Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kozelidir Person of The Year 2014

Attributed to the Mauritian voter for acknowledging clearly that she's got the Rolls Royce of systems of government.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Did QZ8501 Crash Because of Bad Planning?

It's not a secret that the number of planes flying at any moment in time has been increasing. We know that when we check passenger statistics and the number and size of plane orders announced by major airlines. We can also get a nice visual of a region of interest

So what seems to have happened with Flight QZ8501 is that there were no paths at 38,000 feet -- to escape a thunderstorm -- that were free. Looks like someone said it was ok to fly that many planes. I guess it's ok on a day of clear weather.

There are limits to everything.

Bheenick Dismissal is Inelegant and Silly

Our learned Central Bank Governor was sacked on Friday probably on the basis of an irrelevant section of our excellent constitution. This is kind of inelegant towards a citizen of this country who has been a great Governor. You might want to check how the inflation rate -- the biggest enemy of the poor -- behaved during his tenure. Have a look at the external value of our rupee too. A smoother transition -- like the last three times we changed Governors -- would have been more appropriate for the kind of country we believe Mauritius to be.

And the nearly eight years Manou has been at the head of the BoM has made life a bit easier for at least two groups of people. The first one is an overwhelming majority of Mauritians who experienced the tangible benefits of a common sense approach to managing monetary conditions. The second one bloggers like me who had one less thing to rant against.

He will be a tough -- but not impossible -- act to follow. Because there are many people -- across all party lines -- who have gotten used to the anti-inflation capital he helped build. Despite having to deal with Finance Ministers from very small parties who seemed to be confused about monetary policy -- and many other things. At best. And a Financial Secretary who appeared to have a natural predisposition to establish contact with little green creatures that wear an antennae.

And silly because his successor hasn't been nominated yet. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014: The Year in Review (Q2)

April: 815 million voters get ready to elect Indian Government. Seeneevasen was dead against PR. Berenger heckled during politburo meeting. SLO should craft referendum legislation. Serac kills 16 on Everest. John Paul II cannonised. Gabo gone at 87.

May: Ayrton: 20 years already. Gary Becker dies at 83. Prorogation of Parliament is telling sign process is poor. Modi bags big electoral victory. Drafting of bill not most difficult part.

June: ISIS captures Mosul. Electoral reform made for three. Shakira ready for World Cup in Brazil. Constitution temporary provision bill published. Comic genius offers life perspectives. Chiellini shows Suarez bite marks.

Read the review for Q1, Q3 and Q4.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014: The Year in Review

January: One Ramgoolam gets closer to another. STC offers lower basmati prices. The Mac is 30. One way CSO can reduce its carbon footprint. PM struggling intellectually with white paper.

February: How our Constitution might help refresh the political scene. Scores lose life in Boko Haram attacksiStamp to arrive in 2015. Worst Ebola breakout kills thousands. Paco de Lucia dead at 66.

March: Berenger electoral reform proposal is a dangerous flop. Burkas and sarees don't make rapes less likely. Nine years later Ramgoolam's cake still baking. Flight MH370 disappears mysteriously. How to clean up Mumbai smartly. After 389 days Ramgoolam publishes white paper, gives us 42 days to send submissions.

Read the review for Q2, Q3 and Q4.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Catastrophic Week-end Turns 35

Between 21 and 23 December of the International Year of the child a pretty little thing called Claudette visited us. Probably because she got jealous that Pele had kicked a few footballs at our George V Stadium a couple of years before. If I remember correctly we celebrated Xmas without electricity as Mauritian power lines didn't offer any major chewing problem for an intense tropical cyclone.

The upshot is that the 3-day visit helped put our economy into a depression: a 10% contraction. 1979 was also the year of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident which was essentially due to a flawed interface design. And of a major switch of how the US Fed carried out monetary policy.

If you plan of drinking in the next few days, don't drive, take a cab or pick one of your friends as a designated driver. Staying alive can be a lot of fun.

Monday, December 22, 2014

SAJ Returns To Parliament, History Accelerates

We now have a Prime Minister who has lived 84 years or 3 years more than my all-time favourite at the time he lost power in 1982. Today is also the first time the Speaker of our National Assembly was addressed as Madam. More history is on the way at Le Reduit when Ms. Fakim will replace Kailash Purryag. The sooner the better.

SAJ is also making a comeback 11 years after having announced his retirement in 2003. This never happened before. Mr. Lutchmeenaraidoo is back too for a third term -- or a fourth one -- after almost a quarter of a century. If he does that again -- assuming he loses his seat in 2019 -- he will be eligible for one of those phones that centenarians receive.

So a larger pension has been paid and there will be a Rs10 billion item in the next budget to unleash the creative capital of Mauritius.

Not missing Sithanen and Mansoor by any chance?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Mauritius Says No To Wicked Plan of Scheming Trio

By booting Ramgoolam out of power, barely keeping Berenger in the Opposition for a third straight term -- but not before showing him who's the real boss in No.19 -- and preventing Sithanen from getting into Parliament. In what are probably the most important general elections since those that made us an independent country 47 years ago.

So yeah, Mauritian voters have sent a loud and clear message to politicians that they don't want anybody to mess up their constitution and electoral system and that they want the policies which have been creating a huge amount of poverty since 2005 -- due to a massive ministerial skills mismatch -- to end immediately.

They might have voted quite differently if these important issues had not been lumped together with the normal business of electing a government. And if no 84-year old fox had been there to capitalise on this monumental political blunder.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Will Vishnu Make An Economic Miracle?

It depends how you define a miracle. But I'll tell you this. Compared with Sithanen almost anything will feel like a miracle.

Voting centres open as from 7 am. Go Mauritius! Go!

Reforms See Poor Make Tiny Progress

Indeed the 10% poorest households saw their real disposable income increase by only 6.2% for the five years ending in 2012. This compares very unfavourably to the huge progress recorded after the first mandate of Navin Ramgoolam as PM -- Bheenick and Bunwaree (BB) were his Finance Ministers. At that time the weakest households of our country saw their purchasing power increase by a very healthy 48.6% -- that's 7.8X the 2012 increase -- over the levels of the preceding half-decade. 

