Thursday, December 29, 2016

Amri Was Known To German Authorities

Which is prompting some to wonder if this is not a failure to connect the dots. Mr. Amri was the middle-east refugee who drove a truck into a Berlin crowd killing 12 and injuring over 50. Parallels have been drawn with the Nice attack which happened six months earlier when another driver slammed a heavy truck into a large crowd causing 86 to lose their lives and almost 450 injuries.

Merkel is under heavy pressure after welcoming a million refugees last year. The options that Germany is looking at includes deporting high-risk individuals back to their home countries. Federal elections are due between August and October 2017. And the Chancellor will be seeking a fourth term.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Rise and Rise of Shraddha Kapoor



Quite impressive how much she has grown as a performer and an actress in just one year. Here she is on stage in 2016 while two of the three stars of Piku enjoy the moves. ABCD 2 was produced by ace choregrapher Remo D'Souza and also starred Prabhu Deva who needs no introduction. Which might explain some of her rapid progress. But there is a lot more going on here. Ms. Kapoor played in Rock On 2 and may soon be sharing the screen with none other than Hrithik Roshan. In the meantime we're going to see her in OK Jannu while she appeared in the action flick Baaghi earlier this year. The other thing that you want to know is that her maternal grandfather is cousin to one Lata Mangeshkar. And Asha Bhosle.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Meet Lucien Jeunesse



He was the animator of a popular daily radio show called Le Jeu des Mille Francs in the 1970s. I think it started like at 8pm. Our grandmother asked us to stay absolutely quiet while Mr. Jeunesse was on the air as she followed the program religiously. And probably used it to test her vast knowledge. She was addicted to her radio which was the iPhone in those days. Knew all the schedules by heart. Hindu religious prayers in the morning, samachar, French bulletin, page de la Bible, news in English, programme des malades, music programs and what not.

Never knew what the familiar voice looked like. Until today.

SAJ Government May Not Collapse If ML Leaves

Here's a recap of the arithmetic. Lepep wins the General Elections 47-13. They get 4 of the seven additional seats attributed. That brings their total to 51. Add the two MPs of Rodrigues who have traditionally sided with the party who has a majority in Mauritius. Subtract Danielle Selvon who left the Sun Trust about a year ago. And the 11 MPs of the PMSD. New total 41-28. ML has 7 representatives so if they leave the MSM would have 34 MPs while the opposition 35. Except that Marie-Claire Monty looks like she's going to stay in Government and the Mouvement Patriotique have already said they are ready to join Lepep. Which would bring us to 37-32. There may be a few defections at the MSM but there are a few MPs that are floating around in the ML and elsewhere that SAJ could tap into.

It wouldn't be the first time one of our governments managed Mauritius with a paper-thin majority. Trust you're enjoying one of the big advantages of our excellent FPTP system: partners of an alliance may leave but we'd still not have to go to the polls. At least not immediately.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Busy Year For The Jag!

Ten posts have been published in 2016 so far. So we returned after about a year (last time we took a pause of five years). Here's the gist of what we said.

Ramgoolam doesn't understand that FPTP, progressive taxation and spotting talent are core elements of the DNA of the Labour Party. Lutchmeenaraidoo shifts to Foreign Affairs but SAJ is in the mood for an economic miracle. Looks like voters are on track to resume one of their favourite habits.

Mauritius has far more important things to worry than Brexit. One such thing is the current Governor at the BOM. What the pound hasn't seen in 31 years we've seen here in the first 69 days of the return of Basant Roi. We showed how the Sithanen flat tax has spun public finances out of control and seriously damaged our economy. That of course provided Pravind Jugnauth with a great opportunity to bring some basic common sense back.

Mauritius is losing the battle against poverty because of the flat tax. Abysmal policy-making has transformed the economy into a machine that throws 1,000 people into poverty every three months. Little will change until policies start making sense again. The Minister of Finance fails to defuse a time bomb that is rapidly reaching a trillion rupees. Instead he presents a bland budget that will not take Mauritius anywhere we want to go. Tic tac. Tic tac.

We debunked a few myths about our excellent FPTP system. And we illustrate how wise voters are in ranking unsuccessful candidates. America can learn from our experience with trickle-down economics. The Duval Committee is like the 2014 Faugoo Committee. We formalise the concept of minimum opposition size which tweaks our excellent FPTP system in a mindful fashion to solve a couple of important problems.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

1976 General Elections Turn 40 Today



Mauritians went to vote 40 years ago today. Between two oil shocks. And before Claudette flattened our economy. It's the first elections I remember. Will have plenty to write on this. The Labour Party was busy building the country but it was very difficult times. They managed to stay in power with the help of the PMSD. And thanks to one electoral promise.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Prosecution Commission: What Do You Think?

