CABINET DECISIONS – 20 JUNE 2008
1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the official mission of Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, Prime Minister, to the UK and France from 8 to 14 June 2008.
The Prime Minister was invited to attend a meeting of a representative group of Commonwealth Heads of State/Government to identify the underlying principles and actions to achieve reform of international institutions, like the World Bank and the IMF, which were set up during the Second World War and no more responded to the challenges of the 21st century. Heads of State/Government of Guyana, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, the UK, Tanzania and Ghana also attended the Meeting; Malaysia was represented by its Deputy Prime Minister. The Meeting which was held at 10, Downing Street, was chaired by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the UK.
The Meeting delved on the fundamental role of the institutions to support countries, particularly during global crises, such as food crisis, rising oil prices, climate change, credit crunch, which require global and universal response. At the meeting, the Prime Minister highlighted problems faced by the Small Island States, particularly countries, like Mauritius, which are no longer eligible to concessionary loans from the IMF, due to their economic success. The Meeting adopted the Marlborough House Statement which firmly advocates reform of the Bretton Woods Institutions.
In the margins of the Meeting, the Prime Minister met the British Prime Minister with whom he discussed the Chagos issue, especially in view of the Appeal case entered by the UK Government before the House of Lords regarding the proposal for the resettlement of the Chagossians on two of the islands forming part of the Chagos Archipelago, and the recent acknowledgement of rendition and torture perpetrated in Diego Garcia in breach of International Human Rights Instruments, including the European Convention of Human Rights.
The British Prime Minister took note of the concerns expressed and proposed that the issues would be considered, in the first instance, during forthcoming talks between the UK and Mauritius at the designated officials’ level.
During his stay in the UK, the Prime Minister also had discussions on the way forward with Mr Geoffrey Robertson, QC, a well-known Human Rights Lawyer, on the Chagos, particularly the human rights issue and with Mr Ian Brownlie, QC, our legal Consultant on the Chagos and Tromelin issues.
In France, the Prime Minister was greeted with full military honours at l’Hôtel des
Invalides. At a Meeting with Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic of France, the Prime Minister -
(a) spoke of the economic reform and growth registered by Mauritius;
(b) sought the assistance of the French Government to further empower the Police Force to fight criminality more effectively;
(c) discussed the Tromelin issue. The French President stated that he was prepared to reopen discussions on the “co-gestion” of the island and that “Je ne veux pas qu’il y ait de contentieux entre la France et Maurice”. The Prime Minister pointed out that the proposal for “co-gestion” should not unduly delay the resolution of the sovereignty issue. The French President suggested that the proposal be put forward to the Committee of Experts;
(d) raised a number of other issues, including the development and expansion of infrastructure to make the harbour of Port Louis a hub in the Western Indian Ocean region, the extension of the SSR International Airport, and the implementation of the “Maurice Ile Durable” project spearheaded by Mr Joël de Rosnay, French Expert of Mauritian origin, to make Mauritius less dependent on fossil fuel; and
(e) thanked the President for the overall support provided by France at the European Commission and at bilateral levels.
The French President agreed to support Mauritius in its reform process and to send a team comprising Forensic Specialists and a member of “Police Judiciaire” to train local Police Officers, to provide equipment to the Police Force and, especially, to look into unsolved criminal cases.
The Prime Minister has invited the French President to attend the Commemoration Ceremony of the bicentenary of the Battle of Vieux Grand Port in 2010.
During his visit in France, the Prime Minister also met –
(a) Mr Alain Joyandet, Secrétaire d’Etat chargé de la Coopération et de la Francophonie, who assured his full support in the implementation of the “Maurice Ile Durable” project and looked forward in consolidating partnership;
(b) Mrs Michèle Alliot Marie, Ministre de l’Intérieur de l’Outre Mer et des Collectivités Territoriales who agreed to provide assistance for the modernization of our Police Force, as well as to cope with natural disasters such as cyclones and tsunamis;
(c) Mrs Anne Marie Idrac, Secrétaire d’Etat Chargée du Commerce Extérieur, who agreed to consider favourably assistance for the design, financing, and construction of infrastructural projects to relieve congestion in Port Louis, and also to support the implementation of a water treatment project on the west coast of the island; and
(d) Mrs Kosciusko-Morizet, Secrétaire d’Etat Chargée de L’Ecologie auprès du Ministre de l’Ecologie de l’Energie du Développement Durable et de l’Aménagement de Territoire, when the Prime Minister reiterated his request to the French Support for the “Maurice Ile Durable” project.
