Ram Mohamed Thomas
Of the Lancaster House Constitutional Conference for Mauritius in 1965, not only is Sir Anerood Jugnauth the sole survivor but The Right Honourable is also one of the last Mauritian Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George and the last Mauritian to be member of the Privy Council. On the 3rd of September 2018, he proved that before being a politician, he is most and for all, a barrister, a Queen’s Counsel.
Some and many have criticized him, all along his extraordinary long political career, rising from a common man to President of the Republic, falling and coming back several times along the way. The critics are very often rightly founded, more so lately with a controversial resignation, vulgar comments and a scandalous government.
But today, at 88 years old, Sir Anerood Jugnauth showed he could still proudly wear his silk and address the International Court of Justice. For any lawyer, this is nothing less than the parachèvement of a career. His hands might have been trembling but his firm and confident voice commanded respect to the audience and none less eminent lawyers representing Great-Britain. Probably no one but Rambo himself could have better brought the tragic case of the Chagossians and the dismemberment of Mauritius to the ICJ. He said so in 2007 when he threatened to leave the Commonwealth and promised to bring the UK to court. One must admit, it wasn’t a mere political manoeuver.
Behold, this is History in the making. Whatever the decision, whether the ICJ is favourable or not to the demand for advisory, Mauritius just wrote its name in jurisprudence books not only because kreol was spoken for the first time in the high instance, not only because we are celebrating 50 years of Independence. But today a pinhead on the World map embarrassingly went all the way to kick the butt of Good Old Britain. And God knows how long this way has been.
Through the single act of taking the Chagos case to the Hague, Mauritius is standing tall with its head held high telling to the remains of the British Empire that colonization is over, doing so in the most stylish and ironical way. How so for British humour! The last remaining survivor of a conference on independence challenging in court some of his majesty’s finest, of which, well, he is distinctively.
Mauritians, from all walks of life, from any political creed, we have to stand united. Forget for a short while how despicably you think of Sir Anerood Jugnauth (not that he cares anyhow) but do appreciate the tremendous and long run efforts his team and himself have put to bring justice to the Chagossians and Mauritius.
Les ténors du barreau ont croisé le fer et quel duel c’était !