Touria Prayag's Blog

L’express Weekly, 4 March 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on March 7, 2011

Pdf weekly 4 march


A Sun Trust Proposal

Much as the famous kiss between Brezhnev and former East
German President Honecker was touted as evidence of
the Kremlin’s regard for the latter, last week’s handshake
between the Prime minister and his minister of Finance
was meant to testify that the latter was once more in the good graces
of the Prime minister. The MBC cameras zoomed in on it. The press
photographers immortalised it: a sturdy, confi dent hand, lifting a diffi –
dent drowning one to the surface and perhaps to safety. A graceful smile
meets a grateful one. All is well. Clap clap clap. Move on!
Before we do, we have a modest proposal to make. Since the Highlands
City project has been frozen, we believe that there must be an
immediate need for public offi ce space. We would therefore like to humbly
suggest that Government buy the Sun Trust building immediately. We
must declare here that we have nothing to gain by making this suggestion
and that our motives are solely patriotic. The tender document could
look something like this, “Proposals are invited from owners of concrete
buildings located in Port Louis. The premises should be within walking
distance of the British High Commission (English being our offi cial language,
you know) and have to have served as offi ce space for the ministry
of Education in the past. Preference will be given to buildings located in
a street bearing the name of a woman. (Gender equality, you know)”
We are reliably informed that a rough estimate of the market value for
the building is around Rs. 250m, so we suggest that we get a few valuations
done to reach the fair deal of Rs.1billion. The minister of Finance
has, naturally, to declare his interest by saying, “this building belongs to
my family trust but my family and I have different dining rooms, different
tastes and different dates of birth and, objectively speaking, buying
these offi ces would be a damn good deal for the people.” He would then
leave Cabinet just before the deal is struck. The Opposition, formal and
informal, will ask questions which no one is obliged to answer. The ICAC
will try very hard to justify its existence. Some journalists will go on and
on about obscure concepts like public morality, ethics and similar things
which nobody is interested in and which, at any rate, do not rempli
ventre and the ministers involved will, thankfully, remain ‘serene’. Their
lawyer may even publicly state that we have shortchanged the owners!
Paying for this mari deal is simple. Consider this: from January
2010 to this day, 60,000 drivers have been fi ned for driving at perhaps
81km/hr on some stretches of the motorway, resulting in the State
pocketing Rs 120m! We would, therefore, like to suggest that the fi ne
be doubled and that the Road Traffi c Unit put more policemen in
strategic positions to ambush the maximum number of motorists. By
our estimate, it will take less than six months to raise enough cash to
pay for the Sun Trust building.
This purchase would save the country a lot of money in the long run,
since when we lease the Sun Trust, we pay rental and when we terminate
the lease agreement before term, we pay indemnities. So buying it would
put an end to the problem for good. If Pravind Jugnauth kept the threat
he brandished last time of gifting the money to the people of this country,
he need not worry about how we spend it. It will, one way or the other,
go back to him. With our blessings!


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