The reforms have been very good for the 10% wealthiest though: their disposable income has surged by almost 30%. Of course the increased inequality has helped Mauritius clock some of the worst growth rates in more than 35 years: 2014 will be the fourth consecutive year with one under 4%. Which is half what was promised to us in 2005. And the basis for the 15% flat tax.

Happy voting!

Monday, December 8, 2014

63% of Poll Say Ramgoolam's Side Won't Take More Than 30 Seats

4.6% think they will get a 60-0. While 31.6% say SAJ's party will grab at least 40 seats. Only 14.3% predict LP/MMM will get a 3/4 supermajority to screw up our excellent Constitution and system of Government. The scenario with the most votes -- and a 1/4 chance of happening -- is Ramgoolam/Bérenger ending up with between 21 and 25 seats. The next most popular pick is them getting five seats less.

Let's see. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

92% of Poll Say We Don't Need More MPs

Only 6% think we need more. Really?

77% of Poll Find Vishnu Better Finance Minister

Than Sithanen. And that too by a very large margin. Only 22% found Sithanen better. Voters from all walks of life and parties are not exactly happy with this choice of Ramgoolam. We're gonna find out how much on Thursday.

Poll Says SAJ Better PM, By Very Large Margin

More than 3/4 of the 165 voters found the 84-year old politician a better PM. Ramgoolam got 15% -- that's five times less -- and Bérenger a paltry 6%. Ramgoolam might have become the second best PM -- after SSR -- had he been able to redeem himself. That didn't happen. And it actually got worse.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

42% of Poll Find Our Westminsterian System of Government Excellent

Or 55 people of the 129 votes this poll received. Another 43% say it's average while only 13% found it pretty bad. Might there be a zom-pom dom-tom effect here?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Resources For The December 10 Elections

Who will you vote for? Well it will have to be three of these candidates.

Where will you vote? Enter your NIC# and the Electoral Commissioner's office will tell you where that will be. That's specially useful if it's the first time you're voting.

Who's the better cake-cutter? That is who divides the national cake more reasonably. I've looked at the HBS data for the past 25 years and it all boils down to who is the Finance Minister. Lutchmeenaraidoo -- at least in the data analysed -- has been good. So have Bunwaree and Bheenick. Sithanen has been a reverse Robin Hood -- takes from the poor to give to rich -- each time he's been MoF. So he's to be avoided at all costs.

Who bakes the bigger cake? Have looked at this data recently and what I've found is that Lutchmeenaraidoo baked a bigger one than the FMs who came after him; the Sithanen reforms generated the smallest cake and that Bheenick and Bunwaree hatched a cake which was slightly bigger than what Sithanen cooked in his first mandate. More on this soon.

Of course we don't want a second republic, party lists, more MPs and double candidacies.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What Mauritian Voters Want on December 11

By and large, a Government with about 35 MPs and an Opposition with 25. They don't want a Government with a lot more seats because then it will start having funny ideas and do some really stupid things. Like messing up an excellent constitution. And they want policies that work for a majority of their fellow citizens not the kind of nonsense that we've seen since 2005.

It now appears that none of the two major political blocks -- thank God! -- will win three-quarters of the seats. Although Labour/MMM won all the seats in 1995 with 65% of the votes. In fact a little data analysis for that election -- which happened two decades ago -- will reveal that all we need for that alliance to shed 25 seats is a displacement of less than 16% of the voters. And about a 13% movement of voters should prevent them from grabbing 75% of the seats.

Shifts of these magnitudes have happened before. For example in 2005 LP/PMSD got 12.7 percentage points more votes than they had five years earlier. And the issues were not as important as they are now. For a hint of the kind of shift that may happen in a week we need to look at the change in the sum of the share of votes the IP and the PMSD received in 1967 and 1976. 44%.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Manifestos For Two Major Blocks Now Available

L'Alliance Lepep released its manifesto eight days ago while Labour/MMM did so today. Or 58 days after the people at Lalit made their electoral program available. And that has made the recommendation of Abraham Brilloff handy again.

Labour/MMM announced that they will increase old age pension to Rs4,000. This confirms at least two things: one is that they don't have a serious economic plan -- why are we not surprised? -- and two they've been on the defensive for the past month and a half. Lalit has 28 candidates of which 43% are women.

It also shows us how important it is to have a competitive democracy. Which is the foundation of both our electoral setup and system of government.

So the best outcome is that no block gets more than 35 seats and some toxic candidates don't get through.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

While You Were Sleeping

Suren Dayal was nominated as Minister of Education when Vasant Bunwaree resigned. This happened of course thanks to our excellent Constitution which makes these kinds of changes take place seamlessly.

It's not the first time we're experiencing our excellent Constitution. And definitely not the last. And if our Constitution is so good it's because a number of great and selfless minds have poured over various drafts of it and have iterated to yield something that's literally timeless. For sure we started from a very good base: the British version of a Parliamentary democracy.

Which makes it very different from what one clown has proposed.

Aren't you happy you're voting soon?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Our Polls Are Back

We have 5 great polls for you:

1. is what do you think about our Westmininsterian System of Government.

2. how many seats will Ramgoolam's alliance take?

3. who is the better Prime Minister: SAJ, PB or NR?

4. who is a better FM: VL or RS?

and 5. is about the number of MPs we already have in Parliament.

Happy voting!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gulbul Confirms Sithanen Proposal is Constitutional Galimatia

If you listen carefully to what he said on radio this week. Given that they are proposing to shift the power to dissolve Parliament to an elected President this changes the nature of our democratic system and will therefore require a referendum where a supermajority -- 75% -- of voters give the nod as well as a unanimous vote in Parliament. He has cited Privy Council interpretations of section 1 of our Constitution as basis for his analysis. He joins two colleagues who have promised to go to court if leaders start choosing MPs.

