Always on Duty, Forever Smiling

In Memoriam: Régis Finette

By Professor J. Manrakhan

Family and friends are grieving over the passing away from an implacable malady, at 77, of Régis Finette, academic at Réduit, politician and Minister at Local Government and at Health; as well as President of L’Alliance Francaise in Mauritius.

Indeed, in his particular case, it was true that

In my Father’s house are many mansions’

(St John, 4.2)

And he never forgot his ‘many mansions’: from law and order to the cooperative spirit; from French flair, academic freedom and autonomy, to ministerial responsibility and collective solidarity. Yet, he remained profoundly human, with kind words and compassion, for the very many, while striving all the time to fulfil his onerous duties as diligently and honestly as possible. And all the time his ready smile was there, to assure and reassure, everyone — including himself.

For he had to adroitly manoeuvre round various crossroads in academe, in politics, and elsewhere, with associated risks and rewards. And he accomplished all of those with great charm and courtesy.

There was a time when he had to weigh the alternatives of ‘Cooperative Development’ or ‘French Studies’ at Réduit, when all of a sudden, the potential of ‘University Public Relations’ cropped up. That confusion was made ‘worse confounded’ when politics joined the fray – and ultimately won. The rest is history. But not for Régis: he never forgot the past. Time and again, whenever we met, he would recall memorable events of the past.

Indeed it seemed as if it was only yesterday, when he informed me in the centre of Rose Hill that he had become President of L’Alliance Française: his eyes glowed with justified pleasure: la crème de la crème!

That, I assert, must have finally succeeded in convincing him of his own great worth.

For many are called, but few are chosen’

(St. Mathew, 22.14)

He will be sorely missed by family and friends, even as he now rests in Elysium.

* Published in print edition on 9 December 2011

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