Friday, December 29, 2017

Free Education Turned 40 in January

I was planning to have a write-up coincide with the anniversary of this crucially important national event. It just didn't happened. Got quite busy on Kozelidir: this is post no. 123. Haven't posted this much in five years. Also the thirteen pieces on The Jag! this year -- a new record -- took a lot of time and effort. You can imagine how much when you read some of these essays and when you consider that only ten such posts were published over three-and-a-quarter years. Still I am not about to let 2017 disappear forever without saying a couple of things.

First is that some people consider Free Education -- for secondary and university students -- as an electoral bribe that was bound to happen after students gathered on the GRNW bridge. Since when does mindfulness always happen after a protest? Our youth took to the streets in May 1975 while the beautiful electoral pledge was announced seventeen or eighteen months later. We know who implemented free education. You may not know who came up with the idea. Returning to pledges wasn't Lepep elected on the promise of a second 'economic miracle'? Still waiting for it eh? Let's not forget Navin Ramgoolam who promised to Put People First but ended up putting most of us last. Or Sithanen who told us poverty would disappear by 2015. Saying something is one thing. Doing it quite another.

The other thing is that granting Free Education was consistent with the extraordinary stuff accomplished by that generation of Mauritians who were born between let's say 1900 and 1945. You know the great people who proved Meade wrong and build the welfare state. Among them a couple of people really stood out: Kher Jagatsingh and his biggest fan, Seewosagur Ramgoolam.

Here's what KJ -- who many consider as the hardworker who has contributed the most to the advancement of Mauritius -- had to say about the implementation of Free Education:

"When almost by accident and force of historical circumstances, I was offered the portfolio of Education and Cultural Affairs in January 1977, I was already aware of the long and arduous task that awaited me. It was a crucial and decisive time to be Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs. This colossal task of reform and development was a real challenge, the like of which I had never faced before."

Phenomenal work doesn't always get recognised overnight.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

2018

In Mauritius will be a lot like 2017.

One thing we have to watch though is what happens in Port-Louis when we get the big rains around Saint Valentine. This will tell us what could happen if we hold another street festival at the end of year.

It will be a busy year for Putin: seeking to be re-elected six days after Mauritius hits the big 50. And if successful handing the World Cup on July 15 in Moscow.

Will add more here soon. Hopefully before 2018 ends.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

2017: The Year in Review

Q1: iPhone turns 10. Voters elect candidates wisely. Oxfam says income for bottom half hasn't grown for past three decades. Average performance for Mauritius. Countries use PISA to improve education system. Nation surprised to learn than history of Labour Party is larger than two Ramgoolams. Citizens evaluate ministers continuously. Metro Express not needed for now. Parliament goes live and direct. Sumputh resigns after PM finds package shocking.

Q2: Splitting the Sithanen toohrooh. Soornack explains how she made it. Le Pen gets closer to L'Elysee. Who is the fastest footballer? Two really dumb reasons we need party lists. Madhuri at fifty. MK said to fly understaffed planes. The Saint dead at 89. How you know you're not a big cat. Taxpayers handed multi-billion rupee bill. Top tax rates go up by 5%. Fighter jets have own sign language.

Q3: Meet the articulated bus. Referendum legislation can help avoid mayhem. Chester found dead. Singapore knows plenty. How Fowdar can help our democracy. Cleaners earning Rs1,500 per month have reason to smile. World discovers the SJ Theatre. Easy for Mauritius to boost its GDP by half. FPTP system allows general election to have recall component.

Q4: Why Mauritius is not in high-income group. Dead animal should be removed from coats of arms. They should be referred to as 30/3 and 3/5. A woman in the front row. Mauritius finds out she has an MP called Tarolah. Use the two o'clock rule to save lives. Simple tools to understand social contracts. Berenger makes new prediction. Podcast to find out things launched. December 2014 was worse than a 60-0. Look who's worried about inequality. 8 questions for voters. Voodoo economist is back. A plan for Mauritius. 4 out 5 voters don't vote for Boolell. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Kuma U Pale Ramgoolam Inpresyone?



