1. Cabinet has taken note of the decision of the Prime Minister, after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, to appoint Mr Anil Kumar Ujodha, as Director General of the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
2. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the joint mission effected to Mauritius by the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the OPEC Fund for International Development to review ongoing projects being funded by BADEA and to examine new ones. The Joint Mission has –
(i) in the light of discussions with the Mauritian delegation, signed an Aide-Mémoire;
(ii) agreed to co-finance the Pailles Guibies Sewerage Project estimated to cost US$ 10m; and
(iii) expressed interest in listing the proposed construction of Bagatelle Dam, expected to start around September 2008 and estimated at US$ 75m.
3. Being fully aware of the critical role played by air transportation in the value chain of the tourism industry which is one of the pillars of the economy, Cabinet has taken note of the proposal of the French Authorities to designate ‘Corsair’ as the second air carrier on the Paris/Mauritius route, expected to be operational in October 2006. This approach will go a long way in assisting to tap the emerging opportunities in the sector and also to build momentum to boost tourist arrivals. It is expected that tourist arrivals would increase by an additional 60,000 tourists.
4.Cabinet has taken note that following the decision taken last week to designate the area falling within the core and buffer zone of ‘Le Morne’ as National Heritage, the ‘Nomination Dossier’ on ‘Le Morne’, prepared by UNESCO Expert, Dr Abungu, would be sent today to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, i.e., before the deadline of 1 February 2006. To show the commitment of Government for the inscription of ‘Le Morne’ on the World Heritage list, the Dossier will include a preface by the Prime Minister. Cabinet has further taken note that, in line with Government’s programme, in the Nomination Dossier, it is also spelt out that Government is committed to set up a Truth and Justice Commission to establish facts regarding slavery and indentured labourers and to make recommendations with respect to reparations for the descendants of slaves and indentured labourers.
5.In view of Government’s commitment to the cause of environment protection as an essential component for sustainable development and in line with Government’s programme 2005-2010, Cabinet has agreed to the Environment Protection Act (EPA) 2002 being amended with a view to providing an enhanced legal framework and the required tools for better environment planning. Amendments relate mainly to:
(i) smoothening the EIA procedures in order to facilitate development and to assist proponents in a more effective manner; all EIA applications would be processed within 56 days instead of 100 days as at present and the list of undertakings requiring an EIA or a PER approval would be reviewed;
(ii) reviewing the appeal process to eliminate unnecessary delays in its determination. Provision would be made for the Environment Appeal Tribunal to make its final determination as far as possible within six months;
(iii) decentralizing environmental enforcement to local authorities as recommended in the National Environmental Strategies report. Local authorities would be empowered to act as authorized officers under EPA and therefore make use of the enforcement mechanism; and
(iv) reinforcing the ‘Polluter Pays Principle’ in case of minor offences with a view to discouraging littering, spitting and smoking in prohibited areas, and inculcating a culture of environmental responsibility.
6.Cabinet has taken note of a major problem of cavity detected on a site at New Grove where NHDC Ltd had, in 2004, constructed 146 Firinga Type housing units despite contradictory reports on soil tests, and certain reservations and proposals made regarding geophysical investigations in the Environment Impact Assessment Report. Cabinet has further taken note of the expenditure that Government would have to disburse in connection with the geophysical survey, and remedial measures, if possible, in addition to concerns for the future security of potential residents of the housing units. In the light of the alarming situation, Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of a Fact Finding Committee under the chairmanship of a Barrister to inter alia establish whether there had been any negligence in the implementation of the project, situate responsibilities and determine any financial liability.
7. Following the report on the mismanagement of the BPML and its subsidiaries, Cabinet agreed to a Fact Finding Committee instituted to investigate into the mismanagement of the Company being chaired by Mr H. Balgobin, former Chairman of the Permanent Arbitration Tribunal, with Mr R. Busgeeth, and Mr B. Dumazel as Assessors.
8. Following a number of diplomatic initiatives undertaken by the Mauritian Government to establish constructive and bilateral dialogues on the Tromelin issue, Cabinet has noted that the Third Experts Meeting on Tromelin was held in Paris on 20 January 2006. Discussions centered inter alia around the issue of sovereignty and the ‘co-gestion’ of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Tromelin. Both sides agreed inter alia to –
(i) strengthening collaboration between the two countries in the protection of the environment and the biodiversity of Tromelin; and
(ii) the establishment of a ‘Commission Mixte Franco-Mauricienne’ to discuss all issues pertaining to the ‘co-gestion’ of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Tromelin. The first meeting of the ‘Commission-Mixte’ will be hosted by Mauritius.
9.In line with Government's policy to modernize health services and promote the well-being of citizens, Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life is making all arrangements for the construction of the new Dr A.G. Jeetoo Hospital to start and to be completed in the least possible delay.
