SURESH RAMPHUL

Cases in our Courts must be heard within a reasonable delay.  Cases dragging on over years are detrimental to all the parties concerned.  If matters could be expedited, it would benefit everyone.  Consider the example of someone who has been wrongly accused.  He is waiting earnestly for a verdict in his favour but, due to circumstances, dies in the meantime.  He leaves this world without being proclaimed innocent.  He is never able to clear his name and to obtain justice. It is unfair.    

Conflicts automatically arise in the Parliament and we need a new approach to deal with them.  “I order you out!” and “I order you out also!” have become routine.  In the eyes of the public, they are mere gimmicks to get rid of the Opposition.  Debates are often of poor quality.  Parliament is a place where fairness and impartiality should have been of top priority     an example for the young, in fact.  But what we see today is far from our expectations.  The situation is deteriorating with the recent use of foul remarks.  And we still do not know the outcome of the police investigation into the matter.

On the other hand, many questions asked in Parliament remain unanswered.  These may be of public interest.  It is the duty of the government to provide answers and clarifications.  Holding back answers is undemocratic and an abuse of our right to know.

The MTPA-Liverpool deal

Can we know what we have exactly gained so far from the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority- Liverpool Football Club deal?  It is time, especially during these difficult pandemic days, to start handling our finances more judiciously.  There should be no place for far-fetched projects.  We spend millions of rupees on certain projects that are finally mere white elephants.  Do we really need Liverpool football club to promote us in the world?  What is the point of promoting the island as a tourist destination when we know that we are slowly but surely slipping into a dangerously autocratic State?  The same money could have been better used.  Do we really need a 50-storey building in Côte-d’Or?  What will it exactly serve?  What in precise terms will it bring to us?

In many of our projects and transactions, transparency is not evident.  This is quite unsettling for the population.  Good governance means nothing much these days.  Things must change for the better.     

Most of the time, white elephants are meant to satisfy the ego of our people in power.  Wastage of money is one of our chief evils.  I strongly believe that if we could control wastage, we would be able to save much to invest in social projects.  We must get our priorities right.  Practical projects must be privileged rather than projets de luxe or projets farfelus.

It takes a long time    sometimes several months    to repair machines that have broken down in our hospitals.  These are imported at a high cost and we must see to it that they are repaired within a reasonable time.

I wish to see a change in the mentality of our citizens.  Despite the campaigns, our environment is still being dirtied.  People have to be responsible.  Every day we are told to wear our masks correctly, yet this is not being followed.  These people are not only putting their own lives in danger but they are also endangering the lives of others.  Why are people failing to understand that if each of us cooperates, the possibility of overcoming the virus will be greater?

Pandemic boredom

Too lengthy a period of restrictions on students may be psychologically bad.  School must resume, not necessarily on 14 June in view of the increasing number of cases concerning coronavirus, but students must take up their studies someday.  Sanitary measures must be enforced.  Classes must be reorganized. When one group is in the class, the other group is doing other activities or sports to avoid overcrowding.  There can be a system of rotation.  Students may not have to be at school five days a week.  We can release students at different times in the afternoon.  Arrangements can be made with transport authorities to make sure that students do not stay at the bus stations for too long.    

Many parents are worried about their children getting “rouillé” at home, that is, they are not keeping in touch with their studies.

A foreign report has found that watching TV while in home confinement is likely to become less attractive over time.  “When one’s current activity diminishes in value, other options are likely to increase in relative value, prompting people to engage in (potentially detrimental) activities they would normally abstain from.  Thus, boredom should make adherence to confinement measures more difficult.”

Boredom explains why certain teenagers are tempted to watch programmes or films they are not supposed to be watching on the computer.

The pandemic will endure for some time.   That does not mean we keep ourselves hidden in our homes.  Fear can be a greater threat to our health than the virus itself.  At one moment or another we must take up our activities.  Man has always found a way to cope with calamities.  He has learned to adapt to the challenges.  It is the same with Covid-19.  Life must go on.

Teachers have a syllabus to finish over a fixed period of time.  They may have to rush through the syllabus if our students stay away from school for too long.  A rush may not be within the capacity of every student.  It may create an unnecessary stress and may compel students to rely on private tuition to grasp important chapters or concepts.  Parents may find it difficult to pay because many of them may have lost their jobs.

Another thing I would like to see changed is the mentality of some people who believe that they can do whatever they want on the basis of their political connections.  They feel protected.  They can indulge in illegal things, knowing that they have a powerful backing. “Roder bout” and those who tolerate them are a bane for our society.  This kind of mentality must change if we want to live in a just society.

“You may say I am a dreamer

But I am not the only one.”

These words are from the talented ex-Beatles singer John Lennon’s cult song “Imagine”.