Independence : achievement or failure ?

Forty six years ago, Mauritius gained its independence after 166 years of British rule. Let us now look at the challenges facing this small island with its various communities living in harmony as an example to other countries, which are torn by wars and social unrest.
 Mauritius, with its wide cultural and geographical diversity, is often described as a land of contrasts. Yet there has also been a contrast in the performance of Mauritius in the 46 years since independence: in some ways the country that is one of the world’s smallest democracies has flourished, but in other areas it has failed badly.
 The greatest achievement of Mauritius must be the fact that, over the past few years, it has been able to successfully remove its total reliance on sugar production and to diversify its economy. In fact, Mauritius has moved from sugar to a cyber island in order to keep abreast with development and be able to compete with other developing countries.  Its population has increased tremendously and this has created a social explosion. The country has developed so quickly that its people fear other social and economical problems are on the way.
 Over the last ten years, the Mauritian economy has also been transformed. After independence successive governments maintained a tight control on the economy and encouraged foreign investment. Their aim was to coordinate the country’s few natural resources and industrial production. But instead, the economic policy stifled growth.
According to the World Bank, Mauritius has lots of economic problems. The bank estimates that between 30 and 40 % of the population live in poverty, depending on very poor wages. The bank says that 15% of the Mauritian urban dwellers live in slums, mainly in those cities, which have a condensed population.
Poverty is not just confined to cities, however, thousands of people living in rural areas do not have access to clean potable tap water and medical facilities. If more people in Mauritius are to rise out of poverty, more investment infrastructure is urgently needed. Experts say that in the next ten years the country will need to double its markets and infrastructure.
In certain parts of the island the roads are badly maintained. There is one airport as well as one harbour in Mauritius. On average it takes around ten days to unload cargoes from ships in a typical Mauritian port. Foreign investors are also frustrated by the country’s poor telecommunications system and the lack of various commercial amenities.
Many of the economic problems of Mauritius can be blamed on its politicians. Some analysts warn that Mauritian politics is heading in a dangerous direction and that the unity of the country could be undermined by racial tension. Still Mauritius has to reform a lot and not enough has been done since its independence.
Today most of our institutions have been hijacked by politicians. Law and order are not respected and are not duly enforced by our police which have become a lame duck department. Most of our ‘saving life’ apparatus in our hospitals are outdated and useless. Certain institutions are not delivering the goods because of political nominees who have no clues to master the administrative situation of their departments.
 Communalism, Corruption and Nepotism keep prevailing after forty six years of Independence. It is unconceivable that after forty six years of Independence and after introducing an anti-terrorist act (POTA) a government is now giving flagrant recognition, support and encouragement to communal associations. This is what we have achieved so far.
 Past and present governments could have done better to put Mauritius in the same level of success like other developed countries where the industrial revolution have an impact on its people but successive governments in Mauritius tried their best without success because they were and are constantly surrounded by stooges and incompetent politicians who only care for their own interest than putting the country and people first. Mauritius today is facing a problem of leadership. The country is run haphazardly by a government whose performance is subject to serious criticism in the affairs of the country.
From the way Mauritius is going on, economists as well as political analysts have already pointed out the danger that our country could face bankruptcy in the future if something is not done about it to save it from such social calamity. Homelessness, Unemployment,  Crimes, Poverty, Road accidents, Traffic Congestion, Shortage of drugs in our Hospitals and Chemist shops and the list is too long to say that this is what we have achieved since independence.