Sunday, April 29, 2012

DSK Thinks He Was Framed

That's what he told The Guardian's Edward Epstein a couple of weeks ago. He claims of having discovered evidence that he was being tracked by French intelligence services.

DSK was ahead of Sarkozy by as much as 20% in the polls before the Sofitel affair. Epstein has published a book on this headlines-grabbing story.

Friday, April 27, 2012

That Fragile Thing Called Life

Leo Still Within Reach of Der Bomber's Record

True he didn't score in the last three matches. That leaves him with 4 liga matches and a Copa del Rey final on May 24 to get the remaining 4 goals. In the meantime meet Gerd Muller.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hollande Ahead by Up To 3.5%

As the French go to vote in the first round of the Presidential elections. The interesting thing that's happening this time is that the judiciary has warned that it will prosecute anyone publishing exit polls before voting stations close at 20h. This includes posting on FB or Tweeter. If the leaks are widespread enough the elections could be declared void.

Ah, Tweeter quand tu me tiens...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Four Journalists Turn PM Interview into Circus

That's been happening since 17h00 today. Incredible. They asked the PM questions at the same time. And they don't wait for him to answer. Nope. They interrupt him with more questions while he is answering. And they've been doing this repeatedly.

I guess that's some serious competition for Cirque du Soleil.

Countries To Appear in The PM's Speeches

Look for those that will have a rate of growth lower than 3.6% this year. Which is our revised expected growth rate for 2012. So European countries will appear frequently. They will also be cited if we hit the fantastic growth rate of 1.7% because they are struggling with a debt-trap.

And those which will not appear? All those that will do better than us. Naturally. Which means you will not hear about all those countries --  many from Africa -- that have gotten their act together for many years now and are forging ahead.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Passage of Censure Motion Now Doubtful

So said Berenger a little while ago at a joint press conference with SAJ. That's an about-turn from what he has been saying for the past many weeks. That's because their aggressive attempts to poach government MPs have so far been unsuccessful.

On the contrary, Ramgoolam may now see his majority virtually improve by two: Cehl Meeah was in attendance for the Presidential speech on Monday and Eric Guimbeau. The latter is unhappy that Berenger has turned down a few of his requests including a second ticket for Radhika Jagatsingh.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cure For Insomnia Discovered

And it's free too. Just read the Government Programme delivered on Monday. And get ready to literally fall into a coma. For sure there are some good suggestions in there like the bill to cater for referenda. And it's simply awesome that government has now discovered that we are surrounded by an ocean. But the main trouble with this document is that it is a stack dump of ideas and statistics that have been cherry-picked. Little to do with the reality of 99% of the population. Besides it doesn't flow nicely. It's not integrated. It's policy spaghetti. The only thing that's missing on the cover is c'est un plaisir.

How much of it will actually be implemented? And will that make a difference? Don't hold your breath. Instead get an idea of where we're heading by going through the latest letter of development policy: "the fiscal position remains stretched and a counter-cyclical policy will be difficult to implement if the external threats materialize" writes Xavier-Luc Duval.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Face of 60 Minutes Dead At 93

Berenger Negotiates Bad Deal For MMM, Again

If the MMM can get 43% of the votes and the MSM only 3% then a reasonable ticket split would be 56 tickets (43%/46%) for the MMM. And 4 for the MSM. For sure the MMM should get the top job. And all if not most of the ministries. But that's not the kind of deal that Berenger has cut. In fact he has come up with something that is good only for him.

So instead of going alone or getting another leader the MMM is prepared to let the small tail wag the big dog. Again. 

Cuttaree Could Be Getting Ready

To spend five years at Le Réduit as part of an LP/MMM alliance. The other ingredient of this partnership would be a change in our constitutional regime -- a move to a Presidential system -- along with an electoral reform that would include a dose of PR. As wished by both Berenger and Ramgoolam. This scenario is not as unlikely as you may think because remember that a quarter of MMM's central committee voted against the principle of the 2000 Remake.

The other reason is that the chemistry between Paul and Navin is better than between the other protagonists. Of course changing the constitutional setup will not make our current slate of politicians any wiser. So your lot will not improve. Only theirs.

Friday, April 6, 2012

MPC Needs A Little Tweaking

Given that Governor Bheenick -- who is appointed by the PM -- was outvoted by external members who are all appointed by XLD. We could reduce the external appointees by one and give a casting vote to Bheenick as suggested by former Governor Maraye. I think a majority of external members should have resided in Mauritius for at least the precceding 10 years and understand how the economy works. That's very different from people who have simply read economics and finance and whose human capital has been depreciating since then. We also need to exclude people with a worldview consistent with keeping only 1% of the population happy. We could also get people who have had a no-nonsense career. So here are my picks.