Ala enn parti intervansyon Sithanen dan konferans de pres ki Ptr finn organize mardi le 19 desam. Li pe esplike ki tiena 90 bwat pu 13 polling station dan eleksyon parsyel. Apre linn atard li lor 30 counting classes. "Dan 3 nu kandida inn gayne par plis ki 50% vot MMM." Bon etan done ki nu, bann elekter, pena lespri kuma Ramgoolam abitye dir nu bizin rekonesan ki Sithanen finn esplike nu ki sa ve dir. Bolo Doctor Sahab. "Sa ki sa ve dir pu sak 2 vot ki MMM inn gayne nu kandida finn gayne trrrwwwwaaaaahhhh vot dan 3 counting room." Pann konpran mem? Mosi parey. Enn sans Dr. TINAnen la mem. Ekzamp nimero 2. "Dan 18 counting room, nu kandida finn bat kandida MMM par 135% se ta dir nunn gayn plis ki 2 fwa vot MMM. Pu sak 2 vot ki MMM inn gayne nu kandida finn gayn 4.7 vot." Ayo pann konpran kot linn gayn sa 4.7 la.

"Plis ki 2 fwa." Sa but la monn resi konpran. 2x2 = 4 ek 4.7 pli gran ki 4. Me 4.7 la kot sorti? Ah gran mersi enn lot lekzamp pe vini. "Dan 7 counting room, nunn bat kandida MMM par 235%." Ki sa ve dir sa? "Sa ki sa ve dir ki Arvin Boolell inn gayn 3 fwa plis vot ki Nita Juddoo." "Sa ve dir pu sak 2 vot MMM Arvin Boolell fin gayn 6.7 vot pu li." Pu li? Tchombo! Bann lezot vot ki linn gayne la pa pu li? Ein akoz sa mem li ti pe dir se enn vot pu Moris sipaki. "E anfin dan 2 room Arvin Boolell finn bat Nita Juddoo par trrwaaahhhhhh san katrovin pursan. Setadir 4 fwa plis vot ki Nita." "Setadir pu sak de vot MMM Arvin Boolell inn gayn 9 vot."

Ayo dokter nu pa sir nun konpran. Mo panse u bizin donn ankor inpe lekzamp. Kifer u pa pran eleksyon zeneral desam 2014 ek anu dir u kumans par sirkonskripsyon no. 13? Si u ti kav esplik sa zafer 40+40=80 la usi ti pu top.

81% Didn't Vote For Boolell

More people abstained than voted for Arvin Boolell on Sunday. That's not all. Another 35.7% who voted didn't vote for him. 81% is a record for at least the last four by-elections held on the island of Mauritius. In fact for the three other by-elections the percentage who didn't vote for the winning candidate was in quite a narrow range of a little over 1%. 

Pravind Jugnauth -- 61.5% in 2009 in no. 8
Rajesh Jeetah -- 60.5% in 2003 in no. 7
Xavier-Luc Duval -- 61.6% in 1999 in no. 20

The results of Sunday's voting is interesting in a number of other ways. We'll have another look soon.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Bizlall Gets Support From Several Union Bosses



They're saying we need someone who will bring common sense back into our parliament. It's also surprising that so many people are wishing that he gets elected tomorrow. It might just happen.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Voodoo Economist Strikes Again

This is how Sithanen responded to the claim of Roshi Badhain that a couple of directors of IFS shared a billion-rupee dividend without paying any taxes on it:

"Les deux actionnaires sont Couldip Basant Lala et Kapil Dev Joory qui sont deux entrepreneurs qui se sont sacrifiés pour le développement du Global Business à Maurice. Quel est le mal si aujourd’hui ils sont financièrement récompensés pour leurs investissements ?"