See I told you the bean-counter had no business on one committee. It also shows that collectively Mauritians are very smart. Which would explain why the bill hasn't been released yet. They know it's amateurish at best. And don't want to look silly again. After it is thrashed unceremoniously.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Suddenly, Labour/MMM Alliance Promises 60,000 Jobs

Because a few weeks ago when Rama Sithanen was asked (scroll to 31m30s) how many jobs he would create in the first twelve months if he was to become the next finance minister -- God forbid -- he said he could not forecast that. He couldn't even give a rough estimation. Of course we can come up with a ballpark of how many jobs he might create because he's been FM for several years and we just have to look at his stats. Turns out we should expect around 7,200 jobs or 2.5X less than what Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo could create.

He also said that he would not be able to create jobs immediately. Hmm. We can estimate that too by looking at how many jobs were created in the first full calendar year -- we could look at monthly figures too -- he was in office in each one of his two terms. That number is around 8,300 jobs. But given that he messed up the economy so badly and that he increased unemployment every single year in his first mandate and in every full calendar year of his second that could be really hard to achieve.

Mr. Sithanen also says he will eradicate poverty. He said that before. I'm sure you remember he said he could do that in 7 years. The snag is that it's almost ten years since his bogus reforms have started. And far from eliminating poverty he has thrown an additional 22,000 Mauritians into it during his second term. That's about 350 people every four weeks. And his inflation record doesn't look too good.

So I guess they've thrown this number to look a lot less silly. And to try to be a bit less on the defensive. After lalyans lepep announced their 12 measures.

Monday, November 3, 2014

30 Years Ago Indira Gandhi Was Assasinated

On October 31st 1984 to be more precise. I remember not initially understanding how she could have been shot multiple times. Only to learn a bit later that two of her bodyguards had assassinated her with their service guns. Ms. Gandhi was a great friend of Mauritius and visited us a few times. Here she is on one of these trips being welcomed by Kher Jagatsingh as my mum, tonton Raymond and tante Jacqueline Rault look on. The guy just behind the Prime Minister of India is of course our own SSR.

This picture brings back a lot of memories. One such memory is the late Camille Moutou lamenting at a SELEX -- an organisation for the elderly in Mauritius -- dinner a few years ago: "Kot zot pu kav vo nu bann dirizan sa".

Indeed Camille.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Who Will Be Better at Tackling Unemployment?

Some people -- who seem to have a penchant for Paglanomics -- have said that whatever Vishnu has achieved before is not doable again because the circumstances are different blah blah blah. But given that Sithanen took over almost immediately -- SAJ presented a budget in between -- from Lutchmeenaraidoo in 1991 we can look at what happened to some of the most important macroeconomic indicators when the ministerial baton was being passed. For an indication of relative skill as the environment was more or less the same. 

For example the rate of unemployment around that period offers some fascinating insights. As the chart illustrates Vishnu decreased the unemployment rate every single year from 14.8% in 1985 to 2.8% in 1990. But the story changes as soon as Rama takes over. Indeed he increased the unemployment rate every single year. From 2.7% to 5.1%. And he increased it with surprising regularity: by exactly 0.6%. Which makes it so easy to remember. 

I've also listened carefully to interviews of the two gentlemen about the economy on radio. Mr. Lutchmenaraidoo comes across as a pleasant, humble and competent person with a serious plan. And Dr. Sithanen the exact opposite.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mauritian Democracy Competitive Again

From a very low point a few months back in our Parliament when Berenger was trying to prevent Jugnauth Jr. from doing one of the things we send MPs there: debate important pieces of legislation. In that particular case the dumb amendment proposed by Sithanen. We then had that period where Ramgoolam and Berenger announced their alliance and told us that they were sure to win all the seats in the next general elections as their parties represented 40% of the electorate each. With Berenger adding that when that would happen we could count on him to not bully the little -- I guess, extra-parliamentary -- parties. Yeah, right.

That was kind of funny of course because when an alliance had won all the seats -- in 1982 and 1995 -- it got only 65% of the votes. Not 80%. And the next election is not going to be an average election. Nope. We're talking of a really wicked plan to screw up three things: our system of government, our electoral system and the livelihoods of a majority of Mauritians. So a month ago it seemed that there was a pretty good chance that lalyans pep tuni would not even get 3/4 of the seats. But that was before the national rallies of October 12.

Since then everybody knows it's going to be a tight election. And thank God it is.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sega de lane 2014?

June Happy Pistorius Gonna Pay Something

Even though Oscar might be out after a year. June is the mother of Reeva Steenkamp who was shot dead in Pistorius's bathroom on Valentine's Day last year. So today's sentencing is bringing closure to at least some members of the victim's family.

Friday, October 10, 2014

How Many Jobs Might Vishnu Create in a Year?

We cannot know precisely but given that he's been finance minister long enough we can look at his jobs record and compute an average. This turns out to be 18,243 per year if we use data between 1984 and 1990. We can look at Sithanen's data too. As the chart illustrates it's 7,200 a year on average. That's 2.5X slower. Now if you'll please excuse me I've got something to pick up in Stockholm.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lalit Beefs Up YouTube Presence

Want a big bowl of fresh air? Just listen to Cindy Clelie.

When you're done you don't want to miss Lindsey Collen's explanation of the dangers of the biometric ID card.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Why Sithanen Won't Eliminate Poverty

Simply because he's so good at creating it. See, at the end of Ramgoolam's first mandate -- Bheenick and Bunwaree were his Finance Ministers -- there were only 500 more poor people than five years earlier. But at the end of Ramgoolam's second -- I guess you recall who was Finance Minister -- there were an additional 22,000 Mauritians that had been thrown into poverty. That's a staggering 44 times more. Or if you prefer almost 2.5 times the 8,902 votes Sithanen got at the end of his first stint as FM back in the 1995 general elections when his party was routed with a 60-0.

