Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stuck in the Colonial Model

First, there were slaves working the sugar cane fields and managed with Colbert's little human resource manual. When they were set free and went to hide in what has now become a World Heritage Site workers were imported from India and turned into slaves which, unsurprisingly, eventually led to another inscription on Unesco's list.

Fast forward about 150 years and that model is still very much alive: Mauritian workers in the textile industry have been replaced, but not before being stigmatised as being lazy, by foreign ones in some of the local sweatshops that want profit margins as high as LVMH's. We shouldn't, then, be surprised if 100 years from now we get a new inscription: the textile factory.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sign Of The Times

Before the Mauritian "miracle", the "gentil" Mauritian used to stroll with a comb in his pocket and usually some coins too. Now among the many "gentils" Mauritians there are also some Branded Mauritians jaywalking with cutters in their pockets and, if blessed, maybe some coins, but with a dramatically reduced purchasing power, courtesy of a World Bank/IMF-sanctioned virus euphemistically dubbed "competitive" rupee. On a positive note, crime detection has improved considerably, probably with the help of, namely, the "portrait robot" device. We have yet to see a smart and holistic vision on the preventive side. A tag line like "nous voulons montrer que nous prenons soin de nos visiteurs" is far from reassuring. Worse, translated into Morisyen it reads: nu anvi montre nu bann rezidan kuma nu fer fut ar zot!

World Bank As Usual

How much more of the World Bank (WB)'s costly poison can Mauritius afford to take? I don't know about you guys but I find the WB's "stick" Port Louis toll aimed at the "carrot" bus way in line with its long tradition of disconnect from the real world. It's not mere drivel, it's drivel upon stilts!

Good Idea

I totally agree that there should be a commission of enquiry on the Bank of Mauritius. Absolutely. Rama Sithanen and Ramesh Basant Roi have to explain to us why they issued a fatwa on our rupee in the second half of 2006 and that in spite of the record FDI that the finance minister was bragging about.

It would also be a good occasion for them to tell lepep admirab what were their 'accepted range of the rate of inflation during a given period consistent with the pursuit of the price stability objective' as stipulated by the law since Sithanen started counting the beans again in July 2005.

And we can understand why MPs Bundhoo, Varma and Dayal are so insistent about all of this. Indeed, the unconstitutional DPM has created so much inflation during the past 3 years that they are already dreading the answer of their voters in 2010 to the question: 'Are you better off than you were five years ago?'.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Telling you Something you Know Already

One item on BBC's news bar this evening was that the World Bank has revised its estimate of how many people are poor in the world from 1 billion to 1.4 billion. That's only 400 million more people or 40% of the previous estimate. Compare that to Sithanen's announcement (paragraph 216 of the 2008-09 budget) that there are 7,157 families living in extreme poverty in Mauritius. Don't you just love the guy's precision? More seriously, to win the battle against poverty we first have to stop the advance of this plague. That's kind of easy: one of the 3 DPMs has to stop showing up at his office.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What Now

SAJ will not be offered another term as President by Ramgoolam because that will have little bearing on what is optimal for Pravind Jugnauth: share the post of PM with the MMM. Ramgoolam still has a few windows of opportunity of staying on as PM after 2010 left but Sithanen is in a hurry to close each one of them.