What's wrong is that the stupid Sithanen tax-cuts have not generated the 8% growth he promised in any of the 11 years they were supposed to leading to a GDP gap which should reach Rs1.2trn when we welcome the new year. What it has also generated is the smallest share of the national cake in two decades for more than two-thirds of the population. As Government needs money to make sure social mobility is alive and kicking and for so many other things it would have made perfect sense for it to have taxed this dividend at 25% leaving the two directors with Rs750m to split among themselves.

Contrast this stand to two interesting statements he made before. The first one was when there was an uproar about the degradation of the environment in a neighbourhood of QB because of a casino. He was heard on radio stating how much money gambling brings into the state coffers -- I think he mentioned something like a billion -- and asked where else we would get the money. That's of course after slashing tax rates to build a facade of a low-tax jurisdiction.

The second statement happened in the midst of massive deposit withdrawal when he started taxing interest income and upsetting the financial plans of thousands. This time he was heard imploring depositors to show some patriotism. That is to keep their hard-earned savings in the banks and get taxed. What did Samuel Johnson say about patriotism again?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Mauritius, Here's The Plan

BR/QB elects Jack Bizlall on Sunday and we get a progressive voice in Parliament very soon. Then we identify 62 good candidates for 2019 who will raise the level of debate in our National Assembly by a lot. That shouldn't be too difficult to do when we know what has been going on there. Ramgoolam, Sithanen, Jugnauth, Collendavelloo, Boolell, Berenger, Subron, Duval, Soodhun and many others are definitely not on this list.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Stuff Which Will Drive Voting On Sunday

Voter turnout. For the last 5 general elections turnout in BR/QB has been between 74% and 81%. 74% is a 30-year low reached in December 2014. I don't have the turnout for by-elections. This will be the 10th by-election since our independence.

The LP/MMM alliance won all the three seats in 1995 with a vote range of 60% to 73%. In 2014 only one candidate of the LP/MMM team, Kavi Ramano, got elected and that too in third position. The vote range collapsed to 34% to 48%. Mr. Ramano is not in the MMM anymore while that party seemed to be really on the defensive. And Berenger's predictions have not been getting better.

There are at least two candidates from smaller parties who scored more than 10% in the last General Elections: Raj Madhewoo and Jack Bizlall. Electing one of them would be no big surprise as Dev Virahsawmy a relatively unknown candidate from a then one-year old party got elected in 1970. And let's not forget that one Vikram Hurdoyal from got 25% in 2014 in constituency no.10.

Voters have been getting more sophisticated over time. The internet has accelerated this process. Just consider the number of debates that we've seen in this campaign. There have also been some interesting initiatives like one candidate submitting a declaration of assets and two swearing affidavits. Plus voters managed to see through the dangerous plan of establishing a plutocracy in December 2014.

There is a widespread feeling that traditional parties have failed us. Lepep has been too scared to field a candidate although there was a natural campaign theme available for one of its parties to test the assumption that it had now become a national party. The MMM and the LP are very pale reflections of what they say they are and what they have been.

Money won't play a big role in this campaign. You saw how much money there was in the safe of one politician in 2015. That was at the end of the campaign for national elections. How much was spent? Yet he still suffered his first electoral defeat in twenty-three years. Imported crowds and fake polls won't vote. Neither will debates apparently constrained by studio size.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

8 Essential Questions Voters in No. 18 Must Ask Themselves

1. Do you like what has happened to your beautiful town or neighbourhood over the past 11-12 years? You know like a proliferation of casinos and all the bad things that come with it.

2. You've invested in the education of your children. Their skills are needed to solve the problems of our country. Are they doing meaningful work and being provided with numerous opportunities to make our country move forward and remain the beautiful garden it has been for so long? Or have they gone elsewhere as too many doors are shut here?

3. Do you remember the wicked plan to turn our country into a banana republic that was hatched by Sithanen, Ramgoolam and Berenger in 2014? Doesn't it look like they will try that again banking on how unhappy Mauritians are with the poor performance of the Lepep government?