Government is rushing a bill to that effect these days. Antoine Domingue is dead against it and reminds us of what he predicted a couple of years ago. The fact that the proposed law is going to be retroactive has raised more than an eyebrow. And now the PMSD has just left government. And with it the super majority.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

2016: The Year in Review

Q1: Bowie dead. Rain shut downs Mauritius, again. Ish will sue investigators. What Labour DNA is made up of. Obama in Havana. Can't count on Vishnu for an economic miracle.

Q2: Pythaghoras in boots gone. Doves cry. Leicester does twice better than points target. Private sector has no monopoly of common sense. The Greatest dies. Union not exactly happy with former advisor. Top three general elections. Mauritius has more important things to worry about than Brexit.

Q3. Jesse passes away. Poverty far from being eradicated. Galileo hops to Jupiter with two buddies. Gisele walks. Usain bolts to record wins. Budget misses boatShoppers avoid meat. Policy errors cause for massive poverty. Quieting the clock of our constitution.

Q4. Trump chances are real. Two years gone and still no miracle. Unions stop signing of controversial TISA agreement. How much we can learn from the US election process. Sithanen toohrooh approaches a trillion rupees. Rain shortens Porlwi by light. The Donald is Potus.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Two Years of Lepep And No Miracle in Sight

As expected. They haven't taken the one decision which would have brought some sanity back: end the trickle-down economics started by Sithanen with the blessing of Ramgoolam. We're not only closing 2016 with the 6th consecutive annual growth rate under 4% -- half of the 8% promised -- and a GDP shortfall of nearly a trillion rupees but the economy was thrown into a recession in dollar terms in 2015. Indeed our economic output in USD contracted by about 10% last year from 12.5 billion to 11.3 billion. The decline was even steeper in the first quarter of 2015 which coincided with the first three months of the return of Basant Roi to the BOM. We knew the guy was obsessed with depreciation: the British Pound was worth an extra Rs23 at the end of his first stint. Now one of his recent statements seem to imply that our currency should be set at a level that allows the weakest of our exporters to break-even.

Many Lepep mams have already vire and are cursing that it's our worst government ever. Which would explain the increasingly large crowds turning out to hear Ramgoolam score some easy points. Can we blame them when a Minister -- who is probably mad that February 1st is a public holiday -- has proposed the following trade-off to us voters: food or sand? Or another one who wants to sell the CWA because he doesn't like its hotline? The trouble is that these toxic dynamics were set in motion by Ramgoolam ten years ago. And there's little he's said during the past two years that makes him a credible alternative to lead the country again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How Safe is Porlwi By Light?

There's gonna be lots of people in Port-Louis for the second edition for sure. How prepared are we to keep sorrow at a minimum if we get torrential rains or a wall of water or both while the festival is on? We shouldn't forget what fifteen centimeters of rain did a couple of years ago.

Maybe there's gonna be clear skies this year. But we can never let our guard down.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Trump Election Not Like December 2014

Clinton lost partly because she neglected too big a segment of American voters and thought a bit like she did in 2008 that 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was hers for the taking. That was a big contrast with Trump who was very efficient in appealing to the reptilian brains of enough voters who don't understand for example that his proposed 15% flat tax is going to hurt them the most. These voters seem to be oblivious to how Reaganomics increase US debt from one to four trillion dollars in twelve years back in the 1980s. And what threw America into its worst recession in almost eight decades in 2008.

So that's very different from what happened here in 2014. It looks a lot more like the June 1982 elections when voters were not sophisticated enough to compensate for the lack of relevant information to take the decision that was in their best interests. But we've become increasingly smarter since then as a careful study would show. Intelligent enough to reject the wicked plan of a scheming trio two years ago.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Unions Rightly Find TISA Negotiations Opaque



So they stormed into a meeting between our government and the private sector asking that consultations be broadened. Which makes a lot of sense. What doesn't is that our government is apparently getting ready to sign this agreement in a couple of weeks. The civil society too should be invited to participate so Mauritius can get to the bottom of this. And it will not hurt that the media steps in and offers a disinterested perspective of the issue because as matters stand how much do you know about TISA?

