On the occasion of the 89th birthday of Sir Anerood Jugnauth today, the SAJ Fan Club « fidèle à son habitude » will throw up a party to celebrate his birthday. This is a fitting tribute to a man who has marked history for what he has done for his country. No one can rub out history which usually stands as a reminder and landmark of past events and achievements.
History is here to remind us of what happened yesterday and to stand in the way of those who want to pigeon-hole what is insipid to them or that which pales their performance into significance. Navin Ramgoolam and his government have done everything they can to dwarf the performance of the primeministership of Sir Anerood and to portray his father as the man behind the development of the country. But he has lamentably failed. It is an acknowledged fact, and no one with a modicum of rationality and fairness can deny that the economic take-off of the country started in 1982-83 after the rout of the Labour Party under Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam and the advent of a new government under the leadership and vision of Sir Anerood Jugnauth.
If today Mauritius is cited worldwide for its economic growth and development, it is thanks to the vision of that man, Sir Anerood who pulled the country out of its economic situation to set it rolling economically. Mauritius really took off economically in the mid-eighties. And Sir Anerood will go down in history as the brain behind the economic development of the country whether his political adversaries like it or not. It is similar to what Lee Kuan Yew did for Singapore for its economic development.
Today Singapore owes its economic success to that great visionary. We can say without any false modesty that a parallel can be drawn between SAJ and Lee Kuan Yew for what they did to redress the economy of their country and to set it on a solid footing. If Mauritius has undergone an amazing metamorphosis on the socio-economic level, it is thanks to the avant-garde and visionary new team which ousted the Labour Party in 1982 to take over the management of the country which was down on its knees economically. Without that shift of power, Mauritius would have been a beggarly country utterly at the mercy of World Bank and IMF. The socio-economic development of the country was well under way with Sir Anerood as prime minister to grind to a halt in 1995-2000 under the regime of the Labour Party to re-start in September 2000-2005 with Sir Anerood again.
However more could have been achieved if he and his Party had not lost the elections in 1995. Unfortunately the thankless electorate wanted to try an adventure with Navin Ramgoolam and his government. They completely forgot all the good work of Sir Anerood who had changed the economic landscape of the country. An adventure which stalled the economic development of the country and moved it into a period of stagnation. A period characterized by « tam-tam, dialsa, Macarena, etc. ».
The country definitely stepped back under the leadership of Navin Ramgoolam who had other fish to fry. Just imagine where the country would stand today if SAJ had been in office during those 14 years that Navin Ramgoolam had been at the helm of the state! Anyhow the vision and leadership of Sir Anerood will make history. He will go down in history as the father of the economic development of the country. This is an acknowledged fact. No one can usurp that paternity as everyone recognizes SSR as the father of the Independence of Mauritius. It is the vision of that man as head of the country for 19 years that has made Mauritius what it is today.
So let us wish Sir Anerood a very Happy Birthday plus many Happy Returns. May God bless him with Health and Longevity to continue guiding his country with this Sagacity.
Happy Birthday Sir Anerood and God Bless!