Call me Qwerty. I’m after the great white whale of Mauritian politics.
I’m an expat, currently in a mid life crisis, but instead of surfing the net for a two seater convertible I thought of putting pen to paper regarding the elephant in the room at Pointe D’Esny. Pardon the nostalgic twist - I’m in a mid life crisis, after all!
The events leading to the 12th March used to be greeted with my enthusiasm and great expectations, very much evocative of Dickens’s Pip character! Not for the fact of having to explain to my teacher that my blocked sinus is the cause of my National Anthem out of tune singing, but rather, the rehearsal of wanting to be part of the javelin throwing team at secondary education level - the hand held flags I got were my rehearsal tool, par excellence! I thus came to know about the significance of the four bands in Gurudutt Moher’s design of the national flag, as that teacher was a great educator.
During my Christmas 2019 visit, I contemplated about Mr Moher’s thought of his green - it seemed to be more beige with shopping malls than the greenest of agriculture throughout the 12 months a year! I suppose that the politicians promises came fruitful after all! And it can now be safely hypothesised that thanks to the laissez faire attitude of the government, Gurudutt’s blue is now also under threat. It’s the classic ‘one is too many and a thousand is never enough’ attitude of some in power! To further illustrate this point, on the webpage Mauritius Trade Easy, a website supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of Mauritius, I was baffled to see that code 25.05 states that sand can be exported with authorisation from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development - how ironic!
Unfortunately, at secondary education level, I didn’t make the javelin team! But, Mauritius, in its early twenties, became a Republic - a word of Latin origin, meaning public affairs. Three years after this status, the then elected Prime Minister took a personal venture of labeling as many infrastructures as possible after his father - surely reading Freudian works would be a great insight into such endeavours as opposed to me being reminded of Naga from the Eastern religions of Hinduism and Buddhism every time I see the initials of my airport of arrival in Mauritius.
However, the debates leading to elections suffice to define our Republic status - I never felt so close to Mauritius’ governance!
Moreover, whilst I couldn’t pursue building my body to that reminiscent of a Greek statue during my secondary education years, I was lucky enough to be taught English Literature by another fantastic educator, so much so, that I would often go to sleep dreaming of playing Feste at the Elizabethan playhouse, only to be let down by my blocked sinus! During the Covid lockdown, the national public broadcaster for the Republic of Mauritius aired educational programmes that were so full of mistakes, for instance the broadcast of 17th April 2020, that it’s much ado about noting the fact that you pay for these clowns’ salaries!
Suffice to say that after my secondary education, I left Mauritius to be another statistics on the ‘another one’ tally. Whilst I kept up with the usual Mauritian periodicals as the political soap opera led me to believe that Skynet did indeed take over - the terminators were in governance as their lack of conviction, honesty, truth, and dare I say, heart, left little to conclude otherwise. Leaders of political parties would publicly slander each other only to be in a coalition for governance days later, showing a lack of emotion and feeling that only machines would possess. The backscratching didn’t only play out in public, in true form of our republic status, but also saw non degree holders being given positions ranging from chairs of committees to ministership via advisor roles. Is the caricature of Week-End’s 9th August 2020 in bad faith? I’m notorious to reciting Bubba’s shrimp dishes from the 1994 movie Forrest Gump when one talks to me about Mauritian politics - the former seems less futile, in my humble opinion!
The political propaganda that MV Wakashio has gifted some is unscrupulous, let alone deplorable. In the L’Express mobile upload of 7th August 2020, Mr Navin Ramgoolam seized the opportunity of reminding us that, when he was the Prime Minister, he had dealt with ‘meme situation, mais pas exactement pareil’, though he had implemented a strategy of putting CCTV all around the Mauritian coast to monitor its waters. My expression was similar to that of seeing President Donald Trump, on 24th April 2020, saying to Dr Deborah Birx to look into injecting infected Covid 19 people with disinfectant. Anyway, Mr Ramgoolam was referring to the fire on the boat Angel 1 on 15th July 2011. He proceeded to say that the ship had rice (truth) and oil (false) but failed to disclose that the ship was later sunk at, wait for it, Pointe D’Esny with rice still on board, after spending three months of being stranded on the coral reefs (https://shipwrecklog.com/log/tag/mauritius/page/3/). Funny how the same website states that there was an oil tanker, Wisdom, which encountered difficulties near Belle Mare but the authorities didn’t release any reports of injuries or pollution. This incident occurred on 16th August 2012. Looks like we may be lucky in getting a fish that requires no oil for cooking, but also comes with rice as accompaniment! At least we now know for a fact that Coleman Burleson’s A Convenient Truth DVD will not be found in Mr Ramgoolam’s safe.
The purpose of this essay is not to vent off. Rather, it’s exactly what is being advertised on the tin! The word essay is derived from the French infinitive ‘essayer’, which means to try or attempt.
