1. In line with the declared policy of Government to make tourism the main engine of economic growth and to attain the target of an overall growth rate of 10%., Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the fruitful mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications to India from 12 to 16 February and to Italy from 18 to 21 February 2006. The main objectives of the visit were to further promote and enhance the visibility of Mauritius as a safe, enjoyable and attractive tourist destination and understand better the exigencies and requirements of the Indian and Italian tourist markets with a view to addressing any constraint which could act as barriers to prevent Mauritius from tapping the full growth potential of these markets.
Both in Delhi and Mumbai, road shows and one to one meetings between stakeholders from the Mauritian Travel Trade and the Indian Tour Operators, were held. As a promotional strategy, the Deputy Prime Minister held press conferences wherein he highlighted, inter alia that the air seat capacity will be increased on the Mauritius/India route, and Air India would restart operations on the route as from mid 2006, consideration would be given by both the Mauritian authorities and the Indian authorities to convert locally the Indian rupee to Mauritian rupee and vice-versa for the benefit of tourists, and Indian press as well as stakeholders of the travel trade would be invited to participate on familiarization tours, educational tours and promotional trips with a view to enlisting their commitment and motivation to further promote Mauritius.
With regard to his mission to Italy , the visit of the Deputy Prime Minister coincided with the holding of the largest tourism event held in Milan , the "Borsa International Del Tourismo" (BIT), where a number of hotels, tour operators and other stakeholders of the tourism industry participated.
2. In accordance with Government's commitment to ensure that the obligations under various multilateral environmental agreements are adhered to, Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the implementation of the Global Environment Facility - Western Indian Ocean Marine Highway Development and Coastal and Marine Contamination Prevention project. The aims of the project are to strengthen the capacity of countries concerned to respond to an oil spill emergency in the region, and to assist countries of the region in the prevention of ship-based environmental contamination and unsustainable exploitation of marine resources by testing the economic, technical and institutional feasibility of introducing precision navigation systems, such as a marine electronic highway, to guide ships through sensitive areas and to monitor the movements and activities of fishing and other vessels within countries' territorial waters.
3.. In relation to Government's determination to eradicate Chikungunya, Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the meeting the Prime Minister had with all stakeholders as well as of the visit effected by the WHO Team comprising Dr Formenty, Dr Nathan, Mr Senouci and Dr Faye from 27 February to 1 March 2006 .
Following discussions and meetings with all stakeholders and visits to health institutions as well as infected areas, the WHO team has confirmed that the preventive and clinical measures taken by Government are adequate and has agreed to submit a plan of surveillance for the region. The team has also underlined the critical role that each member of the community has to play in the eradication of the disease and has strongly advised that the community should undertake a more active role in the cleaning campaign, particularly at household level.
In the light of the report of the team of the WHO, Cabinet has taken note of the intensive health education campaign and preventive measures undertaken, viz. -
(i) radio and tv programmes are being broadcast to inform the public about the disease and precautions to be taken and a call-free audio text is operational on 800 1444;
(ii) community based sensitization campaigns have started and talks are being carried out in community outlets with the public and community leaders. Community Health Workers will shortly undertake a door to door education campaign to sensitize individuals on the preventive measures to be taken to eradicate the disease, including on the need to maintain a clean environment;
(iii) posters/pamphlets are being distributed to sensitize the public on mosquito control and on the need to maintain cleanliness at household level; and
(iv) larviciding activities is being given more emphasis while fogging activities are being carried out throughout the country.
4.With a view to providing prompt and timely assistance to victims of sexual assault, Cabinet has taken note of the establishment of a new Protocol of Assistance to such victims. The new Protocol provides precise procedures and demarcates the responsibility of each and every public officer, i.e. the Principal Medical Officer, the Police Officer as well as medical and para-medical staff, so that such victims are provided with the required assistance/support promptly at the level of the Police Stations, hospitals and the Ministry of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection. The Police Department would, shortly, set up in Police Stations an appropriate interviewing room for victims of sexual assault so as to provide a conducive and confidential environment for the recording of their declaration. As regards children, in the absence of their parents or in the case where one of the parents is the abuser, they would have to give their statements in the presence of a Child Welfare Officer of the Ministry of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection and, if necessary, a psychologist. Victims of sexual assault would be taken care of in a discreet unit in hospitals instead of the Casualty Department.
5.As the year 2006 has been decreed as " l'Année Senghor 2006" by the Agence Intergouvernementale de la Francophonie (AIF) to mark the Centenary of late Léopold Sédar Senghor, former President of the Republic of S e negal, Cabinet has taken note of the activities that will be organised to mark this event and at the same time sensitise Mauritians on the great personality of Senghor - an illustrious poet, a well-known statesman and one of the founders of "Francophonie ". The activities to be organised on that occasion include:
(i) a project writing competition at national level on the life and works of Léopold Sédar Senghor ;
(ii) the 15 Centre de Lecture et d'Animation Culturelle of Mauritius and Rodrigues will organise poem recitals, quiz competitions and African dance performance based on poems of Léopold Sédar Senghor during the period March to October 2006;
(iii) in the context of the Annual National Drama Festival organised by the Ministry of Arts and Culture, a special prize Léopold Sédar Senghor will be awarded to best plays to be presented on themes related to the works and philosophy of Léopold Sédar Senghor in 10 languages this year; and
(iv) the Mauritius Post Ltd will issue a special commemorative cover in October 2006 to coincide it with the birthday of Léopold Sédar Senghor.
