Touria Prayag's Blog

L’express Weekly, 25 February 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on February 25, 2011

Read l’express weekly 25 february,2011

From ideology to personality

Any entity which lasts for 75 years deserves our full respect.
When a political party lasts that long and is in
power, there is a lot to celebrate. Congratulations then
to the Labour Party on an anniversary celebrated in a
grand style but without too much wallowing in nostalgia or personality
cult. The tribute paid to the founding fathers of the party
was justifi ed and, on the whole, measured.
It is undeniable that the party has left an indelible footprint in
every aspect of the history of this country and it still is a major force
to be reckoned with in today’s Mauritius. But a celebration is not
restricted to reminiscing about the past. It is also about refl ecting on
the present and looking into the future. To claim that the present Labour
Party has not deviated from its original ideology is not entirely
supported by facts. The ideology on which the party was founded has
defi nitely moved towards more economic pragmatism, involving
a range of measures verging, some might say, on neo-liberalism.
Free market policies such as the removal of trade barriers, barriers
to the infl ow and outfl ow of capital, the Stimulus Package and the
Economic Restructuring and Competitiveness Programme, the fl at
corporate tax rate to mention only a few cannot, by any yard stick,
be qualifi ed as socialist in nature. To be fair, though, moderating its
left wing instincts, instead of indulging them, has allowed the party
to adapt to the period of history we are in. Face it. Rhetoric aside,
the model offered by political parties today is the same right across
the spectrum.
The main difference between parties now is not one of ideology
but of personality, an area in which Navin Ramgoolam has a defi –
nite advantage. This should not lead to any degree of complacency,
though, as there are a number of perceptions now associated with
the Labour Party and (perhaps particularly) its allies which its leader
would be wrong not to seize this occasion to refl ect upon. And
worry about. If I were Navin Ramgoolam, I’d worry about the perception
of cronyism, abuse of power and lack of ethics created by
some of the people close to me. I’d worry about the lack of accountability
which seems to be rampant around me. I’d worry about my
friends rather than my perceived enemies. I’d worry about some parasites
in my government and parastatals who are draining the state
coffers and standing in the front line for all the privileges, leaving
only frustration behind. I’d worry about those who are shamelessly
placing their friends and relatives on a number of boards creating a
breed of useless, professionally worthless, people who make a living
simply through sitting on various boards. I’d worry about the silence
of those who have something to get rather than about the verbosity
of those who have nothing to gain. I’d worry less about the press. A
healthy, even antagonistic, press is essential in any vibrant democracy.
An independent free press is one of the main differences between
us and Egypt, Tunisia and some parts of the Middle East. Anger
expressed in newspaper columns is less likely to be expressed in
Tahrir Square or the Place d’Armes. Come to think of it, it is partly
thanks to our big mouths that Navin Ramgoolam enjoys peace while
in power. You’re welcome. And many happy returns.


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