Silver Lining

Following the kabbadi contest on Mon Choisy beach about three weeks ago with teams from India and other countries, may we suggest that the Ministry of Sports promote kabbadi across the country. The event drew approval from the public who saw it as a sport that is most likely to gain popularity over here.

The ministry and other local and national authorities are surely aware of the serious need to give sports a bigger place in local life, such as physical activities that improve health, help to keep fit and create enthusiasm for team work.

Cricket is another sport that should be introduced and promoted locally. It will spark huge interest from various sections of the population. The question was raised during the last Commonwealth Games. Is there any reason cricket is not played in Mauritius? One may ask if decision makers have any vision as regards the development of sports.

Are Mauritians condemned to seek the thrill of sports events on television? As spectators of football matches in foreign countries every week-end? It will be reasonable to give more life to sports locally. The onus is on the authorities to take the initiative and provide the appropriate infrastructure to develop kabbadi and cricket. Give Mauritians something to look forward to in their own country.

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Save Mon Choisy beach. Did the idea flash across the mind of sports organizers recently? The beach is in a most sorry state. Filao roots are sticking out of the fast disappearing sand which has lost its whiteness and the grass that used to give it a lovely green cover.

For almost two decades the need for leisure drove people out of their homes to the only free places available in the island. Mon Choisy beach is a most popular resort for lots of families to spend whole days there in the week-ends. It is far too overcrowded with cars and crowds during school holidays.

The beach is dying. Keeping off cars 20 metres from the beach is not enough to protect it. One solution is to close access to one third of the beach surface including the filao area for a few months and give it a respite. And apply the same restriction to the remaining surface for a few months. The picnic area of Pointe aux Piments beach is likely to be devastated if cars are not forbidden to drive right on the beach itself. It is high time for the ministry in charge of the Environment to give due attention to the survival of Mon Choisy beach and other beaches around the island.

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A patriotic genuinely committed leadership to efficiency and progress sparks hope in people and instills faith in a country’s future. There is no denying that long-serving politicians who have failed to set the rules for good governance for decades cannot be expected to change overnight. Pledges for change in official statements are viewed as mere rhetoric by a disillusioned public.

Not so in India. Mauritians woud have been elated to have leaders like Yogi Adityanath at the helm of the country’s affairs. A patriotic no-nonsense workaholic Chief Minister with a backbone and guts to walk the talk. Right after his nomination, he is firmly reviewing and overhauling the work culture of his administration’ staff, demanding employees to reach workplace on time, regarding half an hour lateness as absence, deduction of absences on salaries , and putting an end to unreported lateness, etc. To weed out corruption, he gave the state’s staff a deadline to declare their income and assets. A Herculean task in such big states. Real reform undertaken by new blood, new faces on the political platform. Declaration of assets, right to information, a Mauritian dream still in the waiting-room.

Discipline, hard work, focus and well-defined goals are bound to deliver in the long run. The state of a country’s affairs largely depends on the calibre of nominees who are entrusted with the job. Electoral promises are on the way of being implemented, with prior consultation with women on divorce laws; closing down illegal slaughter houses and unwanted liquor shops causing nuisance.

It requires more than goodwill to enhance university standards, provide quality education and job creation. Not to mention recourse to modern techniques to clean up roads, villages and cities and stop using manual scavengers and treat them as society’s outcasts. This is a retrograde machiavellian century-old caste-inspired feudal mindset, which is shameful for India and harder to sanitize.

Warnings must be issued to overzealous members of the new Chief Minister’s organizations not to act as moral vigilantes and interfere in people’s private lives. Mimicking fanatic groups of other countries is most undesirable. It will undermine individual freedom and deal a severe blow to the progressist image the country aims to promote. Asserting cultural traits, demanding respect for national flag and Vande Mataram to foster patriotism and unity should not lead to confusion and intolerance.

Nita Chicooree-Mercier

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