1. Cabinet has taken note that Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, Prime Minister, would participate in the 16th African Union Summit to be held on 30 and 31 January 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The theme of the Summit is ‘Towards Greater Unity and Integration through Shared Values’. The Prime Minister would intervene on various themes, particularly on peace and security in Africa, the fight against piracy and the situation in Madagascar.
Cabinet has further taken note that Mr Olivier Bancoult, OSK, Leader of Groupe Refugiés Chagos would also form part of the delegation led by the Prime Minister.
2. Cabinet has taken note that, following the invitation of President Sarkozy in August last, Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, Prime Minister, paid an official visit to Reunion Island on 24 and 25 January 2011. He led a strong delegation comprising, amongst others, Dr the Hon A. Boolell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, the Hon N. Bodha, Minister of Tourism and Leisure, the Hon J.M.T.S. Yeung Sik Yuen, Minister of Business, Enterprise, Cooperatives and Consumer Protection and representatives of the private sector. The main objectives of the visit were to revitalize relations, create a platform of economic cooperation, open up new avenues of collaboration between the two sister countries and give a new impetus to the activities of the Indian Ocean Commission.
During his visit, the Prime Minister had meetings with, amongst others, –
(a) Mrs Marie-Luce Penchard, ‘Ministre auprès du ministre de l’Intérieur, de l'Outre-Mer, des Collectivités territoriales et de l’Immigration, chargée de l’Outre-Mer’, who travelled from Paris on the occasion, and with whom he discussed several areas of cooperation where Mauritius and Reunion Island could work together, the creation of a sub-economic zone and an Economic and Social Council at the level of the Indian Ocean Commission, Madagascar, piracy and Tromelin. On the issue of co-management of Tromelin, Mrs Penchard proposed that, pending the enactment of the agreement by the French National Assembly, a joint committee be set up.
(b) Mr Didier Robert, President of the Regional Council for Reunion Island, with whom he discussed measures to reinforce regional cooperation and foster closer integration amongst Member States of the Indian Ocean Commission, as well as with other regional groupings, and particularly to engage in triangular cooperation with countries of the region. In the course of discussions, the President of “Conseil Régional” indicated several areas where Reunion Island could assist Mauritius, namely treatment of cancer patients, education clusters, research and innovations in various fields.
The Prime Minister also met Mr Michel Lalande, Préfet de la Réunion and Général Jean-Marc Nébout, ‘Commandant supérieur des forces armées de la zone sud de l’Océan Indien’.
The public-private sector platform of economic cooperation between Mauritius and Reunion Island was officially launched on 24 January 2011. The objective of the platform is to facilitate dialogue and exchange information at strategic level in order to offer development opportunities to operators in Mauritius and Reunion Island and enable the mobilization of production, financial, technological and service capacities for entering into new markets. In his statement at the launching ceremony, the Prime Minister emphasized that the platform would not only give a new momentum to the economic relations between Mauritius and Reunion Island but also contribute to optimizing the complementarities between the two countries. Moreover, the platform would inject a new dynamism into the regional economic integration process which is critical for integration into the world economy.
During his mission to Reunion Island, the Prime Minister visited some institutions/projects, such as Cyclotron Réunion and BioAlgOstral, Centre Opérationnel de la Préfecture pour la gestion des catastrophes, an agri-solar farm in Bérive, Tampon and the Institut Universitaire de la Technologie.
The following Agreements were also signed during the visit, –
(a) Framework Agreement on Regional Cooperation between Mauritius and Reunion Island;
(b) Agreement on cooperation with respect to sustainable development and energy management;
(c) ‘Relevé de conclusions’ on security matters;
(d) Bilateral Protocol on Technical Measures to Prevent the Movement of Chafer Beetles (White Grubs) between the Republic of Mauritius and the French Republic; and
(e) Partnership Agreement between the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the University of Reunion.
3. Cabinet has agreed to the provisions of the Training and Employment of Disabled Persons Act, enacted in 1996, being enforced to safeguard the rights and ensure access to employment of persons with disabilities in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Government Programme 2010-2015. The Act provides that 3% of the workforce of enterprises employing 35 or more persons should comprise persons with disabilities. Cabinet has further taken note that, during an Espace Rencontre organised by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions in December 2010 to facilitate the recruitment of persons with disabilities, only 10 employers had committed to employ some 25 persons with disabilities.
4. Cabinet has taken note of development in the implementation of an Electronic-Register (e-register) System for a more effective monitoring of students' absenteeism and bunking off in secondary schools through an SMS-based System whereby parents would be systematically notified of the absence or otherwise of their wards from school. The System would be launched, shortly, at the Forest Side State Secondary School and implemented in 21 State Secondary Schools during the first semester of 2011. By the end of the second school term, the System would be available in all public and private secondary schools.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the Cambridge School Certificate Results 2010. Out of a total of 17,489 students who took part in the Examination, 13,610 were successful resulting in a percentage pass rate of 77.82% as compared to 76.73% in 2007, 76.53% in 2008 and 77.64% in 2009. Eight secondary schools, i.e., 4 private and 4 State Schools, have registered a 100% pass rate. As regards Rodrigues, the pass rate has decreased from 73.81% in 2009 to 72.76% in 2010.
6. Cabinet has taken note that, in order to allow more students to have access to upper secondary education and post-secondary education, the criteria for promoting successful School Certificate/GCE 'O' Level students to Lower Six have been reviewed.
7. Cabinet has taken note that, following the success of the Prime Minister’s Universal ICT Education Programme launched in 2006, the National Computer Board would renew the Agreement entered into with the CyberLearning Foundation of the United States of America for the continuous implementation of the Programme in line with Government’s vision to transform Mauritius into an ICT hub and develop the ICT Sector into a fifth pillar of the economy. As at date, 116,594 persons in Mauritius and 1,500 persons in Rodrigues have followed the IC3 Course. Cabinet has further taken note that the CyberLearning Foundation would now provide courses on the new IC3 Version, i.e., IC3 Global Standard 3, based on Microsoft Office 2007.
8. Cabinet has taken note that HE Shri Jagannath Pahadia, Governor of the State of Haryana, India, accompanied by the Minister of Tourism of the State of Haryana, would visit Mauritius in the first week of March 2011, when he would discuss bilateral relations and explore tourism opportunities between Mauritius and the State of Haryana.
9. Cabinet has taken note of development in the implementation of the Harbour Bridge Project in the context of the Road Decongestion Programme.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the deadline for fixing speed limiters to heavy vehicles, buses and goods vehicles and new registration plates to motor vehicles has been postponed to 1 July 2011. Cabinet has further taken note that, as from February 2011, all heavy vehicles, buses and goods vehicles that will go for examination and that have not been fitted with a speed limiter, would be issued with a certificate of fitness for a period of six months only.
11. Cabinet has agreed to the ratification of the Convention establishing the African Energy Commission within the African Union. The Commission is responsible, inter alia, to map out energy policies, strategies and plans based on development priorities; design, create and update an energy continental database; and provide technical assistance to Member States, regional economic communities and other stakeholders in the Africa Energy Sector.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Sixth Indo-Mauritian Joint Committee on Hydrography held in India from 11 to 14 January 2011. It has been agreed that a hydrographic survey of the entire channel of Port Louis Harbour and some passes around the country, as well as a bathymetric survey of the eastern coast of Mauritius, would be carried out in 2011. Cabinet has further taken note that the newly set up Hydrographic Unit at the Ministry of Housing and Lands would be operational shortly.
13. Cabinet has taken note that, following the confirmed presence of asbestos in the roof material of the damaged quarters of the watchman, situated at the back of Collège des Villes Soeurs, the Private Secondary Schools Authority has authorized the temporary transfer of the students of the college to Marcel Cabon State Secondary School in order to eliminate risks of contamination. The college would be authorized to resume operations once the material containing asbestos is disposed of and clearances of the relevant authorities certifying that the school environment is free from the presence of asbestos, are obtained.
14. Cabinet has taken note of activities that would be organised by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, in collaboration with the National Computer Board, to mark the Safer Internet Day commemorated on 8 February, viz., –
(a) holding of a workshop on the theme of the Day;
(b) mounting of awareness campaigns on Internet Safety;
(c) distribution of brochures on Internet Safety and fact sheets on virtual life and online gaming; and
(d) organisation of an online quiz competition on ‘Online Gaming’ for students of secondary schools.
The theme chosen for this year is It’s more than a game, it’s your life.
15. Cabinet has taken note of activities that would be organised by the Ministry of Business, Enterprise, Cooperatives and Consumer Protection to mark the World Consumer Rights Day observed on 15 March, viz., -
(a) issue of Savoir Choisir magazine focusing on the theme of the Day;
(b) sensitization campaigns around the theme of the Day; and
(c) organisation of an essay competition for students and a slogan competition for the public.
Major retail outlets, particularly supermarkets and hypermarkets, would be requested to allow a rebate in the range of 5% to 10% on consumer goods in general. The theme chosen for this year by Consumers International is Consumers for Fair Financial Services.
16. Cabinet has taken note that, following comments made by the World Heritage Committee on the high degree of loss of historical buildings in the buffer zone of Aapravasi Ghat, a Planning Policy Guidance for development in the Zone has been prepared in consultation with all stakeholders and would be submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre for approval.
17. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Housing and Lands proposes to promulgate Regulations under the Morcellement Act and the Land Surveyors Act to revise the fees payable on the application and approval of Morcellements Permits and for the survey of State lands. The fees for morcellement permits were last revised in 1999 and those for surveys of State lands in 1993.
18. Cabinet has taken note that –
(a) Mr Luchmyparsad Aujayeb, Principal State Counsel, has been appointed Chairperson of the Cooperative Tribunal; and
(b) Mr Ashutosh Avinash Chooramun Gunput has been reappointed Chairperson of the National Housing Development Company Ltd.