CABINET DECISIONS – 20 FEBRUARY 2009
1. Cabinet has taken note that HE Mrs Quentin Bryce, Governor General of Australia would be on official visit to Mauritius from 16 to 19 March 2009 in the context of a tour in African countries, namely, Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and Seychelles. During her visit, she would, inter alia, pay courtesy calls on the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, lay a wreath at the Samadhi of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam and plant a tree at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden.
2. Cabinet has taken note that the first phase of the Mauritian Sign Language Project has been completed successfully with –
(a) the publication of the first volume of the Mauritian Sign Language Dictionary;
(b) the introduction of the Mauritian Sign Language in pre-primary and primary schools for the deaf;
(c) the production of a Mauritian Sign Language version of the National Anthem; and
(d) the training of teachers, parents, interpreters and deaf news presenters in Mauritian Sign Language.
In his Report, Dr Ron Brouillette, delegated by the World Federation of the Deaf, has stated that the weekly News Bulletin on MBC in Mauritian Sign Language is highly professional and unique in the world in the sense that the news presenters are themselves deaf whereas other television stations employ hearing sign language interpreters.
Cabinet has further taken note that the second phase of the Mauritian Sign Language Project, which would start shortly, would comprise, inter alia, -
(a) the establishment of an inventory of key 2000 signs;
(b) the phasing out of other foreign sign languages; and
(c) popularization of the Mauritian Sign Language by creating learning tools, like interactive DVD and sets of small books on specific subjects.
A Project Management Committee, chaired by V. Hookoomsing, will monitor the implementation of the Second Phase of the programme.
3. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure and External Communications from 9 to 13 February 2009 to South Africa, to consolidate and enhance the visibility of Mauritius in specific markets in order to mitigate the negative impact of the economic downturn on growth in tourist arrivals. He was accompanied by about 80 tourism operators. The South African market has registered a growth rate of 3% in tourist arrivals for the year 2008 as compared to the year 2007, despite the global adverse economic conditions.
The Vice-Prime Minister had working sessions, inter alia, with -
(a) representatives of the airlines operating on the Mauritius route, e.g., BA, Comair, South African Airways, as well as, the main tour operators and travel agents selling the Mauritius destination in their holiday packages; and
(b) representatives of the media and specialised travel magazines based in Johannesburg and Cape Town, the two main South African tourist generating hubs for Mauritius.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the following laws governing juvenile justice being amended to bring them in line with the requirements of modern society and ensure compliance with the Conventions of the Rights of the Child -
(a) the Juvenile Offenders Act to provide for the introduction of diversionary measures for a certain category of juvenile offenders who would, according to existing provisions, be otherwise prosecuted, such as oral or written apologies, physical reparation or monetary compensation to victims;
(b) the Probation of Offenders Act to provide for additional control methods, such as the imposition of a curfew on convicted juvenile offenders who do not comply with the existing probation conditions; and
(c) the Community Service Order Act to provide for community service also to offenders aged between 16 and 18 years, as well as, to defaulters whose fine or unpaid fine does not exceed Rs 25,000.
5. Cabinet has taken note that, with the increase in the number of visitors proceeding to Flat Island and Ilot Gabriel and of pleasure crafts and yachts involved therein, the quality of the lagoons in the region is being degraded as a result of -
(a) heavy smoke for barbecue activities;
(b) dumping of waste from the crafts;
(c) damage caused by the anchors of the crafts;
(d) emission of noise and smoke from motor engines;
(e) leakage of fuel/oil; and
(f) discharge of sewage from onboard toilets.
Cabinet has, therefore, agreed to appropriate regulations being promulgated under the Tourism Authority Act to provide for prohibition of moorings between Flat Island and Ilot Gabriel. Skippers would be allowed to disembark and embark visitors to the islets and would have to moor their crafts in a dedicated zone to be created at the Pallisade Bay.
6. Cabinet has taken note that, subsequent to the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding between Mauritius and India during the visit of the Prime Minister to India in 2005, Indian Navy Ships carried out hydrographic surveys of Mauritian waters on three occasions. Cabinet has further taken note that the Indian Naval ship, Nirdeshak, would be deployed to Mauritius from 10 March to 16 April 2009 to conduct additional hydrographic surveys around the country and in St Brandon. Arrangements are also being made to set up a Hydrographic Survey unit.
7. Cabinet has taken note that, in the context of the implementation of the project "Segregation of Waste in Schools", the Ministry of Environment and National Development Unit would distribute a pamphlet in all primary schools to sensitise students on problems associated with –
(a) the disposal of waste, the need to reduce, re-utilise and recycle waste;
(b) the importance of sorting of waste for eventual recycling or composting; and
(c) how to proceed with the sorting of waste in specific labelled bins.
8. Cabinet has taken note that the Information and Communication Technologies Authority, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation, would, in March 2009, organise a forum in Mauritius on the theme 'Effective use of ICT for Disaster Management'. The objective of the Forum is to increase and improve the use of information and communication technology at the various stages of disaster management, i.e., preparedness, mitigation, relief and reconstruction. It is expected that about 80 participants from Mauritius and other IOC Member States, who are directly concerned with disaster management, would attend the Forum.
9. Cabinet has taken note that the Government of the United Kingdom has announced that the new visa regime would not be introduced at this stage for countries, including Mauritius, involved in the final stage of the visa waiver test. Mauritian citizens proceeding to UK will, therefore, not be required to apply for visa for short periods of up to six months. However, those intending to live, work, study or marry in the UK would continue to require visas.