There are only two reasons to create so much poverty. One is you love doing that. The other is you don't have the slightest clue what you are doing. In either case I don't think we want someone with that kind of a skills mismatch to be our next Finance Minister.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Parliament Dissolved in Trivial Manner

The people of Mauritius learned about it by way of communique Monday afternoon. It didn't look any more serious on that evening's JT: it took the newscaster a mere 10 seconds. People not familiar with the importance of elections in a democracy might argue that it would have been perfectly ok to make the announcement somewhere in the weather report. Maybe before telling us how much rain Mon Loisir Rouillard got in the last 24 hours.

It's the first time Ramgoolam didn't do a press point to formally announce it to us. But we have to understand. 2014 has been a very heavy year for our MPs. And it's already the third term that our PM is completing. Well sort of.

I guess dissolving Parliament is the right thing to do as there are no major problems in the country. That can be solved by our Parliament by January 14, 2015. Which is 100 days -- time it takes to apparently change lives -- from now. Or by April 24, 2015. 200 days from now. Or enough time to apparently change lives two times. And less than five years since the last time we went to vote. Everything is going swimmingly.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Your Free Guide To Recent Additions on The Jag!

Sithanen trying to be funny: he's worried that the savings rate is too low. It's like the dog which is scandalised that the sausages that were left under its supervision are gone. We show the extent of the unmitigated mess created by his severe skills mismatch as Finance Minister and why his story doesn't add up.

Our first piece on electoral reform appeared in April. We show how government has been wasting precious time on this issue and how by adopting the dumb and dangerous Sithanen report we're not going anywhere good. We have a critical look at the criteria the state wants to use and propose a couple. We also list some of the interesting ideas that surfaced.

We connect two dots that have the potential to dramatically shrink our democratic space: the 15% flat tax and the perverse Sithanen Electoral Galimatia (SEG).

In our second piece on electoral reform we show that we don't have to seriously reduce the democratic space to meet the UNHRC ruling and make our excellent FPTP system a little less unfair. We also illustrate how quotas for women translate into a glass ceiling. And that our parliament is already too big. Finally we show how the concept of opposition MPs offers a simple -- not simplistic -- solution.

The third instalment on electoral reform makes the point that the constitutional amendment is flawed. And comes forward with a governance-based alternative. While highlighting the urgency of referendum legislation.

A piece on Gandhi's transformation: from shy person to anything but. With a nice personal story about Filip Fanchette.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why Labour/MMM Alliance is Dangerous

I'll give you three reasons.
  1. It wants to change our excellent system of government -- one of our most precious assets -- for something inherently unstable to satisfy the fantasies of a couple of politicians. We don't want to do this as it would open a can of constitutional worms. Our Westminsterian system of government has enabled four smooth changes of government since 1968. This has allowed us to forge ahead at a healthy pace until 2005. And established our reputation as a vibrant democracy.
  2. It wants to make all kinds of dangerous changes to our electoral system on the basis of a very weak report which has been demonstrated to be flawed beyond repair. That includes party lists which shift the loyalty of MPs from voters to their leaders. And double candidacies which are a recipe to make arrogant politicians unaccountable.
  3. Sithanen has been chosen as its Minister of Finance. His regressive 'reforms' which began in 2005 have thrown 22,000 Mauritians into poverty -- that's 17% of all poor people -- and thousands more into a 9-year L-shaped recession. And he has proved to us that he doesn't understand at least two things: how the economy works and percentages. That's a pretty big skills mismatch.
This alliance would never have won a 60-0. Far from it. And even before the political exhumation of the toxic bean-counter. But we will have to vote very wisely -- for example Lalit is good, Rezistans not really and abstaining bad -- and send a very clear and loud message that we don't want any of this nonsense.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Leopard Dead After Messing Up With Granny

This happened a few weeks ago in Uttarakhand -- a north Indian state which hugs the Himalayas -- after it attacked her, broke all its teeth and gave up. Granny used her sickle in the toughest of fights which lasted almost half an hour. Thousands lose their lives in India every year after encountering wild animals which are increasingly disorientated by the loss of their original habitat as human settlement expands.

And today a 20-year old man fell into a White Tiger's enclosure at the Delhi zoo while trying to click a picture and eventually lost his life. Some witnesses say the big cat didn't do anything for a good 10 minutes while the man pleaded for his life but dragged him only after people started throwing stones and sticks.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Loch Ness Monster Could Get New Passport

If the Scots vote yes in tomorrow's referendum. The UK would then be smaller than Uruguay if the 78,000-odd square kilometres that the monster calls home become a new country. Which translates into a drop of 11 spots -- to 91 -- in the list of the world's largest countries. Mauritius is at 180.

That's not the only referendum happening though: Catalonians will also decide what they want to do on November 9. But not before Brazilians try to elect a woman -- Marina or Dilma -- to another term as President on October 5th.

We need a referendum here too. About whether we want to give up our excellent system of government and electoral setup for some TINA-infected bean-counting galimatia.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

World Holds Breath As Apple Returns to Flint

To make some big product introduction like a smart watch and maybe a good reason for us to throw away that box which we call TV. The Flint Center is where Steve Jobs introduced the Mac 30 years ago.

A new windowless building -- which looks like a hospital -- has been constructed just for today's event which begins at 9pm local time. In the meantime why don't you take a short trip down memory lane?

Monday, September 1, 2014

30 Nights of Free Music Start Today

The iTunes festival is back in London. And you can watch for free via iTunes. David Guetta plays on September 3, Lenny Kravitz on the 26th while Placido Domingo will close the festival. Plus of plenty artists in between. To provide you with earworms.

Of course on the 9th all eyes will turn to Cupertino when Apple is expected to venture into new product categories.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Still Think Ramgoolam is Not Made For Politics?

Or you might be in the mood for that dumb fairy tale that his dad had said he should never dab into politics. The way he's been controlling the local political chessboard for the past 10 or so years should be ample proof that he simply has no match for now. It's not that he's invincible. Rather his opponents are painfully too weak.

Granted the PM has matured quite a bit: he's been understanding the importance of monetary policy for a while now; foreign policy has become more skillful (the opposition simply cannot deliver this kind of performance) and the toxic bean-counting duet has been neutered. Yet, he still doesn't have a legacy that will not be sneezed at. After three terms.

