News on Sunday

Paradise island marred by soaring crimes

The number of cases of violence, theft, murder and other crimes is increasingly hitting the headlines each week. Besides Mauritians, we also hear about foreign residents and tourists being victims of serious offences. Is Mauritius no more a paradise island where security and peace prevail?


Not a single day passes by without us hearing about sordid cases of violence, rape, assault, murder, theft and many others. Our paradise island is being struck by a wind of violence. As Statistics Mauritius figures reveal, from 2015 to 2016, cases reported to the police (which include overall offences and other occurrences) increased by 9%, from 326,420 to 356,182. It also underlines that the general level of crime and misdemeanour, as measured by police-reported offences, excluding contraventions, increased by 3%, mainly due to a rise in theft (8%). Regarding the number of assaults, the statistics indicate that 30% of victims were assaulted in public places. 

Anthologist and sociologist Pavi Ramhota argues that around the world, the issue of violence is gaining momentum and Mauritius is no exception. “In Mauritius, we have been emphasizing more on the economy, hence neglecting the social side. We have not been able to balance the economic and social side. We do not have concrete social projects. Violence is increasing because poverty currently cuts cross all communities.”

For him, despite the government putting more tax on alcoholic beverages, nothing has changed because people are mixing different kinds of alcoholic drinks hence making it more dangerous. “A man is what he eats. People nowadays eat and drink whatever they get. There is no proper diet. How can we live peacefully? There are certain spiritual masters but they focus only on a specific group and other parts of the population do not get access.”

Violence has reached such a level whereby children are killing their parents, he says. “The older generations could never expect to see such atrocious crimes in their lives. The situation is out of control. We have a system whereby we are protecting violence perpetrators. How can a rapist get bail? People have lost trust in our legal systems because of the recent upheavals.”

He further adds that walking on the road is no safer as you do not know from where someone can attack you and hurt you or even kill you. “Our paradise has become a myth. Our education system needs to be reviewed for our society to improve or else the situation will worsen.” 

Home security and safety

Preetam Boodhun: “Nowhere is anymore safe”

Preetam Boodhun, Director of Modern Surveillance, reveals that security has become a must for all individuals, irrespective of corporate, high businesses or individual status. “Unluckily for us, we are not safe. For the corporate, they have always stressed on security measures. But now the trend has changed, individuals are more concerned for their security.”

He states that the demand for alarm system and camera surveillance has considerably increased over the past years. “Some people prefer alarm systems, while others prefer camera surveillance depending on their budget. However, some people wishing for better security prefer to install both. Each have its own function and different from each other. Businesses and corporate prefer to have both while individuals choose one of them.” 

The director, who has over 30 years of experience in the field of security and safety, explains that, nowadays, people are afraid to live alone even in porch areas. He mentions a case where a young man is scared to stay in his house, as he has recently been a victim of theft. “There is no area or place now where we can feel safe. Scourge such as theft or drugs have already invaded our island, therefore violence perpetrators will not think twice before attacking.”

He also avers that camera surveillance or alarm system is not 100% reliable but they minimise the risk of being attacked or targeted. “In an area where 70% of the houses or complexes are secured, they are not targeted, as compared to the remaining 25% which remain the main target. Thieves will obviously prefer to go to complexes where there is less security or no security at all. What is also observable is the image we are projecting to expats. Depending on the countries they come from, they do find Mauritius quite risky to roam at night. It gives a bad image,” he says. 

Dr Vishal Ragoobur: “People may have apprehensions but this will not stop investment”

Dr Vishal Ragoobur, economist, says that Mauritius has always had a good reputation in terms of security. “Mauritius has always been a safe destination for foreigners. It is true that there is an increase in criminality in the country and that there are cases that have brought very negative publicity for the island in foreign newspapers. However, I believe that we must put things into perspective. If there are systematic attacks, thefts and other criminal cases affecting tourists and expatriates here, this will definitely have a negative impact on investments, namely in sectors of IRS and RES. This can deter people to invest in those types of projects and stay in the island if they feel that the level of insecurity is high,” explains Dr Vishal Ragoobur.

The senior economist also highlights that the authorities have an important role to play in ensuring foreigners’ security. “We must have a look at the measures our authorities are taking to handle the many cases we are hearing about. There is no doubt that there will always be cases of violence, theft, among others affecting foreigners but I believe that the authorities have the duty to control the situation and ensure security. I believe that we can control the situation here,” states Vishal Ragoobur. He adds that foreigners and expats invest in IRS and RES projects, which are situated in areas not easily accessible to the public. “It is sure the places where there are IRS and RES development projects are quite remote locations. But they are often gated communities and have their own security systems to protect them. However, they do depend on our authority when they are out and around the island.”

Vishal Ragoobur trusts that the violence and insecurity issues have not had major impact on our investment. “We just need to a look at the figures. The investment rate has not gone down. On the contrary, people may have apprehensions when hearing about the cases of violence but this will not stop investment.”

An expatriate speaks

Sylvie Guddaye: “No country is perfect and safe”

Sylvie is married to a Mauritian. They decided to move to Mauritius after their retirement. ‘When I was living in France, I had always enjoyed my holidays here and what I always appreciate is the multi-cultural side. The gastronomy, the sun, sand and sea are a bonus point when you come here for holidays.’’ It is a huge privilege to be part of the Mauritian society and she feels grateful about it.  

Concerning crimes in Mauritius, she admits that she is no more scared or shocked. ‘‘Whatever, whenever and wherever things that are happening are considered as shocking, we are getting used to them.” According to her, one should find some peaceful solutions to these violent issues. If one starts to commit a crime or have bad intentions, these matters should be discussed. These violent behaviours are happening everywhere and one can feel it more here in Mauritius because it is a small country. No country is perfect and safe, and a person should only be careful anywhere he goes.” 

Sylvie does not feel less secured in France than in Mauritius. Wherever she goes and whatever the time, she always feels scared when she is alone. One’s negative personality does not depend of where he/she from. It depends on the intention and why one does bad things. ‘Not being judgemental, you may never know who may help you along the way.’ 

Upgrading the security in Mauritius should be a priority. Teenagers are easily influenced by so many things. Our future adults are sometimes not well guided and often need support.

Raj Mootasamy: “We are living a stressful life in Mauritius”

Raj Mootasamy, from Victim Support, claims that the rising number of accidents due to high speed and alcoholism is having a negative impact on our society. “Drinking and driving are among the most dangerous combinations and many people still ignore this fact. People just drive rashly and kill people on the road. They should know that by doing so, they are ruining the life of a family. Many times, bread earners of a family lose their life in these horrible accidents and it is terrible to see them in such a situation.”

He recalls that Mauritian drivers are not courteous on the road and are always in a hurry. “We are living a stressful life in Mauritius. People are always in a hurry to reach their workplace and in a hurry to reach home. In this way, they tend to be aggressive on the road.” 


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