Here's a little something to start learning about it.

Friday, November 11, 2016

First We Say Goodbye To Leonard



Who died a couple of days ago at 82. The long career of Mr. Cohen produced many hits including the above which is one of my all time favourites. Doesn't hurt to have Stevie Ray Vaughan in it. There is also an absolutely delicious version where he's singing along with Ms. Warnes. Have been looking for it for ages.

RIP. And thanks for the great music.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Flat Tax Did Worse Than Not Delivering Robust Growth


The trickle-down economics implemented by the Labour Party as from 2006 on the back of a string of lies -- triple external shocks --  did not, as expected, generate the average growth rates of 8%. In fact the growth trajectory over the past decade has been worse than the one Mauritius achieved with progressive taxation over the preceding 10 years. No wonder then that compared to the robust growth targets we've accumulated a GDP shortfall of around 925 billion rupees, 80% of which or 740 billion should have been generated by the private sector.

Welcome to the flat-tax trap. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

How Massimo Does It

The link on YouTube seemed to have stopped working. Here's one to the NYT.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Who Will Get The Nuclear Football?

According to the IEM Hillary currently has an 80% chance. That's 60% more than The Donald. But there was a similar gap like in the third week of August. Which was subsequently halved within thirty days. We have about a month to go. And Americans have preferred W over Al Gore before.

Thought Anderson Cooper did a good job yesterday. The final debate is in 10 days. At 5am.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Will We Have A New PM Before We Vote Again?

SAJ said he won't be able to complete a full term and that his son would take over. How would this happen? A bit like before Berenger started his 2-year stint in 2003? Can SAJ stay in Parliament? If he stays how does the President decide that he is no longer the one to command a majority but his son is?

Of course the massive and growing GDP shortfall will be unforgiving.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Travay Finn Mari Tombe Kot Marsan Bulet

A koz lafiev aftez ek salmonel. Enn pake plas usi biznes finn degringole. Bon bizin get enn kut kuma finn ariv sa me kote pozitif ladan seki si dimunn manz mwins lavian ruz ek plis legim kanser va diminye. Sa lepidemi la pe osi montre nu kuma nu land use pa bon. Ek pu bizin rekumans plant legim lakaz.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Reds Thrash Champions

Kind of pleasant to watch Liverpool outclass Leicester on Saturday. And especially Sadio Mane, Anfield's new darling. Many see in him a Suarez-class striker. It is an interesting performance for Liverpool given that no Premier League team scored more than two goals against the reigning champions in the entire 2015/16 season. Save Arsenal who won 2-5 last September.

City is looking very strong -- they're the only team not to have dropped any points in four games. Everton too is better with Bolasie.

We're in for another very competitive season.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Usain Breezes Through The 200m Semis

The final is tomorrow 05h30. He said he wants to break his 19.19s record. This means running half a second faster than his time in the semis. De Grasse could provide some motivation. Bolt will of course be in action at 18h48 today in round 1 of the 100m relay (the final is at 05h35 on Saturday).

You also don't want to miss the Badminton singles semis which starts at 18h00 when Sindhu will try to earn the second medal of a billion-people nation. While the US will be facing Serbia at 20h00 in one of the two women volleyballs semis. If you like women wrestling today is the day you want to be glued to your TV. Tomorrow if you also like men wrestling. 

Of course as these Olympics are ending in the weekend there will be a lot of medals awarded in the next 2-3 days. Hopefully Brazil will win as many as possible so that the home crowd is in the best of moods. Like at 00h30 on Sunday when the Selecao play in the Maracana. And get a chance to get even.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Rio Olympics Are Excuse To Watch Gisele Walk

Now that's done, see you in Tokyo in four years.

Wait. There's plenty else to see. Like Kohei Uchimura -- regarded by many as the greatest gymnast of all time -- tonight at 23h00 in the men's individual all-around. Nadia told FT how perfect Kohei was: you can't see any flaws even in slow-motion. Then there's that giant from Jamaica -- and the world's favourite -- who has trouble decelerating in the sprints. He didn't go watch Ms. Bundchen at the Maracana preferring to save his energy to let his races do the talking. Mr. Bolt will turn 30 the day these 31st Olympics end.

The Selecao will also try to do better than grabbing silver for the fourth time. That's not looking too good after two scoreless draws against South Africa and Irak. But a lot of the most memorable experiences will come from athletes we've never heard before. They will dazzle us with their craft. It will not matter which country they are from. We will instantly become one of their fans. Especially if the contests are tight. As many have been already.

