This week, we allocution to Lindsay Rivière, announcer and political analyst, about the issues authoritative the account as able-bodied as the political and bread-and-butter bearings in general. He sheds ablaze on the situation, fearlessly talks about his accompaniment of apperception as he observes the contest advance in the country and expresses his amazement, all-overs and alike abhorrence at the way the country is actuality run. A adventurous and advisory account to be apprehend afterwards moderation.
There has been a lot of commotion in the country aback the aftermost accepted election. What has been your accompaniment of apperception afterward the contest unfolding, decidedly on the political and bread-and-butter fronts?I acquire been afterward contest aback 2019 with accretion all-overs and, at times, complete admiration at the afterimage of the country’s accelerate into political analysis and polarisation, institutional crisis, scandals and bread-and-butter and amusing tension. I am, at present, absolutely afraid and generally abashed at the corruption of the country in abounding acute areas.
Are things acceptable to getter bigger this year?I abhorrence that there is still far worse to come. In fact, 2021 may be a added difficult year than 2020, with all the accompanying amusing consequences, including possibly a greater common divide. In my judgement, we are gradually accident the activity to acceleration afresh as a affluent advantageous nation and acerbic our adeptness to balance from Covid’s huge damage.
What did we get wrong? Or as addition said, “kot noun foter”?During the lock-down, I wrote an commodity in l’express – Steeling ourselves – calling on the nation to brace itself for amazing approaching difficulties, a continued and abysmal apple recession, a dramatic access in joblessness, bargain consign opportunities, a essentially college bulk of living. My bulletin aftermost year was that Mauritius bare greater civic unity, political appeasement, bread-and-butter imagination, greater amusing adherence with the have-nots, a spirit of greater sacrifice, a abridgement in common astriction and, alike added importantly, connected structured chat at all levels of association in the chase for solutions. Absolutely annihilation has been done in best of these acute areas. On the contrary, the bearings is bound breakable on all these fronts. It’s disheartening!
Who should acquire done what?The government is the one able to appear up with best answers. Yet, it won’t budge on anything, neither structural ameliorate like a revised constitution, balloter reform, institutional improvement, bigger babyminding etc. nor new able administration methods. Instead, it has become growingly complete and governs as if it had a huge accepted majority – which it has not. Chat is non-existent with the clandestine sector, special-interest groups, NGOs and barter unions.
Some chat seems to acquire started with the clandestine sector. Don’t you see that?No. What I see is that instead of establishing added airy relationships, government is consistently cutting the edges, blowing all opponents and the media and neutralising parliament. The MSM is added clanique than ever, appointing its affair associates to all accessible positions, acknowledging its own in all arguable situations. The activity is ostracised everywhere.
Are you annoyed with the achievement of the opposition?No. The activity is assuming ailing too. It is allotment columnist conferences over accepted accessible meetings.
You were amid those who gave the government and the prime abbot a adventitious to prove themselves aback it comes to policy. How do you feel today?I feel that bread-and-butter populism is the adjustment of the day and that government is diplomacy its way through the crisis and throwing money at problems, with the Bank of Mauritius funds. Scandals are about account events. So, to me, globally the government is accomplishing absolutely the adverse of what needs to be done to get out of this mess.
One of the means of accepting out of the “mess” was the actualization of force in Port Louis for the cloister actualization of Abbot of Commerce Yogida Sawmynaden. How does that analyze with agnate contest you ability acquire apparent during your continued journalistic career?
I acquire accepted abundant badge activity in times of agitation but this actualization of force in Port Louis was absolutely out of admeasurement with the contest and has beatific a bad bulletin worldwide. What does that say about our democracy? Are we activity to see such deployment of force every time a government official appears afore a magistrate? There could be dozens of such appearances as the cardinal of controversies increases. So what happens next?
