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Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius

 

 

 

 

 
PRIME MINISTER REPLIES TO
PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS ON 15 NOVEMBER 2005

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION
I B/466

The Honourable Third Member for Montagne Blanche and Grand River South East (Mr Gunness)

To ask Dr the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence & Home Affairs, Minister of Civil Service & Administrative Reforms and Minister of Rodrigues & Outer Islands:-

Whether he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation, information as to whether a journalist, a cameraman and a driver have recently been suspended and, if so, the reasons for their suspension?

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION
I B/468

The Honourable Second Member for Savanne and Black River (Mrs Hanoomanjee)

To ask Dr the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence & Home Affairs, Minister of Civil Service & Administrative Reforms and Minister of Rodrigues & Outer Islands:-

Whether he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation, information as to whether a journalist, a cameraman and a driver have recently been suspended and, if so, the reasons for their suspension?

REPLY

Mr Speaker, Sir,
With your permission, I shall reply to Parliamentary Questions IB/466 and IB/468 at the same time as they relate to the same issue.

I am informed by the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation that a Journalist, a Cameraman and a Driver were interdicted by the Corporation on 03 November 2005, for failing to provide coverage of an official function at the Prime Minister’s Office on that very day.

In the light of the explanations furnished by the three employees, the MBC has reinstated them on 10 November 2005. However the Corporation has issued a letter to each of the three employees expressing its concern on their failure to cover the event. Their attention has also been brought to the fact that in the event of any such recurrence on their part, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken. Letters expressing management's concern at the failure to cover the function have also been sent to two responsible desks officers of the News Department of the MBC.


PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION
I B/467

The Honourable Third Member for Montagne Blanche and Grand River South East (Mr Gunness)

To ask Dr the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence & Home Affairs, Minister of Civil Service & Administrative Reforms and Minister of Rodrigues & Outer Islands:-

Whether he will state if part of the proceeds from the line of credit obtained recently from India is meant to finance the free transport scheme for students and senior citizens?

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION
I B/470

The Honourable Third Member for Port Louis North and Montagne Longue (Mr Jhugroo)

To ask Dr the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence & Home Affairs, Minister of Civil Service & Administrative Reforms and Minister of Rodrigues & Outer Islands:-

Whether he will give the composition of the delegation, both from the Government and from the private sector, which accompanied him during his recent visit to India?

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION
I B/473

The Honourable Third Member for Vacoas and Floreal (Mrs Labelle)

To ask Dr the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence & Home Affairs, Minister of Civil Service & Administrative Reforms and Minister of Rodrigues & Outer Islands:-

Whether, in regard to the line of credit obtained during his recent official visit to India, he will state (a) the amount thereof (b) the terms and conditions attached thereto, and (c) the projects which will be financed therefrom?

REPLY

With your permission, Mr Speaker Sir, I propose to answer Parliamentary Questions I/B 467, I/B 470 and I/B 473 together.

The Government of the Republic of India has agreed to offer Mauritius a line of credit of US $100 million of which US $ 75 million is on soft terms and US $25 million as a grant.

Mr Speaker, Sir,

I would like to inform the House that the decision to provide free transport scheme for students and senior citizens was taken and implemented before my State visit to India. The scheme is being financed from our own financial resources and cannot in any case be financed from the line of credit.

The line of credit will be used to finance the following projects that have been identified so far:-

— The construction of a third Cyber Tower and the implementation of the school IT project that would contribute towards capacity building for the development of knowledge based industries.

— Development of the SME sector of Mauritius which would help in job creation and democratization of the economy.

— Assistance in the development of renewable energy and infrastructure in Mauritius.

— Purchase of an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) and a Coastal Surveillance Radar System in order to strengthen the naval and air surveillance capabilities of the Mauritian security forces.

— Construction of a new building to house the Supreme Court of Mauritius

— The procurement of Electronic Voting Machines.

The composition of the delegation of Government and Private Sector is being tabled.

I wish to point out that the Private Sector met all expenses relating to its participation in the mission.


PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION
I B/471

The Honourable Third Member for Curepipe and Midlands (Mr Dowarkasing)

To ask Dr the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Home Affairs, Minister of Civil Service & Administrative Reforms and Minister of Rodrigues & Outer Islands:-

Whether, in regard to the recent selection of Police Riders, he will, for the benefit of the House (a) obtain from the Commissioner of Police information as to the procedures followed for their selection, indicating whether any examination was held and (b) table a list of candidates short-listed and the candidates selected?