That could change in a few weeks when he presents his first -- and much awaited -- budget.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mauritian FB Pages With The Most Likes

I googled but didn't find any lists. But it's not difficult to get a rough idea:

Air Mauritius: 520,672; L'express: 207,879; Lux* Island Resorts: 123,358; MCB: 104,479; Beachcomber: 72,249; Defimedia Group: 45,843; PMSD: 31,432; ION News: 31,348; SBM: 30,213; MMM: 30,172; Parti Malin: 27,975; Mauritius Labour Party: 27,825; Courts: 25, 268; Le Mauricien: 18,863; Flying Dodo Brewing Company: 13,670; J Kalachand: 5,474; MSM: 5,055; MPCB: 2,710; Le Matinal: 1,564; Kozelidir: 288 (Yahoo!); Conserverie Sarjua: 177.

So the PMSD and Party Malin have more likes than the Labour Party. I guess these two parties will win by a landslide in the next general elections. MK looks like it will be the first company to hit a million likes. When you deal with more than 1 million passengers every year surely it's no big surprise that you are right on the top here. But likes don't necessarily mean a lot as people like pages for all kinds of reasons. And page administrators don't all do as good a job.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Meet A 6-year Old

Yep, it's August 23 today so Kozelidir is one year smarter. We've reached 1,182 posts and nearly 3,700 comments. But as you may have noticed the pace of the posts and comments has slowed down for essentially two reasons. First let us look at posts.

I have a lot less time to blog here -- which would explain that only 45 posts have been published so far this year -- and because I had to resume writing more meatier stuff on the crucially important topic of electoral reform on The Jag! I already wrote 5 posts in 2014 there or 50% the total number of posts published between 2005 and 2008. That's been a lot of work but more should appear there soon.

Comments also flow in less often because those there already cover most of the interesting angles of the relevant posts. So there is little to add. People that are new to Kozelidir might also be intimidated by the quality of the discussion that takes place here. So they shy away.

See you in here!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Premier League Season Starts Today

Manu will kick off the league by welcoming Swansea City at 15h45. They got a great new coach: Louis Van Gaal. Arsenal will meet Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium at 20h30. The two best teams of last season will be in action tomorrow. Liverpool, post-Suarez, will play against Southampton -- a team where it bought a number of players -- at Anfield at 16h30. And City will travel to Newcastle for the 19h00 game. Finally Chelsea -- Drogba has returned and they now have Diego Costa -- will visit newly-promoted Burnley on Monday.

The fun resumes!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams Dead At 63

The funny man's body was found in his Californian home yesterday. He made millions laugh over decades. This has been his verse.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Stray Dogs To Join Work-for-Food Scheme

Those of New Delhi that is. A number of them will undergo training before working as guard dogs in the police force. The reward will be food. That's a smart idea because it will take them off the streets of the Indian capital -- which means fewer cases of fatal rabies -- and at the same time improve security of India's second most populous city.

There are as many as 200 million stray dogs in the world.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Run 5 Minutes Everyday and Live 3 Years More

That's what a new study concludes. It just has to be vigorous so as to give your system a jolt. Working out is good too. Or a swim. Or skipping rope to a 100 -- which shouldn't take you more than a minute-and-a-half.

And we'll surely get more useful info given that Google has launched a large-scale study of what makes us healthy. While Apple is expected to launch an iWatch in a couple of months.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sithanen Says He's No Expert in Electoral Systems

That was Tuesday last on Radio+. And boy couldn't I agree more with him. You can have a Phd but still be no expert because you're too bookish. Or suffer from the great man's disease. Or you're kind of arrogant. He made that statement when his radio host was telling him -- scroll to 31:50 -- that there might be problems with his stupid amendment. Here's percisely what he said:
"Mo pa exper mwa, mo pe fer sa kado pu la popilasyon. U kone mo pe fer sa lor enn baz volonter. Mo pe donn enn kudmin. E u kone kifer mo pe donn enn kudme ? Li bon mo dir sa la popilasyon u kone. Parski pena exper. Dan lezot pei nwena enn panel de expert pu fer sa. U kone ?
Alor la wadire u pe met mwa u pe dir mwa mo bizin truv solisyon. U kone. Mo pe donn enn kudmin kuma enn sitwayin. Mo pa paye par guvernman mwa. Non non, u pe dir mwa ki exper. Mo pe donn enn kudmin pu mo pei. Dan lezot pei zot ena 25 expert. Bann profeser liniversite. E bann dimunn ki fer sa travay la. Nu pena sa. Nu pe seye mem dan bann kondisyon extreman difisil pu truv enn solisyon. Enn problem difisil. Maintenant si bann lezot dimunn ena solisyon la me nu pe donn enn kudmin..."
The snag is that Rama Sithanen has been introduced many many times as THE expert in Electoral Systems over the past 5-6 years -- he completed his degree in 2008 -- but I never heard him point out the error people were systematically making. What I have read though is an interview where he was saying who is an expert.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Why Sithanen Should Be Ejected From The Faugoo Committee

Here are a few reasons:
  1. His flawed 2012 report on electoral reform has been widely discredited almost immediately after its publication. And many more flaws have been discovered since then.
  2. Our excellent Constitution is the supreme law of the land and shouldn't be tampered with. Any amendment to it shouldn't be done in a hurry and should definitely not be entrusted to people like Dr. Sithanen who has funny ideas about democracy and who has proved to us on more occasions than one that he has serious problems in interpreting data objectively.
  3. He has confessed that his mini-amendment is stupid: it works only if it is not used for the purpose it was proposed.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

31% of Host Countries Won The World Cup

But Brazil didn't when it was organized there in 1950. It won 5 since then and there have been manifestations of the seleçao that looked out of this world but still didn't lift the trophy. That is to say it's kind of difficult to predict how a match will go. At least for mere mortals.

