Mauritius Times – 60 Years
Sir Hilary Blood, our ex-Governor, has written a very interesting article in the last issue of the Times British Colonies Review, which was published on the 11th of June last. He says that nearly five years ago he had written, in the same paper, about the two main problems: constitutional development and overpopulation, which our country was facing.
Since then both problems have had careful and devoted attention from Mauritians and the Colonial Office. The new Five-Year Plan, re-oriented and fortified by the Luce Report: the introduction of the ministerial system and the first general elections held recently on the basis of universal suffrage – present now an appropriate moment to measure the progress made towards the solution of the problems which five years ago “seemed to be perversed to the extent of intractability.”
After the 1948 general elections great difficulties were faced both by the UK, represented by the Governor who had the responsibility of good government, and the local leaders of the popular assembly into whose hands power was passing largely.
The voting power of the Legislature was reproduced in the Executive and Liaison Officers, embryonic ministers with no departmental responsibilities, were appointed. Universal suffrage was supported by Indo-Mauritians, strongly opposed by Franco-Mauritians, and lukewarmly accepted by the General Population. The experiment of dividing this island into 40 constituencies with a view to securing as wide a sectional representation as possible was a success. And now “the minorities are learning that they, not the UK Govt, must pull their chestnuts out of the fire.’
“Le Cernéen, at one time the scourge of the Indo-Mauritians and indeed of anyone from the Governor downwards who was not an ultra conservative” has become more conciliatory and the right-wing cry of “le danger hindou” is muted.
Consciously or unconsciously an all-Mauritian front is in the making and is gathering momentum. But the economic problem now is the greatest to be faced. 500,000 to 600,000 tons of sugar produced in the island provide modest social services to about the same number of inhabitants. The rapid increase in the population is decreasing the income per capita. The rate of increase in the population is faster than any country in the world except Singapore and Venezuela, both far wealthier and economically stronger than our country. In the period 1950-54 the birthrate was 44 – higher than anywhere in the world except Singapore and El Salvador. In 1942 the percentage of the population under 14years was 14%; today it is 44%. 2 persons out of three are wholly dependent upon others which “is the lowest economically active proportion of the population recorded in the civilized world.” 25 out of100 unemployed persons are under 21years of age, compared with UK’s approximate of 8.
Sir Hilary appreciates that a Five-Year Plan has already been prepared designed to increase the national income. But it is only a short term one; in the long run the population will have to be limited. Emigration may help but it cannot be a solution as it tends to draw skilled workers who can be ill spared.
Family planning is an answer. In Barbados the government has successfully moved it, but in Mauritius it cannot as it is a delicate and controversial matter. Fortunately, a start has been made. A Family Planning Association formed on a voluntary basis has interested some private medical practitioners and is opening some clinics. It is assisted by the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
In conclusion, Sir Hilary hoped that the Ministers who have power now will attack the combined political and economic problems and will be helped by those they serve “joining to the last man in a struggle for the island’s survival”.
We are very thankful to Sir Hilary Blood for the keen interest he still takes in our problems.
It is high time now to ask the authorities concerned what they have done during the past ten years or so since the Population Committee was appointed to investigate and report upon our overpopulation and economic problems.
As early as in 1954 the findings and recommendations of that Committee were published in the form of a Sessional Paper which dealt with most of the important questions raised by Sir Hilary.
It is most unfortunate that by neglecting these important problems, either voluntarily or involuntarily, both the Government and our political leaders, have been doing to this country a harm that will not be easily remedied.
Those into whose hands the destiny of this island rests must, boldly and with a marked degree of firmness, give their full and urgent attention to solve these problems, if they want to keep want, hunger, misery and chaos away from us.
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IN THE CIVIL SERVICE
The following appointments to the Public Service during the week ended 2nd July 1959, are released by the Colonial Secretary’s Office:
Mr A. Curpen, Senior Messenger, promoted Head Messenger.
Mr K. Seegoolam, Messenger, promoted Senior Messenger.
Dr G.M. Noel appointed Medical Officer.
Mr M.Y.C. Lapierre appointed Junior Laboratory Assistant, Health Department.
Messrs C. M. Rawat and P. A. How Hang Sang appointed Temporary Meteorological Assistants Grade II, Meteorological Department.
Mr R. Savrimootoo appointed Temporary Overseer, P.W.D.
Mr A. Noormamode appointed Temporary Messenger.
Mr R. Ramsaha, Deputy Assistance Commissioner, to act as Assistance Commissioner, Public Assistance Dept.
Mr H. M. Catherine, Public Assistance Supervisor, to act as Deputy Assistance Commissioner.
Mr L. A. Melotte. Adjudicating Officer, to act as Public Assistance Supervisor.
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Arya Sabha Mauritius
The Managing Committee of the Arya Sabha, Mauritius, for the year 1959-60 has been constituted as follows:
Hon. S. Boolell, President
Mr K. Ghurburrun, Bar at Law, Vice President
Mr R. Deelchand, Secretary
Mr H. Chooroomoney, Assistant Secretary
Mr R. Kinnoo, Treasurer
Mr Goomanee, Assistant Treasurer
Members: Shri Swami Dhruvanandji Maharaj, Messrs R. Bhogun, N. Sookun, T. Callychurn, M. Mohit, D. Padaruth, G. Teeluck, T. Bundhun and S. Dabee.
Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 24 November 2023
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