A Constitution is basically a set of rules which provides a regulatory framework for the government and its people. Our Constitution was drafted in 1968. Since then, Mauritius has evolved massively but the Constitution is still lagging behind. Socio-economic rights such as the right to an adequate standard of living, including the rights to food and housing which are fundamental to a society are still not codified.
The laws on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgenders’ (LGBT) rights are silent in Mauritius. Despite, the enactment of laws such as the Equal Opportunities Act 2008 to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation in workplace, this community still faces a lot of discrimination. Though, homosexuality is considered as being not illegal, same-sex marriage is still illegal. There is an obvious inconsistency in the law which needs to be fixed.
What about environmental laws? Our Constitution is also silent on laws concerning the environment. Many countries are explicitly enforcing environmental rights. States such as Bolivia and Brazil have even recognised these rights as being constitutional statutes. We need constitutional rights which affirm our right to a healthy and adequate environment. The protection and conservation of the environment are key to renewal.
Having heard the declaration of certain socio cultural groups recently, it is very important that we have a healthy debate on secularism and the Constitution. Another major issue is the best loser system - should modern Mauritius continue with this system. Are the youth having their say on this?
As the young generation and future of this country, I believe that it is high time to update our Constitution. The tedious journey to amend it or even drafting a new one may last a few good years but there is no time to lose. We need to start now!