1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, Prime Minister to Australia where he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). He led a delegation comprising, amongst others, Dr the Hon Arvin Boolell, GOSK, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade. The special theme of CHOGM 2011 was Building National Resilience, Building Global Resilience. Discussions centered, amongst others, on the following issues -
(a) Review of Global and Commonwealth Developments;
(b) Building National Resilience, Building Global Resilience – Food Security, Climate Change and Sustainable Development;
(c) A Commonwealth for the Future;
(d) Women as Agents of Change;
(e) Youth; and
(f) Venue of CHOGM 2013 and 2015.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government agreed to meet in Sri Lanka in 2013 and in Mauritius in 2015.
During a Forum on Piracy in the Indian Ocean held in the margins of the Meeting, the Prime Minister raised concern over the expansion of piracy off the coast of Somalia into the Indian Ocean, and highlighted its adverse effects on economic activities, i.e., imports and exports of goods by sea, port activities, cruise ship calls, the fishing and fish-processing industry, tourism, and on security threats for the region. He added that Mauritius has not only taken a number of measures at domestic level to fight piracy, but also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Union to judge and jail pirates who are convicted.
2. Cabinet has agreed to the implementation of the Cyclone and Other Natural Disasters Scheme for 2011-2012, which has been prepared in close collaboration with all stakeholders and sets out the roles and responsibilities of each organization concerned in terms of general preparedness, action to be taken before, during, and in the aftermath of a natural disaster, i.e., cyclone, torrential rain, landslide, tsunami and raz-de-marée.
Cabinet has further taken note that the National Disaster and Operations Coordination Centre, set up at the Police Headquarters, Line Barracks and operational since December 2010 under the direct responsibility of the Commissioner of Police, would coordinate relief action in the event of a national disaster or crisis.
Cabinet has also taken note of the Summer Season Outlook for 2011-2012 prepared by the Meteorological Services following an assessment of local, regional and global indicators and patterns.
3. In line with Government Programme 2010-2015 and the recommendations contained in the 2009 Report of the Law Reform Commission, Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Bail (Amendment) Bill, which makes better provision in relation to, amongst others, the hearing and determination of bail applications within the shortest possible delay, the conditions that may be imposed by a Court to release a detainee on bail, including subjecting the defendant or detainee to an electronic monitoring mechanism and the liability of a person released on bail to be arrested for breach of a bail condition. The Bill also provides the Police and Courts with enhanced powers to ensure that defendants or detainees comply with the conditions of bail and allow the Police to monitor persons released on bail.
4. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the Disability Sector in line with the Disability Inclusive Strategy of Government. In order to provide better facilities to persons with disabilities -
(a) the Training and Employment of Disabled Persons Act would be amended to make non-compliant employers pay a mandatory contribution;
(b) laws, which are discriminatory to persons with disabilities, would be reviewed;
(c) a Respite Care Centre, a National School of Arts for persons with disabilities, a Disability Watch and a Women with Disabilities Forum would be set up; and
(d) more persons with disabilities would be nominated on Boards and Committees to enable them to participate in the decision-making process in line with the approach Nothing about Us Without Us.
5. Cabinet has taken note that, on the occasion of the World Diabetes Day, commemorated on 14 November, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life would, on
13 and 14 November 2011, amongst others, hold an exhibition on health services, conduct Non-Communicable Diseases Screening Programmes, and give demonstrations on physical activities and healthy cooking at the SSR Botanic Garden. The Mauritius Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Study and the National Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Services would also be launched on that occasion.
The theme selected to mark the World Diabetes Day during the period 2009–2013 is Diabetes Education and Prevention.
6. In line with Government Programme to promote a culture of research through the development of medical research and advanced technologies, Cabinet has taken note of arrangements made by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life to consider applications for the grant of licences for the harvesting of animal tissue for the purpose of medical research. Investigations made would be used for the advancement of medical research and ultimately for the specific treatment of both human and animal diseases worldwide. The project will help Mauritius become a more attractive destination for researchers and potential investors in the pharmaceutical industry and a launching platform for further innovation and development in medical biotechnology.
7. Cabinet has agreed to the organization of an International Film Festival in Mauritius in March 2013. The main objectives of the Festival will be to –
(a) pave the way for a vibrant Mauritian film industry;
(b) provide an opportunity for audiences to view quality films of high artistic value; and
(c) create a forum for interaction amongst film-makers, film critics, script writers, actors and other professionals of the industry.
