CABINET DECISION - 19 JANUARY 2007
1. With a view to providing Mauritians and tourists another form of leisure/attraction in a sound and environmentally friendly atmosphere, Cabinet has taken note of the creation of an endemic park garden, the first since independence, at Vallée Osterlog, Le Val. The project covers 96.24 ha and would comprise a network of nature trails of a total length of about 4 km, a nursery to propagate rare indigenous plants, several picnic areas along the banks of the existing stream and on elevated spots, and Conservation Management Areas (CMA’s) where there is rich biodiversity. A visitor’s centre would also be constructed to provide information about the fauna and flora on site. Several rare plants found in that area, such as Takamaka, Bois Colophane, Mort aux Rats, Bois d’Olive, would also be propagated.
2. Cabinet has taken note that 96,309 tourists, an all-time-record, visited Mauritius in the month of December 2006 as compared to 90,519 for the corresponding period of 2005, i.e., an increase of 6.4%. The occupancy rate in hotels was practically 100% during the last week of December 2006.
Cabinet has further taken note that -
(a) the French market has almost returned to normal with 24,626 arrivals in December 2006.
(b) Growth in arrivals from other main European tourist markets were: Italy, third biggest European market, (+39.1%), United Kingdom (+4.5%), Sweden (+180.8%), CIS (+14.4%) and Austria (+8.7%).
(c) An increase of +16.8% was recorded from the Republic of South Africa.
(d) Tourist arrivals from India grew by 1.8%.
For the period January to December 2006, the total number of tourists that visited Mauritius reached 788,276 as compared to 761,063 for the corresponding period in 2005, i.e., an increase of 3.6 %.
The success is accountable mainly to the aggressive visibility campaign, the liberalization of air access policies and the sustained aggressive promotional campaigns.
3. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Bilateral Air Services talks with the Italian authorities on 16 and 17 January 2007 and of the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which provides, inter alia, for -
(i) multiple designation of airlines, which would enable a second carrier, in addition to Valare/Air Europe, to be designated by the Italian authorities to operate scheduled flights.
(ii) An increase in scheduled frequencies for passenger service from 2 to 8 flights per week on each side and in each direction with immediate effect. Air Mauritius and the Italian Carriers would each operate nine weekly flights respectively in each direction as from IATA Summer Season 2008 and 11 weekly flights as from IATA Summer Season 2009.
(iii) Air Mauritius being allowed three points of access in Italy.
The MoU would give an added dimension to fully exploit the Italian market which has shown an increase of 59.7% in tourist arrivals during the year 2006 as compared to 2005.
4. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT), a charitable and non-profit making organisation set up by the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, in 2004 to work on the delivery of a world class education through its network of 2900 primary and secondary schools, known as the International Networking for Educational Transformations (iNET).
The iNET aims at –
(a) creating powerful and innovative networks of schools that have achieved or have committed themselves to achieving systematic, significant and sustained change that ensures outstanding outcomes for all students in all settings;
(b) identifying, developing, validating and disseminating effective practice;
(c) enabling the SSAT and its affiliated schools to contribute to the
worldwide movement to transform education;
(d) establishing an international leadership qualification for school leaders; and
(e) supporting and developing identified ethos of cooperation and development within an international context.
Affiliation to iNET would enable all schools to -
(a) network with like-minded leaders and practitioners;
(b) apply to be an iNET centre of development and research, and publish research findings in SSAT or iNET publications and websites;
(c) access iNET’s online discussion forums and the views of influential international educational thinkers; and
(d) access an international symposium focussed on development and research.
This initiative is in line with Government's vision to convert Mauritius into a knowledge hub for Africa and to provide a World Class Quality Education to all students.
A delegation led by Mrs Elizabeth Reeves, Chief Executive of the SSAT would be in Mauritius by next week for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the final Nomination Dossier, together with the Draft Management Plan prepared by Dr F. Odendaal, Heritage Consultant, for the inscription of Le Morne on the World Heritage List, which would be submitted to UNESCO. The Draft Management Plan would be made public on 1 February 2007.
6. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the relocation of the inhabitants of Mare Chicose. Geotechnical investigations carried out recently have confirmed the presence of underground cavities on the site identified for their relocation, which could adversely affect buildings to be put up thereon. The Committee under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Local Government would shortly meet the Forces Vives of the region in that connection and identify an alternative site.
7. In line with Government Programme 2005 - 2010, Cabinet has taken note that the Sports Act 2000, the main legislation governing the promotion and development of sports in Mauritius, has failed to meet the aspirations of the Sporting Community, and would be revisited.
8. Cabinet has taken note that, in view of the bad state of the road, rehabilitation works would soon be carried out along paths of Motorway M1 from Colleville Deverell to Caudan Roundabout and of Motorway M2 from Quay D Roundabout to Pamplemousses Roundabout, i.e., over a stretch of 17.66 km.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation to India where, as Chief Guest, he participated in the Africa Segment of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2007 (PBD 2007).
The major theme of the PBD 2007 was "Rooting for the Roots: Meeting India's Development Challenges."
In the margins of the meeting the Minister had a series of bilateral meeting with key Indian political personalities, inter alia, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Hon Kamal Nath, and the Minister of External Affairs, Hon Pranab Mukherjee, and the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Hon Vayalar Ravi.
10. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the DWC (Repeal) Bill which repeals the Development Works Corporation Act, and provides for the transfer of the rights and obligations of the Development Works Corporation to Government.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the smooth resumption of studies in both primary and secondary schools on 11 January 2007. The focus for the resumption of studies 2007 has been on –
(a) the Bridging of the Gap Initiative which aims at facilitating the transition of students from pre-primary to Standard I in primary schools;
(b) the Welcome to School Initiative which allows both children and their parents to adjust, adapt and get to know the school environment; and
(c) the Morning Assembly with a view to developing a sense of patriotism among children through singing of the National Anthem with the national flag prominently displayed.
12. Cabinet has taken note that Mr Jayan Neerunjun, Director of Labour & Industrial Relations, would be the Chairperson of the Labour Advisory Board.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the Board of Trustees of 'La Clinique Mauricienne" for the year 2007.