1. Cabinet has taken note that HE Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of the Republic of India, would effect a State Visit to Mauritius from 24 to 28 April 2011.
2. Cabinet has taken note that, following the decision of the Government of Mauritius and that of the Seychelles in 2008, a joint submission was made to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for an area of approximately 396,000 square kms of Extended Continental Shelf on the Mascarene Plateau on 01 December 2008. The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf has, this week, approved the joint submission, resulting in an area of 396,000 square kms of Extended Continental Shelf for both States. The Joint Management Committee set up to manage the area through a Framework Agreement will, with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat, work out in detail ways and means to explore, and exploit living and non-living resources in the Continental Shelf, pending delimitation of the Extended Continental Shelf.
3. Cabinet has agreed to the recommendations of the Ministerial Committee, set up under the Chairmanship of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment to look into the importation of foodstuffs and other products from Japan namely –
(a) prohibit the importation of all food products and agricultural commodities;
(b) subject the importation of new and second hand vehicles awaiting shipment to prior-shipment test;
(c) control the importation of pharmaceutical products; and
(d) closely monitor the importation of other products.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Radiation Protection Authority has made arrangements to ensure that all importations from Japan do not contain radiation contamination.
4. In order to attain the production target of 12,000 tonnes of onion by 2012 as laid down in the Food Security Fund Strategic Plan, Cabinet has agreed to a one-off grant of 10% on the purchase price of high yielding onion seeds to onion growers for the 2011 onion campaign. The grant is in addition to the incentives already provided under the Seed Purchase Scheme, the technical support of AREU, soil analytical services, the Crop Insurance Scheme and the provision of curing facilities for improving post-harvest quality and shelf life of onion bulbs.
5. Taking into consideration the upward trend of the price of garlic on the world market, Cabinet has agreed to the launching of the Garlic Seed Purchase Scheme, on the same lines as what exist for onions and potatoes, to boost the local production of garlic considered as a strategic commodity along with onion and potato. A one-off grant of 10% on the purchase price of garlic seeds would also be provided to garlic growers.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the 15th Session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 18 to 22 March 2011. The Meeting addressed, inter alia, the following issues –
(a) Status of stock of tuna in the region;
(b) Illegal Unreported and Unregulated fishing; and
(c) Catch Documentation Scheme.
Mauritius was unanimously elected as Chair of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission for the period 2011 to 2013.
7. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment would promulgate the Occupational Safety and Health (Scaffold) Regulations with a view to eliminating or minimizing risks of accidents at work arising from scaffolds in the Construction Sector.
8. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Court Ushers (Amendment) Bill which aims at liberalizing the profession of usher as recommended by the Presidential Commission (the Mackay Commission) set up in 1997 to examine and inquire into the structure and operation of the judicial system and legal professions. The Bill would enable persons appointed by the Chief Justice as registered ushers to serve or execute any judicial or extra-judicial process on behalf of Attorneys or other persons, including, in appropriate cases, Government, against payment of prescribed fees.
9. Cabinet has taken note that, following a survey of the child day care centres providing care and support to children aged between three months and three years, the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare proposes to, inter alia, take the following additional measures to better monitor the operation of child day care centres -
(a) amend the Institutions for the Welfare and Protection of Children, Regulations;
(b) grant a provisional certificate for a period of six months to those day care centres which do not fully comply with the prescribed norms and standards; and
(c) organise a foundation course in early childhood development to upgrade the skills and standards of caregivers who are already employed by day care centres and who do not possess the required qualifications.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the organization of the following regional meetings in Mauritius -
(a) meeting of the Second Data Buoy Cooperation Panel and Scientific Committee on Ocean Research Working Group, from 2 to 7 May 2011, which would focus on new strategies to be implemented to increase the effectiveness of the operations of the Indian Ocean Data Buoy Networks and their applications for enhancing regional predictive capacity;
(b) the African Monitoring of Environment for Sustainable Development Regional Training Course, from 9 to 13 May 2011, which aims at training partners on the use and manipulation of electronic and automated systems for image processing to produce charts and maps on oceanographic parameters;
(c) the Second African Monitoring of Environment for Sustainable Development Forum, from 20 to 22 July 2011, which would brainstorm on the programmes of the organization, develop the exchanges for the setting up of the continental networks and communicate on the usefulness of Earth observation products for environmental monitoring in Africa; and
(d) a Regional Universal Periodic Review Implementation Seminar on 18 and 19 April 2011, which aims at encouraging and supporting African Member States, which have undergone the Universal Periodic Review process in 2008 and 2009, to implement the recommendations of the Review. The Human Rights Council, set up by the United Nations, has established a Universal Periodic Review Process whereby the human rights records of all Member States of the United Nations are reviewed every four years.
11. Cabinet has taken note that the Africa Society for Blood Transfusion, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, would organize the Sixth Congress of the Society in Mauritius in August 2012. The objectives of the Society are, inter alia, to –
(a) pursue, promote and maintain the highest level of ethical and professional standards in blood transfusion;
(b) facilitate the exchange of information between its members and other blood services and organizations; and
(c) encourage research and collaborative programmes on issues, such as donor recruitment and blood safety.
About 250-300 delegates from overseas are expected to attend the Congress.
12. Cabinet has taken note of activities that would be organized by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, to mark the World Health Day 2011 observed on 7 April, viz., –
(a) mounting of public awareness campaigns on the proper use of antibiotics;
(b) organization of a workshop for health professionals, from both the private and the public sectors, on antimicrobial resistance; and
(c) conduct of training on antibiotic resistance in Regional Hospitals for the benefit of health care personnel.
The theme chosen by the World Health Organisation for this year is Antimicrobial Resistance and Its Global Spread.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development to Mozambique, where, on an invitation of Dr Alcinda Abreu, Minister for Environmental Affairs of Mozambique, he opened an Environmental Fair in Nampula to enable operators of the environment industry of Mozambique to educate and sensitize the public on the adoption of best practices pertaining to recycling of electronic wastes, use of pesticides and insecticides, production and use of compost, collection and disposal of used oil and use of natural products. The Hon D. Virahsawmy, GOSK, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, and Dr Alcinda Abreu, Minister for Environmental Affairs of Mozambique, had discussions on several issues of common interest, namely the Maurice Ile Durable Project, the Eco Village Project and waste minimization, and they agreed to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on environmental matters to enhance cooperation between the two countries.
14. Cabinet has taken note that Mr Daniel Jean Maurice Allet, C.S.K., has been appointed Chairperson of the Mauritius Ports Authority.