1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, Prime Minister to New York where he participated in the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Clinton Global Initiative and the Socialist International Presidium. He led a delegation comprising, amongst others, Dr the Hon Arvin Boolell, GOSK, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade and Dr J.N. Meetarbhan, GOSK, Ambassador in New York.
The theme of this year’s general debate of the United Nations General Assembly was the role of mediation in the settlement of disputes by peaceful means.
In his address to the UN General Assembly, the Prime Minister, amongst others, :-
(a) called upon the United Nations to review the concept of security, i.e., economic, environmental, human and legal security;
(b) drew attention to the economic vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) whose economy is highly volatile and insisted that SIDS need to be granted preferential treatment as part of a global strategy to ensure their economic security;
(c) highlighted measures taken by Mauritius under the Maurice Ile Durable project for a sustainable development;
(d) condemned the unlawful occupation of the Chagos Archipelago by the UK and the purported declaration of a Marine Protected Area around the Archipelago and announced that the Mauritian Government has initiated arbitration proceedings against the UK under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea;
(e) indicated that Mauritius and France have reached an agreement for the Joint Management of Tromelin but that discussions will be pursued with France for the return of Tromelin to Mauritius;
(f) expressed support to the application submitted by the President of the State of Palestine for full membership of the United Nations; and
(g) expressed concern over the threat posed by piracy in the Indian Ocean and added that Mauritius has offered to assist with the prosecution and detention of pirates.
The Prime Minister also attended the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. He was invited for the seventh time to the distinguished gathering of a very select group of current Heads of State and Government, business leaders, eminent academicians and key NGO representatives. The main objectives of the Conference were to identify immediate and pragmatic solutions to address the world’s most pressing problems. The special sessions that the Prime Minister attended were “Sports as a Tool for Social Good” and “Multifaith Dialogue”.
The Prime Minister also attended the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Socialist International Presidium and Heads of State and Governments. The agenda of the meeting included discussions on the current impact and consequences of the global financial crisis, the contribution of social democracy to combating racism and intolerance and to ensure the success of the COP17 Summit in South Africa. In his statement at the Presidium, the Prime Minister underlined the need to take urgent steps to tackle the underlining forces that led originally to the financial crisis and that Government should shift their focus away from liquidity measures towards policies based on employment growth and investment in new industries.
The Prime Minister also launched the Mauritius Club to the United Nations Staff Recreation Council, a platform for Mauritian professionals and students, at the seat of the Mauritius diplomatic mission in New York. The club aims at promoting the cultural and artistic aspects of Mauritius in the U.S. He met a number of Mauritians and called upon them to work diligently with devotion and efficiency and to come back to Mauritius and propagate the work ethics they have learnt in the U.S. On the same occasion, he also launched the website of our diplomatic mission in New York.
In the margin of the Meeting of the General Assembly, the Prime Minister had bilateral meetings, amongst others, with:-
(a) HE Dr Danilo Türk, President of the Republic of Slovenia;
(b) HE Mr Pal Schmitt, President of the Republic of Hungary; and
(c) HE Mr Jigmi Y. Thinley, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
2. Cabinet has taken note that the Property Valuation Bill would shortly be introduced into the National Assembly to enable the coming into operation of the valuation component of the Land Administration, Valuation and Information Management System Project. The Bill would provide for property valuation scope and methodology, creation of a database of market values and the regular updating of those values.
3. Cabinet has taken note that a first batch of 141 trainees would shortly start, free of charge, the training programme for possible employment on board cruise ships run by the Mauritius Maritime Training Academy and the Sir Gaëtan Duval Hotel School. The Programme, which is of four months duration, would comprise training in the field of hospitality and the standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping Certificate and fundamental for mariners.
4. Cabinet has agreed to a non-citizen, who has been granted a Permanent Residence Permit under the Immigration Act, being allowed to purchase an apartment in a block of residential dwelling of not less than three storeys as his personal residence, instead of as in the past. With a view to giving a boost to the construction sector, the construction works for the three-storeyed building in which the apartment is located, need to have started after 1 January 2010. Applications should be made at the Board of Investment.
5. Cabinet has taken note that Business Jets Ltd would operate an ad hoc Charter for regional flights and Air Ambulance Service in Mauritius to provide an on-demand unscheduled corporate aircraft service from within Mauritius and a regional medical evacuation service by air to and from Mauritius. The Business Jets Ltd proposes to offer flexible services targeting business executives in Mauritius who have interests in the region, high-end tourists, IRS Residents and the Reunion Island market.
6. Cabinet has agreed to the phasing out of the use of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 2030, as proposed in the HCFCs Phase Out Management Plan prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development under the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone layer. The Plan provides for amendments to existing legislations, awareness campaigns to encourage the use of natural refrigerants, the transfer of alternative technologies in the different sub-sectors, and training and capacity building.
7. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development would implement the Climate Change Adaptation Programme in the coastal zone of Mauritius. The Adaptation Fund Board set up under the Kyoto Protocol has approved a grant of US$ 9,119,240 to finance the project. The main objective of the programme is to address current climate change risks at three vulnerable coastal sites, namely Mon Choisy, Rivière des Galets and Quatre Soeurs/Deux Frères.
8. Cabinet has taken note that the Government of the United States of America has proposed Ms Sharon English Woods Villarosa, a career diplomat, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Mauritius.