But not for Felipe Scolari who for example was hoping that Chile would not qualify for the World Cup because they have always been tough opponents. It appears to be a surprising statement until you watch the two sides play. So there are teams which seem to be naturally predisposed to give you a lot of trouble because of the size of the players, the game they play, the quality of passes, the discipline level and what not.

So when the auriverde meet the mannschaft Wednesday 00h00 to try to clinch their ticket to play the finals at the Maracana in Rio we're best to look forward for an exciting match. Given that the Germans have finished third or better 11 times. As long as Brazil wins that is.

And then on Thursday we'll have a rematch of the 1978 final.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Selecao Narrowly Escapes Chilean Jaws in Belo

This was on Saturday when the host country could have exited the completion when they were saved in the final minute of the prolongation by the woodwork. And by Julio Cesar during the penalty shoot out.

This football match -- which occurred on the same day the famous Brazilian jersey turned 60 -- is now the most tweeted sports event ever.

The Seleçao will now meet the impressive Rames and his Colombian teammates on Saturday 00h00 at the mother of all stadiums: the Maracana. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Meet Amanda Jones

You might have heard about her: she is the former employee of an international school who had refused that her fingerprints be used to mark attendance. And that the Data Protection Commissioner subsequently concluded -- after carrying out an inquiry -- that the Data Protection Act had been breached.

This interesting case will likely have a bearing on the very controversial biometric ID card.

Constitution Temporary Provisions Bill Published

Yep. Government has published the temporary provision bill which will be debated and possibly adopted in our Parliament next Friday. The latter will be exceptionally open for the occasion. And given how tired the few MPs who will speak on that day will be our august Assembly will enter another indefinite period of prorogation. Right after.

As everybody knows no pressing national problem should get in the way of a well-earned rest.

Happy Christmas!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Navin Ramgoolam Joins Select Club

As the third of our Prime Ministers to also cumulate the Finance portfolio. Of course the first and most famous member of this very exclusive group is SSR who happened to be our FM at the most famous time in our history.

It's a real pity that Navin Ramgoolam did not take over that ministry back in 2005 as I had suggested when it was already kind of obvious to the trained ear that a toxic politician was doing his level best to send the country to the dogs. Especially when you consider that Mauritius not only had the best growth rates of the past twenty years during the first mandate of Ramgoolam II but the cake-cutting was also a lot more compatible with that of an avowed socialist. But it's true that PMs can sometimes, but not always, get busy. Still, he could have entrusted the ministry to a Rs5 coin and the outcomes would have been a lot better. But let's not cry over a spilled decade. And instead watch how he plays the trump card he's been dealt.

Ghana Loses Match Against US Foolishly

I am a fan of Ghana since their good performance in the 2010 World Cup. So I stayed up late to watch them take on the Yankees. Although they conceded a very fast goal from Dempsey they kind of dominated the game -- Ghana had a 62% possession rate. And it was evident that they would probably put one in the second half. Which they did in the final eight minutes of the game. But then some really sloppy defending gave their opponent a corner which John Brooks deflected into the net of Kwarasey.

I hope they will bounce back because there's a lot of talent on this team. Go Ghana! Go!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Robie van Per-Seal and Holland Trash La Hoja

In a brutal 5-1 win in Salvador, Bahia. RVP scored two goals including an amazing 'flying-seal' header. Robben also scored two magnificent goals after literally making fun of the defence of the reigning champs. They have surely impressed everybody while coach van Gaal has said that his team can get better.

Suarez is in action at 23h00 while Gerrard's side will meet 4-time winners Italy at 02h00. Which means you have one hour to get those chips and beer. Or whatever.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Brazil and Croatia Meet in Their First Match, Again

Eight years after Germany. But not before the opening ceremony where JLo will sing the 2014 World Cup anthem and Iron Man pays tribute to national icon Santos Dumont. We'll have some pretty huge matches early in the competition: a re-run of the 2010 Final at 23h00 on Friday, England will play Italy 02h00 on Sunday and Germany will meet CR7's side on Monday 20h00.

Not every Brazilian is happy about their country -- where more than a third of the population lives in poverty -- spending $11 billion to host the Copa do Mundo. Indeed there have been protests for a year about the huge price tag as locals believe some of it is the result of wrongdoing. For example they can hardly understand why over $300 million had to be spent on a brand new stadium in Manaus where only a few games will be played. And allegations of the 2022 World Cup being bought doesn't help.

In any case you can always sniff out the latest financial statements of the FIFA while you wait for those late matches.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Electoral Reform Tailor-Made For Three

One is Navin Ramgoolam who has been PM for already too long and who seems to want to breathe his last playing with a new toy. The second one, Paul Berenger, who absolutely wants to be 'PM' and has been the MMM strongman for as long a period as two Soviet leaders -- Stalin and Brezhnev -- have headed the USSR combined. The third is Rama Sithanen who sees his proposal of an electoral galimatia that suits the personal interest of these two leaders as probably the only way he can ever get into parliament again.

The infamous bean-counter has strongly denied he is doing all of this for personal interest but this has not convinced a lot of people. See, why would you want to be remembered as the guy who screwed up the economy so badly that you were the first outgoing Finance Minister to be denied a ticket and the same guy who organised a gang rape of our democracy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Drafting of Bill Not Exactly Difficult

Which is why the first draft of the constitution amendment bill is already ready. In fact the State Law Office has a draft person that does precisely that and getting help from Victor Glover -- the former Chief Justice and not the astronaut candidate -- surely must not hurt.

Drafting a bill is an entirely mechanical process as Victor Glover reminded us twice. The first as recently as a week when he said all that he needed are drafting instructions. So if the political sweethearts of River Walk -- Ramgoolam and Berenger -- want him to draft laws that will throw us into a plutocracy he'll happily do it. For a fee. Doesn't mean that he agrees with the consequences -- it's like the PBB of that guy from the other planet -- of what he is being asked to help draft. But he will do it. And he can do it pretty fast. The second time was about a year ago when he told us that he had pronounced the death penalty in his previous manifestation as a judge on two occasions. Despite being personally against this type of sentence. See a judge doesn't make the laws, he just applies them.