8. Cabinet has taken note that the fourth World Telugu Conference on the theme Challenges facing the Telugu People living outside Andhra Pradesh would be held in Mauritius from 8 to 10 December 2011. The objectives of the Conference are, amongst others, to promote understanding and cooperation among Telugu people worldwide and discuss on issues regarding the promotion of Telugu culture outside Andhra Pradesh.
Participants from South Africa, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Sri Lanka are expected to attend the Conference.
9. Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last statistical bulletin, 764,999 tourists visited Mauritius during the period January to October 2011 as compared to 733,996 for the corresponding period in 2010, i.e., an increase of 4.2%. During the month of October 2011, some 90,616 tourists visited Mauritius as compared to 87,340 in October 2010, i.e., an increase of 3.8%. Growth has been registered in the following tourist markets: Germany (+29.5%), Spain (+15.3%), Switzerland (+56.1%), India (+4.8%), Russia (+21.9%), China (+161.1%) and South Africa (+25.0%).
10. Cabinet has taken note that the International Trade Centre would conduct three workshops on Market Research and Analysis in Mauritius during the period 8 November 2011 to 9 February 2012. The objective of the workshops is to build capacity of enterprises and trade-support institutions on market research. Participants from the public and private sectors would be provided with the necessary tool to analyse, conduct research and assess potential markets for their products.
11. Cabinet has taken note that the Mauritius Standards Bureau, in collaboration with the German Metrology Institute, would organize the Eighth Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Measurement Traceability (SADCMET) Water Proficiency Testing Workshop in Mauritius from 14 to 18 November 2011. The SADCMET conducts meteorology activities and testing services in the SADC Region. It also operates the Water Proficiency Testing Scheme to ensure that the water used in the region is within acceptable chemical and microbiological limits and are safe for human consumption. Participants from Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe would attend the Workshop.
12. Cabinet has taken note that the next round of negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement between the Eastern and Southern African Group and the European Commission would be held in Mauritius from 28 November to 01 December 2011. The negotiations would be preceded by the Technical Meeting on Rules of Origin and the Technical Meeting on all clusters, i.e., development, trade in goods, services, agriculture, dispute avoidance and trade-related issues.
13. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with UNESCO, would organize a Training for Site Managers of World Heritage Sites from 5 to 9 December 2011 in Mauritius. The objectives of the programme are, inter alia, to –
(a) update and upskill officials on the management of heritage sites;
(b) clarify procedures for inscription on the World Heritage List;
(c) explain the concept of Outstanding Universal Value; and
(d) familiarize stakeholders on the Buffer Zone.
14. Cabinet has taken note that the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund, in collaboration with the Ministry of Arts and Culture, would organize an International Scientific Conference on New Perspectives on Indentured Labour (1825 – 1925) from 5 to 7 December 2011 in Mauritius. The objectives of the Conference are to support the Trust Fund in its initiatives, amongst others, to -
(a) undertake research in the field of indenture;
(b) gain greater understanding of the global impact of the Indentured Labour System; and
(c) set up an Indentured Labour Route by enlisting the collaboration of local and international heritage professionals.
Scholars from USA, Fiji, Australia, UK, India, South Africa, Mozambique, Reunion Island, Suriname, France, Holland and Canada would also attend the Conference.
15. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure, in collaboration with the Southern African Development Community Secretariat and the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa would, in March 2012, hold in Mauritius the next meeting of the SADC Ministers responsible for Tourism. On the occasion, the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa would hold its Executive General Meeting.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade to Malawi where he participated in the 15th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. The Summit, inter alia, discussed on the political situation in Madagascar, piracy in the Indian Ocean Region, the Tripartite Free Trade Area, the Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU, and the Maritime Corridor Development.
17. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the first Inter-Tertiary Educational Institutions’ Sports Competition, UNIVERSIADE 2011, held from 13 to 21 October 2011 in the following sports disciplines: football, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, athletics, basketball and cricket. 1,679 entries from various tertiary institutions were registered. The University of Mauritius won 23 gold medals, the Mauritius Institute of Education 17, and the Institut Supérieur de Technologie 5.
18. Cabinet has taken note of the constitution of the Energy Efficiency Committee with Dr Mohammad Khalil Elahee as Chairperson.