The US is ahead in the medal count. Right in front of China. And Hungary. But we've barely started. And there's so much stuff to watch. Including Vinicius and Tom.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Basu Says Mauritius Doesn't Save Enough



He is the Chief Economist of the World Bank. Too bad he didn't visit us before two Voodoo economists -- one hailing from the Bretton Wood sisters -- started messing it up with their trickle-down economics in 2006. But he could have looked at a chart or done his homework. Then again one of his predecessors didn't exactly dazzle us when he visited Mauritius. 

A Trillion Rupees of GDP Missing, Almost


With respect to the robust growth trajectory that Sithanen's flat tax was supposed to place our economy on. The shortfall was about Rs5 billion in 2006 but has been growing exponentially because we managed only a 4% average growth over the last decade. Add all the shortfalls -- shown in red in the above chart -- together and you get Rs927 billion. That's greater than our GDP for 2006, 2007 and 2008 lumped together by almost Rs200 billion. Or a little more than three times our 2010 domestic production. The cumulative shortfall at the end of 2016 will likely be a tiny bit larger because the growth forecast has been revised downwards.

Of course a smaller but still gigantic toohrooh has helped eject Ramgoolam from power and Parliament in 2014. By the end of this year it would have grown by 72%. A meaner beast that Pravind Jugnauth must absolutely tame tomorrow to avoid political mayhem in a couple of years. At most.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How Long It Takes To Eradicate Poverty


Back in October 2007 Sithanen, as Minister of Finance, declared that it was possible to eradicate poverty within seven years that is by 2015. This hasn't happened. Last week he made another prediction: that poverty could now be eradicated by 2026 or 2031. Why didn't we make poverty history last year? Is it because Sithanen was not Finance Minister after 2010? Not really. Because the main plank of his reforms -- the flat tax -- was still in place after he had left. And because his other toxic half who was not sacked before October 2013 kept himself quite busy with their agenda of screwing up Mauritius. Besides, some of the damage done by the bean-counting duet will take a lot of time to fix. Just look at our domestic savings. In any case as the above chart shows Statmu reported that an additional 22,000 people became poor over five years of his reforms. That's forty-four times more people than after Navin Ramgoolam's first term.

So how long does it take to eradicate poverty? You can start your stopwatch once you bring back policies that make sense. Income distribution will improve overnight with progressive taxation. We can also look back at our history for clues. Krugman told us that the American middle-class was built in seven years. We shoul aim to make the economic system dynamic enough so that poor people can move up the social ladder fast. Like it was before 2006.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Robust Growth Targets Never Reached


The basis for flattening our tax structure to 15% was average growth rates of 8%. We know it had to be higher than the 5% our economy had been clipping for ages and with higher top tax rates. This makes sense. It's like a business which was previously growing at 5% and had a gross margin of 20% decides to cut that margin to 15% thinking it can grow at 8%. It would go for something like this if it wanted to increase its market share. A predator would of course raise prices after and if it had managed to drive its competitors out of business. For example Amazon.com now has physical stores. 

But as the above chart shows we never got the 8% growth rate in any of the ten years since Sithanen starting promising them. We got only half that rate on average. Which is less than what we were clocking before tax rates were slashed. And it's not because of the Great Recession which lasted only 18 months. As he had argued. In fact the rates we've been clocking for the past six years reflect the low growth path his massive policy blunders -- implemented to finance his tax-cuts -- has put us on.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Ambassador Who Made Sure Many Kites Flew in the Air Passes Away


Chitmansing Jesseramsing died peacefully on Thursday, at 82. Educated in Delhi, Canberra, Oxford and Georgetown he was the Principal of Islamic Cultural College before joining the PMO as diplomatic officer just before independence. He opened the Mauritius Mission to the UN in 1968 and then got posted at our Washington Embassy. Jesseramsing progressed all the way to Ambassador in 1982 till his retirement in 1993.

He served a last term between 1996 and 2000 during which his extensive connections on Capitol Hill and at the White House -- he met one William Jefferson Clinton at Georgetown -- along with his knowledge, effectiveness and grit were instrumental for the passage and the implementation of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. One of the longest-serving diplomats in the US, his 25-year career spanned seven US Presidential Administrations.

