1ST MAY: LABOUR DAY CELEBRATION IN MAURITIUS IS MORE ABOUT POLITICS THAN WORKERS’ RIGHTS

We’ll be hearing a ton from the myriads of political parties on the island to participate in their respective assemblies on the 1st of May, a widely observed political tradition here in Mauritius. These ‘meetings’ as they’re called, help the public distinguish between the various messages and campaign promises that may shape upcoming elections and in that regard, they’re very important for the parties. MSM-ML will be in Vacoas on that day, MMM in Rose Hill whilst the Labour Party isn’t participating this year. The annual congress of PMSD will be on April, 30 at Ecole Hoteliere Charle Gaetan Duval in Ebene.

Labour Day is observed the world over and in some countries, like ours for instance; it’s a national holiday to commemorate the achievements of workers and to honour the fruits of labour. However, here in Mauritius, the message has been warped by the political parties who have co-opted this remembrance for workers and have turned it into a political fest, which is utterly disrespectful and narcissistic. Historically speaking, the holiday meant a great deal to the working class of the 1940s who were struggling day in day out. It was first celebrated as a public holiday in 1950 thanks to Guy Rozemont, Dr. Maurice Curé, Pandit Sahadeo and Emmanuel Anquetil. Back then, the gist of the national holiday was very much about workers’ rights, as our country was dealing with the lack of a skilled labour force, a sickly population and lamentable working conditions.

Fast forward 80 years from then, Labour Day has lost its pristine message. Politicians are more interested in their petty skirmishes and narcissistic talks rather than the sustainability of a skilled labour force. The ad-hominem attacks and the stupid jokes at the expense of their rivals are more important to them than the consolidation of a united workforce. Needless to say, the country is divided and there are still many people who live below the poverty line according to a report that exposed the dire reality that 20 000 people were making less than Rs3500 a month. Despite attempts to promulgate a decent minimum wage regulation, things never really take off in this country. We hear ad nauseam about politicians and their aides raking in hundreds of thousands of rupees without any scrutiny or follow-up questions but they still cannot figure out a way to cater to our unemployed youth.

Labour Day will be more a celebration of utter buffoonery than workers’ rights because to be honest, Mauritians themselves are oblivious to the significance of this public holiday. Everywhere else, workers will be celebrated and elevated but in Mauritius, the petty digs at ‘Soornack and the cotomili business’ or the jokes about ‘Alvaro’ will monopolize the content of their speeches. Political discourse is at an all-time low and it’s very discursive; our population is being misled and conned by people whose only merit is related to their birth or lineage. Let us remember Labour Day for what it used to be, a united celebration, a solemn recognition of the sacrifices millions undertake every day to have a decent life. It is not about political adherence.

NANDANEE SOORNACK SET TO SPEAK AT A PRESS CONFERENCE

Nandanee Soornack’s story is now part of our culture, whether we like it or not. She is holding a live press conference this Wednesday in Milan to discuss her private and professional life with the members of the press. Only 2 weeks ago, all charges of money laundering were dropped, with the judge qualifying the litigation attempts against Soornack as a ‘fishing expedition’. Needless to say, our justice system isn’t really a paragon of justice.

So what should we expect from Nandanee Soornack? Is she going to reveal anything new at all? Maybe she’s in need of attention because to be honest, who sends their selfies to the biggest newspaper agency in their home country out of the blue? Truth be told, we shouldn’t expect much from the press conference; no acts of contrition, no ironclad statements, no confessions. Because she had 3 years to come forward with her side of the story but she refrained from doing so, because of political pressure.

In Mauritius, it is now acceptable to receive favours from politicians in exchange of extra-marital love and nobody truly has the guts to question these practices. A meritocracy in this country is nothing but a dream.

Lutchmeenaraidoo was rude to Axcel Chenney

Yesterday, at a press conference where he was supposedly planning to come clear on the fishy Euroloan debacle, Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo expulsed the charismatic Axcel Chenney from the room when the latter refused to give up on his line of questioning. Mind you, this was a press conference about the nature of the loan and the minister in question categorically refused to answer Chenney’s queries, deflecting by using the word ‘affidavit’ like it’s supposed to mean something, castigating Chenney for doing his job as a public watchdog and then outright banning him from the room. He also mockingly referred to Chenney as ‘René’, resorting to personal attacks because he couldn’t possibly win that debate.

What this really shows us is that our politicians are doing their best to quash journalistic integrity and freedom of the press in our country. To be fair to them, when they coined the word ‘paradise island’, it was probably in the spirit of all the looting they can take part in without the public scrutiny. Now that the cover-ups are being brought to the fore of the national agenda, we are beginning to see the true nature of the people in power-a bunch of sordid megalomaniacs without a modicum of integrity. But some politicians think that once they’re in power, they’re akin to demigods who shouldn’t be held accountable- did their parents not teach them moral values?

