1. Cabinet had reviewed the situation with regard to fund raising in favour of the victims of the 26 December Tsunami and has taken note of the very positive and encouraging response received so far from members of the public. Cabinet has also taken note of the 24 hour Run Aid being organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in collaboration with Sports Federations from Saturday 22 to Sunday 23 January 2005 as from 0900 hrs in Port Louis. All money raised will be credited to the MACOSS.
2. Cabinet has agreed to a series of activities to mark the 170th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery in Mauritius on 1 February 2005. The three main activities will be:
(i) the launching ceremony of the renovation project of the building to house the Headquarters of the Nelson Mandela Centre for African Culture on Monday 31 January 2005 at 1700 hours,
(ii) a wreath laying ceremony at the Monument aux Esclaves, Pointe Canon, Mahebourg on 1 February 2005 as from 1000 hours in the presence of the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister; and
(iii) the laying of a commemorative plate at Trou Chenille, Le Morne on 1 February 2005, in the afternoon by the Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund to mark Le Morne as a “lieu de mémoire”.
3. Cabinet has agreed to the setting-up of a Committee chaired by Mr V. Bassant, Adviser to the Prime Minister to pilot an initiative aiming at positioning Mauritius as the preferred location for a multi-disciplinary Centre of Excellence which is being proposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU) Region. This project is in line with Government’s vision to transform the country into a knowledge hub. The Committee will comprise:
(a) a representative of the Prime Minister’s Office;
(b) a representative of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development;
(c) a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Regional Cooperation;
(d) a representative of the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research;
(e) a representative of the Ministry of Industry and Medium Enterprises, Financial Services and Corporate Affairs; and
(f) the Executive Director of the Tertiary Education Commission.
Further, the Secretariat of the Committee will operate at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
4. Cabinet has reviewed the situation in the tourism industry and has taken note of the very positive progression in the number of arrivals in November and December 2004 compared to the same period in 2003. An overall increase of 8% has been noted in November 2004, with 14% increase in arrivals from the U.K. and 18% from South Africa. The number of arrivals from Germany which had shown a negative trend was positive in November 2004.
Cabinet has also taken note of the Special Tourism Marketing Plan for 2005 prepared by a Committee chaired by Mr A.H. Nakhuda, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, and which aims at maximizing the room occupancy rate in our hotels, and has agreed to its implementation as from 1 February 2005.
Cabinet has further taken note of the positive results of talks between Germany and Air Mauritius on the Bilateral Air Services Agreement between the two countries, whereby Air Mauritius has been able to secure co-terminal rights on the Mauritius/Germany and Germany/Mauritius routes.
5. Cabinet has taken note that following the Report submitted by the Road Development Authority and the one submitted by the other stakeholders on the realignment of the road through the Ferney forest. It has been decided at the meeting chaired by the Prime Minister on 18 January 2005 to have recourse to a third opinion from international experts on the South Eastern Highway Project.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Prime Minister together with all those concerned would effect a site visit to the site on Sunday 6 February 2005.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the Draft Report of the High Powered Committee (HPC) on the request of the Mauritius Island Cruises Ltd (MIC) to allow cruises to St Brandon and the recommendation of the HPC that a policy decision be taken on the issue by Government. Cabinet has, in the light of the comments made by the Commandant of the National Coast Guard that he did not have adequate resources to supervise the eventual operation of the MIC at St. Brandon, nor the expertise to delimit the accessible parts of the island, decided not to allow tourists to disembark at St. Brandon.
7. Cabinet has taken note that the revised planning proposals for Pas Géométriques Anna at Flic en Flac have been circulated to all stakeholders and that the views of all those concerned, including the ‘forces vives’ of Flic en Flac would be taken into consideration in the preparation of the final plan.
8. Cabinet has taken note that the Chairperson of the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund Board has submitted a copy of the Nomination Dossier for the inscription of the Aapravasi Ghat on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and that the Ministry of Arts and Culture has sent the Dossier to the Solicitor-General for vetting prior to submission to UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Third Pravasi Bharatya Divas (PBD) which was held in Mumbai, India from 7 to 11 January 2005. The Mauritian delegation was led by the Vice-President of the Republic of Mauritius.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the proposed programme of activities to mark 2005 as the International Year of Sports and Physical Education as proposed by the National Committee, including inter alia –
(i) a seminar on promotion of physical education and sport, “Salon du Sport et de l’Education Physique”;
(ii) a symposium on women and sport;
(iii) a workshop on disability and sport; and
(iv) sport activities at regional level.