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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 13 April 2007

Cabinet Decisions taken on 13 April 2007

 1. Following comments of the Privy Council relating to the basic democratic principle of the rule of law and separation of Judicial and Executive powers, Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill which abolishes fixed sentences and restores sentencing discretions of the Court in all cases. The Bill, also, makes provision for –

(a) the increase of the penalty for offences, such as murder and manslaughter, from 45 years to 60 years; and

(b) the Supreme Court to review the sentence of every person who has previously been sentenced and is serving sentence for life or for a mandatory term of 45 or 30 years. In such cases, an application shall be made to the Supreme Court by the Director of Public Prosecutions for the Court to review the sentence.

2. Cabinet has taken note of the outstanding performance recorded in tourist arrivals for the month of March 2007, i.e., 79,965 tourists visited Mauritius as compared to 58,136 for the corresponding period of last year, representing an increase of 37.5%.

Statistics confirm that France and Reunion, our leading traditional markets, have completely recovered recording an increase of 64.4% and 19.9% respectively.

Other markets have registered growths as follows –

Germany (+63.1%)
South Africa (+28.9%)
United Kingdom (+29.2%) Austria (+61.3%)
Sweden (+318.3%) Netherlands (+36.6%)
Switzerland (+58.5%) Belgium (+23.7%)
Spain (+36.1%) CIS (+41.7%)
Italy (+4.3%) Australia (+2.0%)
China (+26.7%)

3. With a view to maintaining and sustaining the present growth momentum of tourist arrivals and the tourism industry, Cabinet has taken note of measures to maintain the attractiveness of Mauritius as a tourist destination. These include -

(a) the preservation of the natural, exquisite and pristine characteristics of our seascapes;

(b) coordinated hotel development strategies; and

(c) targeted approach as regards foreign direct investment in the sector and giving opportunity to international brand names to invest.

4. Cabinet has taken note that one of the conditions attached to the setting up of private schools of nursing is the provision of clinical training facilities in public health institutions. The aim is to provide high level training in the field of nursing and health science with a view to ensuring,inter alia, a steady supply of qualified nursing staff to both the public and the private sectors, as well as for overseas markets, for an improved level of care and service to the community.

Cabinet has further taken note that the Nightingale College of Nursing Ltd., in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire, proposes to set up a private school of nursing for conducting a General Nursing Programme of a three-year duration leading to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

5. With a view to ensuring that the population has access to medical testing laboratory services that are in line with international standards, Cabinet has agreed to the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life working out guidelines to facilitate and expedite the accreditation of private clinical testing laboratories to International Standards. The importance of accreditation at the international level is highlighted through its recognition by the World Trade Organisation as a means of minimising Technical Barriers to Trade and, hence, facilitating trade between countries.

6. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the 23rd Session of the Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Commission held on 3 April 2007 at Maritim Hotel, Balaclava. Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister, performed the opening ceremony. In his address, he underlined the importance for the IOC, as a regional organisation, to be result-oriented. He also emphasized on the need for the IOC to redefine its strategies in view of major developments taking place on the regional and international scenes.

The Council reviewed progress in the implementation of projects/initiatives undertaken by the IOC in various fields covering political and diplomatic relations, security, sustainable management of marine and coastal resources, tourism, information and communication technology, climatic change and health. The status of disbursement of funds under the 9th EDF and the preparation of the 10th EDF, covering the period 2008 – 2013, were also discussed.

In the margins of the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation had bilateral discussions, inter alia, with Mrs Brigitte Girardin, Ministre déléguée à la Cooperation, au Développement et à la Francophonie, and signed various agreements, including the “Document Cadre de Partenariat France – Maurice”.

7. Cabinet has taken note that the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications would make the following regulations with a view to rendering the Tourism Authority Act functional and operational as from 1 May 2007–

(i) Tourism Authority (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations;

(ii) Tourism Authority (Tourist Enterprise Licence Fees) Regulations;

(iii) Tourism Authority (Pleasure Craft Licence Fees) Regulations;

(iv) Tourism Authority (Skipper’s Licence Fees) Regulations; and

(v) Tourism Authority (Canvasser Permit Fees) Regulations.

The regulations provide, inter alia, for the licencing of enterprises, registration and categorization of pleasure crafts.

8. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with the requirements of the International Labour Organisation, the following instruments, adopted at the International Labour Conference in June 2006 to protect workers against sickness, disease and injury arising out of employment, would be tabled in the National Assembly -

(a) Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187);

(b) Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Recommendation, 2006 (No. 197); and

(c) Employment Relationship Recommendation, 2006 (No. 198).

9. Subsequent to the visit of Dr the Honourable Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister to the People's Republic of China in December 2006 where various cooperation programmes were concluded, Cabinet has taken note that HE Mr Xia Geng, Mayor of the City of Qingdao, would visit Mauritius to determine avenues of cooperation between the Republic of Mauritius and the City of Qingdao. On that occasion, the Mayor would sign agreements on the setting up of a Joint Business Council and on the Twinning of the City of Qingdao with the Grand Port/Savanne District Council and discuss various issues of cooperation.

10. Cabinet has taken note that a Memorandum of Understanding would be signed between the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (Mauritius), providing for cooperation in areas such as -

(a) training of professional staff through exchange programmes;

(b) conducting joint research and studies or projects;

(c) conducting study visits to discuss issues of common interest;

(d) exchange of information, law or legal publications in order to enhance common understanding for elevant issues to both parties;

(e) sharing of information to combat crime, in particular transnational organized crime; and

(f) giving the necessary assistance in investigations and prosecutions.

11. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the official visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation to the Arab Republic of Egypt from 19 to 24 March 2007.

During the visit, the Minister -
(a) had meetings with HE Dr Ahmed Nazif, Prime Minister; HE Mr Ahmed Abou El-Ghait, Minister of Foreign affairs and other Cabinet Ministers; and

(b) signed the Memorandum of Understanding for General Cooperation, the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of fisheries management and aquaculture and the Memorandum of Understanding establishing a framework to facilitate cooperation.

Following discussions, the Egyptian authorities have agreed, inter alia, to -

(i) send a delegation of Egyptian businessmen and investors to visit Mauritius to explore trade and investment opportunities;

(ii) provide technical assistance, including scholarships to Mauritians;

(iii) foster cooperation in the field of tourism and for the renovation of historical buildings; and

(iv) fund the dispatch of experts to Mauritius for archaeological excavations and research on the trail of Dodo and other species.