I was a kid when I first heard about him: my dad told us he was expecting a call from Jesseramsing who happened to be in Mauritius. I found the name quite interesting. Essentially because I had recently completed reading the Lucky Luke Adventure entitled Jesse James. I wondered if they were connected. I also wanted to ask him a very important question: whether he knew John Wayne personally. I almost did.

Decades later our paths crossed and we got closer. Close enough to tell him about that question I never asked. And to appreciate how he had used his mastery of one trade to serve Mauritius so well. He will be missed by many. So will his sense of humor. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Galileo Arrives at Jupiter With Telescope in Hand

And he's not alone. Nope, he took two friends along on this super long journey. Essentially to fight boredom. The trio will go around the big planet a number of times to try to figure out how it works. They are not expected to return to Earth any time soon.

Galileo is the Italian fellow who made pithy observations such as "Holy Writ was intended to teach men how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go."

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What's New on The Jag!

We shouldn't worry too much about Brexit. We better focus on the mess we're in. Including raising top tax rates and drastically improving our land use.

Lutchmeenaraidoo will not deliver a second miracle now that he's in another ministry. SAJ didn't either. And don't count on Pravind. Bringing some basic common sense back to policy-making is a good place to start.

Ramgoolam was way too vague about Labour's DNA during a rally organised to mark the LP's 80 birthday. We made it a lot more precise but not before checking how he did on the criteria he listed. It's not the first time Ramgoolam tries to go cerebral.

A good look at income distribution over a 20-year period. Helps answer the following question: who's the better cake-cutter?

Some politicians say that our youth got a skills mismatch. I disagree.

A quick look at the performance of Sithanen from a political perspective.

Enn ti lokasyon pu tiek mo kreol.

And here's a flash review of a few other pieces on The Jag!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Brazil Crashes Out of Tiny Copa America Group

The Selecao drew against Ecuador, thrashed Haiti and lost against Peru. Things don't seem to have improved that much since Mineirazo two years ago. In spite of bringing Dunga back as manager. Brazil has been thoroughly unimpressive for a good many number of matches. You don't need to wonder how likely it will be for them to win the only prize that's missing in their quiver when they host the Olympics starting August 5 -- the football tournament begins two days earlier.

It is also surprising that Holland is not taking part in Euro 2016. Although they've played some really good football in South Africa six years ago.

But there could be more trouble ahead for the country of Pele, Garrincha, Jairzinho and Ronaldinho: they could be the last country to miss at least one World Cup in 2018. After six matches they currently rank 6th in their qualifying group which automatically sends the top four to Russia.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Trying To Remember Ali

It's kind of hard because he was one of those really larger-than-life personalities. And the fact that he was probably one of the most recognizable faces on earth in the pre-internet era gives an indication of how big a superstar he was. The world stopped to take in the news. Plenty's been written about the Champ. Paul Simon broke out the news to his audience just before completing "The Boxer". And here he is making a surprise appearance.

Mauritius About To Experience Aha Moment

And we should all thank Ivan Collendavelloo for it. See, since he announced that he wants to sell CWA for some bogus reasons people have spoken out. Starting with Sangeet Fowdar -- an MP from his own party -- who threatened to resign kare kare and provoke a bye-election. Folks also wrote against the proposed strategic partnership business and now several union bosses have jumped on the bandwagon.

They are not only finding this idea totally stupid but are also bringing back the partial privatisation of Mauritius Telecom on the front burner. They really want to know how this has benefited Mauritius. That's a valid point because there was no good reason to go with this 2000 deal in the first place. Mauritius Telecom could have instead established a multi-billion rupee bond program back then. Which incidentally would have made our financial markets more sophisticated. And given interesting work to the growing number of our finance professionals.

We got Rs7 billion from France Telecom for 40% of MT but we need to see how much FT has been obtaining since the deal went through. In terms of dividends and other cash-flows sent abroad. And assess the effect on our balance of payments for the past decade and a half. It would also be interesting to find out about all the parties involved in this transaction and how much they got out of the deal. For good governance sake.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Union Very Disappointed With Former Adviser



How could they not be? Collendavelloo wants to privatise CWA. And that too after having been its legal adviser for at least two decades. If Government wants to sell CWA it should ask us voters about it in a referendum first. Or dissolve Parliament and ask us to put three little crosses again. ASAP.

