Allow me to congratulate you on your resounding judicial victory. Some might still not be fully convinced about the judgement. But as a responsible and proud (though forcefully exiled) citizen, I fundamentally respect the Court’s judgement. However, this paper goes beyond the letter of the law and even beyond its spirit: it is about Mauritius. I have been spurred by your promising stance of a ground-breaking ‘rupture’ from the ways politicians have been gradually destroying the country for half a century… Hence, this is not a criticism of you (though it may at times look like it).
Fresh from my graduation from abroad and eager to work in, and for, my country, I voted for you in 1995. And I promptly emigrated in 1998. My move was rather prescient since I was working at the airport. Based on the saga thereafter, I might be in prison today, had I stayed and been forced to accept signing some contracts… But the current government is such a disaster that, for want for a better option, I will still give you the benefit of the doubt and may vote for you. Indeed, you bravely called for proposals on social media.
My career is now, sadly, mostly behind me, since the mediocre politicians (and the private sector cartels) did not allow me to work in my country… But let us not cry over spilt milk. I am therefore very humbly asking you to please consider (and I think you have encouragingly touched on some of these):
1. Reducing the number of MPs to 40 (therefore also dismantling the ‘best communalist’, I mean, the ‘best loser’ system), abolishing the position of Vice-President and reducing the current salaries of all elected officials by half;
2. Abolishing the ‘fat cat’ pension for all politicians including ex-Presidents (you might have noticed that they are of the same ‘community’ as mine but I really do not give a rat’s ass);
3. Closing down most parastatal bodies (merely ‘jobs for the boys’ scheme, as you know);
4. Freezing and reviewing the current pension scheme to move from a ‘final salary’ to a ‘contribution’ system for all, including civil servants (an underfunded final salary pension may technically amount to a Ponzi scheme);
5. Ensuring real independence to the Police, the MBC, the ADSU and ICAC;
6. Reforming the current ‘schooling’ system which many confuse with an ‘education’ system and is, in fact, much worse: a hypocritical private tuition machine fabricating ‘laureates’ for the middle or upper middle classes while 10,000 children’s lives and talents are wasted annually (re-introducing school fees with means-tested scholarships will both eradicate private tuition and help balance the books);
7. Reforming the civil service once for all with appraisal and meritocracy as opposed to the moronic ‘years of service’ as well as injection of new blood and methods (did you know that the rich, protected Emirati civil servants of some municipalities are appraised… every week, on the number of cases resolved?);
8. Closing down the MTPA and the Tourism Authority and making the Ministry of Tourism a really functional entity with teeth, ie. with cutting edge Regulatory and Marketing competencies, including the now ubiquitous social media;
9. Converting the island into a really green, environmentally-friendly, zero-carbon beacon for the world, thus shifting from an antiquated ‘push’ tourism strategy into a ‘pull’ proposition that tourists will be eager to sample by themselves (the poor North Eastern Indian state of Sikkim is now practically organic); and
10. Closing down Air Mauritius and re-starting a new airline with a clean sheet (its only chance of survival), without its current heavy legacy whilst at the same time drafting an Air Access Policy which is not detrimental to the flag-carrier.
Last but not least, I was once invited to be interviewed by the Board of a large parastatal body in Mauritius. The high-ranking civil servants were extremely courteous to me and I felt really valued. I did not get the job as it was ultimately a political nomination (of course). Incredibly, the single private sector representative kept shouting at me. Why? He understood that I was for the efficient strategic, technical and human management of the company (a far too adventurous novel proposition to him) and I was certainly not going to pander to the unethical wishes of the private sector, hypocritically pulling the strings from behind. What Mr. Sithanen mentioned as Policy Capture. Government has to stop accepting the lucrative but dirty lobbying of the private sector cartels to the detriment of competition and sound micro- and macro-economic policies, thus allowing the shameful ripping off of consumers.
In parallel, I hope you will also stop listening to the euphemistically named ‘socio-cultural’ groups, of any religion whatsoever. I believe you are fundamentally a good man. But like Ram, who was sent into exile and had to fight and kill the formidable Rawan, we all have our struggle. A lot is at stake. If you succeed in this personal struggle, one million people will have a better future but if you (like others) fail… Well, that’s what we have been suffering for 50 years. Rest assured that I will not ask you to be Chanakya (in relatively more recent history, some 800 years ago, the guru who wrote the Economics treatise, Arthashastra) who preferred to groom Chandragupt to be king in his place! Though that would be quite logical and a rather good strategy…
When Queen Anne wanted to reward the brave Musketeers after a very dangerous but successful mission, Athos, the most noble of them replied: ‘Madam, I have nothing to ask for myself and too much to ask for France, so I shall remain silent’. I am not asking anything for myself. Am I asking too much for Mauritius?