New Problems

Mauritius Times 60 Years Ago

Although Rozemont was the President of Labour, it has always been said that Dr Ramgoolam was its virtual leader. Will Ramgoolam step into his shoes?

One big problem, the problem of constitutional reforms is still awaiting a happy solution and the death of Rozemont has brought about a number of new problems.

The first question which people started to put to themselves as soon as the news of Rozemont’s death got round was: who is going to replace him? Replacing him is really out of the question. People might be found to succeed him but not to replace him.

Rozemont was not just a trade union official or a Labour Party man. He was a leader of the downtrodden who was adored by the people he served. The common man could see in him not only a leader but a friend as well. The wound his death has inflicted will take time to heal; the void his loss has created is not be filled easily.

* * *

The Labour Party has to find a President. We know next to nothing up to now to whom will go that office.

Wilfrid l’Etang, the Vice-President, is very unlikely to chosen to succeed Rozemont. We say this not because we doubt the ability or sincerity of l’Etang but because we think that as an old fighter he deserves some rest.

Although Rozemont was the President of the Labour Party, it has always been said that Dr Ramgoolam was its virtual leader. Will Dr Ramgoolam then step into the shoes of Rozemont? Very unlikely again. There is enough sill talk of communalism without his being President.

We don’t want to anticipate the choice of the Labour Party but at the same time we cannot resist the temptation of making a wild guess. The man we have in mind is Forget.

There’s a man of mettle for the mere taking.

* * *

The Labour Party has to find a candidate to put up at the by-election of Port Louis. Who will be that man?

It is rumoured that the eventual candidate is going to be either Changkye or Dr Dupre. On the other side, among others, there will be Bhujoharry.

It is rumoured that Bhujoharry will cut quite a good figure at the election. The Labour Party will no doubt be very cautious in the choice of its candidate to face such an opponent.

The choice between Changkye and Dr Dupre is also a choice between a new and an old generation. They are both men who are devoted to Labour principles. If Dr Dupre can bring the wisdom of his experience to council Changkye can bring the zeal and enthusiasm of youth.

It’s not easy to foresee what will prevail.

* * *

Then there is the stalemate at the Municipal Council. It’s not only Rozemont’s seat that is vacant: all the Labour Members have resigned en bloc. At long last our cherished wish been fulfilled.

Will Government suspend the Municipal Council to replace it by a caretaker commission as outlined in the Labour motion that got through last week? Or, will there be a by-election? Or, is the remaining Council going to pull through till December when elections are due?

Suspension of the Council would be a drastic step indeed. The stand taken by the Municipal Council on the motion of Ducasse will surely provide more food for thought to government.

A by-election could have been held but where is the untarnished electoral register?

* * *

And Rozemont has to be replaced in the field of trade unionism also where he was extremely popular.

The rise of Moignac in the trade union line has been remarkable. We sincerely hope that he will fill the void at Trade Union House to some extent.

Trade unionism is in a certain way a training ground for politicians. When politicians graduate from it they are far from being of the armchair type. They are not refined intellectuals but they are admirable organisers and down-to-the-earth men who can understand properly the man with the hoe and the man with the hammer and sympathize with them. Rozemont was a glowing example of that class of politician.

* * *

The death of Rozemont which has brought in its train so many problems has also provided on answer to the question of the Hindu peril.

Anti-Labourities would have it that the Labour Party is a Hindu dominated party. Will those who saw the surging coloured mass of humanity at Rozemont’s funeral persist in making that groundless accusation?

The coloured men who shouldered the coffin and who, so to say, supported Rozemont to the grave did not do so simply because Rozemont was a coloured man. They did so because he was a Labour leader.

Anti-Labourites may well ask themselves; but why had Rozemont the funeral fit for a king? And the answer will easily be forthcoming: because he was a true Labourite and Labourites are not motivated by consideration of community, class, caste, colour or creed.

* * *

To the number of new questions, Le Cerneen is adding another new one: the formation of political parties based on religions! Brother NMU has visibly lost his bearings. By the way, what will be done with the Parti Mauricien which has in its fold representatives of all the minority communities?

Anyway it’s for the dazed anti-Labourites to find a way out of the circuitous maze in which they are. The path of Labour is straight and clear-cut and far from being foggy.


* Published in print edition on 18 August 2017

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