4. There's about 1,200 billion rupees of GDP missing from what Sithanen promised for slashing top tax rates starting in 2006. That's more than Rs10 billion of government revenue which could have been spent in every constituency including yours. The Lepep government has also given unreasonable tax breaks. Do you want to have to work harder and for less because of parties like the MMM, Labour Party, MSM and PMSD work for the few and not for the many?

5. Do you remember what happened to the savings plan you built over several years when an incompetent finance minister started taxing your interest income because he had to make the rich pay less taxes?

6. Shouldn't the level of debate in our Parliament be raised so that solid solutions to matters of national interest are found?

7. Our electoral system (FPTP) makes it quite easy for us to keep politicians out of parliament. The MMM, LP and Rezistans ek Alternativ want to remove this right from us with a dangerous modification called double candidacies. Do you want to vote for candidates from such parties?

8. The bottom 70% of households saw their share of the national cake fall to 20-year lows in 2012 while the policies started by Sithanen and maintained by governments with ministers from the LP, PMSD and MSM have thrown a record 22,000 extra people into poverty. Do you want this to go on or do you want to bring sanity back?

Simple Tools To Evaluate Political Projects (4)

Let's bring back the income distribution data from the previous post.

Income share in % 1986/7 1991/2 1996/7 2001/2 2006/7 2012
Bottom 20%              5.6      6.4      5.9      6.2     6.1      5.4
Top 20%                  44.2    43.5    46.2    44.8    45.6    47.5
Ratio                         7.9       6.8      7.8      7.2      7.5      8.8

After Bheenick and Bunwaree had reversed some of the damage of policies of Sithanen, Berenger and Pravind Jugnauth reduce slightly the share of the bottom 20% while they increase that for the top 20% by 0.8%. Finally after the first five years of the Sithanen flat tax the weakest 20% households see their share fall to at least a 25-year low while the top 20% hit a record level of 47.5% after they get an increase of 1.9%. There is little surprise then in seeing the share ratio reach a record 8.8X.

So each time Sithanen has been Finance Minister inequality has increased. After his first stint the top 20% saw their share rise by 2.7% of GDP and his flat tax has handed this group another 1.9% in 2012 while the bottom quintile have seen their share fall by 0.5% and 0.7% after his stints or toxic policies were implemented. Lutchmeenaraidoo, Bheenick and Bunwaree on their side have reduced inequality when they were Finance Minister. At this point in time it is useful to have another look at the different cakes that were baked.

1977-82: 8.5%
1982-87: 33.0%
1987-92: 38.8%
1992-97: 30.3%
1997-02: 29.1%
2002-07: 24.6%
2007-12: 25.1%

We can see that not only the biggest cake was produced by Vishnu in the five years ending in 1992 but the sharing was also the best for the bottom 20% as they grabbed a 6.4% share. Compare this to the smallest share of the bottom 20% and one of the smallest cake produced in the first five and half years of the Sithanen flat tax. There are other interesting conclusions you can draw from combining these two data sets. Have fun. We'll return with a few more tools.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Simple Tools To Evaluate Political Projects (3)

So we've seen the types of cakes that have been cooked over five-year periods for the last 35 years. In this post we look at the second part of our framework to analyse political projects: how the cake is shared. Statmu provides us with a wealth of data to do this. The simplest information is the share of the cake going to the bottom and top 20% households. For example this what happened since 1986/7 (the sexy charts will be for later).

