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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 05 December 2008

Cabinet Decisions taken on 05 December 2008

1. In line with the commitment of Mauritius to combat terrorism in all its forms, Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Prevention of Terrorism (International Obligations) Bill which aims at allowing Mauritius to adhere to international counter-terrorism instruments to which it is not yet a party.
The main objectives of the Counter-Terrorism Conventions and Protocols are to prevent, punish and condemn all acts, methods and practices of international terrorism, as well as to bestow specific obligations on States Parties, including the obligations to -
(a) establish as criminal offences under their domestic law the offences set forth in the counter-terrorism instruments and make the offences punishable by appropriate penalties;
(b) establish their jurisdiction over the offences described in the Conventions and Protocols;
(c) take alleged offenders into custody, prosecute or extradite them where applicable;
(d) cooperate in preventive measures; and
(e) exchange information and evidence needed in criminal proceedings.

2. In connection with the sale to the owners of State lands on which stand ex-CHA houses, Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of a Ministerial Committee to facilitate the transaction in those cases where the deed of sale could not be finalised. The Ministerial Committee, which would meet shortly, would also determine the cases where the ex-CHA houses have been put up on Pas Géométriques, or on plots of private land obtained from Sugar Estates.
Cabinet has agreed to the land which is not situated in the precinct of ex-CHA Housing Estates but on which an ex-CHA house has been put up, also being sold to its owner.
Cabinet has also agreed to the Ministerial Committee considering the modalities for the repairs of the housing units of ex-CHA houses, NHDC houses, SILWF houses which are either leaking or in a bad state.

3. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements being made for the commemoration of the abolition of slavery, the celebration of the inscription of Le Morne Cultural Landscape on the World Heritage List and the inauguration of the Slave Route Monument on 1 February 2009. A number of foreign dignitaries would be invited to attend the function. Mr F. Bandarin, Director, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, would be invited to deliver the World Heritage Certificate on that day.

4. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Road Traffic (Amendment No. 2) Bill which amends the Road Traffic Act in order to enforce more effectively the law by providing the issue of fixed penalty notices for offences detected by means of a prescribed device, like a photographic enforcement device. The Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport and Shipping has acquired three mobile cameras which would be handed over to the Police for the purpose of detecting, through photographic evidence, the following offences: -
(a) failing to comply with traffic directions and signs;
(b) using a hand-held microphone or telephone handset whilst driving; and
(c) exceeding speed limit.
The photographic device would portray the vehicle indicating its registration number, the date, time and place of the offence.

5. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Insolvency Bill which aims at reforming the law relating to the insolvency of individuals and companies, and in particular to –
(a) provide straightforward and fair procedures for realising and distributing the assets of insolvent individuals and companies;
(b) promote honest trading and the prudent incurring of liabilities, impose penalties on the fraudulent and reckless trading and management of assets leading to insolvency, and place appropriate sanctions on profligate individual and commercial behaviour;
(c) provide alternatives to bankruptcy for individuals facing insolvency and procedures for workout and administration of companies as alternatives to winding up with a view to their rehabilitation; and
(d) address the position of cross-border insolvencies in relation to companies.
The Bill presents a comprehensive set of insolvency reforms that would address the recommendations of the World Bank pertaining to the insolvency legal framework. The new law, if well implemented, would provide Mauritius with a modern and effective insolvency system.

6. Cabinet has taken note that the Specialised Pre-Primary School for visually impaired children aged between 3 and 5, unique of its kind in Mauritius, would be inaugurated at the Loïs Lagesse Trust Fund on 10 December 2008. The School, which can accommodate 50 children, will operate on a pilot basis with the admission of some 15 children in January 2009. Two teachers, who have been trained at the "Centre de la Ressource" at Reunion Island, would be attached to the School.

7. Cabinet has taken note of the various initiatives put in place in the ICT sector with a view to making the sector more resilient to the world financial crisis, viz -
(a) reduction of International Private Lease Circuit tariffs and passing the benefits to end users;
(b) proclamation of the Data Protection Act 2004 to attract investors and boosting up the Business Process Outsourcing/call centre segments;
(c) making provision for appropriate infrastructure for ICT expansion;
(d) developing a pool of IT professionals to support the expansion of the ICT sector, in particular, investment in higher value added Business Process Outsourcing; and
(e) improvement of internet connection and speed, as well as increase in cable connections, such as SEGANET and SEACOM.
Cabinet has further taken note of developments in the SEGANET project, an Indian Ocean Commission initiative, which aims at connecting Member States via a submarine fibre-optic cable to provide high telecommunication bandwidth for the socio-economic development of the region. A “Protocole d’Accord” on the project would shortly be signed by all parties concerned. The “Protocole” would serve as a reference tool and a basis for Member States to make their decisions based upon the result of in-depth legal, economic, technical and financial studies on specific important key issues relating to the Project. It also provides for the setting up of a Regional Strategic Committee under the purview of the IOC to monitor and coordinate the implementation of the project.

8. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Youth and Sports would open the “Jeux de Rodrigues” which would be held from 10 to 14 December 2008 at Camp du Roi stadium with the participation of about 1200 athletes in 19 sports disciplines.

9. Cabinet has taken note that the campaign against illegal fly-posting has achieved its aim and that posters are now being affixed on poster panels erected in different localities. Cabinet has further taken note that other means of publicity, such as the radio, newspapers, banners, billboards, etc., are being much utilized. To sustain the initiative, the Ministry of Tourism, Leisure and External Communications proposes to install 100 temporary poster panels, in different localities, particularly in the region of Moka and Quartier Militaire, in addition to the permanent poster panels already installed by the Ministry of Local Government, Rodrigues and Outer Islands.

