1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the visit of Lord Mackay of Clashfern in September last, when he had meetings with the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, Minister of Justice & Human Rights and other personalities in the Judiciary and reviewed certain recommendations made in 1998 on the restructure and operation of the Judicial System. The reviewed recommendations of Lord Mackay and Sir Hamid Moolan, Q.C., are, inter alia, -
(a) Restructuring of the Supreme Court
The recommendations pertaining to the restructuring of the Supreme Court into two Courts, i.e., the Court of Appeal and the High Court should be implemented without delay.
The High Court would consist of the following four Divisions –
(i) Criminal Division;
(ii) Family Division;
(iii) Civil Division (with a separate list for Personal Injuries
(iv) Commercial Division (including Bankruptcy, Insolvency and corporate Law (Companies Act) matters).
(b) Family Court
Taking cognisance of the recommendations made by Ms P. Patten, Consultant, Lord Mackay was still of the view that the Family Court should not be established as a separate Court but should be a Division of the High Court.
(c) Restructuring of Attorney General’s Office
Lord Mackay is, now, of the view that the DPP’s Office should be established as a separate Office, distinct from the Attorney General’s Office, the more so since the Attorney General in Mauritius is a member of Cabinet.
(d) Case management and delays
Judges and Magistrates should be encouraged to do better case management. Directions might have to be issued by the Chief Justice (for the Supreme Court) and the Presiding Judge of the High Court for that purpose. In particular, cases should be fixed and heard in such a manner that it should be clear that it is for Counsel to make himself available for the Court and not vice-versa. Cases should be fixed and heard de die in diem, i.e., on consecutive days, until disposed of.
(e) Institute of Judicial Studies/ Judicial Studies Board
The Institute of Judicial Studies would play an important role in training and sensitizing Judges and Magistrates and inculcating notions of case management, etc.
(f) Case Stated
It was felt that appeal from decisions of Tribunals and Committees by way of case stated was an archaic procedure and that consideration should be given to having it replaced by an ordinary appeal to the Supreme Court.
Cabinet has agreed to a Committee, chaired by the Parliamentary Counsel of the Attorney General's Office, looking into and ensuring an early implementation of the outstanding recommendations.
2. In line with Government Programme 2005-2010 to review and replace the Local Government Legislation by a new one based on democratic principles providing greater autonomy in the management of the affairs of local authorities, Cabinet has taken note that the services of Mr Michael Ashley, Local Government Expert, has been provided by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum to assist Government in the review of the Local Government Act.
Mr Ashley who reckons a vast experience in local government matters, policy and legislation, is currently the Director of the Commonwealth Local Government International Bureau. He would undertake a first visit to Mauritius from 4 to 9 November 2006 when he would have consultations with major stakeholders, including officers of the Attorney General's Office, the Electoral Commissioner’s Office, the National Development Unit and the Local Government Service Commission, Chief Executives of Local Authorities and representatives of the Association of Urban Authorities, the Association of District Councils and the Staff Unions of local authorities.
3. With a view to paying tribute to Anjalay Coopen and placing history into its true perspective, Cabinet has taken note that the statue of Anjalay would be relocated from Aapravasi Ghat to the place where she became a martyr in a
gunshot. The site which would be embellished, would be a focal point of inspiration to youths.
4. Cabinet has taken note that following a request made, the Minister of Hadj of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has approved the grant of 800 additional visas to Mauritian Pilgrims. The total number of visa for Hadj 2006-2007 would therefore be 2000.
Cabinet has also taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life would as from mid December this year, arrange inter alia for –
(a) the Vaccination of Hadj pilgrims in all the five regional hospitals on Saturday 18 November 2006.
(b) Vaccines against meningitis to be offered to pilgrims at cost price, i.e. Rs270.
(c) Medical examination of Hadj pilgrims to be carried out in all the Area Health Centres and Community Health Centres nearest to their place of residence.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the positive response to the 'Caravane de L'Etrepreneuriat' organized on 26 October 2006 at Bel Air Rivière Sèche with the collaboration of community-based organizations of neighbouring villages, such as Bel Air Rivière Sèche, Ecroignard, Clemencia, Trou d'Eau Douce and Grand River South East.
Registration Certificates were handed over to 44 persons who had applied for financial assistance from the Development Bank of Mauritius Ltd and three other beneficiaries were granted cheques.
In view of the positive response received for the 'Caravane de L'entrepreneuriat', necessary follow up action would be carried out by SEHDA with a view to enabling the entrepreneurs to start their activities in the least possible delay.
