius is strong enough to uphold Law and Order. There is no need for other parties to take authority in their hands.
Brutality by a G.M.O
Hospital Treatment a right not charity
Tuesday last in the Legislative Council, Hon Dr R. Chaperon protested against brutality committed by a GMO on the person of Mr Dwarka Parsad who took his dying child to Victoria Hospital at 2 a.m. The physician on night duty who was awakened got in a fit of temper and kicked the man, pulled his hair and knocked his head against the wall.
Hon. J. Koenig has lately drawn the attention of Government on an incident which occurred at the same hospital. In August last we published a communiqué of the Police Department concerning a gentleman who committed suicide by cutting his throat with a penknife. We were told that he committed suicide in exasperation because he was informed that he was suffering from an incurable disease.
There are some officers of the Health Department who have a very fine record of service. They are doing their duty with religious devotion; in fact their services cannot be weighed by the salary they receive. Such workers, whether they are physicians or the humble hospital servants need our encouragement, praise and gratitude. But those who cannot control their temper or who lack a sense of responsibility, whether they are hospital servants or Medical Officers, should, in the interest of the suffering taxpayers, in their own interest and in order to safeguard the prestige of Government and that of the medical profession, give in their resignation.
When we come in presence of incidents as referred to above we are tempted to believe that animals, especially dogs, receive better treatment in England than human beings do receive in Mauritius. (vide MAURITIUS TIMES of 4th Sept. 1954: Animal Welfare in England).
During our stay in London last year one morning at 1.30, we took a Mauritian friend who was suffering from a psychological breakdown to the West London Hospital. In spite of the rather rude behaviour of the patient due to the nature of his illness he was treated with utmost care and kindness by the doctor and nurses who were on duty. In Great Britain physicians not only lose their jobs for neglect of duty or uncivil behaviour, but are often sentenced to imprisonment. Some time ago a physician employed by the National Health Service was imprisoned because he did not visit in time an outpatient of his panel who subsequently died.
Last year awarding damage of £ 5000 to the parents of six year old crippled Christine Bailiss in a case of gross neglect of duty on the part of the hospital authorities, Justice Stable of Nottingham Assizes said: “Let us get this perfectly plain. When we had a system of voluntary hospitals, if I was brought in from the street a dying pauper, any treatment I received, no doubt the best that science could provide, was an act of charity. Now we have gone over to the state system and it is a matter of right for which every citizen has paid. The hospital authorities are just as much his paid servants as anybody else”. Does not their warning by the learned Judge apply to any hospital authorities either in England or in Mauritius?
* Published in print edition on 5 December 2014