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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 11 August 2006

Cabinet Decisions taken on 11 August 2006

1. Cabinet has taken note of additional security arrangements put in place at the SSR International Airport for departing passengers following the foiled plot to bomb aircrafts in the UK. Cabinet has further taken note that departing passengers transiting through UK airports would not be allowed to carry hand luggage. This measure does not apply to passengers for other destinations. However, no passenger would be allowed to carry liquid on board. In view of the new security arrangements, passengers would have to be at the airport at least three hours before their flight for check-in formalities.

2. Cabinet has taken note that the swearing-in ceremony of the new Chief Commissioner and the Commissioners of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly had taken place on 4 August 2006 in the presence of the President of the Republic of Mauritius and the Minister of Local Government who represented the Prime Minister. The Minister of Local Government seized the opportunity to have a working session with the newly appointed Chief Commissioner with whom he discussed various important issues, particularly the problems faced by the Rodriguan fishermen.

3. Taking into consideration the special value of Bassin Blanc as National Park and with a view to increasing tourist resorts, Cabinet has decided to acquire land surrounding Bassin Blanc, to be, thereafter, declared as National Park. Bassin Blanc is a scenic crater lake surrounded by upland forest on the southern slope of the Savanne Range, south of Mt Cocotte. It is a true volcanic crater over 200 m in diameter and an unusual example of the most recent lava flows in Mauritius. Recent surveys have shown that the region constitutes important habitats for our native birds species. They contain two-thirds of the remaining population of the Mauritian fodies and half of the Mauritian olive white-eyes, and support the highest densities of the local black bulbuls and possibly, also, of Mauritian paradise flycatchers and cuckoo-shrikes. Our unique endemic echo parakeets use the area and all known wild breeding sites of the pink pigeon are found there. These seven species are among the rarest and most seriously threatened birds in the world. The vegetation of Bassin Blanc is extremely diverse with many rare species of plants. The area is particularly rich in orchids and ferns with at least 60 species of fern present. Furthermore, the area supports the highest level of biodiversity in Mauritius.

4. Cabinet has agreed to the free travel scheme being extended to adolescents following courses organized by the Adolescents Non-Formal Education Network (ANFEN), a network NGOs which work for the benefits of those who have failed CPE and have not joined the pre-vocational stream in Secondary Schools.

5. With a view to strengthening and enhancing economic, trade and investment cooperation with China, Cabinet has taken note of the draft Comprehensive Economic and Trade Cooperation Agreement which would be discussed between the People’s Republic of China and Mauritius. The Agreement include a number of activities of mutual beneficial cooperation, such as trade in goods and services, investment and economic cooperation.

6. In line with measures announced in the Budget Speech 2006/2007, Cabinet has taken note that the Planning and Development Act would be amended to facilitate investment, land-use planning and development and streamline procedures for the issue of permits in conformity with the provision of the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2006. The amendments would foster a new paradigm aimed at putting emphasis on post-control and self-adherence of promoters to development planning and guidelines.

7. With a view to democratizing access to the fisheries resources and giving recognition to the fishing communities of Mauritius and Rodrigues, Cabinet has taken note of the draft Fishermen Investment Trust Bill, together with its business plan and has agreed to its dissemination amongst stakeholders. The object of the Bill is to create a Fishermen Investment Trust which would invest in fishing activities, fish processing and marketing and other related activities.

8. Cabinet has taken note of the remarkable performance of Mauritian athletes at the Fifth Games of the CJSOI held in Mauritius from 31 July to 5 August and of the outcome of the Ministerial Meeting of the CJSOI held on 3 August 2006 to discuss youth and sports issues pertaining to the region.

9. Cabinet has taken note that during the official visit of the Prime Minister to France in March 2006, the French Government had agreed to assist Mauritius in the preparation of the Commemoration of the Bicentenary of the Naval Battle of Grand Port in 2010, which represents a landmark historical event of the Napoleonic era, associated with the "isle de France", and the history of modern Mauritius. In that context, Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of a Ministerial Committee chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications to look into the preparation of the commemoration of the Naval Battle and of the British taking possession of the island. It is proposed to coincide the event with the World Cup in South Africa scheduled for June 2010. The event would yield high benefits to the tourism sector and would provide an opportunity for the improvement of national heritage sites and local infrastructure. There would also be important developments linked to education, historical research and publications, audio visual productions and youth involvement.

10. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (Amendment) Bill which aims at amending the Rodrigues Regional Assembly Act 2001 to –
(a) vest back the aerodrome at Plaine Corail, Rodrigues, to the State so that the Airports of Rodrigues could take over the operations of the airport; and
(b) give to the Rodrigues Regional Assembly the discretion to appoint a Committee of the whole Assembly, or other Committees as it thinks fit, e.g., the Finance Committee, the Public Health and Environment Committee, etc.

11. With a view to recognizing excellence, innovation, leadership and promoting a performance-oriented, customer-friendly and accountable public service, Cabinet has taken note of the launching of the Public Service Excellence Awards Scheme to recognize the achievements of Ministries/Departments that have excelled in adopting innovative approaches and making visible breakthrough in service delivery to customers.
The objective of the Scheme is to encourage public officers to be quality conscious so as to provide an efficient and effective service.
The Awards would be adjudicated by a Panel of Jury on the basis of the following -
(i) Leadership;
(ii) Effectiveness and Efficiency;
(iii) Customer Focus; and
(iv) Innovation and Improvement.