The following agreements were signed in France -
(a) an “accord relatif à la coopération en matière de securité intérieure” between the Government of Mauritius and that of France which aims at promoting technical and operational cooperation in the field of security between France and Mauritius;
(b) a partnership agreement between “Aéroport de Paris Management” and the Airports of Mauritius Ltd for the extension of the SSR International Airport ; and
(c) an agreement between Les Moulins de la Concorde and La Maison Soufflet France for the supply by the latter of 130,000 tonnes of wheat annually to the former.
The Prime Minister –
(a) was received at the French National Assembly by its President, Mr Bernard Accoyer, where he spoke of the various areas of cooperation between the two countries;
(b) participated in the launching of the “
” Project conceived by Professor Joël de Rosnay, his Special Adviser on the sustainable development of Mauritius, and Adviser of the President of “La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie” in Paris;
(c) had a breakfast meeting at the seat of the MEDEF, where he spoke on the success of the economic reforms undertaken by Mauritius and of the various new and excellent opportunities offered for industry in Mauritius;
(d) visited the “Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie” and had discussions with its President, Dr François d’Aubert who agreed to help Mauritius to set up a similar institution in Mauritius to showcase the commitment of Mauritius to become a green island and a model in the field of ecology and an ecological park in Mauritius which would be both a tourist and an educational attraction;
(e) met HE Professor Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï, Chairman of UNESCO Executive Board, with a view to pursuing our lobbying campaign for the inscription of Le Morne on the World Heritage List; and
(f) Mr Marcio Nogueira Barbosa, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, with whom he discussed projects submitted by Mauritius to UNESCO.
In Paris, the Prime Minister received the Prix Louise Michel, awarded generally each year to a high personality in recognition of his or her outstanding contribution in the political field. Past recipients of the award which was instituted in 1983 included Leopold Sedor Senghor, Mr Jacques Chirac, Mr Felipe Gonzales, Mr Hosny Mubarak, Mr Edouard Balladure and Mr Abdel Aziz Bouteflika.
The Prime Minister also paid a courtesy call on former French President, Mr Jacques Chirac and expressed the gratitude of the Government and people of Mauritius for all the support he has extended during his tenure of office. He also invited former President Chirac to visit Mauritius again.
2. Cabinet has taken note of the initiatives of the parastatal bodies operating under the aegis of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions, namely, the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Fund (SILWF), the Social Welfare Division, the Senior Citizens Council and the Training and Employment of Disabled Persons Board (TEDPB), in line with Government’s policy on food security announced in the Budget Speech 2008/2009.
The SILWF and the Social Welfare Division propose to, inter alia, -
(i) mount Community Awareness Programmes on the themes “Anou prodire nou manzé” and "gestion alimentaire – evitez le gaspillage"; and
(ii) promote kitchen gardening; and
(iii) mount campaigns on healthy eating habits.
In line with the concept of “productive ageing”, the Senior Citizens Council is proposing to set up and manage, with the involvement of senior citizens, an integrated farm project on a pilot basis in the regions of Calebasses, Belle Rive and La Marie.
The TEDPB has embarked on a number of agriculture-related and horticulture projects, like the setting up of a nursery and a model orchard.
3. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment, in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University of South Africa, would organise training programme on Conciliation and Mediation Skills from 26 to 28 June 2008 for officers involved in conciliation and mediation activities.
The training programme would be conducted by –
(i) Prof J.A. Van Der Walt, Head of the Labour and Social Security Law Unit of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University;
(ii) Dr Avinash Govindjee, Deputy Head of the Labour and Social Security Law Unit of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University; and
(iii) Prof G. Van Der Walt, Associate of the Labour and Social Security Law Unit of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
4. Cabinet has taken note that, in accordance with the rules governing trade of textile and apparels in the SADC Trade Protocol, the Customs Department of the Mauritius Revenue Authority has been designated as the authority to verify, approve and stamp the SADC DA-59 Form, (Declaration of Origin) which certifies that the finished product is of Mauritian Origin so that a Mauritian exporter can benefit from preferential tariff entry into South African Market.
