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New Year, Same Old Bullsh*t

Saffiyah Edoo

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 No day goes by without coming across people asking for information regarding immigration from Mauritius. While the grass may not necessarily be greener on the other side, it is quite understandable why people are fed up with the way things do not seem to improve. Contrary to those who make decisions at higher levels, infrastructural development is not enough to perpetuate the much touted “feel good factor”. We are less than a month in the new year, and clearly the “New Year, New Me” adage is not for Mauritius. In such a short span of time, so many happenings have come to the forefront to show that we are light years from reaching a “New” Mauritius.


Many revelled in welcoming the new year, including most probably the latest citizen bestowed with a clean legal slate by the Commission de pourvoi en grâce, possibly impervious to the ramifications that such an action reveals on the entanglement between people running institutions and the state of democracy within institutions. While authorities are quick to put forward institutions as guarantees of good governance, let’s not forget that these institutions are run, more often than not, by people who have been placed there not by the virtue of their capabilities but rather thanks to their closeness or degree of relatedness to the person in charge.


While different bodies under the Ministry of Education are being run by a certain group of people, schools are finding themselves without teachers because (un)surprisingly the PSEA decided, almost overnight, as they tend to take important decisions, that any new recruit needed a PGCE or a B.Ed to be eligible to be employed, a decision which not only sets back school administrators but also people who were gearing towards finally getting a job and making ends meet, especially given the current climate. But since people who make these kinds of decisions are stuck in ivory towers without a thought for people who need to now scramble to find jobs, they also seem not to care that the ones who are bearing the brunt the most are students. The latter, who after two years, are finding a certain normalcy now have to contend with a lack of teachers, and by ricochet, a lateness in their program.


Funny enough, students have been the subject of much derision with schools remaining closed on the first day due to adverse weather conditions and the same scenario repeating itself the past couple of days. It is somewhat irritating to read posts on social media by people who claim that in their days, they used to go to school in pouring rain, ridiculing today’s youth as fragile and incapable of withstanding harsh conditions. It might be a useful reminder that the effects of climate change were not as apparent as it is today, and it is not the kids’ fault that so many policies in this country are still using 20th century solutions for 21st century problems.


This mindset is not only characteristic of a particular Ministry or service, but rather of the majority of institutions responsible for our well-being and progress. Experts have been, for years, advocating for different viable solutions to address the water problem which we face at the beginning of summertime. And yet, without fail, every year, the same scenario repeats itself. We cannot help but feel exasperated by the lack of preparedness that those in charge seem to show year in, year out. The same can be said for so many aspects of Mauritian life and yet here we are, people in charge beating their own drums regarding development aka the Metro, without a consideration for what constitute priorities at the moment for the people they are serving, the population. While naysayers would say that it is also the people’s fault for not raising their voices or protesting, let’s not forget the fate of those who have dared to do so.


It is quite difficult to remain optimistic in the face of this frustrating status quo and yet here we are, attacking our daily grind, hoping against hope that things will get better, maybe not in our lifetime but in that of the next generation. It helps to see that there are people out there who are doing so much for the people but sadly at some point, they can do only so much and cannot extend the goodness of their actions because it becomes humanly impossible. In an ideal world, these people would be leading us but since we live in the Mauritian reality, this remains just an ideal.



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