In her speech at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit, youngest Time Person of the year, Greta Thunberg said politicians were not mature enough to say it as it is and proceeded to demonstrate how people in governance have and are betraying the young generations. The loathsome political twist of this Wakashio disaster proves her point.
The current events at Pointe D’Esny is the result of an accident and not a natural calamity, hence, by definition, avoidable! As referred to by Mr Shakeel Mohamed on 10th August 2020, the article ‘How satellites tracked the fateful journey of the ship that led to Mauritius’ worst oil spill disaster’ published by Forbes, Nishan Degnarain not only proves that the Mauritian authorities could have prevented the running aground of the MV Wakashio, but perhaps most importantly and definitely considerably hurtful, the spillage was a direct consequence of the indifference of Mauritian authorities. Luckily, Mr Mohamed is not only a Member of Parliament, but also a barrister by trade, so let us wait to see where the discovery of this smoking gun leads.
Is a statement such as Mauritian politicians would commit perjury considered to be an antinomy? (...) anyone who has watched any clips from the Mauritius Parliament House will surely agree that the designation of its members is anything but Honourable. The disrespect, defiance, tantrum, bullying, and, lying (just to name a few) are extremely unpleasant. And yes, I agree that these qualities do not apply to all, for instance the speeches of Hon. Marie Alexandra Tania Diolle and Hon. Eileen Karen Lee Chin Foo Kune on 3rd Feb 2020. However, let’s be fair, they apply to the usual suspects - and that’s the point I’m making here! Angela Merkel’s handling of debt and refugee crises via the Covid pandemic are proofs that politicians do not need to lie. New Zealanders coined the term ‘Jacinda-mania’ in reflection of Ms Ardern’s leadership - and lest we forget, the Christchurch shooting happened on her watch!
As clearly demonstrated in Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner, it’s better to be hurt by the truth than being comforted by a lie! The exponential growth of truth decay in Mauritian politics is hard to swallow and the rupees per diem is out of your pockets, amounting to Rs 6.6 million for the current Prime Minister (Salaires des dirigeants : le PM mieux paye que Putin et Modi, K. Walter, July 2017). And to aid your digestion, may I suggest the 3rd episode of the Menteur Menteur series? As for Mr Ramgoolam, well, I urge you to view the L’Express mobile upload of 7th August 2020 - listen to his comments regarding the disaster at Pointe D’Esny and remember that the only riot that Mauritius has ever experienced since independence happened under his watch. Rather than writing a witty comment from Kaya’s Racine Pe Brille, I wonder how the Prime Minister demonstrated that the 6th and 7th phrases of Mr Jean Georges Prosper’s lyrics of our National Anthem were upheld under his leadership.
These episodes of pot calling the kettle black are just another illustration of Mauritian politicians behaving as Orangutans in a peeing contest! An inspiring leader not only leads by example (Leadership 101), but most importantly, listens attentively, communicates impeccably, and, is trustworthy. In my view, none of the political leaders in Mauritius have shown even an once ofthese. Rather, as per Mauritian culture, the citizens of Mauritius have been the true leaders in dealing with the situation at Pointe D’Esny. You never greeted media posts as fake news, refused to invite certain media outlets in your press conferences, used interviews for smear campaigns and cohesion. And for this, dear Mauritians - thank you! Not just for putting your lives at risks, but also showing the political hierarchy what leadership is all about.
If there’re two things that the Covid pandemic has proved undeniably at a national level are namely the number of state officials around the world that have taken a pay cut to ease the economy, and secondly, how fed up and irritated inhabitants are with governance. As to the former, you can draw your own conclusion. In regards to the latter, how many continents have not seen unrest? And let’s not delude ourselves - the pandemic is not the cause of these protests, but the social catalyst!
Whilst Pointe D’Esny may never fully ecologically recover - Mauritius can! The difference has always been that most politicians see Mauritius as a land, whilst we see her as a Mother! This distinction will never cease to exist unless Mauritius reforms its constitution and adopts one, similar to USA for instance, where the seat of power is only available for a maximum of two terms!
On 20th January 1961, John F. Kennedy questioned in his inaugural speech, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. I’ve done my part in this essay for my Mother and hope that you, especially politicians, now have the courage to answer Mr Kennedy.
Mr David Cameron, Prime Minister of United Kingdom, had the courage of holding a referendum in regards to Brexit - he understood that a Prime Minister is ultimately accountable to the electorate. Don’t get me wrong, I have never voted for these nincompoops Members of Parliament and have no affiliations with any political parties whatsoever - I’m just an expat in search of a two seater convertible, entertaining a dream similar to Martin Luther King Jr - emancipation from political tyranny!
To conclude, the great white whale of Mauritian politics can be summed up by the following: How is it that the seat of Prime Minister (democratic since 1968 and Republic from 1992), without the surname Jugnauth or Ramgoolam, has only been occupied for 1 year and 271 days? And the politicians will answer this by stating that Liverpool won the Premier League after 30 years!
No Expert, No Advisor
(Job prospects from political parties will not be entertained)
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