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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 12 October 2007

Cabinet Decisions taken on 12 October 2007

1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister, to New York where he participated in the 62nd Session of the UN General Assembly, the High-Level Event on Climate Change and the Third Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.

In his address to the Plenary of the General Assembly, the Prime Minister spoke, inter alia, on measures to counter terrorism, the establishment of a new International Economic Order which emphasizes “Globalization with a human face”, HIV/AIDS, and our sovereignty claim over the Chagos Archipelago and Tromelin and condemned the abominable situation in Myanmar.

The Prime Minister was conferred the distinct honour to preside a session of the General Assembly in recognition to the dynamic role played by Mauritius on the international arena and the initiatives taken by Mauritius to propose concrete solutions to certain international issues.

The Prime Minister also participated in a one-day high-level event entitled “The Future in our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change,” the objective of which was to secure political commitment and build political momentum to the Conference on Climate Change to be held in Bali, Indonesia, in December this year.

The Prime Minister had bilateral meetings with various personalities including –

(a) Mr Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN with whom he discussed, inter alia, the Plan of Action for Small Island Developing States and Climate Change;

(b) HE Mr Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, who would take the Chair of the EU, and with whom he discussed the conclusion of a new partnership agreement with the European Union;
(c) HE Dr Lawrence Gonzi, Prime Minister of Malta, with whom he exchanged views on a number of issues, particularly those relating to Small Island Developing States; and

(d) HE Sheik Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jafar Al-Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, with whom he discussed, inter alia, air access and investment opportunities.

The Prime Minister also participated in the Security Council Summit on Peace and Security in Africa held in the margins of the General Assembly meeting. The Summit, chaired by the French President, Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, aimed at strengthening the mobilization of the International Community and at working with African Union representatives to map out concrete avenues for action.

In New York, the Prime Minister also attended the third annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, to which he was personally invited for a third time, and the main objective of which was to identify immediate and pragmatic solutions to address the World’s most pressing problems, viz., Excellence in Education, Climate Change, promotion of Global Health and poverty alleviation.

2. Cabinet has taken note that 65,542 tourists visited Mauritius in the month of September 2007 as compared to 56,138 for September 2006, representing an increase of 16.8%. Total tourist arrivals for the period January to September 2007 reached 644,821 as compared to 546,122 for the same period of last year, i.e., an increase of 18.1%. Our major tourist markets have registered growth as follows –

France (+39.2%), Germany (+17.1%), UK (+11.8%), South Africa (+17.4%), Reunion Island (+9.4%), Belgium (+39.2%), Sweden (+25.2%), Austria (+17.1%), Switzerland (+9.9%), Netherlands (+8.6%), Italy (+0.2%), Australia (+19.5%), India (+10.4%) and China (+75.3%).

Based on this trend, it is expected that about 900,000 tourists would visit Mauritius by the end of 2007.

3. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of Bilateral Air Services Talks with the Aeronautical Authorities of the Kingdom of Spain and the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding which has become effective as from 4 October 2007. The Agreement provides, inter alia, for -

(a) 3 weekly frequencies until end of 2008 to 7 weekly frequencies as from January 2012;

(b) intermediate fifth freedom traffic rights on one point, namely Nairobi, on any one weekly frequency up to the end of the year 2009 and on any two weekly frequencies thereafter; and

(c) no restrictions for the operation of all cargo services between and beyond the territory of the parties.
Air Mauritius is planning to operate one weekly flight to Spain as from 18 June 2008.

4. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Fisheries and Marine Resources Bill which amends and consolidates the law providing for the management, conservation and protection of fisheries and marine resources and protection of the marine ecosystems.

The Bill also makes provision, inter alia, for –

(a) the setting up of Consultative Committees for the purpose of discussing and advising on fisheries, marine resources, aquaculture and marine conservation;

(b) the regulation of fish farming, fishing activities, prohibitions to use certain fishing methods and gears, closed periods, landing of fish, import and export of fish and fish products;

(c) the licensing of fishing boats, vessels and gears; and

(d) the enforcement of measures to track down illegal fishing, violation of international fishery conservation and management measures and pursuit beyond maritime zones.