REPLY

Mr Speaker, Sir,

I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that following a request of the Officer-in-Charge of the Traffic Branch for additional manpower, the following procedures were followed for the selection of Police riders:-

(a) a note was published on 18 August 2005, in the Routine Orders of the Force, inviting applications from Police officers who wish to be posted to the Traffic Branch as riders;

(b) 34 applications were received. A Selection Board comprising the under-mentioned officers was set up by the Commissioner of Police:-

(i) the Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic) – Chairman;
(ii) the Superintendent of Police (traffic) – member;
(iii) the Inspector in Charge, Traffic Field Division – Member, and
(iv) an officer from the Police Head Quarters – Secretary; and

(c) all the applicants were convened before the Selection Board for an interview on 06 September 2005, and they were assessed on the following criteria:-

(i) qualifications,
(ii) experience;
(iii) personal attributes and communication skills; and
(iv) general awareness.

Prior to attending this Selection Board, all the applicants were required to undergo a practical test on motorcycles with a view to ascertaining their capability of riding motorcycles.

Only 32 applicants attended the interview, and after the selection exercise, 18 officers were retained.

I do not think it is proper for me to table such a list.


PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION
I B/472

The Honourable Third Member for Curepipe and Midlands (Mr Dowarkasing)

To ask Dr the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence & Home Affairs, Minister of Civil Service & Administrative Reforms and Minister of Rodrigues & Outer Islands:-

Whether he will state if during the recent official visit to India any bilateral agreement was signed between our private sector and the business community in India and, if so, will he consider the advisability of giving details thereof?

REPLY

Mr Speaker Sir,

Two Memoranda of Understanding were signed during the visit namely:

(i) A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 25 October 2005, between the Apollo Hospitals Group and the British American Insurance Investment Company (Mauritius) to set up a multi specialty 200 bed Hi-tech hospital in Mauritius. The hospital will also house a training institute which will run nursing and paramedical courses.

(ii) Apollo hospital, whose Chairman is Dr Reddy, was the first in India to obtain a Joint Commission accreditation and is equipped with state of Art facilities. The hospital also operates a telemedical network which enables it to link up with its regional hospitals across India. I should point out that when I met His Excellency the President. He indicated that he is finalising a project to connect different regions through sattelite. Mauritius is one of the countries which coved benefit from this linkage through sattelite, which is also faciltated telemedecine. It has also set up hospitals in Colombo, Dhaka and is operating Radiology and laboratory services in the Middle East. This is a private agreement between two companies which will invest about 25 million US Dollars for the project.

(iii) The Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and the Sea Food Exporters Association of India (SEAI) signed on 27 October 2005, a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation on the development of the marine product business between the two countries. The MOU provides for the following:

— The development of aquaculture of shrimp and other marine species in Mauritius.
— Development of fishing activity on the Mauritius coast.
— Development of infrastructure for processing of marine products in Mauritius.
— Extending technical help and support in setting up latest testing facilities including modern laboratories, for facilitating exports of high quality and hygienic marine products from Mauritius.
— Exchange of visits between the members of the two trade associations.
—Promoting investment in the marine product industry in either country, to their mutual benefit.


PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION
I B/474

The Honourable First Member for Mahebourg and Plaine Magnien (Mr Varma)

To ask Dr the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence & Home Affairs, Minister of Civil Service & Administrative Reforms and Minister of Rodrigues & Outer Islands:-


Whether, in regard to the Report of the Commission on Constitutional and Electoral Reforms, commonly known as the SACHS Report, he will state (a) the cost thereof (b) the reasons for not implementing its recommendations and (c) the follow-up action, if any, which is envisaged?


REPLY

Mr Speaker Sir,

(a) The Commission on Constitutional and Electoral Reforms comprised Justice Albie Sachs, Member of the South African Constitutional Court as Chairman and Messrs B.B. Tandon, Electoral Commissioner of India, and Robert Ahnee, former Judge as Members.