6.In line with Government's policy to give a new impetus to South South cooperation, Cabinet has agreed to the World Trade Organisation holding a three-day regional seminar on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights and Public Health in Mauritius in May 2006. The seminar which will be attended by about 106 participants from the African countries, aims at facilitating developing countries, with insufficient or no production capacity to produce pharmaceuticals, to have a sustainable supply of imported generic drugs through regional initiative.
7. In memory of Late Sir Gaëtan Duval, GCSK and on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of his passing away, Cabinet has taken note that a tug would be named after Sir Gaëtan Duval, GCSK, in recognition of his immense and remarkable contribution to the socio-economic and political development of Mauritius . Sir Gaëtan was also closely associated, in his own right, in the development of Port Louis Harbour as well as the maritime sector.
8.Cabinet has taken note of the forthcoming visit of Dr Jong Wook LEE, Director General of the World Health Organisation to Mauritius from 6 to 8 March 2006 . During the visit, talks would be held on technical assistance in emergency preparation on emerging infectious diseases like Avian flu, the preparation and implementation of the National Cancer Control Programme and the setting up of a National Service Framework for Diabetes.
9.Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation to Botswana from 23 to 26 February 2006 where he attended the Council of Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the SADC-EU Programming Seminar. At the Meeting, the Council of Ministers of SADC examined and discussed, inter alia , the budget of the organization and the construction of its Headquarters, including the need to forge a new partnership with the International Cooperating Partners, the funding agency of SADC and reviewed the programmes/projects as well as amendments to be brought to the SADC Protocol on Trade and the Protocol on Tribunal. The Council inter alia mandated the Ministers responsible for Agriculture to meet and review holistically the overall food security situation and the implementation of the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security adopted by the SADC Extraordinary Summit as well as the issue of Avian Influenza.
At the SADC-EU Programming Seminar, discussions and presentations focused on the new EU policy initiatives for Africa and measures for incorporating these into the programming strategies at the national and regional levels.
10.Cabinet has also taken note of the deliberations and the outcome of the Fifth Session of the Empowered Negotiating Team on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership agreement between India and Mauritius which took place in New Delhi from 23 to 25 February 2006 . The following issues were reviewed -
(i) Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), including Rules of Origin, Operational Certification Procedures and Preferential Safeguard Measures;
(ii) the Mutual Recognition Agreement on Standards and Technical Regulations and Phytosanitary Measures; and
(iii) economic cooperation, particularly in the areas of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), education, fishery, health and medical services, information and communication technology.
11.Cabinet has taken note of the extent of damage caused to part of the Government House following the outbreak of fire on the night of 16 to 17 February 2006 and of arrangements being made for the refurbishment of the building which is classified as a National Heritage under the National Heritage Fund Act 2003.
12.Cabinet has taken note of the status of the upgrading of the coastal road from Mahebourg to Beau Champ following Government's decision to modify the scope of works of the South Eastern Highway Project so as to preserve the Ferney Valley . The project includes improvement of the horizontal alignment at certain locations, the construction of footpaths and drains, the improvement of cross-drains and re-construction of two bridges to prevent flooding, the provision of street lighting in built-up areas and the resurfacing of 20km of road.
13.For the benefit of pet owners and with a view to promoting of general welfare of animals, Cabinet has taken note of the promulgation of Regulations under the MSPCA (Officers' Powers and Protection) Act which provides, inter alia for the reduction in the reclamation fee by owners for the retrieval of their dog caught by MSPCA to a standard amount of Rs 500.
14.Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the following Boards/Committees /Councils -
(i) Mauritius Society of Authors Board with Mr Jean Georges Ramiah (also know as Zul Ramiah) as Chairperson;
(ii) National Library Board with Mrs Amrita Kistamah as Chairperson;
(iii) MAURITAS Advisory Council with Dr Dhanjay Jhurry as Chairperson;
(iv) Cooperative Tribunal with Mr Pajanivel Veerapermal Mootoosamy as Chairperson;
(v) National Institute for Cooperative Entrepreneurship Council with Mr Shamshuddin Durgauhee as Chairperson;
(vi) Cooperative Development Advisory Board with Miss Anjana Devi Ramburuth as Chairperson;
(vii) St. Antoine Planters Cooperative Trust with Mr Vishal Ramkhalawon as Chairperson;
(viii) Mauritius Cooperative Union Limited with Mr Dawandranath Maghun as Chairperson;
(ix) State Trading Corperation with Mrs Anuradha Appadoo as Chairperson; and
(x) Cooperative Development Fund with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Small & Medium Enterprises, Commerce & Cooperatives (Commerce & Cooperatives Division) as Chairperson.
15.Cabinet has taken note that recommendations would be made for the following appointments -
(a) Mr Appalsamy Thomas as Chairperson of Mauritius Telecom Ltd.;
(b) Mr Iqbal Mallam Hassam as Chief Executive Officer of the State Investment Corporation Ltd.;
(c) Mr B. Servansingh as Chairperson of SICOM Ltd.;
(d) Mr C. Ramgoolam as Chief Executive Officer of SSR Botanical Garden Trust;
(e) Mr Hiren Jankee as Chairperson of Horse Racing Board; and
(f) Mr Ravindraduth Poonie as Chairperson of the Mauritius Fishemen's Cooperative Federation Ltd.