5. Cabinet has taken note of measures taken by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in collaboration with the Islamic Cultural Centre, for the provision of medical assistance to Hadj pilgrims proceeding to Saudi Arabia as from mid December 2007, including -

(a) vaccination of Hadj pilgrims in all the five regional hospitals on Saturday 3 November 2007 from 0900 hrs to 1200 hrs;

(b) medical examination in all the Area Health Centres and Community Health Centres nearest to their place of residence; and

(c) provision of medicines, on request, prior to their departure.

6. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Civil Service & Administration Reforms, would launch the Introductory Course on Diplomacy and Foreign Trade on Monday 15 October 2007. The course, in the first phase, is aimed at newly recruited diplomatic and technical staff, as well as representatives of other Ministries and the private sector who require an international perspective in the course of their duties.

7. Cabinet has taken note of the organization of a local tsunami evacuation simulation exercise in the context of the finalization of a “Tsunami Contingency Plan” outlining the involvement of all front-line service providers, the civil society and the community at large for a quick and effective response in the event of a tsunami and to test the mechanism to be put in place.

8. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Supplementary Appropriation (2006-2007) Bill which provides for the appropriation of further sums paid and applied for the service of Government for the financial year 2006-2007 in excess of the amounts provided for in the Appropriation Act 2006 and the Estimate of Supplementary Expenditure No.1 of 2007 incorporating detailed items of expenditure incurred in 2006-2007 through advances from the Contingencies Fund.

9. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the participation of the Minister of Local Government in the Policy and Resources Committee of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), in his capacity as Vice-Chairperson of the Forum and member of the Committee, held from 4 to 6 October 2007 in Kampala, Uganda.

The Policy and Resources Committee discussed the following issues –

(i) a review of the follow-up action on the Auckland Accord;

(ii) the budget of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum;

(iii) the business plan for period 2007 – 2010; and

(iv) the holding of the 2009 CLGF Conference in Bahamas.

In the margins of the Committee, the Minister of Local Government attended a National Verification Workshop on Decentralisation Local Democracy and Good Governance which aimed at determining progress made by Uganda in the implementation of the 2005 Commonwealth Principles on Good Practice for Local Democracy and Good Governance.

10. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation to Brussels, London and Paris. In Brussels, the Minister participated in the ACP Special Ministerial Consultations on Sugar which deliberated on the Sugar Protocol and the Economic Partnership Agreements.

In London, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation had meetings, inter alia, with –

(a) Mr David Miliband, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth Affairs, with whom he discussed issues of bilateral interests;

(b) the Director of National History Museum; and

(c) the Policy Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College.

In Paris, the Minister had discussions with representatives of the French Government on issues of mutual interest.

11. Cabinet has taken note that Mr T.R. Baalu, Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways of the Republic of India, would visit Mauritius from 15 to 16 October 2007. He would inaugurate the new Mauritius Maritime Training Academy at Pointe aux Sables, pay courtesy calls to HE the President of the Republic, the Hon Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation and have a working session with the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping.

12. Cabinet has taken note of the recent mission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation to Seychelles where he participated in the Extraordinary Session of the IOC Council of Ministers which agreed that the sub-regional grouping comprising Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles (CMMS) would prevail upon the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) configuration to conclude the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), especially on Market Access and Development, with the European Commission by the end of this year, failing which the CMMS would move for an EPA as a new configuration. In the first instance, CMMS would table its offer to be made to the European Commission at a meeting of the ESA scheduled for end of October in Madagascar. Should the ESA fail to agree on an offer, the CMMS Ministers would then meet urgently for the next step to engage with the European Commission.

13. Cabinet has taken note that the Tertiary Education Commission has, with effect from 9 February 2007, granted provisional accreditation to Year IV of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery Programme run by the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College.

14. Cabinet has taken note of progress made in the accreditation of public sector laboratories by the Mauritius Accreditation Service (MAURITAS) so that the laboratories could ascertain action for eventual accreditation to International Standard. So far, 12 laboratories have undergone pre-assessment by MAURITAS.

15. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the Private Secondary Schools Board under the Chairmanship of Mr Rabindranath Naga.