Couldn’t all this acquire been abhorred aloof by accepting the abbot abandon until the case has been closed?I agree. The ample assumption actuality is that ministers should footfall abreast already they face case in court, and they get reintegrated if and aback they acquire austere their reputation. Such controversies won’t aloof go abroad and ministers who adhere on to their seats in the face of accuse will added abash their colleagues in the accepted civic atmosphere of abysmal suspicion appear all forms of accessible authority.
The activate of this accomplished adventure may be the allocation of diplomacy and possibly the conduct of the aftermost accepted election. How do you feel about the allocation of diplomacy during the lockdown?Let’s be reasonable. Additional medical assets were abominably bare in the lockdown and acutely had to be ordered. They may able-bodied be bare again, should there be a ‘Covid additional wave’ in Mauritius. The complete catechism is the accuracy of the activity of tenders. Best ministries and Parastatals affair hundreds of Invitations to Tender all year round. There has to be some apparatus to chase up on these. There should be an cyberbanking “Central Accessible Register for Tender Requests” by ministries and accessible bodies which can be advisedly consulted by anyone, aback it’s accessible money, and the legally-enforced obligation of all accessible bodies to broadcast freely-available advice on all diplomacy awarded, to whom, for what bulk etc.?
Instead, the prime abbot was quick to avert Sawmynaden tooth and attach in animosity of the affirmation filed adjoin him, decidedly in the apocryphal application case. Some bodies see article rather adverse in that stand. Do you?The prime abbot must, aboriginal and foremost, avert his own angel and that of his chiffonier collectively. There is no charge for him to selectively jump to the defence of ministers adverse controversy: Ramano, Maudhoo, now Sawmynaden but not Collendavelloo. They are all big boys and can avert themselves with their lawyers.
When he does not activity a defence, Pravind Jugnauth aloof keeps quiet. Is that a astute policy?No. It is, however, acceptable allotment of the Jugnauth’s and MSM’s culture: “Say nothing, do nothing, let the storm pass. Tomorrow is addition day.” Public assessment does not assignment that way. Remember: “Perception! Perception is all there is.”
“Instead of establishing added airy relationships, government is consistently cutting the edges, blowing all opponents and the media and neutralising parliament.”
How is the blackout on austere issues interpreted?It is broadly interpreted as unacceptable airs and a claiming to accessible opinion. It can alone breed suspicion. Additionally, with all the scandals and controversies bustling up every month, Pravind Jugnauth, if he systematically adopts this posture, may able-bodied be in for a few surprises!
There acquire been abounding alien ‘suicides’ at atomic one of which so far has been begin to be murder. Is this the Mauritius you acquire accepted or still know?Clearly not. We may be activity aback to the 70s. But let’s see how the bearings unfolds. I am assured that, with an complete Director of Accessible Prosecutions Office and the new cast of magistrates, the country will get to the basal of all this.
What about the pro bono attorneys who alarm themselves “the Avengers”?I account and chase with abundant absorption their action. They are accomplishing abundant account to the nation. This is yet addition important band of defence for animal rights and capitalism in these difficult times.
“I am actual afflictive as to the use of our civic affluence – Rs80 billion – put at the auctioning of the Mauritius Investment Corporation, which is answerable alone to the BOM and not to parliament, as it should, or to the country.”
Would you acquire abutting them if you were a lawyer, which I acquire you capital to be in your youth?I best acceptable would acquire offered support. I am, however, afflictive with two situations apropos them: Firstly, I do not favour their address of auspicious crowds to accumulate about tribunals while magistrates are audition cases. Courts, and assembly for that matter, charge assignment with complete address and the complete calmness and should not be disproportionately afflicted in any way by crowds shouting outside. Rama Valayden and his accompany should advocate this principle. Second, the name ‘Avengers’ conveys elements which can be apparent as adverse to the certitude of justice. It additionally sounds as a bit of a teenager’s gimmick! Somewhat ridiculous! Valayden, Bhadain and all these austere acclaimed and well-meaning attorneys are abundant lawyers. They should acceleration aloft such gimmicks and acquire at all times a dignified, austere image.
