CABINET DECISIONS – 13 JUNE 2008
1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Acting Prime Minister to Japan where he participated in the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on Development (TICAD IV) from 27 to 30 May 2008. The primary functions of TICAD are to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners and to mobilise support for sustainable development in Africa. A central feature of the framework is cooperation between Africa and Asia, Japan in particular. The Conference adopted three documents, namely, the Yokohama Declaration, the Yokohama Plan of Action and the Follow up Mechanism.
In the margins of the Conference, the Acting Prime Minister met -
(a) HE Mr Masahiko Koumura, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan;
(b) Mr Eiji Hashimoto, the Vice-President of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA); and
(c) Mr Kawaguchi, Executive Director of the Port of Yokohama.
2. In line with the recommendations contained in Mackay Report, and in the context of the overall reform of Government System, including the Judiciary, Cabinet has agreed to the liberalisation of the occupation of usher for a fair and efficient justice. There is a vast trend nowadays to move toward self-employed ushers or bailiffs. An usher is assigned to a court and has to be in attendance throughout the sitting for the purpose of maintaining order in court, for calling of cases, and for administering oath to parties and witnesses. Ushers are also responsible for serving or executing judicial and extra-judicial processes and several other documents, like notice “mise-en-demeure”, injunctions issued by the Judge in Chambers or the Supreme Court, orders for immediate care and control of children, petitions for divorce and custody for children, plaint with summons, notice of motions to be made before the Supreme Court, and notice of “commandement” prior to seizure of moveable and immoveable property. The liberalisation of the profession of usher would reduce the cost of enforcement of court decisions and other instruments. It is also considered that, by opening up the profession to self-employed persons, competition would bring about a better and cost-effective service to citizens.
3. Cabinet has taken note that Mr George Lipimile, Senior Adviser, Competition & Consumer Policies Branch, UNCTAD would visit Mauritius from 16 to 27 June 2008 to help prepare the institutional framework for the setting up of the Competition Commission in Mauritius as provided for in the Competition Act.
Mr Lipimile reckons vast experience in competition matters. From 1997 to 2007, he has been Executive Director, Zambia Competition Commission. He has also acted as Lead Consultant for the drafting of Competition Law and Policy in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and was engaged by the Commonwealth Secretariat to commence the implementation of the Competition and Fair Trading Act and to establish the Competition and Fair Trading Commission of Malawi. On the regional front, he has prepared the COMESA Regional Competition Regulations & Rules and the SADC Declaration on Competition & Consumer Law and Policy.
4. In line with Government programme 2005-2010 and with a view to combating Diabetes, Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of a Diabetes and Non-Communicable Diseases Institute at new Souillac Hospital, which would be responsible for primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of diabetes and other non-communicable deseases (NCDs) with emphasis on extensive health promotion to deal with risks factors of all NCDs as well as cardiovascular diseases. As a long term measure, the Institute would be responsible to conduct all practical training programmes relating to NCDs and diabetes, and process and analyse all NCD data with the support of an Epidemiologist. The Institute is expected to establish strong links with international centres and eventually emerge as a Regional World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre in the field of diabetes and NCDs.
Cabinet has taken note that the second meeting of the International Advisory Committee on the National Service Framework for Diabetes (NSFD), set up to help towards the development of Mauritius as a WHO Collaborating Centre for diabetes for the region, would be held in Mauritius in August 2008. The Committee is expected, amongst other things, to advise on the following issues:-
(a) the regulatory framework regarding sale and consumption of snacks and soft drinks on school premises;
(b) the development of the “Know your Number for Better Health” and the “Mauritian Score Questionnaire”, tools to identify people at high risk of diabetes; and
(c) the preparation of an elaborated programme under the NSFD.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life and the World Diabetes Foundation would sign a Project Partnership Agreement for the implementation of the National Service Framework for Diabetes in areas, such as the setting up of the National Diabetes Register, the Retinal Screening Service and the Podiatry Service.
5. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with commitments taken at international conferences to promote the sexual and reproductive health of women, the Ministry of Women’s Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, proposes to carry out screening of cervical cancer in Women Centres. Cancer, more specifically breast and cervical cancer, has recently emerged as a very pronounced health hazard for women and in view of its negative impact, women are advised to undergo papsmear tests as a preventive measure. The screening programme would be conducted in line with the protocol of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life and all abnormal cases would be referred to that Ministry for management.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the activities which NATReSA would organise to mark the 21st International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26 June 2008. The UN theme for this year is "Do Drugs Control your life? Your Life. Your Community. No place for Drugs?" The activities would culminate in a 3-day Residential Regional Conference on Resource Mobilisation and Networking to combat substance abuse in the Indian Ocean region. The Conference would bring together stakeholders in the Indian Ocean, namely, governmental organisations, NGOs, self-help groups, health professionals, researchers, social workers and community-based organisations working in the field of substance abuse and illicit trafficking, with a view to -
(i) enhancing regional cooperation;
(ii) sharing experiences and best practices;
(iii) creating networks in the region to combat substance abuse and illicit trafficking; and
(iv) promoting bilateral cooperation among member countries of the Indian Ocean Commission.
7. Cabinet has agreed to the project of Shah Health Care Services Ltd (Mauritius) to operate a new Tertiary Eye Care Hospital at Belle Rose, which would provide complete eye care services to Mauritians, as well as patients from the region, viz., refractive errors correction (clinical/surgical), cataract surgery, vitreo retinal services, glaucoma, squint, ocular trauma, paediatric ophthalmology, orbit and oculoplasty, ocular oncology, keratoplasty, and eye banking. Cabinet has further taken note that, as part of their corporate social responsibility, the promoters propose to carry out, at regular intervals, eye care awareness programmes for the public, and 10 cataract surgeries on needy patients free of charge every month. The total cost of the project is Rs 97m.
8. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius, along with the other member states of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), signing a Memorandum of Understanding on the setting up of the Inter-Island Connectivity Network (SEGANET) project which aims at connecting member states of the IOC via a submarine fibre optic cable and providing high telecommunications bandwidth for the socio-economic development of the region.
9. Cabinet has taken note that, as from January 2009, a pilot project, aiming at broadening the curricular base at Form IV, would be implemented in a few State and private secondary schools with a view to ensuring that all students learn at least one science subject up to School Certificate level. The project is in line with the strategy for reform of the Education Sector and the new orientation of the economy, where it is imperative that a science literate citizenry is developed to meet the needs of an increasingly technological work environment. The Ministry of Education & Human Resources has developed the project in close collaboration with the Secondary School Teachers’ Union, as well as the Federation of Managers of the Private Secondary Schools. The teaching of the new curricular combination in schools will start as from the resumption of studies in January 2009. Schools would be required to submit to the Ministry of Education & Human Resources regular reports on the performance of students and progress in the teaching of the subjects. In the light of the analysis of the outcome of the pilot project, the project would be extended to other secondary schools in 2010 so that all schools are covered as from January 2011.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the Seventh Society for Free Radical Research-Africa (SFRR-Africa) International Conference would be held at the University of Mauritius, from 14 to 17 July 2008. The Society for Free Radicals Research-Africa is a constituent member of the International Society for Free Radical Research, a body dedicated to the study of free radicals and anti-oxidants in biochemistry, biology, immunology, medicine, food technology among others. The main objective of the Conference is to promote research relevant to the management and prevention of diseases in Africa and Island States, identify and evaluate old and existing technologies for health care in Africa, and strengthen international lobbying of governments on African health issues.
11. Cabinet has taken note that Mauritius would participate in the Sixth “Commission de la Jeunesse et des Sports de l’Océan Indien” (CJSOI) Games to be held in the Seychelles from 27 July to 02 August 2008 in the following seven sports disciplines which have been retained by the Organising Committee of the Games:
• Table Tennis
The CJSOI Games is the second most important youth and sports event organized every two years with the participation of young persons from the member islands/countries of the Indian Ocean region. It is expected that more than 1200 young persons, up to the age of 17 years, would participate in the Games.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications to Australia from 24 to 31 May 2008. Australia, one of the most promising markets, has registered a 23% growth rate in arrivals for the year to date, on top of the 17% registered in 2007. The mission revolved around the following three main activities in the cities of Sydney, Perth and Melbourne -
• working sessions with the travel trade (tour operators and travel agents);
• meetings with the representatives of the main press, travel magazines and radio based in the respective cities; and
• interactions with members of Mauritian community based in these cities.
During his mission, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications met several dignitaries, including the Hon Tim Holding, Minister of Tourism of the State of Victoria and Mr Bob Hawke, former Prime Minister of Australia. He also had working sessions with officials of the various tourism boards which have agreed to collaborate with MTPA to effect joint marketing activities to promote Mauritius as a stopover to Australia. To this effect, a delegation from the State of Western Australia is expected at the end of the month. The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications also met members of the Mauritian community, based in each of these cities, who not only are our ambassadors to that country but also represent an important reservoir of visitors from Australia.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Local Government to Cameroon where he participated in the Ministers’ Conference on Leadership Capacity Building for Decentralised Governance and Poverty Alleviation in Africa and the All Africa Ministerial Conference on Decentralisation and Local Government held from 28 to 30 May 2008.
The Minister’s Conference on Leadership Capacity Building for Decentralised Governance and Poverty Alleviation in Africa deliberated on important issues affecting the African States, such as Capacity Building, Resource Mobilisation, participation of women in Local Government, Partnership and Decentralised Cooperation. The All Africa Ministerial Conference on Decentralisation and Local Government reviewed progress achieved so far in the implementation of its objectives.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life to Geneva where he participated in the 61st Session of the World Health Assembly held from 19 to 24 May 2008.
Resolutions adopted by the 61st World Health Assembly include a global strategy on public health, innovation and intellectual property and the six-year Action Plan for a global strategy for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
In the margins of the Conference, the Minister of Health and Quality of Life met Dr Ala Alman, Deputy Director General of WHO and Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Unit, who agreed to send a technical team from the NCD Unit of WHO to perform a situational analysis in Mauritius, and expressed the wish for Mauritius to join in a multi-centre study on cardiovascular disease prevention.
During his stay in Geneva, the Minister of Health and Quality of Life also visited Manisha Roopun, a two-year old child, who was referred to “Les Hôpitaux de Genève” for a liver transplantation. The transplantation has been successful.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Industry, Small & Medium Enterprises, Commerce & Cooperatives to Reunion Island on 28 and 29 May 2008 in the context of the holding of a “Salon Mauricien à la Réunion”, organised by Enterprise Mauritius. The main objectives of the “Salon” were to -
(a) showcase products and services to importers from Reunion Island and test products;
(b) create awareness on quality and standards requirements in Reunion/EU;
(c) establish contacts with buyers;
(d) gather first hand market and commercial intelligence; and
(e) obtain trial orders and firm orders.
Seventy-seven SMEs involved in different sectors, including agro-industry, handicraft, jewellery, furniture, light industry, stationery, printing, services, clothing and ‘textile d’intérieur et linge de maison’, participated in the Salon.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Arts and Culture to Malawi where he participated in the launching of the Southern and Eastern Africa Copyright Network (SEACONET), which has been established to strengthen regional collaboration and cooperation in the field of creative (cultural) industries, copyright and related rights. A Strategic Plan for 2008-2011 has also been adopted where policies, objectives and strategies have been identified along with long term goals and objectives.