Rule of Law


Some recent events in the country and the way police authorities have reacted to them, or failed to react in a timely manner appear to call the principle of rule-of-law into serious questioning. Irrespective of their political or other affiliations, if the citizens do not feel protected by a uniform application of an established rule of law, then there will be little confidence left on which to do business in general.

We have seen the troubled background against which elections are held in Haiti. In that country, mob violence has been recurrent. Departure from universal norms of good governance has been the rule rather than the exception. The consequent anarchy has compromised the country’s future and made it one of the poorest nations on earth – and the poorest in the western hemisphere, in spite of its proximity to the United States, the largest market in the world.

We are far from that situation in Mauritius, but our credentials as a rule-of-law country should not be allowed to be undermined by shoddy decisions or the absence of sound decisions by those who have been entrusted with the execution of official duties. There is a serious risk that any distraction from our main concerns of the moment into issues such as these will result in a loss of focus on the items set out for the economic agenda. The law and order situation should therefore be impeccable.

Credible public institutions can make the whole difference between our capability to find the needed remedies for our economic failings or going out on an altogether different wild goose chase. The fact that simpler allegations of offences like breach of some ICTA regulation or of a relatively peaceful public gathering are being investigated by top police units (like Major Crime or Central CID) whenever they concern any opponent puts into question the efficient and effective use of resources when more serious criminality on the streets should have been given greater priority. Not to mention that it is an irritant for those who value their freedoms in a democratic setup and the ability to voice opinions that may not suit the government’s narrative but should in effect be wake-up calls to help government address those concerns.

The goings-on in police custody that made headlines with publicly aired clips of humiliating treatment of some suspects or the leakage of private images and videos from material seized and under police custody have not conferred the Force with the image of propriety we expect. As for “acting without fear or favour” as sometimes the police spokespersons claim, the perception is that it has failed in several high-profile investigations concerning those hovering around government’s beehive. Read More… Become a Subscriber

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 11 November 2022

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