From Belal to Candice – the lessons to retain

It has sufficed just a week and a half to confirm crystal clear, if at all needed, what had been manifest over the past years – and repeatedly at that -, in other terms the ineptness, incompetence and dilly-dallying, to mention only these, of the ruling incumbents. Their hesitant style of tackling crucial issues, often by trial and error, as it were, when they do not simply lay bare their utter limitations, yet invariably with the impudence to send their  toothless bulldogs to the front to justify –  as usual  as a manner to attempt to have the last word -, the unjustifiable, when it  is not the opportunity to pass the buck in their characteristic ‘pa mwa sa, li sa’. These interventions of damage control where the ‘Bald’ awkwardly attempts to play tough and the ‘Boisterous’, as usual, continuously spitting mad are the distressing reminders of what sort of ‘go…’ (come on, read ‘gopia’, what!) we have to run the country, hopelessly incapable to step up to another level, but condemned to waddle in the same mediocrity.

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But the few days we lived between the Black Monday of the 15th January, when sudden flashfloods nobody saw coming* caused havoc in the Capital almost threatening, as it were, to dump parts of it into the harbour, and in other localities and causing loss of lives, are fraught with lessons we must retain relating to the manner the overlords tackled the whole issue. They have since ‘Belal’ added another layer to their already thick carapace of negative traits: ‘cowardice’. Indeed, it was outright cowardice to shift all the blame on the Director of the Met Services, getting him to step down. That blame game only highlighted the inability of the present rulers to cope with any very serious calamity without panicking – the clear indication ‘pa kone ki pou fer’ -, and left only to resort to diversion tactics, one of the favourite weapons in their arsenal. And what of the rapidity with which we moved into Class IV to be lifted in the afternoon of the following day, and then  ‘le bouquet’ that amply highlights the ‘sense of panic’  -a curfew(?). Where on earth have we seen a curfew imposed on the heels of all cyclone warnings lifted? A curfew as a protection against what? The ghost of Belal? If that is not panic, what is it? ‘Dekouyone’? ‘Stupidity’? I leave it to the reader to determine what more appropriately fits.

And that’s not all. The next week was to give rise to yet other demonstrations of ill-conceived manoeuvres that left everyone almost dumbstuck,  yet for many ‘l’aubaine de congés  additionels, tombant du ciel, ou plutôt de Candice. As soon as   Candice ‘lev  latet’  – in the best style of ‘b… dan kor degard’ -, Operation  ‘Kadna dan biro Gouvernma’, as front paged by ‘Le Mauricien’. Warning Class II in force for nearly three days, which many sectors, and rightly so, ignored. Throughout the duration of these Class II warnings, almost throughout the Island the weather was such that it even afforded a trip  ‘ lor lakot’. The ‘manque a gagner’ for these days of inactivity, added to some recent munificences (ek larzan ki pa pou li) of the Chancellor, already condemned by top economists,  will soon, inevitably, painfully bite. Many reading this note may be too young to know what followed another earlier period of extravagances during the sugar boom of the first half of the 1970s which culminated in two successive devaluations, l979 and 1981. Ask any trade union leader of that period still alive  – of which I am one -, he will certainly tell you he prays we never again go through such an ordeal. But Renga seems determined to lead us right into the wall with his odd style of economic (mis)management.

    And the irony is that he may no longer be here when economic mismanagement  produces its first effects. By the way, when is the next day of reckoning? April 2025 did ‘he’ say!!! 

(* I would have never ventured to tread on unknown territory. But after reading the interview of a former Head of the Met Services published in ‘Week-End’ of 21/1/ 24, especially between the lines, I am tempted to ask: Do the Met Services possess the right  equipment and master the appropriate know–how to predict with precision the time and place of flashfloods? Who predicted the flashfloods of some years back in Port Louis that took several lives? Who was asked to step down then? Step down when we know who are some still sitting on the Majority benches in the National Assembly. The Met Services did provide reliable information since the birth of ‘Belal’, its classification in terms of intensity, its trajectory, its distance from our shores, its speed etc… Was the failure to predict the flashfloods incompetence or negligence? Let the Tsar know that new vagaries of Nature caused by global  climate change are often leaving top Meteorologists in technologically advanced countries to scratch their heads. Here it is to be wondered what the panjandrums are scratching while they turn around aimlessly in utter confusion like a ship having lost its rudder.

Endy Jay

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