10. Cabinet has taken note that a team of International Consultants from the United Nations Development Programme carried out a feasibility study on the setting up of a National Volunteer Scheme for Mauritius and Rodrigues with a view to allowing citizens to participate in the development of Mauritius and Rodrigues by using their knowledge and skills to respond to the need of the country.
The objectives of the mission were to:
(a) assess the feasibility of a National Framework to strengthen volunteerism;
(b) propose an institutional framework for the promotion of national volunteerism allowing voluntary participation of every Mauritian in addressing emerging development challenges; and
(c) identify and recommend a favourable and successful National Volunteer Scheme to fight existing pockets of poverty and enhance service delivery to the most vulnerable groups in Mauritius and Rodrigues.

11. Cabinet has taken note that the Postal Authority has approved the recommendations of the Stamp Advisory Committee regarding the Stamp Issue for December 2008 and calendar year 2009 which would be on the following themes:
(a) Mauritius in World Literature
(b) Endemic Flowers of Mauritius
(c) Evolution of Police Uniforms
(d) Mauritian Painters
(e) Events and Anniversaries
The December 2008 issue on “Mauritius in World Literature” would comprise a series of stamps on well-known writers who visited and wrote on Mauritius, viz., Charles Baudelaire, Joseph Conrad, Mark Twain, Alexandre Dumas and Bernardin de St. Pierre.

12. Cabinet has taken note of the publication by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life of the Health Statistics Report 2007. The salient features of the Report are, inter alia, as follows:-
For Island of Mauritius
(a) Crude Birth Rate was 13.2 per thousand mid-year resident population as compared to 13.8 in 2006;
(b) Crude Death Rate was 6.8 per thousand mid-year population as compared to 7.3 in 2006;
(c) total fertility rate dropped to 1.6 in 2007;
(d) life expectancy at birth rose from 61 years for male and 66 years for female in 1973 to 69 years and 76 years respectively in 2007;
(e) 13,480 births occurred in government hospitals in 2007 representing 83% of all births registered in the Island; and
(f) the total number of pathological tests carried out in public laboratories, which was 3.5 million in 1997, increased to 7.4 million in 2007.
For Island of Rodrigues
(a) the Crude Birth Rate was 22.6 per 1,000 mid-year resident population in 2007;
(b) from 27.2 per thousand live births in 2006, the Infant Mortality Rate went down to 15.4 in 2007; and
(c) diseases of the circulatory system were responsible for 35.4% of all deaths in 2007, endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases (mainly diabetes) for 16.6%, neoplasms (cancer etc.) for 18.3% , diseases of the respiratory system for 8.6% and injury and poisoning for 6.9%.

13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure and External Communications from 16 to 24 November 2008 to China where, on an invitation of the China National Tourism Administration, he participated in the Tenth Session of the China International Travel Mart held in Shanghai.
The China International Mart is the biggest comprehensive Travel Mart in Asia, with about 3000 exhibitors and 1500 international buyers from over 90 countries. On the occasion, the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, jointly with Air Mauritius, organised a workshop, with a view to promoting the attributes of Mauritius to the tour operators/travel agents.
The Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure and External Communications gave a press conference where he made an exposé on the numerous touristic attractions of Mauritius, the increasing importance of the tourism industry for our economy, and the variety of tourism products offered.
In view of the fact that China represents a potential reservoir of tourists for Mauritius, it was decided to –
(a) appoint a Public Relations Representative in China and to invite a team of selected media and the main tour operators/travel agents to Mauritius;
(b) launch an advertising/promotion campaign together with the Tour Operators who are interested to feature Mauritius in their holiday package; and
(c) set up a cooperation mechanism between the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and the Tourism Administration of the provinces. In the initial stage, promotional initiatives would be focused on Guangzhou and Shanghai in view of the fact the greatest part of traffic with Mauritius emanates from these cities.

14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Industry, Science and Research from 25 to 28 November 2008 to Geneva where he attended the 48th Session of the International Conference on Education, which had as theme “From Inclusive Education to Inclusive Society”. The following four sub-themes were also discussed –
(a) Inclusive education: approaches, scope and content;
(b) Inclusive education: public policies;
(c) Inclusive education: systems, links and transitions; and
(d) Inclusive education: learners and teachers.

15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Environment and National Development Unit from 16 to 20 November 2008 to Doha Qatar, where he participated in the Eighth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Twentieth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
The main issues discussed at the Conference of the Parties included replenishment of the Multilateral Fund, destruction of banks of ozone depleting substances, essential uses of metered dose inhalers; essential and critical-use exemptions; non-compliance issues; and financial and administrative matters.
In the margins of the Conference, the Mauritian delegation met the representative of the German co-operation agency, GTZ-Proklima, for an update on the implementation of the chiller project at the New Government Centre and the New Court House. In the context of the International Climate initiative, the German Government has provided a grant of 1.1 million euros to replace the existing chlorofluorocarbon chillers with ammonia chillers which are both ozone- and climate-friendly.

16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Youth and Sports on 23 November 2008 to Canada where he participated in the Foundation Board Meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The main issues on the agenda of the WADA Meeting were, inter alia, -
(a) Funding for social research and educational programmes on anti-doping in Member States;
(b) Appointment of Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Board; and
(c) report on WADA Code Compliance.
Cabinet has further taken note of the outcome of the African Regional Conference on the fight against Doping in Sports held in South Africa. The issues discussed were -
(a) International and regional response to doping in sports;
(b) the world anti-doping programme;
(c) the role of international federations in the fight against doping in
(d) developing effective anti-doping programmes; and
(e) educating athletes and young people about the harm caused by doping in sports.

17. Cabinet has taken note that Mr Dharmanand Goopt Fokeer has been appointed Director General of the University of Technology, Mauritius.