A politician ordering a journalist to ‘shut up’ is unheard of in real democracies, even the narcissistic Donald Trump, for all his animosity towards the mainstream media, has never targeted a journalist using such incendiary, insulting language. So we have to put things in context here, we have to admit that our politicians don’t really care about us (the famous ‘mo piss ar zot’), they’re in it for the money and they don’t give a damn about the legacy that their tainted politics will leave behind.

The Parliamentary Session is GOOD QUALITY ENTERTAINMENT

If you didn’t watch the parliamentary debates yesterday, it’s fair to assume you’re not into politics. But to be able to fully appreciate the shambolic discussions of our MPs, you don’t even have to know a thing about politics because in the end, it all boils down to fine comedy. From the pathetic rape of the English language to the juvenile insults hurled at each other, it truly is our country’s best comedy show to date, and whoever said that politicians are good actors is actually right!

There were a number of discussions going back and forth, including the biscuit business, but one that really was worth listening intently to, was hon. Shakeel Mohammed’s passionate speech on racism and communalism in this country. Again resorting to identity politics to dumb down the noise surrounding his shady activities, hon. Gayan tried to create a diversion. Hon. Mohammed’s takedown of the pathetic deflections of the ruling party was admirable to say the least.

Watching the MPs debate crucial matters is like watching a bunch of teenagers arguing except that they’re in formal clothing, and they’re way too old to behave like teenagers! The bedlam in the House was akin to a high school classroom where everyone is trying to discredit each other. No wonder hon. Paul Berenger and his colleagues got expulsed, when they yelled out their opposition to hon. Dookhun’s apocryphal concerns. At one point, the Speaker told hon. Berenger, ‘Don’t make gestures with me’ which can only be construed as ‘Pas vin fer zess ar moi’ to which Berenger retorted, ‘To ene bouffon’, which should be reflected upon and then seriously laughed at.

After hon. Berenger’s expulsion, there was a mass walk out in his support but honestly, it could be that they were just bored or they didn’t want to miss the match. The fact that these debates are now being televised truly illuminates the public on the sheer incompetence and utter buffoonery of our representatives, maybe some will have the wisdom to concur that we need better people to represent our population. But that’s the state of our political clime-ridiculous attempts to deny corruption while fully reaping the benefits of full-fledged corruption, a dash of racism to incite public outrage and a bunch of MPs acting like irate toddlers. Truly, it’s the best local entertainment that you will ever come across.

MAURITIUS FINALLY LEGALISES CORRUPTION

Rejoice politicians! It’s about time! Our dear ministers were always at loggerheads with each other, trying to clear themselves from alleged ‘corruption’ charges. But finally, the Supreme court has ruled that it is no longer a crime to be a corrupt politician! IT IS NOW LEGAL TO GIVE YOUR GIRLRIENDS HUGE SUMS OF MONEY AND GET AWAY WITH IT!

After interviewing several high ranking members in the ruling party, it came to our attention that although they can get away with corruption with impunity, they’re not happy, contrary to what we had expected. As it happens, the fact that their colleagues can now buy favours from almost anyone, puts them in a difficult position. Commenting on that conundrum, a well-known politician said ‘there’s so much competition. It was so much better in the past’. Oh honey, you just have to deal with it now.

To officialise this new era in mass fraud and corruption, a ceremony was held at the Labourdonnais hotel, with the prominent businessman Alvaro as guest speaker. He spoke highly of his supporters here, promising them that he will bestow a great deal of tokens upon those who will help him achieve his lifelong dream of making the world corrupt again!

The glaring absence of Navin was noted but an insider told us that he’s on his way to Italy to relay the good news to Nandanee! The insider was overcome with emotions as he spoke, adding, ‘corrupt lives matter! Now all cotomili sellers can become millionaires in this country.’ We pondered on that and we came to the conclusion that this is only feasible if said ‘cotomili seller’ is an attractive female in Navin’s vicinity.

Another problem that has arisen following this ground-breaking motion is the fact that many politicians are now going bankrupt because their mistresses are pestering them with additional requests. Now that corruption is finally legal AND mainstream, our politicians have observed that their girlfriends are charging more money for what was essentially free in the past. Relating his quandary to our publication, a very famous politician stated; ‘I used to give her Rs323 000 for a phoney position, now she’s demanding Rs 1,323,000 for a lesser position!’ Wherefore art thou trying to ruin me?! But he also acknowledged that the legality of corruption has afforded him many favours, like for instance, his wife no longer questions his shady activities, and instead pockets a hefty sum of Rs 3,000,000 as the head of a medical society. When asked what prompted him to recommend his wife for that position despite her lack of qualifications, this prominent minister replied; ‘I don’t care. Corruption is legal now! Mo piss ar zot.’
If you didn’t realize midway through the article that this is nothing but a satirical piece, you’re either an elated politician or a clueless patriot. So it is with great sadness that I’m going to wish you a HAPPY APRIL FOOLS’ DAY.