Income share in % 1986/7 1991/2 1996/7 2001/2 2006/7 2012
Bottom 20%              5.6      6.4      5.9      6.2     6.1      5.4
Top 20%                  44.2    43.5    46.2    44.8    45.6    47.5
Ratio                         7.9       6.8      7.8      7.2      7.5      8.8

Clearly this puts the lie to the assertion used by TINAwallahs that there is little we can do about inequality and that it is a phenomenon which is entirely tied to globalisation. As the data shows although it has been increasing -- let's focus on the ratio for now -- since 2001/2 there are also two interesting periods where it actually fell. One is in 1991/2 which coincided with the passing of the baton of Finance Minister between Lutchmeenaraidoo and Sithanen. So the former actually decreased inequality by putting an extra 0.8% of GDP in the hands of the bottom 20% and this was mostly financed by reducing the share of the top 20%. Enter Sithanen and he reverses most of the gains of the bottom 20% while giving the top 20% an extra eye-popping 2.7% -- that's more than three times what the bottom 20% got in the preceding 5 years. This ensured that the top 20% got their biggest share since 1986/7.

And then five years later Bheenick and Bunwaree clawed back three-fifths of the loss the bottom 20% experienced and reduced the share of the top 20% by 1.4% or half of what they gained during the first stint of Dr. TINAnen. We obviously have more to say on this interesting dataset. We'll do this in our next posts.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Tania Diolle Raises Bar By Submitting Declaration of Assets



Miss Diolle has purchased a flat and a motorcycle which she is financing with monthly payments of about Rs13,000. Wonderful! Now can the other candidates do the same please?

Although Sithanen is not candidate in this by-election it would make a lot of sense if he did the same along with making his tax returns since 1990 public. See wouldn't it be fun to find out if he has benefitted from the policies he has implemented as Finance Minister? You know like reducing top tax rates and abolition of taxes on dividends etc.

Looks like the MMM will lose a lot more sleep now.

Sithanen Worried About Inequality

That was at a LP rally about a week ago. That's kind of funny when we look at his track record. The household budget survey (HBS) of 95/96 -- he was the finance minister for most of the 5-year period covered -- tells us that the poorest 10% families saw their share of GDP decrease by 13%. In fact all households saw a fall in their share of GDP except the 10% richest. The latter group bagged a 10% increase.

Fast forward 16 years and what does the 2012 HBS say? That the weakest 10% of our fellow citizens experienced a 14.7% fall in their share of the national cake. The next-to-weakest 10% also witnessed a double digit decrease. In fact not only did the bottom 70% of households not see their share increase or stay constant but these fell to 20-year lows. For example for the first time the share of the 10% poorest fell below 2%. The 2012 HBS captured the first five years of the Sithanen flat tax which is the worst form of trickle-down economics. Although he was denied a ticket in 2010 because he had badly mauled Mauritius he was still the one who had been the FM for the greatest part of the five-and-half year period.

The 2012 survey also highlights the fact that an extra 22,000 people were thrown into poverty by the policies of Rama Sithanen. That's more than one in every six poor people at the end of 2012. We can also compute changes in real disposable income to get some more perspective. As the chart below shows the 10% poorest saw an increase of only 6.7% over the five and half years ending in 2012 while the top 10% saw an jump of 30.2%. Compare that to the numbers of the 2001-2 HBS.


So Sithanen is the last person to be worried about inequality given how much of it he has created. And his return to the Labour Party will make it really easy to keep Ramgoolam, Boolell and himself out of parliament for another five years starting in 2019. For more in-depth analysis have a look at Who's the Better Cake-Cutter? and Why Poverty is Winning?

Arvin Fares Very Poorly On Labour DNA

Let's consider three core values of the Labour Party which have helped produced extraordinary results specially between 1968-82.

1. The use of an excellent constitution and the FPTP system. He is for proportional presentation (PR) which is something the LP has always been against. Arvin was also very quiet in 2014 when the MMM and the LP tried to transform Mauritius into a banana republic. Not taking a stand did not prevent him from seeing a 6-term winning streak in riding no. 11 come to an end. Besides our FPTP system has provided us with stable government after government. Something which is less likely to prevail with another dose of PR. Ask Rodrigues and Angela Merkel.

2. Progressive taxation. He is for low-taxes. Boolell doesn't seem to understand the difference between low and progressive taxes like they were before Sithanen messed them up and the 15% flat tax. The latter had already caused a GDP gap of over a trillion rupees -- that's 1,000 billions -- by the end of last April. And record inequality. It's also kind of contradictory for him to say that trickle-down economics doesn't work and at the same time be for it.

