Touria Prayag's Blog

Wedding belles 1 May 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

We did say that the leader of the
opposition’s dilly-dallying was not his
fi nest hour and we stand by that. We do
not, however, condone the abuse he is
being subjected to. Politics is a ruthless
game where backstabbing, backpedalling
and U-turns are legendary.
And promises are only kept by those
who have no better options.
Those who are lashing out at Paul
Bérenger because he has ‘betrayed’ Sir
Anerood Jugnauth (SAJ) might perhaps
benefi t by remembering how the latter
– with Navin Ramgoolam’s help – got
Bérenger out of the game at the eleventh
hour in 2010 and how SAJ had publicly
stated that it was “better to be in karo
canne than work with Bérenger”! So
let’s please not pretend that the political
arena is some sort of place of worship
where protagonists have some sense of
ethics. We all know it is a question of
balance of power and you are only as
faithful as your options. We therefore
refuse to gloat at the sight of a Bérenger
being crucifi ed by his own people while
an assorted supporting cast are cheering
from the sidelines the way people in the
middle ages used to cheer those who
were being guillotined. As a people, we
are better than that.
And because we are better, we deserve a
better system than we have today. We
deserve reforms which do not bring parties
together to gang up and generously bestow
even more powers on themselves, add more
– unelected – members of parliament to an
already disproportionately long list of – in
some cases – arrogant wasters paid from
public funds. The reforms we want should
go deep enough to eradicate the worst
scourges of our system – namely the opacity
of political party fi nancing and pre-electoral
alliances, which skew the whole system,
reduce the opposition to the role of wishful
thinkers, result in fl oor crossing and create
instability – the worst enemy of investment
and economic growth.
The people of this country will feel that
they are choosing their representatives
only when each party faces the electorate
on its own strength rather than lean on
ethnic crutches and cynical calculations.
Those who are encouraging pre-election
alliances, which are systematically based
on ethnicity – what else? – really have
no moral leg to stand on in the fi ght
against communalism because their
very existence is based on ethnic/racial/
caste considerations.
Parties going it alone can still have their
post-electoral wedding but we will have
chosen the grooms and decided on the
dowry. The opposition will then play its
role without fear or favour and turncoats
will have to face the electorate anew
instead of shamelessly bargaining their
way into ministerial positions. That is
stability. That is democracy. Those are
the reforms the country is interested in
discussing in a cool-headed way.
The terms being whispered in the
background on which the MMM is
negotiating another alliance with the
MSM as a junior partner sound like a
groom telling his prospective partner,
“Since I don’t love you and I don’t trust
you and I have publicly said so, I
suggest we still get married but, instead
of having two children, we will have
only one.” Sad if the belle agreed.
Sadder still if we gave our blessings to
their union!

The U-turn emperor 24 April 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

The leader of the opposition half-jokingly
swatted away the protests of some of his
supporters with the line he will continue to
use to wrench a serious commitment from
the prime minister towards the proposed
electoral and constitutional reforms: “There
is deep suspicion of Navin Ramgoolam.”
That may very well be true for some. For
most, however, the resentment against Bérenger’s
latest move has nothing to do with
either Ramgoolam or Jugnauth. It is simply
one stunt too many for them to stomach.
Rewind: 2010 : The Alliance de l’Avenir
(Labour Party/MSM/ PMSD) is in government.
Pravind Jugnauth was facing tremendous
heat from Bérenger as the latter was
hell-bent on breaking the government alliance,
getting rid of the MSM and jumping
into Navin Ramgooolam’s arms.
January 2011: After chewing at Jugnauth’s
bare bones for weeks, the opposition happened
upon a nice juicy steak – Med Point
– which they baptised ‘the scandal of the
century’. The game then heated up with
the famous ‘zot meme aster, zot meme vender’
slogan and a ferocious sustained campaign
which fi nally led to the MSM stepping
down in July 2011. In August 2011,
its six members left the government.
October 2011 (barely TWO months later):
After having vilifi ed the leader of the MSM
for so long, voilà! there is a 180-degreeturn.
Bérenger worked very hard to convince
his people that the ‘scandal of the century’
wasn’t one after all and that Jugnauth was
not a crook but a nice guy in fact. It was the
government which had accused him unjustly.
The institutions of this country came
under attack, including recently the offi ce of
the DPP for having called Pravind Jugnauth
to face the courts of justice.
April 2012: (Only fi ve months later) Bérenger
had managed a feat no one thought
he was capable of: he convinced the militants
that everything he had said about the
Jugnauths, the money, the Med Point, the
Sun Trust… was false. And the remake
took off.
Between 2012 and today, Bérenger worked
so hard at white-washing the Jugnauths and
vilifying the government that he built up a
lot of steam against Ramgoolam whom he
made to incarnate all the evils this country
suffers from. He whipped up such a frenzy
that the militants – initially astounded at
having to give away 50% of the investitures
to a party which they reckon is worth less
than 2% of what they themselves are worth
– accepted the deal with a three-year prime
ministership as the cherry on the cake. As
they started resigning themselves to the idea
revoilà! another U-turn.
How Bérenger achieves all his U-turns is
very simple: he is an incredible orator, he
has amazingly convincing skills and the
unconditional admiration of his supporters.
He also, let’s face it, has an excellent
relationship with the press.
At every U-turn, however, he is gradually
sawing the branch he is sitting on. This
last U-turn was one U-turn too many. The
branch has reached breaking point.
But then again this is Bérenger we are talking
about. If the past is anything to go by,
we may hear tomorrow that he is no longer
“emmerdé” with Jugnauth, that the delaying
tactics are no longer delaying tactics and
that Pravind Jugnauth is not behaving like
a cornered rat but rather like a man facing
unjust accusations and our institutions will
come under attack again. In the U-turn
empire, who would be surprised if the Uturn
emperor takes yet another U-turn?
weekly@lasentinelle.mu

NO HEROES, NO VICTIMS 17 April 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

We were in a very lonely position when, as early
as December 2012, while talk about the 2000
Remake was in full swing, we stated: “I wouldn’t
advise you to put your money on it. I certainly
wouldn’t put a penny down.” If you took us
seriously, you must have taken your winnings
to the bank and quit the game. A wise decision!
The reason we were able to advise you to keep
your cool in the middle of the announced
tsunami is because we have been through this
so many times and heard political leaders say
one thing with an apparent conviction the
sincerity of which you’ll fi nd hard to doubt
only to sit in the same place the very next day,
look you straight in the eye and tell you exactly
the opposite, without even blinking.
So, we went through the tsunami, the ‘cooling
off’ period, the loveless reunion and now
we are back to a second ‘cooling off’ period
and, by the looks of it, thousands of people
are even going to be deprived of the traditional
briani and cheap rum on May Day!
Where are we heading from here? A reunion
of the two long-term lovers whose
hearts had never stopped beating for each
other? By the looks of it. Naturally, a few
disgruntled militants who still believe that
political parties are democratic instances
showed up at yesterday’s MMM politburo
meeting to show their disagreement as they
see Bérenger’s stance as a betrayal of the
MSM, particularly Sir Anerood Jugnauth
who resigned from the comfort of the presidency
to lead the promised tsunami. And
the MSM has indeed been rehearsing the
role of the victim – a card they will play to
the full, thus pulling at the heart strings of
the population.
But let’s be fair: the whole idea of the remake
was based on the assumption that some sort
of tsunami would shake the very foundation
of the government. So, leaving the presidency
was a choice Anerood Jugnauth made
and a promise he was not able to deliver.
Having left the State House to jump back
into the trenches of the political arena out of
his own initiative, SAJ will fi nd playing the
role of the victim at this stage rather undignifi
ed.
In this game of alliances and misalliances,
there are no heroes. And certainly no victims.
Politicians hop in and out of bed with each
other with a shamelessness that would make
bawdy houses look like a pastoral care setting
and those working in them like nuns. So their
unions as well as their divorces leave us cold.
Nobody asked us for our opinion about the
wedding. We have no opinion that they care
to hear now. It was clear from the beginning
that not only was there no love in the relationship
between Jugnauth and Bérenger but
there was not even any reason behind it. One
is entitled to wonder whether Bérenger enjoyed
the game while it lasted and whether
Jugnauth actually believed in it.
As from tomorrow, we will be taken on a
similar ride as before except that the protagonists
will be different. Their conversation
later today, before they meet the journalists
will probably sound a bit like this: “Oh, dear,
it’s so nice to be together again! As for those
(fi ll in obscene word for stupid, gullible
people), who gives a (fi ll in another dirty
word) about them?” “Yes, it has always been
you! What were you saying about that (fourletter-
word) second republic?” Then they
will come out and talk to us about the interests
of the country. As they have always done.
weekly@lasentinelle.mu

Law without order 10 April 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

We expected little to come out of the
parliamentary debate. And we were not
disappointed. We expected a lot of cosying
up after the publication of the white
paper and we were generously served. The
Private Notice Question (PNQ) is supposed
to make the government shake and
grope for answers. And there is no shortage
of issues which could make very good
material for the most important question
in our national assembly, what with the
theft in the port and its implications on
our ambition to become a regional transhipment
station. Then the crooks who
have allegedly been feeding us stolen food
and shamelessly digging deep into our
threadbare pockets to make us pay the
full price for the privilege of being unknowingly
accomplices in their hideous
act. What with the police who are looking
for proof where they are not likely to fi nd
any. If proof there is of all the stolen seafood,
it would by now be in the hands of
the Wastewater Management Authority.
And don’t forget the issue of our old bones
which are being donated to the cause of
science without our prior consent.
Devoting the PNQ to this? No, oh no, sir!
That won’t do. Let’s just put a fl ippant
question about a girl who sought asylum
in the UK on ‘bogus’ grounds and had her
application rejected. Ouch! And since we
are at it, how many more Mauritians have
been deported from the UK? Three every
week! Our leader of the opposition needs
many more PNQs to ask the prime minister
every week to justify why the British
authorities are doing their job and ensuring
that there is law and order in their country!
As if this were not embarrassing enough for
us, Paul Bérenger goes even further and asks
if “the Mauritian government, in spite of the
way she [Yashika Bageerathi] has behaved,
is prepared to help her?” – help her appeal
the decision of the British authorities!
The reply to the question at least has
the merit of being straightforward: “As
far as helping on another appeal against
the decision is concerned, that’s not on
the cards… She has already appealed
five times and no evidence was found
of her allegations.”
After the leader of the opposition had
given the prime minister the opportunity
to thump his chest about everything
our high commission in the UK has done
and all the help they extended – which
naturally was rejected by the alleged
victim because that may lead to the truth
about her allegations – they both agreed
with each other that the girl had been
“badly advised” and they both justifi ed
their salaries.
If the British authorities ever read our
Hansard, it might be an embarrassing
moment for us as a country. Perhaps even
more embarrassing than the statement
made by our Foreign Affairs minister who
– in his wisdom – publicly stated on our
behalf that the British should have allowed
the illegitimate asylum seeker to spend
more time in the UK [illegally, that is]
until she had taken her exams! Exams, by
the way, which are sent to us by Cambridge
and which thousands of our pupils
sit every year without asking for any special
privileges.
It is time we realised one thing: either there
are laws and they are applied or there aren’t
any laws. And perhaps because of our
half-measure attitude – which could easily
be mistaken for humanitarianism – we
have laws but we have no order.
Next question, please!
weekly@lasentinelle.mu

Welcome back to Rapeland, Yashika! 3 April 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

175,000 signatures and counting,
thousands of people up in arms, hundreds
on the streets, a headmistress who is either
gullible or cynical, two MPs who might
benefi t by looking up Mauritius on the
world map, wannabe-celebrities who have
found a great opportunity to achieve their
dream and a government which fought
hard to resist pressure, the Yashika Bageerathi
polemic is a phenomenon which the
human mind cannot explain.
Here’s the story which hundreds of
thousands of people bought into. The girl
ran away from Rapeland and sought protection
from the UK authorities as she had
been threatened with rape and the rapistscum-
drug addicts were waiting for her at
the airport to rape her as soon as she got
back. This science fi ction scenario takes
place – believe it or not – in Mauritius and
this is the story which has been unblinkingly
strewn all over the place, including
the broadsheets.
Worried about the image this cockand-
bull story gave of Mauritius? Relax!
It is not that bad, actually, thank you Yashika.
We have been portrayed as an island
where our rapists are not the beasts they
tend to be in other countries. Over there,
they pounce on innocent, unsuspecting
people, drag them somewhere by force and
commit their hideous crime. Here, our
rapists are choosy and civilised. They fi rst
spotted little Yashika but let her off with a
threat of rape. Then they gave her a chance
to go and sort out a visa and book a plane
ticket to the UK. This kind-hearted gesture
must have been highly appreciated by
the girl as she reciprocated by giving them
a chance too: not a single entry at the police
station and not a word to her relatives. I
mean one has to have a sense of fair play
in all circumstances, you know? Once the
girl got away, the rapists started camping
at the airport, observing an act of abstinence
rapists in other countries could learn
from. Their only hope was that the cruel
British one day abandon the girl to her fate.
It is perhaps worth mentioning that,
because these rapists set up camp at the
airport, the government has secretly built
another airport. So, while the bad guys are
waiting for their prey at the old terminal,
women of all ages, shapes and sizes have
been safely landing in this country and
taking off. So, when Yashika landed back
in Rapeland this morning, the dangerous
outlaws did not even see her as they were
wasting their time at the wrong airport.
175,000 signatures?! I honestly suggest
a little course in geopolitics so that
the energy of the signatories is diverted
towards the thousands of genuine asylum
seekers from Sri Lanka, the Congo, the
Central African Republic, Syria etc. who
would never be able to secure the kind of
publicity Yashika is getting because their
stories lack the Hollywood ingredients
that she offered, sprinkled with a large
dose of strong spices: a rather average
pupil here, according to those of her
teachers who remember her, she was depicted
as an exceptionally bright ‘straight
As’ pupil who has had a clutch of offers
from top universities!
Well, damn it Mauritius! Look at the
positive side: we now have a brand new
airport and our average students are
beating the best pupils in the UK to
top universities!
In the meantime, please join me in
welcoming Yashika back to Rapeland and
shhhh! Don’t let the rapists in on this. Let
them continue waiting at the old terminal.
Everybody is safe that way.
weekly@lasentinelle.mu

Eight lessons for the DPP 20 March 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

Sir,
As Director of Public Prosecutions, you issued a
communiqué informing us that, in the Med Point
case, your offi ce has “concluded that there is
suffi cient evidence to initiate criminal proceedings
against Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth for confl ict
of interest”. You also called for caution in
commenting on the above matter “in any way that
may jeopardise the conduct of the case”.
It is not our intention to “jeopardise the case” so
we are not going to comment on it. However, you
may have heard that the leader of the opposition
has expressed the opinion that your timing is “not
a coincidence” – a direct attack on the integrity
of your offi ce but you are big enough to defend
yourself. You will, however, allow us to give you
a few lessons on how to conduct your affairs to
avoid any negative comment in the future.
1. You should avoid taking decisions of this nature
at a time when the prime minister has expressed
his intention of coming out with a white paper on
electoral reform. Admittedly, the prime minister
has been talking about the white paper for the last
few months but what are a few months in the life
of the justice system?
2. Once the reforms have been announced, it
would be very bad timing to have criminal
proceedings initiated against Former Minister of
Finance Pravind Jugnauth. When people are busy
analysing how to get to power, it would be
considered in poor taste to spoil their fun. And,
naturally, once the election date has been decided,
announcing legal action against someone is totally
out of place.
3. You should wait for the remake discussions to
come to a conclusion. That means of course,
waiting for the opposition to fi nalise the number
of seats each party will walk away with, who will
have an investiture and who will be rewarded in
some other way and whether – in case of victory
– Shawkatally Soodhun will occupy the very
powerful position of vice-president of the republic.
Such life-changing matters, which every citizen
of this country is not sleeping at night thinking
about, should be considered fully by your offi ce.
That also means waiting for the tsunami to take
place, followed by the cooling-off period, the
macadams (hurdles) to be ironed out for the gallery
and the meeting of the central committee and the
delegates’ meeting to rubberstamp whatever
decision the leader of the opposition decides to
take. What’s another year or two?
4. You should also take into consideration major
happy events like our national day and unhappy
ones like the periods of mourning we have been
through. Your offi ce, sir, has to be sensitive to our
mood as a nation.
5. Consult our meteorological station and fi nd out
what the weather will be like and – hoping they
get it right for a change – decide on a day when
the temperature is just right for the people of this
country to hear the kind of news you are about to
announce.
6. Consult the religious bodies to make sure your
decision does not coincide with the festive season
of any particular religion. You do realise that the
announcement of your recent decision coincides
with the fasting period of at least two major
communities. A double whammy if you ask me.
7. Alternatively, you could conduct a survey – or,
better still, a referendum – to fi nd out how many
people would like to know where Rs145m of their
hard-earned money went and act accordingly. It
is always safe to consult people about how much
justice they have an appetite for.
8. In the end, the safest option may be to leave
alone anyone who is politically-connected one way
or the other. Concentrate all your efforts on those
of us who have no political protection. No one will
raise a voice in our defence so, though justice may
not be done, it will be seen to be done. That, in
third world countries, is what matters.
weekly@lasentinelle.mu

Growing pains 13 March 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

So we enjoyed the day off, the prime minister’s
and the president’s fanfares were played and the
fl ag of the republic of Mauritius was hoisted at
full mast, followed by a 21-gun salute. Police
helicopters fl ew past, local artists displayed their
talent and a splendid fi reworks show followed.
And, we felt a tinge of pride creep into our lives
as we sang the national anthem as enn seul pays,
enn seul nation, enn seul destin (one country, one
nation, one destiny). Congratulations Mauritius!
You have just turned 46.
As a nation on the wrong side of 40, we are no
longer the carefree young girl who can get away
with silly giggles and misplaced pride. We are
middle-aged now and are accountable for our
acts and their implications. So, we choose to be
harsh on ourselves and question the disconnect
between the values we shout on the rooftops and
how we practise them in our daily lives. And we
choose to be harsher on ourselves when we try
to hog the limelight with fancy slogans which our
immediate actions undermine. We choose
therefore to refl ect on an issue which, at times,
undercuts our nationalism.
Two highly mediatised actions stood out as
soon as we started thinking about nationalism.
First, Resistans ek alternativ’s appeal before the
Privy Council (PC), to write new legislation
into our laws which would allow citizens to
stand for election as Mauritians without having
to disclose their ethnic appurtenance. Second,
the equally high profile case of Rajah
Madhewoo, who took legal action against the
new identity card, threatening to go all the way
to the PC. Never mind if the fi rst action – even
if it were to result in a positive denouement –
would not put an end to the Best Loser System,
let alone make a dent in our inherently
communal-based politics – just attend any
press conference on Saturday and fi nd out for
yourself. Never mind if the second action is
futile and irrelevant. What these two cases have
in common is that the initiators both claim that
their motivations are of a national nature. In
the same breath, however, both want their
issues resolved outside the nation, in the British
PC! Isn’t it ironical that to prove our
nationalism, we resort to the last vestige of
colonialism to determine our national policy?
The ultimate irony was that, in the fi rst case,
it was the PC itself which had to point out to
us that it had no locus standi; in other words,
our national policy is none of their business
– a little slap on the wrist which cost the
Mauritian taxpayer three million rupees…
On this anniversary, we would like to refl ect
on the need and pertinence of retaining the
option of going to the PC. We are now grown
up and should follow the example of other
former colonies, which have revamped their
judiciary, opted out of the PC and have taken
full responsibility for their own national
decisions. Even dominion states – like
Australia, Canada and New Zealand – which
still accept the queen as their head of state –
have opted out. As for republics like India,
Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia, etc., the issue
was settled in the 1990s.
At the age of 46, we should look each other in
the eye and ask ourselves one question: In how
many countries in the world do citizens have to
obtain a visa to gain access to their fi nal court?
If the answer deals a blow to the pride we felt
singing our national anthem, let’s use the
opportunity to grow up. Isn’t it time?
weekly@lasentinelle.mu

Cracking under the pressure 6 March 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

If there is a limit to intellectual dishonesty, it has
not been discovered yet. And certainly the events
following the discovery of the cracks (chasms is
a more appropriate word) in the brand new Ring
Road are not likely to make our journey towards
this discovery any shorter. Under other circumstances,
we would all be cracking up.
It is an embarrassing moment for the country.
Very embarrassing. And no one can accuse us
of bad faith. When the new road opened, we
hailed it as the most precious Christmas gift we
had ever received. The press from all boards
waxed lyrical about its beauty and elegance. As
for the convenience it has added to our lives,
suffi ce it to say that most of us commuters received
an average of one hour or two a day as a
gift. Two hours of stressful time we used to spend
stuck in horrendous traffi c jams we can now add
to our leisure time. No mean feat. Who cares
about the cost? Who can put a price on our time
and serenity? So, we smiled and looked forward
to more of the same as the other stretch of road
was due to open.
Before it did, however, cracks started showing
slowly but surely. Then parts of the road turned
into a pitiful sight. Still, no problem. After all,
when you embark on a project of such magnitude,
you expect some things to go wrong.
That’s why there is a warranty and a maintenance
period during which the building company
undertakes to right the wrongs which
may appear in the construction they have
handed over to the client. Except that, in this
case, instead of the companies involved in the
construction – not exactly third class builders
you might expect to run away with your money
– endorsing the responsibility, the usual
ridiculous folklore of dancing around the truth
started between the Ministry, the Road Development
Authority and the builders. So, as
it is usually the case, it is nobody’s fault. Another
fi lm with no villains!
Then the builders suddenly had an attack of
conscience and – after denying any responsibility
at all in a road they were entirely responsible
for building – and after a lengthy meeting with
foreign consultants – out of the blue decided that
they were, in fact, taking full responsibility for
the repairs! Pity, they denied themselves the
dignity of taking responsibility for what they did
out of their own initiative. They would have
avoided getting on the wrong side of the taxpayers
by suggesting that the government use our
money to pay for the bad workmanship showing
on this road.
Now we don’t know what the foreign consultants
– who must be cracking up at us as we speak –
suggested but there are some serious questions
to be asked here: fi rst, if we can no longer trust
big, reputable companies with our roads, who
do we turn to? And who is going to pay for the
delays caused by poor workmanship? What did
the report of the consultants include? Why did
the building companies suddenly have a change
of heart? And above all, how are mistakes like
these to be avoided in the future? Of course, we
don’t expect any answers other than the usual
reaction: move along, nothing to see here.
weekly@lasentinelle.mu

Dangerous Liaisons 27 February 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

Apart from sex, the D.Y. Patil Medical College
saga has all the ingredients necessary for a drama-
cum-action movie. A family fi lm with a
good mix of friendship, loyalty, family ties,
comedy, drama and action, it really is a thrilling
and nail-biting mass entertainer which I
recommend to all of you who have become
familiar with this genre. You will love the relationship
and dynamics between two families who
have nothing in common except the noble aim
of educating the children of this nation.
The plot begins with two friends who meet
in the incredible sub-continent and start
chatting together. One of them is involved in
a medical school and the other is a retired guy
who spends his time enjoying the simple
pleasures of life like fi shing and hunting.
Until their paths cross that is. Then a great
idea starts germinating in their minds: why
not open a medical college in the middle of
the rolling sugarcane fi elds and whispery music
of a beautiful island? The retired guy knew
nothing about medicine, let alone education,
but what the heck! What is it that a well-intentioned
friend cannot do for the sake of friendship?
And, for those of you who think that the
absence of sex in the movie might be a drawback,
you needn’t worry. Not about that anyway
as it is largely compensated for by nepotism
since the medical college chooses as its
premises the fi ne building of the National
Pension Fund which falls directly under the
responsibility of the retired nice guy’s wife,
who happens to be a minister. Who decided
on the amount of rent to be paid? Don’t you
dare ask!
The movie reaches its climax when two students
report the medical college for allowing them to
practise in our hospitals before being registered
with the Medical Council! And the beauty about
this movie is that it has only heroes – no villains.
So, naturally, it is nobody’s fault: the students
did what they had to do and the Ministry of
Health cannot be held responsible for the qualifi
cations of those entrusted with our lives. In
other words, it is the responsibility of the patients
themselves to ascertain the qualifi cations of
every doctor – or so-called doctor – who consults
them inside our hospitals. Highly commendable
as the open-door-policy is a good principle of
management.
The plot is made that much more complex with
a private radio station releasing the recording of
the retired nice guy promising the students that
all will be OK and that his minister wife – no
run-of-the-mill amateur magician – would use
her magic wand to right all the wrongs! The
whole movie is enhanced with beautiful footage
of a video recording going viral of the same guy
doing exactly what he denies having done. And
the fi lm ends with the protagonists refusing to
make any comment while several institutions
start different investigations into all sorts of allegations,
thus clouding the whole issue.
The yet-to-be-distributed movie is a bone-chiller
which, I must tell you, does not end well but,
though the plot has been done so many times, it
feels fresh because the characters seem so real.
They pretend to know what they’re doing but
they’re really making it up as they go along. In
the meantime, make sure you never fall sick as
you never know what surprises may be awaiting
you in our hospitals.

Move along, nothing to see here 20 February 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

The dilly-dallying expressed by the leader of the
opposition, Paul Bérenger, has marked the
political scene this week. Not that it is anything
new. You will recall that, not long ago, there was
a “cooling off period” (Oh, I just lurve the terms
Bérenger effortlessly coins!) during which the
koz-kozer with the Labour Party resumed before
we heard that it was business as usual within the
remake and move along, nothing to see here! So,
we have become perfectly accustomed to the
morality which makes it absolutely fi ne for
someone to propose to his girlfriend while
cheating with his mistress.
Still, a lot of speculation followed and the press
had a fi eld day grinding out endless stories – spun
for maximum shock effect – about whether the
remake is going ahead or not. What was new
perhaps was that Bérenger has now openly stated
that the MMM could either go it solo, with the
MSM or with a junior partner – options best
summarised through the reaction of the
cartoonist Deven T., who portrayed Paul
Bérenger publicly announcing: “We have a
choice between going to the elections with a
junior partner or going to the elections with a
junior partner.” Seriously, what exactly is the
choice? And how many major parties are there
in this tiny country?
Whether Paul Bérenger’s outburst was an
attempt at taming his partner or a genuine desire
to give the militants a say, the fact that he added,
in the same breath, that Anerood Jugnauth’s
resignation did not make a dent on the political
scene, shakes the very foundation of the alliance.
We will recall that after May 1st rally, Bérenger
had expressed his disappointment that the
newly-born remake did not attract the expected
crowds and even congratulated Navin
Ramgoolam for “having kept his head above
water”. The municipalities followed with pretty
much the same lacklustre effect.
Could the leader of the opposition be taking stock
at this late hour or is he really pressured by the
grassroots militants who are alarmed at the
number of investitures slipping through their
fi ngers? Is there pressure from those who would
be relegated to playing second-fi ddle if 50% of
the grub were to be given away?
What is clear at this point is that whether the
recalcitrant militants have it their way or not will
depend on their options. Some still believe an
alliance with the Labour Party is possible and are
looking out for any sign that one of the two longterm
lovers may be sending to the other: a hint, a
word in a public statement, body language… Some
have even delved into sartorial language: the
mauve tie the prime minister was seen wearing at
some event was interpreted as a sign to the leader
of the opposition to ‘come hither’.
A Facebooker compared this political situation
to that of someone who has only two sets of
underwear. “Every time the chap has a shower,”
the Facebooker says, “he has to make a very
important decision: whether to put the dirty
underwear back on or change into the other dirty
set which is in the laundry.”
Remember, co-gullible voters, that all the politicians
have worn, re-worn and exchanged the same dirty
underwear. We just tend to forget every time the
polls open. Which is why we have been pleading
for political parties to opt for post-election alliances.
That would give them time to acquire new
underwear and pay a fair price for it – the currency
being the number of votes we choose to give.
weekly@lasentinelle.mu

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