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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 08 November 2007

Cabinet Decisions taken on 08 November 2007

1. Cabinet has taken note that extensive consultations had been held with workers’ and employers’ organizations on the draft Employment Relations Bill and the draft Employment Rights Bill, as well as of the comments and observations of the ILO thereon, and has agreed to the Bills being referred to the High Powered Committee for further consideration. Cabinet has further taken note that a tripartite meeting was held at the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment on 5 November 2007 to discuss the observations of the ILO on the draft Bills.

2. In the context of the reform of our Civil Code, Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of The Code Civil Mauricien (Amendment) Bill with a view to amending the Code Civil Mauricien to provide for –

(a) a child to have the right to entertain a relationship with his grand parents and other ascendants;

(b) the Supreme Court to have the power to enable a third party, who may or may not be related to a child, to entertain a relationship with that child when such is in the best interest of that child; and

(c) a child not to be separated, save in exceptional circumstances, from his brothers and sisters.

3. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Protection from Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill which aims at amending the Protection from Domestic Violence Act in order to –

(a) provide that the Court may hear an application for a protection order in such manner as it thinks fit;

(b) provide that the Court, which has made a protection, occupancy or tenancy order, may also make an ancillary order as to alimony;

(c) increase the penalty for the offence of wilfully failing to comply with any order made under the Act; and

(d) provide that the Court may order a spouse who has wilfully failed to comply with an order made under the Act, to attend counselling sessions instead of sentencing him to a fine or imprisonment.

4. Cabinet has taken note that Mr Dheeren Dabee, Solicitor General, whose candidature was sponsored by Government, has been unanimously appointed by the Commonwealth Board of Governors to serve on the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal for a term of four years as from 1 November 2007.

5. Cabinet has taken note that the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Obstructions on Pas Géométriques, chaired by the Minister of Local Government, had effected site visits at Roches Noires. A survey is at present being carried out to find out whether illegal constructions, walls, etc., had been put up along the coast and access to the sea from the coastal road has been respected.

6. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life to Brussels where he participated in the First Meeting of ACP Ministers of Health, and to Wales where he visited the Diabetes Academic Unit, the Diabetes Research Unit and the Diabetes Resource Centre at Cardiff University Hospital (Llandough Hospital) in the context of the implementation of the National Service Framework for Diabetes.

The ACP Ministers of Health Meeting adopted the ‘Brussels Declararation on Health for Sustainable Development in ACP States’ and its ‘Framework for Action and Recommendations’ which would constitute the policy framework to strengthen intra-ACP cooperation in the health sector.

Cabinet has further taken note that, consequent to the visit of the Prime Minister to the Hospital, Mr Trevor Hemings, Head of a Charity Organisation, handed over a cheque to the tune of £18,000 to Professor David Owens in the presence of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life for the purchase of the latest Digital Retinal Camera for use in Mauritius and donated 300 glucose meters. Professor Owens would visit Mauritius in early December 2007 with a team of specialists to train the local health staff on the use of the equipment. A team of specialists would also visit Mauritius to train the local staff on Podiatry.

7. Cabinet has taken note that the High Powered Committee, set up under the chairmanship of the Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, to look into the campement site policy following a Supreme Court judgement on the case lodged by the Association of Campement Owners and Users, has, after examining a series of proposals from the Association, agreed to extend the delay for the payment of the amount of premium and the new rent in accordance with the Finance Act 2006. The lessees would be invited to exercise their options and make necessary payments by mid May 2008.

8. Cabinet has taken note of progress made in the implementation of the Women and Children Solidarity Programme announced in the 2007-2008 Budget Speech. The Programme aims at assisting deeply committed NGOs, in partnership with various Government bodies, the Private Sector and the Empowerment Programme, in supporting women and children, victims of abuse and violence and children with debilitating diseases and other serious ailments.

9. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of bilateral air services talks held in Canberra on 24 and 25 October 2007 between the aeronautical authorities of Australia and those of Mauritius and that a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed providing, inter alia, for -

(i) the designated airline(s) of each Party to be entitled up to 7 frequencies per week whilst operating services to/from Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, on the Mauritius/Australia route;

(ii) multiple points being served by the designated airline(s) of Mauritius in Australia in any combination, as part of a through international journey;

(iii) fifth freedom traffic rights being exercised by the designated airline(s) of Australia on a maximum of 4 weekly frequencies to/from four beyond points in continental Africa, subject to no more than three points in South Africa being served; and

(iv) unrestricted operation of cargo services at all points between and beyond the territory of the Parties.

10. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Conservatoire de Musique François Mitterrand Trust Fund (Amendment) Bill which provides, inter alia, for the renaming of the Trust Fund as the "Conservatoire National de Musique François Mitterrand Trust Fund", and the consolidation of its objects and scope of activity to reflect developments in the field of music.

11. In line with the vision of Government to make Mauritius an information-based economy and an information society, Cabinet has taken note of the National ICT Policy 2007 – 2011 which has, as broad objectives, to -

(a) provide a framework that would enable ICT to contribute towards achieving national development goals;

(b) develop the export markets for ICT Services, Business Process Outsourcing and IT Enabled Services;

(c) position Mauritius as a regional ICT centre of excellence and knowledge hub;

(d) transform Mauritius into an Information-based society where everyone would have an equitable and affordable access to ICTs.

12. Cabinet has taken note that the Central Cyclone and Other Natural Disasters Committee has reviewed current arrangements for the forthcoming cyclone season.

Cabinet has further taken note that assessments made by the Meteorological Services indicate that 2007-2008 cyclone activity would be slightly below normal, cumulative rainfall between November 2007 to April 2008 near normal but on the lower side and temperature close to the long-term mean.

13. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius ratifying the Protocol on the Policy and Regulatory Framework for NEPAD ICT Broadband Infrastructure for Eastern and Southern Africa, (known as the EASSy or Kigali Protocol) which was signed on 20 November 2006. The main objective of the Protocol is to facilitate and to commit the parties to the construction and operation of the EASSy submarine cable based on open access principles. It further aims at providing for the setting up of special purpose entity/entities for carrying out the construction, ownership, maintenance and operation of the proposed regional Network.

14. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius signing the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance which aims at consolidating the institutional set up of AU Member States and monitoring, inter alia, –

(a) adherence to universal values, principles of democracy and respect for human rights;

(b) adherence to the principle of the rule of law premised upon the respect for and the supremacy of the Constitution and constitutional order in the political arrangements of the state parties; and

(c) establishment of the necessary condition to foster citizen participation, transparency, access to information, freedom of the press and accountability in the management of public affairs.

15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development to New York and San Francisco from 22 to 26 October 2007 where he lead an Investment Promotion Mission.

In New York, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development had discussions with a number of organizations, viz., CITCO on possibilities for tax planning using Mauritius jurisdiction, Greenberg Traurig, an International Law Firm, on particularly new developments in the financial services sector and the New York Stock Exchange on the consolidation of the stock exchange industry.

In San Francisco, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development had meetings, inter alia, with the Vice-President of Business Operations of Google for using Mauritius as a platform to enter the regional market.

16. Cabinet has taken note that the Second IOC Extraordinary Council Meeting on the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations between the sub regional group – Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles (CMMS) - and the European Commission held in Mauritius on 30 October 2007 endorsed the texts on trade in goods, safeguard measures, rules of origin, sugar, fisheries and development. These texts would be used as a basis for negotiations with the European Commission.

17. Cabinet has taken note that Mr Philippe Corre, Directeur Départemental Adjoint and Mr Yves Guilloux, Chef de Service Éducatif de la Protection Judiciaire of the Direction Départementale de la Protection Judiciaire de la Jeunesse de la Réunion, visited Mauritius from 24 to 27 October 2007 when they carried out an evaluation of the rehabilitation programme for juvenile delinquents and visited the rehabilitation institutions. They would submit their report by mid-November 2007 on how best to improve the rehabilitation programme with a view to equipping these juveniles with skills that would facilitate their reintegration into mainstream of society.

18. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Arts and Culture to Paris from 23 to 26 October 2007 where he participated in the 16th General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and National Heritage, commonly known as the World Heritage Convention. The General Assembly reviewed the World Heritage list. The Minister met, inter alia, the Director of the World Heritage Centre with whom he discussed progress on the inscription of Le Morne as a World Heritage site.

19. Cabinet has taken note that HE Mr Abulaiti Abudurexiti, Vice-President of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and President of the Chinese-African People’s Friendship Association, would visit Mauritius from 4 to 6 December 2007 at the head of a delegation of 13 persons. The visit aims at enhancing bilateral cooperation and exchanges between Mauritius and the People’s Republic of China.