9. Cabinet has taken note of activities that would be organized by the Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, in collaboration with the National Empowerment Fund, in the context of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, commemorated on 17 October, namely, sensitization campaigns on poverty and exclusion; showcase of services put in place and facilities offered by Government for the upliftment of the poor; open days aimed at better targeting those in need; opening of a Day Care Centre at Cité Vallijee and a Learning Corner at La Laura; and inauguration of a rehabilitation drop-in centre at La Baraque, L’Escalier.
The theme chosen by the UN this year is From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the activities that would be organized by the Mauritius Post Ltd. to mark the World Post Day commemorated on 9 October, viz, -
(a) launching of the issue of two new stamps and two First Day Covers;
(b) distribution of information leaflets on HIV and AIDS;
(c) free entrance at the Postal Museum for Mauritians from 9 to 16 October 2011; and
(d) a blood donor’s day and other social and sports activities.
The theme adopted by the Universal Postal Union for World Post Day 2011 is The Post, an Invaluable Public Service Worldwide.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the publication of the “Family Planning and Demographic Yearbook 2010” which presents data on population trends, vital rates, family planning and health service points for Mauritius and Rodrigues. The salient features of the Yearbook are –
Island of Mauritius
(a) the crude birth rate was 11.5 as compared to 11.8 in 2009;
(b) the general fertility rate was 41.31 as compared to 42.65 in 2009;
(c) the adolescent fertility rate was 29.3 as compared to 31.4 in 2009;
(d) the gross reproduction rate was 0.72, i.e., below replacement level (1.1);
(e) the infant mortality rate was 12.4 as compared to 13.3 in 2009;
(f) the maternal mortality rate was 0.28 as compared to 0.68 in 2009, representing a decrease of 58.8% in one single year; and
(g) there were 74,533 current users of the different family planning methods.
Island of Rodrigues
(a) the crude birth rate was 18.9 as compared to 19.6 in 2009;
(b) the total fertility rate was 2.32 as compared to 2.39 in 2009;
(c) the infant mortality rate was 14.0, which is the lowest figure ever recorded in Rodrigues; and
(d) there were 6,122 current users of different family planning methods.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Development to Washington where he participated in the Annual IMF/WB Meetings.
In the margins of the Meetings, the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Development had meetings with -
(a) Mrs Haleh Bridi, Country Director and Mr Jamal Saghir, Director for Sustainable Development of the World Bank with whom he discussed matters pertaining to technical assistance, budget support, as well as infrastructure development to improve competitiveness of the economy.
The Vice-Prime Minister also signed a Fee-based Technical Assistance Framework with the World Bank for the provision of quality and just-in time specialized technical assistance.
(b) Mr Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director of IMF, with whom he discussed the outlook for the Mauritian economy and its vulnerabilities, and the measures that need to be taken to mitigate the impact of a potential severe economic downturn in our main trading markets.
(c) The Minister of Finance of the People’s Republic of China with whom he discussed the Jin Fei Project.
(d) Ambassador Demetrios Marantis, Deputy US Trade Representative, with whom he discussed the future of AGOA.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Eleventh Council of Ministers Meeting of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group held in Mauritius on 8 September 2011. The Meeting reviewed progress achieved by member countries in the implementation of the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. The Meeting noted the significant progress made by Mauritius in implementing the recommendations.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Information and Communication Technology to Reunion Island where he attended the inauguration of the Carrefour de l’Innovation et des Technologies, an annual event aiming at showcasing latest trends in the development of ICT solutions and creating a platform for professionals and investors to interact. The Minister had meetings with –
(a) Mr Philippe Rousseau, President of the Association Réunionnaise des Professionels des Technologies d’Information et de Communication on avenues of cooperation in the ICT sector; and
(b) the Adjoint au Préfet de la Réunion and the President of Région Réunion on connection of both countries to submarine fibre optic cable.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Arts and Culture to the People’s Republic of China within the framework of the Cultural Exchange Programme. The Minister had discussions, amongst others, with -
(a) Mrs Zhao Shaohua, Vice-Minister of Culture on future avenues of cooperation. The Vice-Minister has agreed to donate life jackets for the Annual Dragon Boat Festival and sound and light equipment for Serge Constantin Theatre;
(b) Mr Huang Xiojing, Governor of Fujian Province, who has agreed to provide training in the field of heritage conservation, restoration of paintings/artifacts and technical/scientific research in museology; and
(c) Mr Zhu Yong Lei, Director General of the Division of International Exchange of Shanghai Province, who has agreed to send experts to advise on the development of Creative Arts industry.
16. Cabinet has taken note that, following an invitation of the International Labour Office (ILO), the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment effected an official visit to the Headquarters of ILO to familiarize with the structure and services offered by ILO and meet the Executive Directors and Senior Heads of different sectors and departments of ILO. The Minister discussed, amongst others, the finalisation of the Decent Work Country Programme for Mauritius, Labour Law Reforms, Safety and Health in the workplace, the setting-up of a Labour and Industrial Relations Training and Research Institute in Mauritius, the National Employment Policy and Restructuring of the Employment Division, Green Jobs and training opportunities.
17. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the Loïs Lagesse Trust Fund Board with Mr Coomaravel Pyaneandee as Chairperson.