3. Building strong teams. While he mentions currency depreciation as one of the failings of the Lepep government one might believe that if he was given the chance he would appoint a progressive Governor at the BoM. But he seems to like the sugar industry way too much. A very regressive attitude. He penned an article recently where he asked for help for that sunset industry. There is so much government can do. If it is going to throw money after a dead industry how will it roll back problems like the lack of opportunities for our youth and tackle other national priorities? And this will in no way put Mauritius in a position to have a stronger currency which is a great wealth lever.

Overall Mr. Boolell seems to have little in common with the kind of values of the Labour Party that have produced legendary results. The funny part is that he is trying to get elected in riding no.18 on the strength of past acheivements of the Labour Party. Voters are no fool.

For Ramgoolam, December 2014 Was Worse Than A 60-0

See we know what happened on the two times the outgoing government didn't manage to get a single candidate elected. The incumbent PM along with what voters considered the best candidates were ranked just after those that were elected. For example the table below shows the eight unelected politicians who got the highest percentage votes in 1982. A similar situation occurred in 1995.


None of this happened to Ramgoolam in 2014. Thirteen MPs were elected but he was none of them although he had topped his riding in the preceding five elections. Neither were Arvin Boolell -- he had bagged six consecutive wins since 1987 -- and Rama Sithanen whose electoral model must have suggested fleeing to a 'safe' riding. In fact four losing candidates did better than Ramgoolam. It was an amazingly wonderful result. Mauritius had said no the wicked plan of transforming her into a banana republic.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Simple Tools To Evaluate Political Projects (2)

In this post we look at the size of the cake which is the one of the two parts of the political project as we defined it in the first post in this series. We can have an idea of the economic cake that a government will generate if we analyse what politicians say, have in their electoral manifesto and have said and done before. We can also look at 5-year periods as it is the frequency at which the very interesting household budget survey (HBS) is carried out. As I don't have time to design a beautiful chart right now I will just present the data. So here they are.

1977-82: 8.5%
1982-87: 33.0%
1987-92: 38.8%
1992-97: 30.3%
1997-02: 29.1%
2002-07: 24.6%
2007-12: 25.1%

The 8.5% led to the first 60-0. It's an interesting period where one cyclone wiped out two years of progress. Don't think voters were able to separate this from the skill level of the government they had at the time. The years 1982 to 1992 were free of major natural calamities, benefited from the great work done in earlier periods and happened in a very favourable international environment. That gave us the two biggest cakes of the thirty-five-year period.

The cake contracted by about 10 percentage points over the following ten years -- during which the second 60-0 happened -- and another 5 percentage points between 2002-07. The consolidation of our textile industry occurred in the latter period. Finally the last period is the first 5 years of the Sithanen flat tax. Pretty small numbers given the 8% growth that was promised to trickle down. 8% growth over five years is a cake that increases by 46.9%. This has contributed to a GDP gap of Rs269bn by the end of 2012. A cake smaller than expected of course translates into governments that get less done and increases the odds of getting booted out of power.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Anu Konpran

Nuvo seri mini-podcasts pu uver nu lizye. Byen gran.

Ala trwa promye:

1. Banana Republic 2.0

2. Kifer Moris pa enn pei gran reveni

3. Elekter servi zot lespri

Bann leres pu ladan.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Partisip Dan Sondaz Eleksyon Parsyel

Nun pran 20 kandida (lor 40) ki nu panse kav gayn eleksyon la. Sirkonskripsyon no 18 ena 42,052 elekter. Kisana u panse pe gayne? Klik lor kandida la.

Berenger Makes Electoral Predictions, Again

He's been saying for a while now that the by-election in BR/QB will be between Arvin Boolell the Labour candidate and Nita Juddoo, a newcomer and the choice of the MMM. Actually Mr. