By Samad Ramoly
A feeling of helplessness seems to be gripping Mauritius. To the alert observer, it has been like an accident waiting to happen. Barring self-serving politicians or self-absorbed oligarchs, today’s systemic inadequacies are too in-your-face to go unnoticed. The need for enlightened leadership beyond partisan lines has never been more pressing. Without rising awareness and scrutiny among citizens and netizens, things can easily spin out of control.
New regulations through technological solutions, through public education and through the introduction of market mechanisms can potentially relieve the rampant distress. Breaking out of the spiral of mistrust is very urgent. Some priority measures (see list) have been identified. Others, such as decriminalisation of cannabis and abortion, despite being critical, but requiring wider and engaging consultation, have been omitted. Proponents of “2ème république” (laudable but romantic) and “Duty free island” (ludicrous in a world of low tariffs) will be disappointed.
* Allow Private Television
* Crack Down on Cartelistic and Discriminatory Behaviour
* Devise Nationwide Railway Network
* Dump Rupee Depreciation Bias
* Enact Freedom of Information Act
* Regulate Electoral Funding
* Reinstate Tax Breaks in Individual Income Tax and Introduce Wealth Tax
* Remove Incentives for Corruption from the System
* Reverse Decline of English Language (Global Lingua Franca)
* Seek Assistance from New York Cops for Crime Prevention and Detection
* Sex Up and Broaden School Curriculum
* Subsidise Small Independent Power Producers (SIPPs)
* Supply Water Non Stop
* Transform Mauritius Islands into a Slow Food Destination
* Upgrade cultural, leisure and sports facilities
You are invited to log in to www.tchombo.blogspot.com and cast your votes to validate or dismiss them. Results will be published next month. The list does not claim to be comprehensive. It is understood though that efforts must be synchronized and that there is no quick fix. Hundreds of policies are needed. Change is a never-ending process. All in all, it is about the triumph of substance over hype.
* Published in print edition on 12 November 2010