5. Cabinet has taken note that Professor David Owens, Professor in Diabetes Medicine at Llanbough Hospital, Cardiff University and Academic Centre, Wales, would provide his services as from October 2008 for a period of six months to support Government in its programmes on diabetes, viz. -
(a) the implementation of the National Framework for Diabetes;
(b) consolidation of the podiatry services;
(c) development of a multi-disciplinary training programme for health care professionals involved in diabetes care;
(d) development of a computer-based record system for diabetes to unify primary and secondary care;
(e) initiation of an early and late phase clinical research programmes in Mauritius; and
(f) provision of professional services in support to the management of difficult diabetic cases.
Prof Owens will also be fully involved in establishing the first phase of the Diabetes and Non-Communicable Diseases Institute through the setting up of a Diabetes Resource Centre at Souillac Hospital.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the activities being organised by the Ministry of Civil Service & Administrative Reforms in the context of the Africa Day of the Civil Service and Administration and the UN Public Service Day which would be jointly celebrated on 23 June,
(a) an Essay Competition for public officers on the theme “The Evolution of the Civil Service since Independence of Mauritius”;
(b) an Exhibition at the Esplanade, Emmanuel Anquetil Building, Port Louis on the theme “40 years post independence Civil Service”; and
(c) a Cultural Programme on Monday 23 June 2008, at the Esplanade, Emmanuel Anquetil Building, Port Louis.
The theme for this year’s celebration of the Africa Day of the Civil Service and Administration and the UN Public Service Day is “From Policy to Result Based Implementation”.
The objectives of the celebration of the Africa Day of the Civil Service and Administration and the UN Public Service Day are, inter alia, to -
(a) allow members of the public to get a broader understanding of the work of the Civil Service;
(b) reflect on the roles and functions of the Civil Service in the nation building process and also on its problems and challenges; and
(c) give recognition to the efforts of public officers and to their positive contributions for the benefit of the population, the civil society, the private sector and government.
7. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications from 02 to 05 June 2008 to Cape Town, South Africa, where he participated in the AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) 50x15 Africa Partner Summit and the 18th World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa.
The AMD 50x15 Africa Partner Summit is a meeting of partners of the 50x15 global initiative, founded by AMD, the second manufacturer of computer processors in the world, to enable affordable Internet access and computing capabilities to 50% of the world’s population by the year 2015 as announced at the annual WEF meeting of 2004 in Davos, Switzerland. Mauritius is currently negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding with AMD for the provision of Personal Computers at a cost lower than Rs 10,000, inclusive of CPU, keyboard and mouse. The AMD would also support the Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunications in implementing a Partnership Technology Access (PTA) project and provide processors, chipset solution and graphic cards at a preferential price.
The 18th World Economic Forum on Africa addressed the strategic challenges for Africa to be seen as a reliable and competitive partner in the global economy. The event engaged business and political leaders in dialogue and partnerships to advance natural and regional development agendas.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Global Competitiveness Report 2007 published by the World Economic Forum has ranked Mauritius as the second most competitive economy in the region after South Africa and at the 60th position out of 131 countries on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI).
In the margins of the Summit, the Minister also met, inter alia, –
(a) Mr Thierry Tanoh, Director, Sub-Saharan Africa Department of IFC;
(b) Mr Waren Cowan, Director of Business Development and Marketing Division, and Mr Rlad Gydlen, Country Manager, of SAS, the largest private owned software company in the world and a leader in business intelligence and predictive analytics software; and
(c) representatives of Intel, the world’s largest manufacturer of computer processors, namely John Davies, Vice-President Sales and Marketing, Ferruh Gürtas, Corporate Affairs Director, Jacques Van Schalkwyk, Development Director and Devan Naidoo, Managing Director of Intel, South African Corporation.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the following Boards/Councils -
(a) the Dangerous Chemicals Advisory Council with Dr T.R. Nundlall, Acting Principal Medical Officer as Chairperson;
(b) the Dangerous Chemicals Control Board with Dr P. Ramdin, Head Occupational Health Unit as Chairperson; and
(c) the Mental Health Board with Dr Dupuck Heeraman as Chairperson.