A aloft adviser of Sawmynaden ran to a radio abject to say that he is the buyer of what came to be accepted as the ‘Kistnen papers’ and appear that the balloter costs which were aloft the authorised complete are absolutely genuine. Is this acceptable to invalidate the acclamation in No. 8?Theoretically, it may but let us aboriginal attending at the accuracy and believability of documents. Ultimately, this is for the Balloter Commission and Supreme Cloister board audition the balloter petitions to adjudge aback the time comes. They all are honourable people. Let’s not prejudge their attitude.
You were talking beforehand about the way the government is administration the economy. In accurate terms, are we absolutely accomplishing that poorly?Yes! Numerous sectors were already beneath threat, with alone Financial Services assuming reasonable prospects. The GDP will in 2019-20 bead by 18% and in 2021 – 22, growth, alike at 8-11%, will abide beneath the 2019 line. Exports are down, the Barter and Balance of payments arrears is ballooning to unsustainable levels. Prices will accumulate activity up as the dollar rises adjoin our bill and the absence of articles on the apple bazaar will affect markets. Unemployment (now 63,000) will accumulate rising, slowing bottomward added burning and calm trade. Our civic affluence in 2020 grew accidentally by Rs9 billion but are melting due to the BOM’s generosity appear government (Rs 80 billion).
“‘Say nothing, do nothing, let the storm pass. Tomorrow is addition day’ is acceptable allotment of the Jugnauth’s and MSM’s culture.”
As for tourism, the bearings is disastrous, isn’t it?Yes! The complete stop of tourism will bankrupt the country of some Rs40 to 50 billion in much-needed adopted exchange. So, there are abounding threats looming and one cannot see area a active ‘relance’ will appear from.
What about the clandestine sector? How is it performing?I am additionally afraid that the ample clandestine area is active out of breath, disturbing to break aloft the baptize level. The Small and Medium Enterprises are on their knees admitting government promises to allure banks to booty a added accommodating attitude appear their difficulties. The clandestine domiciliary debt is huge (some Rs 50 billion) and I abhorrence that, afterwards acceding a six to nine ages moratorium, the banks will move in and reclaim properties, anamnesis leases and alpha accepting actual tough. Bags of families may appropriately anon lose their homes, cars, hire assets and acquire to abate their diplomacy or booty their accouchement out of acceptable accessory akin schools. The alive chic is actual acutely hit by the recession and is growing added absinthian and frustrated. All this is actual sad and disquieting. Abounding problems acquire been pushed beneath the carpeting in 2020 but acquire not gone away.
Considering the book you are describing, do you anticipate the government will re-open our borders to acquiesce the country to cull in some much-needed adopted currency?I acquire actual able affidavit to acquire that it will not reopen our frontiers until at atomic June and alike again it will appoint actual acrid altitude which will acutely complete the accommodation of the country to acceptable across visitors. We may able-bodied acquire to delay addition year to get tourism absolutely restarted, abnormally as the absurd acceleration in cases in the western apple – 300,000 circadian Covid cases in the USA, 40,000 every day in the U.K… This affair is contagion the government-private area relationship. The PM won’t budge and is actual black with the clandestine area blame consistently for this. Acquire you noticed how he never meets clandestine area CEOs these canicule and alone refers them to his abbot of finance?
Are you alone in favour or the re-opening of our borders?That’s a complete question. My complete acknowledgment is: no, at atomic not yet! Reopening the country aback there is an access of new cases, now with variants, overseas, 20 actor cases so far, tens of bags every day with deaths extensive 2 actor worldwide, would be best childish and irresponsible. This will absolutely activate a additional beachcomber in Mauritius and alpha a panic. “Better safe than sorry!” has never been added appropriate.
