“Gouverner pour le peuple – avec le peuple”
Dear Sir Anerood Jugnauth
Congratulations on your election victory, but there is something you need to know. Many of us didn’t vote for you. We voted against Ramgoolam. If you had been allied with him, you would surely have been humiliated instead of Bérenger. Do we have blind faith in you? No. It was not without reason that you were crushed 60-0 in 1995. In 2000, you were given another chance, but your party failed to live up to expectations and was replaced once more. Of course, the alternative turned out to be even worse. Will you do better this time? We hope so.
You strengthened our democracy when you made us a Republic in 1992. We call on you to do it again. We want no more Ramgoolams. We want no more Prime Ministers who print a new bank note to celebrate their wife’s birthday or shut down anti-corruption agencies because their Ministers are under investigation.
We want an open, transparent and accountable Government. Give us a Freedom of Information Act and cancel confidentiality clauses like Sithanen’s deal with the Chinese. Do not dodge criticism from the Director of Audit and do not compare yourselves with your predecessors. We don’t care if they were worse. We want Government to get better and keep on getting better.
We want a corruption-free Government. You ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption in 1994, now implement it – all of it. Fully regulate political parties. Criminalise unexplained wealth. Investigate Ramgoolam and all his agents – and yours, Bérenger’s and Duval’s too. Give us a Constitutionally independent anti-corruption agency free from all restrictions and political interference.
We want to participate in designing our own sustainable future. Your Vision 2020 was forgotten, Ramgoolam’s Maurice Ile Durable was a fiasco. Let us learn from these mistakes and try again – together – and keep on trying until we get it right.
Please don’t talk about another economic miracle. Did you really create the first one? Can you even explain it? Well our mothers can. The capitalists came and exploited them in their textile factories – and became rich. When our mothers asked for a decent wage, they left. Yes, our standard of living increased, but at the expense of our quality of life and the strength of our families. Now many of us are borrowing to make ends meet and the burden is becoming too heavy to bear.
Our economy is in a mess. As a nation we buy more goods and services than we sell. To balance the books, we are increasing the national debt and selling off our best land to foreigners who contribute little but waste and pollution. Is this sustainable? Please do something about it. If you don’t have the answers then call in experts who do – but not the IMF or the World Bank. Find consultants who prioritise people above profits. We measure prosperity by the quality of our hospitals, schools and leisure facilities – not per capita GDP.
And please, please, please help those who are living and begging on the streets. Their suffering is our shame.
If the economy is in a mess then our environment is even worse. How different were our islands when you were a child? Things may look fine on the surface but what happens when we peer beneath? What’s happening to our beaches? Where are all the corals that once filled our lagoon and the fishes that made them their home? Where has all the soil gone and the fertility that allowed plants to flourish without chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides? Please find out and start fixing it.
Our predecessors extinguished the Dodo, but where is the rest of our wildlife? Where are the wild and natural places where they can hide and thrive? Where is the unique biodiversity that we constantly hear about? Our forefathers felled the ancient forests, why aren’t we replanting them? Why are fields lying idle – waiting to be converted into housing? For the sake of our children and theirs to come, let’s give back to Nature more of what was once Hers and stop covering our beautiful land with concrete and tarmac.
Is education still free? Private tuition was once a choice; why did it become a necessity? What price do our children pay in terms of time and energy for hobbies, sports and simply having fun? What about the families that cannot afford it?
What kind of education do our children need? Should we continue to cram their heads with facts and figures that are just a click away on a smart phone? If we aspire to have a knowledge economy then we must create knowledge and not just learn it. We must nourish our children’s natural curiosity and coach them to think creatively, think critically and most of all think for themselves. They will need to collaborate together to be competitive in a connected world. Are our schools, teachers and curricula up to the task?
Successive governments have wavered over reform. Now we need a revolution. We don’t expect you to have all the answers, but we do expect you to seek out those that do. Our future depends on it.
Finally, we ask of you one more thing. Get the ball rolling and then get out of the way. Return to your well deserved retirement in Reduit. Let a new generation take your place. Advise when they ask, but don’t interfere. Give them the wisdom of your years and share with them the lessons learned from your mistakes. Do all this with elegance and serenity and maybe, just maybe, you will be remembered as a true Father of the Nation.
Signed by 2000+ Facebookers who love Mauritius.