1. Cabinet has taken note of the programme of the State Visit of HE Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of the Republic of India, who will be the Chief Guest for the National Day Celebrations 2006. During his visit, the President will inter alia –
(i) lay a wreath at the Samadhi of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam;
(ii) address select audience comprising Ministers, Members of the National Assembly, as well as members of scientific community at Sir Harilal Vaghjee Hall;
(iii) have an interaction session with the CEOs of the IT Companies based in the Cyber Tower; and
(iv) visit the University of Mauritius and have interaction with members of the University Faculty and also address university students at the Octave Wiehe Auditorium.
The President will also visit and interact with the fishermen community at Cap Malheureux.
Inasmuch as the Pan-African e-Network project aimed at connecting 53 African countries, is an initiative of the President of the Republic of India, an agreement with the Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL), a Government of India Enterprise, will be signed on that occasion for the implementation of the Project. With the signing of the agreement, Mauritius will be among one of the first African countries to benefit from this project.
2. In line with Government’s commitment to adopt stricter measures to improve safety on our roads and at the same time reduce careless as well as irresponsible driving, Cabinet has taken note of amendments to be brought to the Road Traffic Act.
3. Cabinet has taken note that 962 cases of Chikungunya have been reported as at 23 February 2006. Cabinet has reviewed the preventive measures taken to contain the spread of the disease. Cabinet has further taken note that -
(i) the sensitization campaign has been intensified and that meetings at local authority level as well as with Force Vives and community leaders are being held regularly so that the level of cleanliness is maintained and mosquito breeding places eliminated;
(ii) additional fogging machines and sprayers are being procured with a view to disinfecting all localities within the shortest possible delay;
(iii) an island wide cleaning campaign has already been launched;
(iv) local authorities have embarked on the cleaning of bare lands, drains, rivulets and streams on a regular basis;
(v) the Ministry of Agro Industry and Fisheries has mounted a campaign to sensitize breeders on the importance of ensuring that solid and liquid wastes are properly disposed of; and
(vi) the Ministry of Environment & National Development Unit, with the assistance of ‘Police de l’Environnement’, is constantly monitoring all possible breeding grounds for the proliferation of mosquitoes and other pests.
4.In the context of the Government Action Plan to introduce measures to alleviate hardships faced by the vulnerable groups, Cabinet has taken note of the promulgation of Regulations under the Central Water Authority Act with a view to providing the necessary legal framework for the implementation of measures such as:
(a) allowing customers of vulnerable/hardship groups to pay water charges and surcharges by instalments spread over a reasonable period of time;
(b) deferring of payment of surcharge by pensioners; and
(c) change in the billing system on a quarterly meter readings, with payment to continue to be effected on a monthly basis.
5.Cabinet has agreed to the proclamation of Section 2 of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2003 which confers power to also the Ombudsman to also investigate into actions taken by the Rodrigues Regional Assembly and Local Authorities.
6.In the context of the National Day 2006 Celebrations, Cabinet has taken note of the organization of a patriotic week which would include a number of activities, such as a mega blood donation, a sensitization campaign on citizenship/civic education in schools/social centres/CAB Offices, a “Semaine de Courtoisie”, the holding of a “Parlement des Enfants”, a mega telethon in collaboration with the MBC and private radios to help needy children.
7. In line with the policy of Government to diversify the tourism product and with a view to exploiting the recreational and ecotourism potential of the State-owned forests, Cabinet has taken note of the development and maintenance of additional sites under forest cover, namely the Native Plant Propagation Centre at Curepipe, Bras d’Eau Nature Walk and Mon Vert Nature Walk, as well as the creation of a few garden/parks, viz, Le Val Nature Walk and Endemic/Indigenous Garden (the first indigenous/endemic garden to be created after independence) and the Pamplemousses Nature Walk (near SSS National Hospital), to enable both Mauritian and tourists to discover and enjoy the rich biodiversity of our native forests.
8.With a view to ensuring the proper development and consolidation of the fisheries sector, including the sustained expansion of the seafood hub, and in line with the regulations and directives of the European Union on feed and food of animal origin, Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries would promulgate regulations under the Fisheries and Marine Resources Act with a view to designating the Division of Veterinary Services as the Competent Authority for the issue of health certificates for the export of fish and fish products to the European Union.
9. In line with Government policy to reinforce regional cooperation, Cabinet has agreed to the holding, in March 2006, of a two-week Regional SADC Legal Metrology Course on the Control of Pre-packages with a view to harmonizing trade in the region based on international standards. The Course, which will be dispensed by officers of the Mauritius Legal Metrology Services, will be both theoretical as well practical. Participants from the African countries, viz. Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, will attend the training programme. The holding of such an event will assist to position the Legal Metrology Services as a potential training centre as well as a centre of reference in the region.
10.Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the delegation led by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping to Rodrigues from 12 to 14 February 2006. During the visit, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping had inter alia –
(i) a working session with the Chief Commissioner and reviewed the situation in the transport sector, public infrastructure and shipping in order to ensure the delivery of an efficient service to the population;
(ii) met the representatives of the Bus Owners Association and settled to their entire satisfaction their contention raised on the free transport scheme; and
(iii) reviewed the major infrastructure projects under implementation as well as the improvement/extension works undertaken at Mt Lubin Area Health Centre, the Mt Lubin-Grande Montagne Road and Le Chou College.
The Deputy Prime Minister also seized this opportunity to visit the Anse Raffin Dam and the desalination plant of Pointe Venus Hotel.
11.Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Lobbying Mission which the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries undertook to Spain, Austria and Finland from 15 to 17 February 2006 with a view to putting across the ACP views and proposals to the EU Ministers of Agriculture on the Sugar Reforms, which could be taken on board in the implementation process. During the mission, the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries also emphasized the following –
(i) the need for conformity of the reform proposals of the EU Sugar Regime with the ACP/EU Sugar Protocol, more specifically with regard to the supply by ACP of various types of Sugar;
(ii) Quantum of Resources and to Allocation Criteria and Principles to finance the Accompanying Measures; and
(iii) Refining Adjustment Aid to EU Refineries and ACP Guaranteed Price.
12.Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the Mauritius Council of Registered Librarians for a period of two years as from 2006, in accordance with Section 5 of the Mauritius Council of Registered Librarians Act 2000.