Those present at the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre at Bell Village, on Wednesday, were indeed surprised to see the Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth moved to tears as he plunged into his childhood days. Sir Anerood Jugnauth has too often projected an image of a straightforward and tough person that most of us have forgotten that he is a very sensitive person. The Prime Minister was participating in a function organized by the Ministry of Environment, Sustainable Development, Disaster and Beach Management to mark the International Ozone Day. During that event, the Prime Minister not only received a standing ovation from those present but he was also conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the preservation of the environment. The media reports that for half an hour the Minister of Environment Mr. Raj Dayal showered panegyrics on the Prime Minister. But it was not the superlatives of Mr. Dayal which moved Sir Anerood Jugnauth to tears. It was when he recalled some moments during his childhood that he was taken by emotion. Indeed what Sir Anerood Jugnauth shared was indeed heartwarming, and poetic. "Our happiness came from the treasures of nature. Yes, our clothes became dirty; our mums did get angry but altogether we had a nice and joyful time in the midst of nature, which undoubtedly has animated the feel-good and passionate attitude within us. I thought that one day I would pass on these feelings as a legacy to my children,” said the Prime Minister. It is pity that the biographies of Sir Anerood Jugnauth that have been published so far are quite formal and are devoid of anecdotes. It would have been a wise idea if Sir Anerood Jugnauth took to writing his autobiography, probably with the assistance of a professional writer and editor. We are convinced that he has numerous reminiscences to share as a legacy, not only with his grand children, but also with the nation.
We tend to imagine our political leaders as rough and tough guys. Local politics, which is still very much male-dominated, visualize our leaders as “banne grand mari”, whose authority cannot be discussed. In reality, they are human beings with all their qualities and shortcomings. Ray Williams wrote a mind-blowing article on sensitivity. “Sensitivity is perhaps the most underrated quality in the world. It’s too often associated with fragility and weakness when it’s actually a tremendous strength. Sensitive people are insightful and intelligent enough both to recognize and comprehend their own emotions. They’re also courageous enough to exhibit them in public. Sensitive people aren’t weak, they’re actually natural-born leaders”.
We do not know whether purposely or unknowingly, Sir Anerood Jugnauth mentioned about his passion for running after butterflies when he was a child. There are two dimensions in this part of his speech. First, very few children enjoy these types of activities, namely swimming and fishing in the rivers, playing football in the sun for hours and hours, running after butterflies, picking strawberries in the forests and eating sugarcane from the fields. For the simple reason that children have little time to play as in the afternoons and week-ends they are either busy with private tuition or they are plunged in their computers, mobile phones, tablets, play station or other electronic gadgets. For many even television has become obsolete.Second, some species of butterflies have suffered a dramatic population collapse during the last century as a result of climate change and agricultural and urban development. It would be interesting if the Ministry of Environment could inform the population whether Mauritius is facing similar problems. As we say in French, “chassez le naturel et il revient au gallop” (what’s bred in the bone will come out in the flesh). Later, at the end of the function, when he was questioned by journalists, Sir Anerood Jugnauth found back his straightforward approach. “I do not know to whom he gave it, I do not know” , he told press reporters who referred to an earlier statement by the former President of the Republic Mr. Kailash Purryag, regarding a report on horse racing which has apparently disappeared. He adopted the same sarcastic attitude when he was requested to comment on the mobilization campaign by the Mauritius Labour Party in view of the function that is scheduled at Kewal Nagar this Sunday. He also seemed unhappy when reporters asked him about a critic (that government is being harsh towards the population) formulated by the Labour Party against the government. As regards the mobilisation campaign by the Labour Party, there are a few aspects which must be underlined. First, it is obvious that the party has financial means, otherwise it would have been difficult to organize gatherings similar to those during an electoral campaign. Second, the new recruit Mr. Rama Valayden seems to be stealing the show. An excellent communicator, Mr. Valayden knows who he should criticise and how to do it, so as to attract partisans. For instance, on Tuesday, at St Paul, he blasted both the Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth and the Minister of Financial Services, Good Governance and Institutional Reforms Mr. Roshi Bhadain. [col-md-4] The chief editor of l’Express Mr. Raj Meetarbhan makes an interesting analysis of the Valayden phenomenon in an editorial published on Wednesday. We learn that the group which had contacted Mr. Valayden to convince him to join the Labour Party is led by Mr. Anil Bachoo. Mr. Bachoo, recalls Mr. Meetarbhan, is often presented as a potential leader of the Labour Party. In clear, Dr Ramgoolam still has tough times ahead. After having contained the legitimate ambitions of Dr Arvin Boolell, Dr Ramgoolam might in the future find Mr. Bachoo in his way, unless Mr. Valayden too has his own agenda. [/col-md-4] [col-md-8] On the other hand, Dr. Ramgoolam is not yet out of the woods as far as police enquiries and subsequent court cases are concerned. It would appear the Mauritius Revenue Authority has a made a series of assessments on the Rs 224 million found in the coffers at River Walk. The United States of America could also enquire on the unused US dollar bank notes found in the same coffers. But more importantly, at the request of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the National Crime Agency (NCA) from the United Kingdom will enquire on the various bank accounts of Dr. Ramgoolam. The media reported that the former Prime Minister is the holder of sixteen cards issued by Barnes, Boots, Fnac, John Bell & Croydon, Harrods, Printemps, Selfridges and Sephora. A particular attention would be given to the nine Centurion Cards, also known as Black Cards, issued by American Express, seized during the police landing at DR. Ramgoolam’s residence at River Walk on February 6 last. [/col-md-8] This week-end will also be marked by the departure of Sir Anerood Jugnauth to New York, USA where he is participating in the Sustainable Goal Summit and later in the annual assembly of the United Nations. During his 17-day absence from the country, the “interim” will be shared between the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and External Communications Mr. Xavier-Luc Duval and the Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Lands Mr. Showkutally Soodhun. Mr Duval will have to leave the country to participate in the Topresa Tourist Fair. Hope everything goes on smoothly till the return of Sir Anerood Jugnauth to the country!