One of the Union bosses reminded us that in 2000 SAJ cancelled the plans to privatise the utility. That costs us Rs30 million. Hmm, who was there before 2000?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Slumdog is Ramanujan



Finally, they made a movie from Kanigel's excellent book. The trailer is looking good. They got help from a Fields medallist to make it even more real. Registered 63% on the Tomatometer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

State To Squander Billions, Again


The first time was when several billions of rupees of the fruits of our economic diplomacy were gifted to a sunset industry which at the start of the bean-counting reforms in 2005 represented a little over 4% of our economy. 10 years later its weight was four times smaller. Talk about a strategic blunder of epic proportions or is it a monumental skills mismatch? Naturally this was to be followed by sending our savings rate to a 30-year low and severing the link between international oil prices and what Mauritian voters paid to fill up their cars. To name just a few. So yeah, dumb policy-making had made Mauritius a lot more vulnerable and treaty risk a lot larger. Than it ought to have been.

Now another Minister wants to sink billions of a grant received from India -- who has millions to lift out of poverty -- into buildings we don't need partly because he's not happy with the amount of legroom he enjoys in our historic Parliament.

Mauritius at 50: Getting Ready

Here are some of the things we should do:

1. Bring basic -- very basic -- management back. Like building another reservoir so we can catch more of all the water that falls on our head every year. And of course put more money into fixing leaking pipes. Instead of squandering billions into building new offices because one Minister wants more legroom.

2. Have an A380 fly over Champ de Mars at noon sharp. The peculiar thing about this plane is that it would not have any name. Only a few digits. 12.3.68.

3. New national logo and tagline. Which recognise that we can have the world's best air quality. This will help improve our management. Ask Southwest Airlines.

4. Significantly reduce the 450 amputations that are done every year. We could start by immediately taxing soft drinks more and increasing the number of weekly PE classes in our schools to three. Redesigning the curriculum with the 9-amputations-a-week statistic in mind and by going for noncumulative semesters will also produce a better learning experience. And say goodbye to obese parrots.

5. Reinstate progressive taxation so we grow faster again. And allow us to be more mindful.

6. Tweak our electoral system in a thoughtful way. Without introducing a dose of PR and the dangerous party lists that come with it. A few hysterical Marxists who want to do "autogestion" with our iPhone of constitution won't like it. But that won't prevent us from sleeping tight.

7. Allow kreol as an option in which debates in Parliament can happen. That's the language more than 8 out 10 Mauritians speak at home. Lalit can provide an initial list of unparliamentary words or add an entry on Wikipedia.

8. Schedule Zurnal Televize (ZT) on the first channel at 19h30. Have one reporter posted in each of these three cities: San Francisco, London and Tokyo to help cure navel-gazing.

9. Merge the CWA and CEB into a superutility. To protect us from severe Ministerial delusions. And to go back to our interesting 1996 carbon footprint.

Saving the rest for Mauritius at 500.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Leicester's Owner Wanted 40 Points



For the season and Claudio delivered 39. Halfway through it. He has added another 38 points with two more matches to play. Nobody can catch them save Tottenham which has to win all three of their matches provided Ranieri's lads don't take more than 1 point out of a possible 6. Of course if the Spurs drop points tonight Leicester will be the Champ and they won't have to wait for Vardy's return against Everton on Saturday to start celebrating.

But hey, this is football. You simply never know.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Top Three General Elections

No. 3. July 2005. Labour and allies do something which was thought almost impossible until then: one of the three main parties beating the other two. And that too by a comfortable margin. Ramgoolam is also the first political leader to stage a comeback as PM for 5 years. Without an exit clause. They double up a few months later by winning all five municipalities.

No. 2. December 2014. What a beauty! Against all odds -- and crappy simulations -- Jugnauth rides back to power on strong voter opposition to replacing our iPhone of electoral setup -- God bless our FPTP system -- with the dangerous Sithanen electoral stupidity. Voters collectively stun almost everyone with their intelligence by keeping Ramgoolam, Boolell and many others out of parliament. To also thwart Ramgoolam's silly fantasy of becoming President à la frenchie.

Can't be another one. August 1967. The elections to set Mauritius free. To get our national flag flying high seven months later. And an opportunity for a couple of mavericks to prove Meade wrong. And deliver unprecedented upward social mobility to tens of thousands through the mindful combination of the welfare state, progressive taxation, the FPTP system, the Westminsterian system of government and visionary policy-making.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sizing Up Prince



First good connection I got with him was When Doves Cry. We're in the mid 80s and Michael Jackson is ruling the world. But WDC has a very catchy first 15 seconds. My friends tell me they like Purple Rain. I don't really. Probably way too busy listening to MJ and learning his moves. Of course I like Kiss. And learn the refrain from the Sunday papers. His clips are nice but the overall visual experience is quite peculiar. Like with Bowie. And Boy George.