Harish Bundhoo -- Former Head of Central Statistical Office
Soobaraj Sok Appadu -- Former Head of the Met Services
Rohit Ramnawaz -- Managing Director of African Links Ltd
Aline Wong -- Managing Director of L'Inattendu

Who else should go on this list?

Ramgoolam Makes Some History, Unwittingly

Our acting President is currently a woman. That was nice to see on TV. Amazing eh? Did you notice that women -- just like men -- have two ears, two eyes, one mouth and a brain too. Which means they've got the required instruments to take any positions that men are occupying. Including the Prime Ministerial one. Especially that one.

All of this was somewhat unintended of course because Ramgoolam granted a second term to SAJ because Mansoor/Sithanen screwed up -- and half of the toxic pair is persevering -- Mauritius big time. And the PM hoped that SAJ would not leave Le Réduit. 

Shall we call it a collateral benefit?

Iceland Prosecutes Former PM

For failing to keep the country out of harm's way. Indeed 3 banks borrowed the equivalent of 10 times Iceland's GDP before failing and dragging the country into a deep recession. Interesting. I thing we should have this kind of accountability codified in our laws. And they should apply to senior officials in a position to mess up Mauritius in a big way.

You mess up, you don't collect 200.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fiscal Policy Should Catch Up With Monetary Policy

Well, you've seen where the irresponsible flat tax has led us to: next year debt service is expected to exceed our education budget by a whopping 40% after surpassing it for three straight years. Nothing for policy makers to be proud of. Really. And debt servicing has increased so much because the economy did not grow as fast as it should for the crappy policies that put 1% of the people first to be sustainable.

Of course the Mansoor/Sithanen Toohrooh will get bigger and bigger unless two dumb things are done: one is to slow down essential expenditure and the other one is to privatise public assets through a gimmick called strategic partnerships. Something which Jack Bizlall has already understood and he is gearing up for a fight with an interesting platform. To bring back some sanity to fiscal policy. I suspect we could see the same momentum we witnessed with the Chagossian petition.

On its side monetary policy has been relatively very good for the past five years. Because it has been working in the interests of all Mauritians -- not just the richest ones. Which makes it sustainable. Our rupee has well-behaved too cushioning as far as it can the irresponsible fiscal and other bean-counting experiments of two university buddies.

Does the Minister of Finance understand what's going on? I am starting to have some serious doubts.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Opposition Split Tickets Under Adult Supervision

Paul is to meet Pravind tomorrow to draw the common list of candidates under the watchful eye of SAJ who resigned as President to save his son's leadership. That's very unfair. Berenger should take Marraine with him so that the two parents can proudly watch their lads trade civilities. While they last.

By the way, I hope that you have received parental consent for reading this.

Sarkozy Ahead of Hollande By 1-3%

For the first-round Presidential Elections that are due to take place in 18 days. Marine Le Pen is third. However Hollande leads by 6-10% at the run-off stage that would take place two Sundays later.

How do you think it's going to go?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Should Uteem Lose His Presidential Privileges?

Given that a couple of years ago he did something Mauritians don't expect their former Presidents to do: get back on the soap box. The fact that he didn't find it strange for SAJ to go back to active politics fooled no one. We now hear that he is still considering making another dip into partisan politics.

I think he should lose them. What about you?

Mauritius, We Have Liftoff

At 10h56 today, Mauritius had reached the goal of collecting 25,000 signatures to help return the Chagossians home. There was a gigantic surge yesterday: probably more than 10,000 people signed. This compares to a worrying 400 that was collected on March 27. The 25,000th person is one Oomesh L.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lifelong Militant Explains His Party's Last Defeat

We lost votes in the following manner:

1. Ramgoolam's face was said to resemble something else: -4%
2. Gregoire issuing voting instructions that were not exactly neutral: -4%
3. The suggestion that Beebeejaun go out like cattle: -3%
4. Former President Uteem climbing on May 1st platform: -1%

Total -12%. So that the MMM could have received 55% of the votes and around 80% of the seats. And Berenger could have been PM for five whole years. The fact that Ramgoolam won obviously had -- contrary to what the MMM suggests when it loses elections -- little to do with the skin colour of moustas. And here is my take on the 2005 defeat.

The PM must already be grinning about the thought that at least two former Presidents could be on one political platform on Labour Day.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Journalist Shows Big Bias

Against Nita Deerpalsing who was debating with Rajesh Bhagwan yesterday. Especially in the beginning when he seemed to want a Yes/No answer from the Labour MP to one of his questions. At a later point he took sides again when out of nowhere he quoted SAJ saying some people were scared of the former President's comeback into the political arena.

Bhagwan tried to destabilise Deerpalsing with some chauvinistic remarks. But she was unflappable.