Final-Frontier Finesse 

In Memoriam: Jean-Marc Harel

By Professor J. Manrakhan

Family and friends mourn the passing away, at 66, of Jean-Marc Harel, FCA, FCI Arb, GOSK in University College Hospital, London, from an implacable, pernicious and unforgiving ailment with no presently known cure – and against which there is no appeal.

His has been an exemplary career in institutional building within accountancy and financial management along with allied disciplines, all of which have been adroitly blended to blossom into a unique many-dimensional group, operating in Mauritius and elsewhere, mainly in Africa.

There are many of his features that deserve highlighting. He was a ‘safe haven’ and generously harboured those who hankered for ‘lost causes’ of a political kind, not to mention his signal contribution to the genesis of the first Mauritian private university in-the-making, now the Charles Telfair Institute.

Though all these processes, a rare combination has come about – of sense and sensibility, savoir-faire and savoir-vivre, of patience and perseverance, of risk and drive, of passion and compassion, of tactics and strategy and of intelligence and vision. But more special than most was his finesse in mastering and solving problems at one ‘final frontier’ after another.

 Absent in body, but present in spirit’ — 1 Corinthians, 5:3.

Legend has it that in the ancient land of the Sindhus, there is a desolate pass through which bold souls strive to short-cut their way to Heaven, only to be turned back almost invariably, by fierce guardians. But not necessarily all: one has to be valorous and determined enough – yet these may not suffice.

With the coming of Jean-Marc, the guardians confer and agree to let him through. Not because of his great merits, nor because he might even outclass them in raucous laughter, or choice swear-words. No! To use a great poet’s pass-lines:

 ‘But I have promises to keep

And miles to go before I sleep.’

Indeed, his legacy is huge. And lives on to inspire generations of Mauritians, fellow Africans and others.

Let us, in turn, thank him.

* Published in print edition on 20 May 2011

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