CABINET DECISIONS – 7 MARCH 2008
1. Cabinet has taken note of the Programme of the State Visit of HE Mr Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, who would be the Chief Guest on the occasion of the National Day Celebrations. The President would be accompanied by his wife. Apart from participating in the celebrations marking the 40th Anniversary of our Independence, President Mbeki would -
(i) have “Tête-à-tête” with the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister;
(ii) lay a wreath at the SSR Memorial; and
(iii) plant a sapling at the SSR Botanic Garden.
The Hon Speaker of the National Assembly, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice would also pay courtesy calls on President Mbeki.
Cabinet has further taken note that the following dignitaries would attend the celebrations marking the 40th Anniversary of Independence of Mauritius :-
(a) Dr Axel Poniatowski, Président de la Commission des Affaires Etrangères de l’Assemblée Nationale who will represent Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic of France;
(b) Hon Shri Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister of Haryana, India;
(c) Baroness Valerie Amos, Member of the House of Lords, UK who will represent the United Kingdom;
(d) HE Dr Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï, President of the Executive Board of UNESCO; and
(e) Dr Indurbushan Manilall Doctor, Son of Manilall Doctor.
2. Cabinet has taken note that, in the context of the celebrations of the 40th Anniversary of our Independence, a collection of about 40 vintage cars will leave Caudan Waterfront on 16 March 2008 to proceed to Clarisse House, Vacoas via Beau Bassin, Rose Hill and Quatre Bornes. These cars will be displayed at Clarisse House, which would be open to the public from 1200 hours to 1800 hours. The Police Band would perform on that occasion.
3. Cabinet has taken note of the Report of the Court of Investigation chaired by Mr Jacques Benjamin Gerard Marie Joseph, Vice-President of the Industrial Court, set up to enquire into the circumstances leading to the casualty of King Fish II and King Fish V and the disappearance of their crew in February 2007.
King Fish II and King Fish V, belonging to Hassen Taher Seafoods (Mtius) Ltd, had left Mauritius on 19 February and 13 February 2007 with nine and seven persons on board respectively. They faced the devastating influence of severe tropical cyclone “Gamede” and all communications with the vessels ceased on 23 February 2007. After the search and rescue operations by the National Coast Guard, King Fish II was found stranded at Coco Island, St Brandon whereas King Fish V has remained untraceable.
The Court of Investigation is satisfied that whatever could be done to retrieve the vessels, as well as the crew, had been done by the authorities. The Court has established that the two vessels were duly registered with the Ministry of Agro Industry & Fisheries as fishing vessels of less than 15 Gross Registered Tonnage and duly certified being seaworthy. Both vessels were adequately equipped with communication equipment and the skippers were informed of the movement of the cyclone. The Court has come to the conclusion that the casualties were due to the fault of skippers who blatantly failed to take appropriate avoiding actions when they had ample time to do so and imprudently kept their vessels exposed to the dangers of the cyclone.
Cabinet has agreed to set up a Ministerial Committee chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping and comprising the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications, the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries, and the Attorney General, Minister of Justice & Human Rights to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Court of Investigation.
The Report of the Court of Investigation would be made public.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the archive of the Cabinet Office, which contains records of great historical value as far back as 1900, being stored on microfilms.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the political situation in Comoros and that the African Union (AU) has decided that military option was the only way to resolve the crisis in Anjouan. The Ministers of Defence of Tanzania, Senegal, Sudan and Libya would meet on 8 March 2008 in Dar-es-Salaam to discuss the assembly of troops and logistics support under the AU banner. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation is monitoring closely the situation.
6. Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of an Educators' Council which would comprise representatives of teachers from different levels in the education system with a view to professionalizing the body of educators, by setting and maintaining standards as well as benchmarks for practice and conduct. It would also -
(i) provide for the registration of educators; and
(ii) promote the professional development of educators.
7. Cabinet has agreed to the adoption of the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights following the decision of the African Union to merge the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Court of Justice of the African Union into a single Court named ‘The African Court of Justice and Human Rights'.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Attorney General, Minister of Justice & Human Rights to Paris where he attended the “IVeme Conférence des Ministres Francophones de la Justice”. The themes of the Conference were -
(a) “Le renforcement de la Justice pour developer les capacités institutionelles de l’Etat et prévenir sa fragilisation”; and
(b) “Droit et régulation de l’économie dans l’espace francophone”.
