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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 17 July

Cabinet Decisions taken on 17 July

1. Cabinet has learnt, with deep sorrow, the demise of His Eminence the Cardinal Jean Margeot and has decided to declare national mourning on 17, 18 and 19 July 2009 and grant State funeral

2. Cabinet has taken note that, with a view to boosting up the Tourism Sector in Rodrigues, a Special Holiday Package, with airfare at the reduced rate of Rs 5,430, would be applicable by August 2009 for Mauritian residents spending at least 4 nights in a paid accommodation

3. Cabinet has taken note of the introduction of a Scheme comprising a grant element, a loan component and technical assistance to reskill Rodriguan fishers and facilitate their migration to alternative income earning activities, given that in-lagoon fishing has to be stopped to prevent depletion of fish population and damage to the lagoon. The Scheme is initially targeting the 1,000 fishers who have indicated interest to join the Empowerment Programme but would also be open to the other registered fishers if they wish to join and meet the conditions of the Scheme.

4. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the implementation of decisions reached in the agreement between Government and the Mauritius Sugar Producers Association on metayers in the context of the sugar sector reform, providing, inter alia, for -
(a) exchange of strategic lands with non-strategic lands with option for the metayers to buy the land afterwards;
(b) sale of non-strategic land to metayers; and
(c) buying back by the land-owners of ‘droit de metayage’ from the metayers against payment of a compensation.
In order to ensure that the metayers obtain a fair deal, the Minister of Agro Industry, Food Production and Security has set up a Committee under the Chairmanship of the Hon Cader Sayed Hossen, Chairperson of the Commission for the Democratisation of the Economy, to negotiate with the MSPA and its members with a view to coming up with a uniform policy which would equally apply to all metayers in the different regions of the country.

5. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the land compensation to employees of sugar estates who retired under the Voluntary Retirement Schemes (VRS) 1 and 2. The Ministry of Agro Industry, Food Production and Security and the Mauritius Sugar Authority are monitoring the situation to ensure the timely completion of infrastructure works and the early issue of title deeds to the beneficiaries.

6. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the regrouping of small and medium planters and the derocking and preparation of their land under the Field Operations Regrouping and Irrigation Project, in line with the Multi-Annual Adaptation Strategy Action Plan, to improve the competitiveness of the small and medium sugar cane planters and to ensure that they continue to derive meaningful income and stay in business. As at December 2008, about 2,880 planters have been regrouped and 2,400 hectares of land derocked

7. Cabinet has taken note that the Fashion and Design Institute would be launched in September 2009. The Institute would –
(a) conduct the following degree courses -
(i) BA (Hons) International Fashion Design;
(ii) BA (Hons) Interior Design;
(iii) Top-up degree in Graphic Design and Digital Media;
(iv) Top-up degree in Fashion and Textiles; and
(b) offer the following short term industry-driven programmes to cater for the needs of the Textile Sector -
(i) Branding for Better Business Results;
(ii) Industrial Pattern Making and an Introduction to Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacture;
(iii) Fashion Merchandising; and
(iv) Product Development.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Fashion and Design Institute and the University of Technology, Mauritius (UTM) would enter into an agreement for the award of certificates, diplomas and degrees by the University.
Cabinet has also taken note that the Fashion and Design Institute is working on a project for the uplifting of Sir William Newton Street, Port Louisby integrating a strong design dimension to pave the way for the modernization of the capital into a fashionable business and commercial hub.

8. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the visit of Miss Daisy Minatchy from Reunion Island from 29 June to 3 July 2009 to train the teachers of the Specialised Pre-Primary Schoolfor Visually Impaired Children run by Loïs Lagesse Trust Fund. During her visit, Miss Minatchy conducted training sessions on how to support visually impaired children with adapted pedagological materials and pre-requisites for Braille and observe them learning the different adaptation techniques.
A series of measures have been taken to motivate visually impaired children to join the School.

9. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life has taken a series of additional measures to control noise pollution around the country, inter alia, -
(a) the setting up of a Flying Squad to attend to noise complaints after office hours and during weekends;
(b) conduct of surveys at night to monitor noise, more particularly, from discotheques, nightclubs and bungalows; and
(c) mounting of a sensitization campaign.
Cabinet has further taken note that Programme Notices have been issued to clubs, nightclubs and discotheques in the regions of Pereybère, Flic-en-Flac, Quatre Bornes and Vacoas.

10. Cabinet has taken note that the Pharmaceutical Quality Control Laboratory, which is now in operation, would shortly be equipped with high-tech equipment to enable it to carry out toxicological analysis of body fluids samples more expeditiously, diagnose cases of poisoning promptly so that appropriate treatment is administered rapidly. It is expected that the analysis time would be reduced from one week to one day. The high-tech equipment would also facilitate the preparation of a library of Chromatography spectra for toxic plants available in Mauritius, e.g. Datura, Graine Diable, Epinard Sauvage and Pignon d’Inde

11. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with Government’s objective to provide quality service to the population, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life has mounted training courses in Customer Care for about 6,300 members of the staff of public health institutions, comprising Telephonists/Receptionists, Ambulance Drivers/Attendants, Drivers, Officers of the Nursing Cadre, Pharmacy Dispensers, Medical Records Clerks/Assistants, Hospital Servants and Community Health Care Officers. The objective of the training programme is to help them -
(a) develop the right mindset and a positive attitude towards patients;
(b) focus on politeness, respect and courtesy while providing assistance; and
(c) equip them with the necessary interpersonal communication skills.

12. Cabinet has taken note of the report of the Global School-Based Student Health Survey (GSHS) carried out by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life in Mauritiusand Rodrigues. The main objective of the Survey was to measure the behaviour of students aged between 13 to 15 years and protective factors related to the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in youth and adulthood.
The main findings of the Survey are –
(a) 31.2% of students in Mauritiusand 34.7% students in Rodrigues were involved in physical fights on school premises;

(b) 52.9% of students in Mauritiusand 48.7% in Rodrigues were seriously injured at least once;
(c) 16.5% of students in Mauritius and 12.5% in Rodrigues were regular smokers, and 69.2% students in Mauritius and 72.5% in Rodrigues smoked for the first time at the age of 13 years; and
(d) 63.2% students in Mauritiusand 75.0% in Rodrigues were reported to have their first drink of alcohol before the age of 14.
The survey report recommended, inter alia, -
(a) the maintenance of a GSHS surveillance system to provide data on the effectiveness of school health programs and interventions, and to help assess the trend in student behaviours over time;
(b) the development of legislation to address the problem of bullying in schools; and
(c) the conduct of aggressive anti-smoking and anti-alcohol campaigns in both primary and secondary schools, using a child-centered approach.

13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Renewable Energy and Public Utilities from 1 to 3 July 2009 to Libya where he participated in the Thirteenth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union. The theme of the Summit was “Investing in Agriculture for Economic Growth and Food Security”. The Assembly discussed, among others, racism, racial discrimination, slave trade and several peace and security-related matters, particularly those pertaining to the situation in the Horn of Africa, Madagascar and the situation in the Middle East.
In the margins of the Assembly, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Renewable Energy and Public Utilities had bilateral meetings with, inter alia, HE Mr Armando Emílio Guebuza, President of the Mozambique, HE Honourable (Prof) Etta Elizabeth Banda, MP, Foreign Minister of Malawi and Lord Malloch-Brown, UK Minister for Africa.

14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Empowerment from 3 to 7 July 2009 to -
(a) Paris, where he addressed the Governing Board of the Development Centre of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development on how Mauritius was coping with the challenges of the global economic recession; and
(b) London, where he participated in the G8 Africa Business Forum 2009 on the theme "Global Financial Crisis: The Challenge for Africa" and had meetings with the representatives of Moody's and Barclays Bank to explain the current economic climate of Mauritius.

15. Cabinet has taken note that the first meeting to monitor the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Economic Cooperation between Mauritius and South Africaand to identify further access of cooperation, was held on 2 and 3 July 2009 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade. A one-year Action Plan covering priority areas, such as trade, investment, private sector cooperation and the promotion of linkages between the relevant institutions of both countries, was adopted.