THE HOUSING MINISTER’S BEHAVIOUR: Does good governance matters in Mauritius?

A video has been published by the media on the internet showing a conversation of the Housing Minister in the presence of the Director of the National Housing Development Company (NHDC) during a meeting with protesters against a housing project in Bassin. I am not comfortable with the idea that information was leaked from a closed meeting. But if the video is authentic, it would be shocking and appalling to see the Housing Minister’s attitude towards Mauritians. I sincerely hope that the video published on the internet is not true because otherwise Mauritians would lose trust in our politicians and public institutions, if not already. If the video is genuine, then the Prime Minister should investigate to know if the Housing Minister is the sole to decide to whom housing should be allocated. Can this create a conflict of interest? Does good governance matters in Mauritius? If we believe in good governance and nevertheless allocation of housing depends only on the assessment of the Housing Minister, then the government should review its procedures and policies in order to build a fair society.
Furthermore, if only families with monthly income of Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 are entitled for a NHDC house in Bassin then what will happen to families with income between Rs 6,200 and Rs 15,000 on the waiting list? During a radio show on social housing in August 2017, the Director of the NHDC explained the process and eligibility criteria for housing allocation and the NHDC’s strategy to tackle loan arrears among its beneficiaries. If we believe that the video is authentic, then we will be surprised to find out that the government’s strategy to deal with loan arrears is to allocate housing only to families with monthly income between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000. The former government raised the quality and standard of housing and allocated units to families with monthly income between Rs 6,200 and Rs 15,000. Yet, the actual government tries to discredit the government of Navin Ramgoolam on its housing policies which catered for the hard working poor families earning less than Rs. 15,000. Subsequent to any conclusion of the police enquiry or any other enquiry requested by the Prime Minister, I sincerely hope that the allocation of a smart residence will not depend solely on the whims and caprices or ‘smart choice’ of any Housing Minister or politician.  Otherwise, it will be the end of meritocracy.