In the final Declaration, the Ministers of Justice have affirmed their common determination to uphold democracy and the rule of law, ensure protection of human rights, strengthen State institutions, prevent conflict and establish a stable legal framework designed to promote investment, peace and lasting development, through mutual cooperation.
9. Cabinet has taken note that the 2005 National Gender Policy Framework has been revisited in light of the changing policy environment and the far reaching policy and institutional reforms, such as Programme Based Budgeting and the Performance Management System of Government.
The National Gender Policy which is a generic policy document that builds on past achievements and ongoing national efforts to achieve gender equality, is guided by State action towards human-centred and sustainable development. It further provides the framework and principles which the various institutions, Government, as well as private and civil society organisations, could draw on to produce their organisational specific gender policy.
The Framework will be published and widely distributed among key-stakeholders of the National Gender Machinery, i.e., Ministries, the private sector, NGOs and civil society. It will also form part of the forthcoming online Gender Information System of the Ministry of Women’s Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection.
10. Cabinet has taken note that, in the context of its Millennium Development Goals Project and in order to further strengthen the ties of friendship, the People's Republic of China has decided to build two primary schools, one in Albion and the other in Belle Mare, for the Government of Mauritius. Each school will, inter alia, comprise six classrooms, Asian Language classrooms, administrative offices, a staff room, a computer room, a library and playground facilities. Construction works are expected to start at the beginning of May 2008 and are scheduled to be completed by the end of December 2008.
11. Cabinet has taken note that, 97 Women Cooperative Societies in areas like handicraft and dressmaking, catering, agricultural activities, bee-keeping, food processing, had been registered as at February 2008, as compared to 2 as at 2005. The Mauritius Women Entrepreneurs Cooperative Federation Limited, the first Federation grouping women cooperative societies, had been set up in September 2007 to act as the mouthpiece of all Women Cooperative Societies and to forge linkages with women organisations locally and abroad. The National Institute for Cooperative Entrepreneurship is running courses, inter alia, for the benefit of women cooperators with a view to improving their skills in management, administration, cooperative legislation and book keeping.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries to the Republic of Mozambique from 25 to 28 February 2008. During his visit, the Minister had working sessions with –
(a) HE Mr Cadmiel Mutemba, Minister of Fisheries on economic cooperation and business opportunities in the fisheries sector, viz., fishing for deep water shrimps, semi-industrial line-fishing for demersals, fishing for tuna, shrimps fisheries, processing industry, seafood producing, seaweed and aquaculture;
(b) HE Mr Soares Nhaca, Minister of Agriculture with whom an agreement was concluded for the release of 5000 hectares of land to Mauritian entrepreneurs for the plantation of potato, onion, maize and other cash crops;
(c) the Investment Promotion Centre of Mozambique whereby businessmen of both Mozambique and Mauritius interacted individually for business proposals in agriculture and fisheries sectors; and
(d) the University of Eduardo Mondlane on regional food security.
In the margins of his mission, the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries had called, among others, on –
(i) the Prime Minister of Mozambique, HE Dr Lusia Diogo; and
(ii) the Minister of Public Works and Housing, HE Felicios Zacarias.
The Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries also visited the Marromeu Sugar Project and was impressed by the achievements and progress made by the Mauritian Consortium.
13. Cabinet has taken note that HE Mr Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï, President of the UNESCO Executive Board, would visit Mauritius from 14 to 21 March 2008, with a view to –
(a) enabling Ministries concerned and stakeholders to benefit from the competence of UNESCO through a better knowledge of its priorities; and
(b) further strengthening the cooperation between UNESCO and Mauritius and defining the proper roles of its different bodies, which include the Mauritian National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM).
On the occasion, an Exhibition and a UNESCO Open Day in connection with African interests and challenges, such as African languages; Science & Technology; Sustainable Development, HIV and AIDS; Training of teachers; Slave Trade; and intercultural dialogue would be organized. The Encyclopedia of Life Support System (EOLSS); intersectoral platform for the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Sustainable Development of SIDS Global Microscience Project would also be launched.
14. Cabinet has taken note that Mr Chetan Rambans Dookun has been appointed Chairperson of the National Transport Corporation.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of –
(i) the Fishermen Welfare Fund with Mr Philippe Etienne as Chairperson; and
(ii) the Special Fund for the Welfare of the Elderly with Mrs Chandranee K. Bhuckory as Chairperson.
Cabinet has further taken note of the appointment of Mr Dhananjay Ritesh Ramful, Barrister-at-Law as third Vice-Chairperson of the Motor Vehicle Insurance Arbitration Committee.