The snag of course is that a bill has to be consistent with the supreme law of the land: our constitution. Otherwise some or all of it can be declared void. Which is what two experienced lawyers are saying: if leaders start picking MPs we're not a democracy anymore and hence the word democracy has to be removed from article 1 of our constitution. And probably replaced by plutocracy.

Laws can be made consistent with the constitution but that doesn't make them right. Like during apartheid in South Africa.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rape of Democracy Unnecessary For Labour-MMM Alliance

Our Westminsterian system of government doesn't prevent our two biggest parties of getting together for the next general elections. They've done it already in 1995. They might want to do it again out of exasperation: tired of seeing the small tail wag the big dog.

But there is absolutely no need to rape our democracy with party lists and double-candidacies -- which will only bring us closer to a plutocracy -- for this alliance to happen. Let alone change the system of government. We've seen how much progress we've made with the present setup. We've also seen how ugly it got at the top of the Republic two years ago. Just imagine what would have happened if the President had more powers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Prorogation of Parliament is Telling Sign Process is Poor

The process of modernising our electoral system that is. First Government takes literally forever to publish a white paper and when it does we are surprised -- or not -- that it's essentially the perverse 2012 Sithanen report. Second, it gives the very smart people of Mauritius a little over a month to send its submissions. Third, it throws Parliament into holidays because it has received many submissions -- so it says -- and needs time to analyse them. Really? Fourth, dramatic koz koze begins at Clarisse House between Ramgoolam and Berenger and we learn that they are also discussing about electoral alliance and a second republic. Hmm, so you need to put our Parliament into holidays to review all the submissions you have received but you then start discussing another complex -- and frankly unnecessary -- issue as modifying our system of government. Who do you think you are kidding?

The other thing that may lead you to conclude that we're still living in the middle ages is that submissions had to be sent by e-mail to Government. That's dumb for at least two reasons. First it is an opaque process. The second it deprives us from another live platform of efficient debating. It would have been a lot simpler for Government to have a blog on electoral reform.

But the good news is that there has been many interesting propositions that have appeared in the press and elsewhere. So all is not lost.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

SLO Should Immediately Start Working on Referendum Legislation

So that when the Prime Minister is ready to ask the intelligent people of Mauritius what she thinks of changes to the electoral system and to our constitutional set up he will get a clear and wise answer.

So yeah, Ramgoolam gets another big opportunity for us to remember him when he's gone.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Seeneevassen Was Fierce Opponent of PR

About sixty years ago -- according to Chit Dhukira's Experiments in Democracy -- the Labour Party, Sookdeo Bissoondoyal and other progressive individuals were dead against proportional presentation as proposed by the Secretary of State for the colonies. There was even a "Down with PR" campaign in the Mauritius Times. And the main speaker of the LP inside and outside of the legislature was none other than Renganaden Seeneevassen. The executive committee of Labour even expelled one Philippe Rozemont -- Guy's brother -- after he voted for PR. Isn't that interesting?

It gets even better when you learn that there was a by-election in 1956 after Guy Rozemont passed away and the campaign revolved around PR. Which the Labour Party won.

Now, isn't that funny that these days the current leader of the LP is promoting PR? Still believing he is a Labourite or a socialist?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

815 Million Voters To Elect Indian Government

That's 10 crores more voters --1 crore is 10 million -- than five years ago. And about half a billion more than the 1977 elections. You read it correctly: 500,000,000. But they are keeping the same number of MPs: five hundred and forty something. Mauritius, please take note. The voting started yesterday and will proceed in nine phases in the 930,000 polling stations essentially for logistics and security reasons. The biggest crowds will be on April 17 and 24 when some 238 constituencies will be contested.

The elections will cost about MRU18 billion while parties are expected to spend MRU150 billion. Some polls are predicting one of the biggest setbacks for Congress. While other analysts are only trying to figure out by how much Modi will win.

Results are on May 16.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ramgoolam Publishes His White Paper, Finally

And he is giving you 42 days to read it and to send your submissions compared to the 389 days it took him to get it out. This kind of defeats the purpose of having a white paper. The deadline will definitely have to be extended to September.

Saw that the proposal of the government contained in the report is based on the perverse and dangerous Sithanen electoral galimatia. Oh boy! Labour is braindead!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

So, Where is Flight MH370?

Tomorrow it's going to be a week since the plane stopped responding. A massive international search and rescue operation -- including repositioned Chinese satellites -- hasn't really brought any answers to the families of the 239 people that were on board.

This reminded me of the time when a plane on which my dad was travelling was hijacked. When he returned safely I eventually went up to him to ask how it all went. I was especially curious because I had been told the story of the daring raid at Entebbe before and had found it amazing.

Yeah, so he told me it went ok. That he negotiated with the hijackers and pleaded for stuff some of the women needed or whatever. Our local newspapers carried the story.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Jag! Returns After Almost Six Years

Who would have thought, eh? But I didn't have any choice as I wanted to write a bit longer than what's acceptable on Kozelidir. I must say it felt strange to post something there. And unlike the previous pieces, it doesn't have a nice quote -- still juggling with a few in my head.

The latest post should be considered as a draft as I have more stuff to add. But I couldn't resist putting it out for you to start enjoying.

There is someone who used to be literally addicted to The Jag! and who's not there anymore. So I'll dedicate this one to Burty David.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ramgoolam's Cake

Quite funny to hear the PM on TV say that we first need to make the (national) cake before distributing it. Funny because it's almost nine consecutive years that he's been baking one. That's an amazingly long time to bake a cake -- if you know how to bake one that is -- when you remember how long it took us to defuse the demographic bomb. Or how long it took the American economy to create her middle class.

We know for a fact that the cakes that we've been making since 2005 are the smallest in decades. Which can be attributed mostly to the incompetence of the bean-counting duet. We also know that the poorest segment of our citizens have seen their share of the cake shrink so that those who already had too much can get more. That's complimentary of the regressive effects of the flat tax of the same toxic pair.