I had never listened to any interviews of him. Until yesterday. Maybe because he didn't give that many. So it was a real treat to find out he's very soft-spoken and at peace with himself.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Public Sector Has No Monopoly of Common Sense

Neither does our private sector. For example the 60,000 hectares of land under sugar cane will produce barely 1% of our GDP this year. That's roughly the size of Singapore which has the world's 36th largest economy. Which means that they generate 2,458X more value for every acre of land that we have under sugar cane. Hey, but don't worry they're not the gateway to Africa. Plus their national animal is not a lazy bird which died in the same year as Pascal. Probably of diabetes. We just need to make it clear to the world where in the open seas does that gateway start. And where it ends.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Be like Johan

Be like Pele for sure. But when I kept seeing the elegant Dutchman on the cover of football magazines I wanted to be like Cruyff too. Magazines had to be purchased if he was on the posters neatly folded in the middle. Which were immediately pulled out and opened wide. And greeted with an expressive taaaaaarrr! I had no clue what total football was about. But that hardly mattered. What did was that he was awesome. And who doesn't want to be awesome? Of course later -- much later -- when you're smart enough you understand what he was up to. Some saw a Pythaghoras in boots. Olsson didn't see anything. Nureyev something else. He thought that No. 14 should have been a dancer. What the hell do you think he was doing on the pitch Rudolf? Gone too soon. Smoking kills.

And we lost Zaha Hadid too. I wasn't really familiar with her work. Or so I thought. But it's almost impossible not to have come across one of her landmark buildings. Like if you're a fan of Reinhold Messner it will not take you that long before you bump into the name of the trailblazing architect. Her work reminds me of another game-changer: Oscar Niemeyer. And what do you do when an engineer says it can't be done? "Sack the engineer". Thank you Zaha.

All of this has put me in the mood for some Space Oddity.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Did You Say Air Corridor?

Getting flights from Changi to Plaisance won't hurt us. But Mauritius is unlikely to become the bridge between Asia and Africa that politicians want us to believe. As far as air traffic goes. You just need to look at the current flight patterns -- save that link to see how they change as the day progresses.

Good to also note that most of the air trips in Africa are between countries on the mainland. Besides we'll not get any of the flights that originate from west of the Atlantic coast of Mama Africa.

And then there are Dubai and Tambo and many others.

But heh, don't worry. No one can beat us when it comes to the dumb depreciation of our currency.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What Lutchmeenaraidoo Must Do, Fast

Increase top tax rates for individuals and for corporates in the next budget. So energy prices can come down to levels that reflect international conditions. And government can start help the economy humming nicely again. In a sustainable fashion. Smart Cities which are more like glorified IRS will not take us anywhere good. They are like the wrong type of FDI we've been getting since 2005: they don't help our young knowledge workers contribute their skills to push Mauritius forward but only make sure that another whole generation is buried. Alive.

Or Lepep and Vishnu -- who can't seem to tell the difference between a Black Swan and a White one -- stand to lose a lot more than bragging rights about delivering a second 'miracle'. They will inevitably be thrown out of office and voters will finally experience an aha moment when revisiting the 'first' one.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How You Know Saint Valentine is Not Far

Kind of easy. It's raining and Mauritius is shutting down. Just like three years ago. One year before that the CWA announced harsher cuts right after we received tons of rain.

What does that say about our management skill?

See you in exactly a year!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sookun To Sue Investigators



He just spent 10 days in jail after he was suspected of having something to do with a threatening email that was sent to the PMO. Ish came into the public eye when he opposed the controversial biometric id card.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie Loses Battle With Cancer

Kind of sad to hear he died yesterday. Grew up while listening to his songs. He was married to Somali-born Iman. Here's one of my favourite Bowie songs: his first hit and apparently not written while sober.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Mauritius Adjusts to Ban of Plastic Bags

In one grocery store I checked there were no paper bags to put your bread in. Some people just placed theirs on the damp cashier conveyor belt. You can only guess the source of that humidity. Our sister island Rodrigues has banned plastic bags for 18 months now. I wonder if we've learned everything we could from their experience?

It's a good move to ban these plastic bags. We should get rid of this nuisance next.

Tant vakwa here I come.