1. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill in order to provide for –
(a) the Courts to have jurisdiction to try offenders for corruption offences committed overseas;
(b) alternative qualifications for appointment as Director General of the Independent Commission Against Corruption;
(c) the manner in which certain statutory powers of the Parliamentary Committee should be exercised during any period when the Committee is not constituted;
(d) the specific period during which a public officer may be granted leave to take up contractual employment in the Commission;
(e) the Commission or the Police to have power to enquire into money laundering offences disclosed during an investigation into other offences, subject to the FIU being kept informed;
(f) the protection of the Commission, the Board and the staff of the Commission from liability; and
(g) additional powers to the Director-General in relation to the documents and articles produced to him during an investigation.
2. In order to ensure compliance with international Agreements and Conventions, including the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) of the FAO, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreements of the WTO, Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Plant Protection Bill with a view to replacing the Plants Act. The main objects of the new legislation are to:
(i) prevent the introduction and spread of plant pests, promote appropriate measures to facilitate trade in plants and plant products;
(ii) establish a National Plant Protection Office (NPPO) to implement the obligations under the IPPC for the administration of phytosanitary measures, including the issue of phytosanitary certificates, inspection, quarantine, treatment for phytosanitary reasons, implementation of surveillance and control; and
(iii) negotiate/establish/comply with country to country agreement for programmes associated with phytosanitary issues.
3. In line with Government’s policy to consolidate and strengthen the friendly ties and reciprocal understanding between peoples of the region, Cabinet has agreed to the signing of a cultural agreement between Mauritius and South Africa during the visit of the South African Minister of Culture to Mauritius. The main objective of the Agreement is to promote mutual beneficial co-operation in the fields of arts and culture for the purpose of developing activities, programmes and projects for artistic and cultural exchanges. In this context, the exchange programmes will inter alia include, –
(a) exchange visits;
(b) participation in music, dance, drama as well as in the exhibitions of arts and artifacts;
(c) sharing of information on cultural heritage; and
(d) co-operation in the fields of literature and libraries.
4. With a view to providing a better and timely service to the member of the public, Cabinet has agreed to the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reforms Institutions signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Microsoft, the world leader in Information Technology, in order to enhance the Ministry’s current Information Systems. The new system would reduce considerably the processing time at operational level and also provide the highest possible security and privacy of information.
5. In line with the policy of the Government to preserve the environment and, at the same time, respond to the rapidly growing demand of tourists and the local population for sea sports facilities, Cabinet has taken note of the Report "Strategic Environment Impact Assessment for the Identification of Potential Sites for Marinas, Ski Lanes and Bathing Areas for Mauritius". A study was commissioned to identify the most appropriate sites where marinas, ski lanes and bathing areas could be developed with the least possible negative impact on the environment and the marine ecosystem. The Report inter alia recommends that –
(i) six marina sites, namely, Grand Baie South West, Grand Baie North East, Souillac, Mahebourg (Ville Noire), Grande Rivière Noire and Poste de Flacq, could, depending on final requirements and details, be developed with nominal environmental risks, provided that proper mitigation measures and EIA processes are implemented;
(ii) Flic-en-Flac, Mon Choisy, Belle Mare, Pointe Jérome and Le Morne and the IRS project at Riambel, St. Felix, Bel Ombre and Les Salines as potential sites for ski lanes; and
(iii) Pointe aux Piments, the South East Coast, Pte Jerome, Riambel, St. Felix and Bel Ombre be proposed as new bathing sites.
The report would be posted on the website of the Ministry of Environment & National Development Unit and also be available for consultation at the Resource Centre of the Ministry.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the renaming of Cottage Government School after late Simadree Virah Samy in recognition of his dedication and contribution in the advancement of the country. Late Mr Virah Sawmy started public life as a Village Councillor and was an active Member of the District Council (North). During his Parliamentary career, he served as Parliamentary Secretary to the-then Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, and later became Minister for Prices and Consumer Protection. Late Mr Virah Sawmy was a well-known figure in the trading community and devoted much of his time to social and religious activities.
7. Cabinet has taken note that the contract entered between State Trading Corporation and Scott & Co Ltd (Granary Section) in 2001 for unstuffing and delivery of ration rice was based on an annual tonnage of 48,000 metric tons. However, despite the fact that the volume of ration rice stored at the granary has reduced considerably, the State Trading Corporation had to pay the same charges for unstuffing and delivery, as well as compensation for any shortfall in volume handled in accordance with the provisions of the contract. Cabinet has agreed that with a view to reducing the handling cost on rice and also because of financial losses incurred by the Corporation, the contract with Scott & Co Ltd should not be renewed.