The Truth About the Vijaya Sumputh saga

The Director of the Cardiac Unit was pocketing Rs323 000 each month until recently, when she had to resign under pressure. In a country where people struggle to make ends meet, it’s quite odious that unqualified people can make ostentatious sums of money based on who they know. The affinity between hon. Gayan and Vijaya Sumputh is well known in the political arena, dating back to when they were both members of MSM. He then appointed her at the head of the Tourism Authority when he was Minister of Tourism back in 2004, a move Xavier Luc Duval decried as ‘illegal’. Furthermore, their trips abroad raised eyebrows as it didn’t form part of Sumputh’s job description. When asked about the nature of their ‘business trips’, X.L.Duval contemptuously replied, “I think we will have to ask Mr Gayan in what capacity she travelled.”

In Mauritius, Identity politics has become the norm and it’s quite a sad thing because democracies are supposed to be inclusive and promote social justice. However, the income inequality margin keeps growing because the wealth isn’t being shared as the highest tier is intent on guarding the goods. In the last Audit report, we found out that despite allocating extensive sums of money to various investment projects, most of them never took off. Consequently, it’s to be noted that the public sector is responsible for wasting huge sums of money which could’ve been used to combat the social scourges in our country.

Moreover, our politicians pat themselves on the back for work that’s more or less mediocre. Our political system is failing because of the lack of transparency within each department and the public’s apathy. Hearing about political scandals ad infinitum can desensitize people to their emergency and it’s quite clear that Mauritians are just sick of political shenanigans. Whether it’s the Labour Party or the Alliance Lepep, most political parties have had their shortcomings but they’ve shown us that ethics are often ignored in politics. If we want a better future for our kids on the paradise island, we need to start holding our politicians accountable.

Money In Politics

We’ve had quite a hectic week in politics-the Audit report revealed the staggering level of incompetence in the public sector, the Vijaya Sumputh affair reeks of ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’ politics and there have been talks about the CWA being taken over by a private operator. Despite the subversive content presented to us, the details are lacklustre and bereft of transparency.

The Audit report has exposed quite clearly how much money has been squandered during the last cycle (2014-2016). The mismanagement of public funds is excruciating-from errors in the pension scheme that inflated the payments by nearly Rs 10.9 million to the blatant mishandling of investment projects that cost around Rs42.7 million-there’s one thing we can be sure of, pecuniary prowess isn’t their forte. Therefore, it does raise eyebrows when scandals like the ‘Vijaya Sumputh’ affair break out. What are the ostentatious qualifications that warrant a salary that’s tenfold the median salary on the island, given that the lady basically acts like a figurehead (with no prior experience in the medical field)? The affinity between Hon. Anil Gayan and Vijaya Sumputh is well known- he appointed her at the helm of the Tourism Authority when he was Minister of Tourism (a move X.L.Duval decried as illegal) and their trysts abroad were made public even though foreign trips didn’t really form part of the job description. Could it be that it is a replay of the fiasco that caused the demise of the Labour Party leadership?

While thousands live paycheck-to-paycheck, our ministers are overcompensated for their mediocre work, as demonstrated by the Audit. Comparing the salary of our dear Leader to Narendra Modi’s (India’s Prime Minister), the former basically earns six times the amount Modi makes, which raises one pertinent question; What set of skills does he possess that Modi doesn’t? The answer to that question is quite simply The N word-nepotism.

Our political system is fraught with nepotism on all scales of government and that impinges on people’s prospects on the job market. Through no fault of theirs, their eligibility for a career is determined by how many power players they know. This is an affront to the basic tenets of our democracy and unless we finally do something about it, they will continue their tribalistic practices, which consist of enriching themselves and their lackeys while the rest of the country is languishing in misery. In South Korea, millions of people marched in the streets when their Prime Minister’s cosy ties to corporations were revealed, she was impeached in a rare victory for democracy. Are Mauritians ever going to hold their politicians accountable? Our timorous attitudes towards protest and civil disobedience have been the bane of our existence.

To be fair, our politicians do have a redeeming quality-the copacetic lip service. No matter the severity of the deed, they will exhaust every possible straw man argument until the anger dissipates and turns into incredulity. Flouting ethics to appoint political allies, going to such lengths as making sure that anyone with their surname is ensconced in a rewarding position, resorting to ad hominem attacks such as the idiosyncratic ‘Mo piss ar zot’ from SAJ, our politicians are quite a rare breed. To be fair to SAJ, it takes cojones to admit that he doesn’t care. But does the public care? Transparency is the sine qua non of any enduring democracy, and if ours is to endure, there needs to be a complete upheaval in the political process.