The next Caravane would be held at Plaine Verte on the 15 November 2006.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the working document on the draft Gambling Regulatory Bill and agreed to its circulation to the general public for comments.
The objectives of the draft Bill are to:-
(a) consolidate into one legislation all laws relating to gaming and betting and to provide for one single regulator for better co-ordination, synergy and enforcement of gambling legislation;
(b) provide for a legal framework for the control and regulation of interactive (internet) gambling and betting on foreign horse-racing, foreign football matches and other sporting events as may be prescribed; and
(c) make provision to foster responsible gambling in order to minimise eventual harm.
7. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the Capacity Building Project for Sustainable Land Management. The project aims at building capacities for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) in appropriate government and civil society institutions/user groups in Mauritius and Rodrigues, and ensuring that SLM is mainstreamed into government planning and strategy development. The project which would benefit a land surface area of about 50,000 hectares, would contribute towards the achievement of the long term goal to ensure that the agricultural, pasture, forest and other terrestrial land management systems in Mauritius and Rodrigues are ecologically sustainable.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the visit of the Medical Team from "Hopitaux Universitaires de Génève" headed by Dr Cyrus Tabatabay, Ophthalmic Surgeon, from 14 to 27 October 2006. During the visit, 300 patients were assessed, 51 major operations, mainly vitreo-retinal surgeries, Phaco-emulsification cataract surgeries and corneal grafts, were performed and 135 laser sessions carried out.
The next visit of Dr Tabatabay and his team is scheduled for May 2007.
9. Cabinet has taken note of activities to be organized in the context of the World Diabetes Day on 12 November 2006. World Diabetes Day is organized by the International Diabetes Federation with the support of the World Health Organisation. It was first introduced in 1991 in response to concerns over the increasing incidence of diabetes around the world. It is observed every year on 14 November to commemorate the birthday of Federick Banting, who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.
In Mauritius, the last NCD survey shows that 15% of the population aged between 20 and 74 years are suffering from type 2 diabetes. Moreover, the control of diabetes is poor in those who are already diagnosed and about 50% of affected people are not aware that they are suffering from the disease.
Diabetes is responsible for a wide range of complications, namely cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, end-stage renal failure, blindness and lower limb amputations.
The activities organized to mark the World Diabetes Day include -
(i) screening of Non-Communicable Diseases;
(ii) blood donation;
(iii) exhibition on healthy eating and diabetes-related complications;
(iv) cooking demonstration;
(v) yoga and other physical activities demonstration;
(vi) display stands on diabetes-related complications, such as heart, eye and renal problems and footcare, as well as Ayurvedic medicine related to diabetes; and
(vii) a workshop on "Diabetes and Footcare" for health professionals.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the SADC Macro-Economic Sub-Committee Meeting would be held in Mauritius from 21 to 24 November 2006. The meeting would take cognizance of the macro-economic convergence reports and review some of the targets in the Regional Indicative Strategic Plan. About 30 delegates from SADC countries are expected to attend the meeting.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Education & Human Resources to Maffliers, France where he attended the Bureau of Ministers Meeting and the 26th Steering Committee Seminar of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).
ADEA is a forum that strives to promote more effective partnerships between its two major constituencies, i.e., African Ministries of Education and Training and their external technical and funding partners.
The issues discussed at the meeting include –
(i) the future orientations of ADEA in a context of changing international situations and the need for ADEA to respond more effectively to the aspirations of the African Continent in Educational Planning and Development; and
(ii) ADEA’s cooperation with the African Union.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Meeting of Ministers of Health of Small Island Developing States of the African Region, organized by the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, from 23 to 25 October 2006 in Seychelles.
The main objective of the meeting was to support the efforts of Small Island States in the African Region for their sustainable health development. The Meeting examined the common epidemiological and disease patterns, reached a consensus on cooperation on health-related issues and brought donors' attention to problems of Small Island States.
The meeting culminated in the Seychelles Declaration which committed, inter alia, to -
(i) strengthen emergency preparedness and response to natural disasters and epidemics;
(ii) establish strong systems for preventing and combating HIV/AIDS and emerging communicable and non-communicable diseases; and
(iii) develop a comprehensive and integrated multi-sectoral approach to face the increasing problem of substance abuse, tobacco and alcohol, specially among the youth.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the National Remuneration Board and the Industrial Relations Commission with Mr Nathanael Marion Ryland Helene and Prof V. Prakash Torul as Chairperson respectively.