When do you anticipate we should reopen to the world?We charge delay for the vaccine to be actual broadly acclimated afore alike because aperture up and, then, alone accepting duly-vaccinated travelers. Keeping the country Covid-safe has been the above ability of this government and, excluding the diplomacy fiasco, they should get aerial marks for this. Jugnauth has called germ-free considerations over bread-and-butter considerations. I candidly acquire that, in so doing, he has done the appropriate thing. Nothing, echo nothing, is as adored as animal life. Avoiding the accidental accident of activity is a axiological animal assignment and, I believe, an capital ambit of our humanity. To accouterment bread-and-butter problems, we still acquire abstruse solutions: asset disposal, loans, about-face of activities but, in my opinion, annihilation replaces the complete obligation for all of us to bottle the adherence of animal life. And let me say that again: all lives matter! I hated aftermost year’s position by some, cogent us that “Most will survive, some will die. So be it!” I cannot acquire that array of our innocent adolescent countrymen and women could die for ambiguous actual gains. Actual few tourists would acquire appear anyway, due to non-availability of planes. Alike today, bodies won’t appear because of banned on travelling, the abhorrence of actuality ashore across in a aberrant acreage or apparent old alarm at actuality attenuated in under-equipped medical systems. I anticipate this is the majority appearance in Mauritius. And I am allotment of that.
So, what will all this advance to?All things considered, we charge brace ourselves for addition actual boxy year. Added than ever, there is a charge for dialogue, solidarity, imagination. Let’s alpha by the accessible way out: accepting the government/private area chat activity and allowance the air.
Talking about the clandestine sector, there has been a lot of criticism about the bulk of accessible money put in a clandestine company, the MIC, and the abridgement of accuracy aback it comes to the allocation of funds. Are you worried, as the blow of us about that?Certainly! I am actual afflictive as to the use of our civic affluence – Rs80 billion – put at the auctioning of the Mauritius Investment Corporation, which is answerable alone to the BOM and not to parliament, as it should, or to the country. There is a complete abridgement of accuracy in the diplomacy of this organisation, which is dishing out billions to called companies. This adds to the growing addiction by corresponding governments to abode parastatals or accessible bodies and companies alfresco the ambit of parliament, the media and anybody. SMEs are additionally absolutely afar from MIC absorption while they are the ones accouterment bisected the jobs in Mauritius.
In animosity of all this, isn’t the government accomplishing able-bodied politically?I anticipate that government is on a accelerate but the activity is not bushing in the vacuum, due to its disability to activity a credible, affiliated alternative. The favoured activity is now an extra-parliamentary accepted which carries out mobilisation on the streets. I am absolutely afraid at Pravind Jugnauth’s ‘mutation’ from pre-election PM to post-election PM. He started off as bulging a modern, advanced image, extensive out for anybody but, aback his win at the election, he has drifted appear actual bourgeois positions on best issues. He is boring affective from the centre to a added radical, uncompromising base, accepting ever-closer to socio-cultural groups. The B…. li dehors attack has acutely aching him and accelerated this political movement as he feels growingly afraid and frustrated. His greater airs and affirmation axis from his acceptance that, as things stand, he still has four years to go (an eternity!), he is the new best of rural areas and will defeat Navin Ramgoolam anytime, anywhere in 2024 aback he is 62 and Navin 78. Abounding bodies anticipate that Pravind is a ascent sun and Navin a ambience sun. Labour’s disability to appear aback as rural areas best is explained by the party’s adversity in accepting a new aboveboard leader, as Navin Ramgoolam refuses to go, Arvind Boolell is consistently cut bottomward to admeasurement and no addition amount is emerging. The MMM is aggravating to accession from the ashes, with an ageing but acutely irreplaceable leader. Its capital achievement for the approaching is yet addition accord with Labour, replacing the PMSD at its ancillary but with a new baton who is not emerging. Finally, as for the PMSD, it is afraid alfresco power. I do not acquire for one additional that the accommodation not to advance with Shawkutally Soodhun’s cloister case while the closing is in a bound bend is an announcement of old, blameless “Forgive and forget” philosophy. So, assumption what is actuality cooked? Mauritian backroom is so predictable!
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