The services of Justice Albie Sachs were provided by the Commonwealth Secretariat, those of Mr B.B. Tandon by the Indian Government. The total amount spent in respect of the members of the Commission was Rs 1,016,451. All expenses in respect of Justice Sachs were borne by the Commonwealth Secretariat. Moreover, administrative costs, i.e., secretarial support, etc., incurred in connection with the Commission amounted to about Rs 250,000.

(b) The Terms of Reference of the Commission were to:

(i) review of the role of the Electoral Supervisory Commission and make recommendations on how it can be strengthened and its responsibilities extended to uphold the democratic fundamentals of the Mauritian society, in particular to ensure really free and fair elections;

(ii) review all practical aspects relating to the holding of elections and make recommendations for greater transparency and for securing a level playing field for competing parties;

(iii) propose a draft Public Funding of Political Parties Bill;

(iv) make proposals regarding amendments to be made to the Constitution of Mauritius so as to consolidate and strengthen the democratic system, including additional powers to be given to the President of the Republic, in the light of the constitutional experience of the Republic of India;

(v) make proposals regarding representation in Parliament on a proportional basis within the existing electoral system;

(vi) make proposals for the prohibition of communal or religious political parties;

(vii) review the composition of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission;

(viii) separate the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court from other divisions; and

(ix) report on any matters that are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objectives.

Two Select Committees of the National Assembly had been appointed to examine the recommendations of the Commission, as follows:

(a) the first on the public funding of political parties in order to elaborate further on these recommendations and make further recommendations on the subject of funding of political parties; and

(b) the second -

(i) to examine further the Commission’s Report and the recommendations in the matter of the introduction of a measure of proportional representation in our electoral system; and


(ii) to make recommendations, without prejudice to the existing best loser system, regarding the modalities for the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations that the National Assembly should be composed of 62 members as at present and of a further 30 members chosen proportionally from parties having obtained more than 10% of the total number of votes cast at a General Election.

The Select Committee relating to the introduction of a measure of Proportional Representation chaired by Mr Ivan Collendavelloo submitted its report in February 2004. The Select Committee on the funding of the political parties submitted its report in October 2004. From information available the former Government did examine the recommendations of the Select Committee on Funding of Political parties and decided to set up a Cabinet Committee to further review the recommendations and legislative amendments proposed in the Report of the Commission, examine the report of the Select Committee and make recommendations thereon. There is no record available to indicate whether any action had been initiated on the Report of the Select Committee chaired by Mr Collendavelloo.

As regards the electoral reforms, consultations had been held with the Electoral Supervisory Commission and the Electoral Commissioner, and amendments to the relevant legislation had been prepared. I do not have any information as to why the former Government did not proceed with the amendments.

As regards the review of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, the former Government had consultations with the Judiciary but no consensus appeared to have been reached.

Mr Speaker Sir,

The recommendations that had been implemented pertain to amendments of the Constitution to give additional powers to the President. Sections 28, 57, 64 and the third Schedule of the Constitution were amended in 2003.

(c) As regards part (c) of the question, I propose to chair a High Powered Committee and propose recommendations for the implementation of the recommendations contained therein and in the process I will have consultations with Leader of Opposition and other persons concerned.


PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION
I B/475

The Honourable Third Member for Rivière des Anguilles and Souillac (Mr Mohamed)

To ask Dr the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Home Affairs, Minister of Civil Service & Administrative Reforms and Minister of Rodrigues & Outer Islands:-

Whether, in regard to the Police Station in Souillac which is presently undergoing renovation, he will, in view of the historical importance of the site, consider the advisability of (a) not making use of that building for a Police Station (b) having the said building restored to its original state and (c) moving the Souillac Police Station to a new site?

REPLY

Mr Speaker, Sir,

I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that the building housing the Souillac Police Station was declared National Monument in 1985. The site is ideal for the Police to cover the Southern region and it serves as a Sub-Divisional Headquarters where various units other than the Regular Police Force such as the CID and the ADSU are also housed.

The renovation works at the building are ongoing since 2002 and are scheduled to be completed by mid-November 2005. The works have been approved by the National Monuments Board which has requested that the building be restored to its original state except for the part of the building housing two old cells which is covered with corrugated iron sheet instead of teak shingles.

In view of the ideal location of the building, and the heavy investment effected by the Police Force in the renovation works, it is felt not advisable to move the Souillac Police Station to another location.


 
Last Updated: 11 February 2013