10.Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Second Meeting of the Joint Working Group between Mauritius and Pakistan which aimed at consolidating bilateral trade relations and strengthening south-south cooperation. The Joint Working Group has agreed inter alia to –
(i) the establishment of a Preferential Trade Agreement and the two countries working on the modalities for tariff liberalization;
(ii) action being initiated for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the STC of Mauritius and its counterpart in Pakistan;
(iii) the setting up of a mechanism to deal with non-tariff barriers in a structured manner; and
(iv) the two countries expanding collaboration in trade services, including the exchange of tourism know-how and management skills with a view to upgrading tourism industry in Pakistan.
11.In line with Government's policy to consolidate Port Louis as a hub port in the region and to maintain and strengthen its competitive edge, Cabinet has taken note that the Cargo Handling Corporation proposes to acquire two additional ship-to-shore cranes with a view to coping with the growing pressure from international shipping companies and other port users for quality service and enhanced port productivity.
12.Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Women’s Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child held on 19 January 2006 in Geneva. The Committee has also taken cognizance of the recent initiatives of the Government aimed at ensuring the survival, development, protection and participation of children including the provision of free transport to school children, promulgation of the Child Protection (Amendment) Act, and the decision to address urgently the problem of tardy declaration of births and unregistered children.
13.Being given that declaration at birth is a fundamental right of a child and in view of the fact that there has been quite a number of cases of children who have remained undeclared for quite a long time thus depriving them of the opportunities available as well as the facilities provided by the State in terms of free education and access to health care, Cabinet has taken note of action initiated by the High Level Committee, co-chaired by the Minister of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection and the Attorney General, Minister of Justice & Human Rights to fully address the issue of tardy declaration both in Mauritius and Rodrigues. Cabinet has further taken note that out of 258 cases identified in Mauritius, 119 children have been regularized. The remaining cases are being processed. With regard to Rodrigues, all the eight cases identified have been regularized and birth certificates have been issued.
14.Cabinet has taken note of the publication of the Report of the First National Health Accounts Study undertaken in Mauritius and of the holding, in March 2006, of a dissemination workshop of its findings.
The National Health Accounts, which has been developed and used for over 35 years in the USA and adopted by more than 10 African Countries, describes the total expenditure flows within the health sector, both by the public and the private sectors.
The information provided in the Report will contribute to ‘evidence-based’ and ‘informed’ policy decisions and thus assist Government in revamping the health care system which has been characterised by a lack of global vision.
15.With regard to the inscription of Aapravasi Ghat on a World Heritage Site, Cabinet has taken note of that the Draft Management Plan, prepared by Mr Pundit, Consultant of International Council of Monuments and Sites, would be transmitted to UNESCO before the deadline of 1 February 2006.
16.Cabinet has taken note that Mr Harry Ganoo, GOSK, Secretary to Cabinet and Head of Civil Service, would retire from the Service as from 31 January 2006. Mr Soobash Chandra Seeballuck, Secretary for Home Affairs, would be appointed Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service as from 1 February 2006. Mr K.R. Mudhoo, Senior Chief Executive at the Ministry of Civil Service & Administrative Reforms would be assigned duties devolving upon the Secretary of Home Affairs. In view of his wide experience in the Civil Service, Government will retain the services of Mr Ganoo as Chairperson of the Administrative Reforms Committee and of the Steering Committee in the Civil Service College.
17.Cabinet has taken note of the following appointments –
(i) Dr S. Chady as Chairperson of Mauritius Ports Authority;
(ii) Mr Joy Beehary as Chairperson of the Mauritius Duty Free Paradise;
(iii) Mrs Diana Bablee as Chairperson of the National Heritage Trust Fund;
(iv) Miss Violet Moothia as Chairperson of the Mauritius Tourism Employees Welfare Fund;
(v) Mr Muslim Bhatoo (Jr) as Chairperson of the Mauritius Tourism Authority;
(vi) Mr Ramalingum Maistry as Chairperson of the Tourism Fund; and
(vii) Mr S. Balgobin, Director, Occupational Safety and Health, Ministry of Labour, Industry Relations & Employment as Chairperson of the Advisory Council for Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare.
18.Cabinet has taken note that recommendations would be made for the following appointments –
(i) Mr Dan Maraye as Chief Executive Officer of AML;
(ii) Mr Jean Claude Armance as Chairperson of the MHC Ltd;
(iii) Mr Sanjit Teelock as Chairperson of the State Informatics Ltd;
(iv) Mr Daivanaden Poinoosawmy as Executive Director of the Trust Fund for Specialised Medical Care;
(v) Mr Manilall Seetohul as Managing Director of MHC Ltd;
(vi) Ms Stephanie Anquetil as Chairperson of Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund;
(vii) Mr Soobash Seeruttun as Chief Executive Officer of the Beach Authority; and
(viii) Mr Rajiv Beeharry as Chief Executive Officer of Mauritius Posts, and Cooperative Bank Ltd.