Endy Jay

Days after the presentation of the Budget and in the wake of the flood of reactions, so far mostly negative, there would hardly be any need to add my humble voice whether to go along with the like of missed recipe by ‘lakwizinn’, ‘budget confetti’, ‘bla bla bla’, albeit accompanied by ‘il peut y avoir du bon dans le Panadol, or applaud some measures. I rather leave that to the experts to add their grain of salt, or for the usual charlatans to have yet another opportunity to fall flat on their faces.

But my point is to attempt to view the whole issue from a different perspective many seem to overlook. While, logically, we could have expected Pravind Jugnauth to have uppermost in his mind the urgent need to take the right measures to address our most pressing social and economic ills, he caught everybody by surprise with some unexpected measures while remaining silent on some primordial economic fundamentals. Was that incompetence?

We seem to forget the man stands to face the toughest trial of his political career, indeed of his whole life, when the Privy Council hears the DPP’s appeal in the Medpoint affair. Can anything else, for him at this point in time, override that prime concern? Can putting the economy firmly on the rails be his immediate priority when he himself risks to be damagingly derailed soon? If he loses his case, Pravind Jugnauth knows it will mean the end of the road – floods of tears and shattered dreams for himself and, most likely, unprecedented political turmoil for the country, the full consequences of which no one may predict for sure.

But if he wins, a possibility he has not struck off as the ‘nature’ of his Budget seems to suggest, he comes out emboldened and then could be the time for early elections not to allow the effects of that booster to ebb, leaving many to scramble for a ‘bout’ in one of the only two possible alliances and with the major challenger still in the process of ‘se réinventer’ though yet lugging that cumbersome liability it apparently cannot jettison.

Duval’s harping on ‘eleksion derier laport’ cannot make sense if he believes it can come before the Privy Council’s verdict – unless he has a special concept of time. Pravind Jugnauth cannot be that stupid to go for early elections before January 2019. Should this be the case, it would be the most stunning political blunder of the post-Independence years, that would even pale that stupidity of 2014 by the ‘other one’.

Furthermore, if he wins his case he will have the opportunity to show his mettle as a Prime Minister and Party leader by calling early elections with the right team of persons of calibre to contest, in whatever alliance (it cannot be otherwise), unlike the hastily-assembled team comprising many ….. of 2014, taking into due consideration Mauritian realities. And in that process get rid of those thorny liabilities of his ‘heritage’, without forgetting the imperative necessity to clean some Augean stables deserving the ‘karcher’ he should have no difficulty to identify having been concurrently, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance for some 18 months.

If he can strike the right balance between realities and priorities, he stands more than a fair chance to get ‘lepep admirab’ crown him as the legitimate Prime Minister of Mauritius, his so-called ‘budget confetti’ being an assured asset. ‘Deal papa piti’ would have been relegated to History and the pejorative ‘Premie Minis linpost’ shaken off. Yet, as reality stands, Pravind Jugnauth may not afford to be in a state arousal, but rather in eager expectation until that dreaded verdict falls, fingers crossed.

Should events unfold that way, Pravind Jugnauth, qualified to stand, will, in the worst possible scenario, appear the ‘lesser of two evils’. Yet, the possibility he can fare better is real!

But, be that as it may, could it be that we are, beyond speculation, witnessing, unbeknownst, part of Pravind Jugnauth’s political gamble? Only time will tell!

June 23rd 2018