8. Cabinet has taken note that the “Centre de Formation Artistique” at Paillotte, Vacoas would be launched officially on 29 April 2006 in the context of the International Dance Day. The objectives of the “Centre” are to:
(i) identify new artistic talents;
(ii) provide appropriate “encadrement” to the artists; and
(iii) dispense short term training in different art forms and also undertake capacity building in artistic field.
9.In line with Government’s commitment to render the family as a strong and viable component of society that facilitate the development and overall well being of its members, Cabinet has agreed to the adoption of the Report entitled ‘National Policy Paper on the Family’. The Policy Paper provides guidelines for Government and civil society institutions to work towards achieving the following main objectives:
(a) identify the problem areas and remedy the obstacles to proper family functioning;
(b) promote knowledge and understanding of family life including parenting responsibilities;
(c) render the family institution safe and secure for children and other vulnerable members;
(d) make families aware of their social responsibility to the community and for the protection of the environment.
In view of the fact that Rodrigues and Agalega have their own specific requirements and conditions, the Policy Paper inter alia also makes the following recommendations:
(a) implementation of programmes that will help families stay together with focus on the extended family system and the role of the father;
(b) promotion of parenting education, family life education and sexual and reproductive health education; and
(c) implementation of poverty alleviation programmes and access to land for families.
In order to ensure the effective and timely implementation of the Policy Paper, the Ministry of Women’s Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection would inter alia develop, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders, a Plan of Action.
10.In order to curb the fraudulent use of bus passes issued to beneficiaries of Basic Invalidity Pension, Cabinet has agreed to the issue of new bus passes which would include more security features, including the validity period.
11.Cabinet has taken note that in line with Government Programme 2005/2010 the Competition Act 2003 is being reviewed to enlarge its scope and to give it more powers to deal with cases of profiteering, restrictive business practices and collusive agreements which undermine fair competition. In this connection a team of consultants from the Economic and Legal Services of the Commonwealth Secretariat will be in Mauritius in May 2006 to assist in finalizing the legislation which is expected to be ready by June/July 2006.
12.Cabinet has taken note that the WHO/AFRO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life would hold a regional seminar on health promotion in Mauritius in June 2006 with a view to strengthening knowledge and skills of the health workforce for the implementation of health promotion programmes through multi-sectoral actions.
The seminar is being held at the opportune time as the Ministry of Health & Quality of Life is in the process of setting up a National Service Framework for Diabetes to enable the Ministry to prevent the onset of diabetes and improve the quality of care for all Mauritians.
13.Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection and the Minister of Education & Human Resources to Gabon where they attended the 'Biennial of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa'. The Biennial Meeting provides an excellent opportunity for making contacts, network building and sharing experience and knowledge with regard to the overall development of the child including a venue for policy dialogues among stakeholders in Education. In the light of discussions, it was observed that while Governments in Africa had started to adopt National ECD policies, formal national commitment was not matched by requisite investments or adequate funding. Accordingly, the Meeting inter alia recommended that countries should ensure that ECD investments are based on an integrated approach and are geared towards all-round development that encompasses health, nutrition, learning and social protection aiming at the development of children to their fullest potential.
As far as Mauritius is concerned, a number of steps have already been taken to create a conducive environment for Early Childhood Development. These include supportive legal and institutional frameworks, capacity building, licensing of day care centres, child care accreditation, development of curriculum and learning material for ECD including integration of children with special needs and introduction of health monitoring systems. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the programmes, the Ministry of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection would organize a national workshop on Early Childhood Development in July 2006 with all stakeholders.
14.Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life to South Africa where he attended -
(i) the SADC Health Ministers’ Meeting which inter alia -
(a) urged members to facilitate and ensure participation of Women’s Networks, at the country levels in the development of all SADC health-related policies, programmes and strategies;
(b) revived the Technical Committee on Tuberculosis for the region and approved the new Terms of Reference including the establishment of a sub-regional emergency stock of malaria commodities; and
(c) nominated Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Mauritius to form part of the Multi-Agency Task Force set up to prepare the SADC Pharmaceutical Programme and its Draft Business Plan;
(ii) the African Health Ministers’ Consultation on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, the purpose of which was to discuss issues relating to injury prevention and safety promotion in Africa;
(iii) the Joint Agriculture, Livestock and Health Ministers’ Meeting on Avian Influenza which inter alia noted that -
(a) outbreaks of Avian Influenza had been reported in African Countries such as Nigeria, Niger, Egypt and Cameroun; and
(b) in view of the threat posed by the Avian Influenza epidemic, Member States would be required to ban the importation of poultry, poultry products and other birds from infected countries, in compliance with the WHO Animal Health Recommendations.
15.Cabinet has taken note that, at its last meeting, the Agricultural Marketing Board has appointed Mr Parmanand Ramnawaz as General Manager of the organization.