Labour should get another baker-in-chief.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Burkas and Sarees Don't Make Rapes Less Likely

The Times of India wrote that a statistic about this was aired in the first episode of the second season of Amir Khan's Satyamev Jayate. I didn't watch the whole episode so I can't confirm that. But here it is for your benefit.

Why Berenger's Electoral Reform Proposal is A Dangerous Flop

He wants to increase the number of MPs in our Parliament by more than 45%. That's totally ridiculous because anyone with an internet connection knows that our Parliament is already too big. By one yardstick we shouldn't have more than 12 MPs. We already have 5 times more than that. That's more than enough.

Berenger wants the bulk of that increase -- 20 out of 28 -- on a party list. That's dangerous and quite perverse. The Economist recently reminded us that party lists shift MP loyalty from voters to party leaders. Given the performance of our political actors over the past several years the last thing we want to do is to ask them to stop being accountable to us.

The MMM leader has been in the political landscape for 45 years. It's time for him to retire. And allow something that his party has been bereft of for a very long time to make a much needed comeback: fresh bold ideas.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Birthday Boy To Get iStamp in 2015

According to leaked documents the taste genius -- who would have been 59 today -- will appear on an American stamp in 2015. The other good news is that Apple will soon be getting into new product categories. Which will be kind of a test of how well Steve Jobs built the Cupertino titan.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How Our Constitution Can Help Refresh the Stale Political Scene

By including a couple of new things like a Prime Minister cannot do more than 2 terms. Which means that Navin Ramgoolam shouldn't stand as PM in the next General Elections. By this criteria SAJ too cannot be our PM again.

We should also add something to the effect that a President cannot go back into politics. Once you become our President you should rise above the political fray for good. So here's another reason for SAJ to withdraw from the soap box. And it makes kind of sense that no one should be President for more than two terms.

A similar criteria should apply for the post of Leader of the Opposition. After the next General Elections no one who has held it for two terms can get this important job again. So Berenger will not be our Leader of the Opposition by Christmas next year. Somebody else will.

Another criteria that will do us a lot of good is that nobody should stand as PM candidate more than twice. If you haven't been able to get elected PM twice it's time for you to allow someone else from your party to try. This means that Berenger cannot have another go at the top job.

Finally, no one should be able to hold the same Ministerial portfolio more than two times. Which means that Rama Sithanen and Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo cannot be our FM again. Neither can Pravind Jugnauth. While we're at it, we should attach an identical criteria to the posts of Financial Secretary, Governor of the Central Bank and Deputy Prime Minister.

Watch Live: Police Crackdown in Kiev

Friday, January 31, 2014

Mauritius To Soon Run Out of Sanatogen

I mean it's almost a year since the Prime Minister has promised the imminent publication of a white paper on electoral reform. He has also given us the impression he's struggling intellectually with it. Which has made me wonder over the past twelve months if his efforts were in the same league as when Andre Wiles finally solved Fermat's Last Problem. But he doesn't have to wreck whatever brains he may have. All he has to do is to put a few very broad parameters in a document and place it on the web. Along with all relevant data. And let us Mauritians play with this puzzle.

With all the smart minds around -- of the non-TINA variety -- we should see many great ideas flowing in quickly. As we iterate to something better. Eminently thoughtful. To something that cannot be obliterated in a flash. Unlike that evil proposal which was so weak that it was completely demolished in a few minutes.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How the CSO Can Reduce its Carbon Footprint

I don't really have time to tell you about it now. Besides Tottenham will host City in about 20 minutes. Still I thought I would write the title and puzzle you. And get you thinking. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Mac Turns 30

The disruptive computer, inspired by what Steve Jobs saw at Xerox's PARC, was introduced on January 24, 1984. And to announce what would become the coolest PC ever built, the California-based innovator released what is considered the greatest TV ad ever on Super Bowl. Which will certainly give enough of you pause considering the ongoing controversial ID project.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Champ de Mars Like No Other

The one we have in Port-Louis should have a little emphasis added to its name: Champ du 12 Mars. Because for so many of us it was on a twelfth of March that we experienced some of the most intense moments of our existence there.

The granddaddy of all being of course 12.3.68. Because when else do you witness so much heart-stopping drama? First, the Union Jack is lowered. That's enough to get your blood pump to beat irregularly. At least a few times. Then our own brand new flag is raised high. If you are still not dead by then you also -- as a bonus -- get to hear a massive crowd of all kinds of tear-eyed people very proudly singing. Or crying. Some of them uncontrollably. To a beautiful piece of music.

We need to hurry with this one for at least two reasons. One because independent Mauritius will turn 50 in a few years and the other to help us forget the ridiculously bland celebrations for the 40th (a year of ferocious bean-counting -- aka bumper crop) and 45th independence anniversaries (a year when we apparently didn't have enough money to have our own A380 land at Plaisance -- thanks PBB!).

Shouldn't be too hard to get this baby out for this year's celebration.

Friday, January 10, 2014

STC Offering Lower Basmati Prices

According to a report on national TV yesterday, it had already imported some 200 tons of two types of the popular rice and is making them available at prices that are 23% cheaper. The Industry Minister was also heard saying that some importers mixed Basmati with lower quality rice.

We apparently import some 50,000 tons of the tasty stuff and the Government is standing ready to supply the entire demand at more reasonable prices.

Good move. There is plenty of scope for many more interventions like this. Because there are simply way too many goods and services that are of poor quality and yet they are sold at prices that are totally out of sync with international prices.

When will the STC import sugar?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

One Ramgoolam Catches Up With Another

A year from now. As far as how long they would have been Prime Minister of independent Mauritius. If you're using election dates. Take the dates they were sworn into the highest office of the land -- because after all votes have to be counted and power has to be transferred -- and you would have to wait for an additional three days or Monday, January 12, 2015 for that to happen.

The record-holder is of course SAJ. Who is the only one to have been PM for more than 6,000 days. NR can match that in 2017. Sometime between the final week of April and second week of May. If he wins the next polls.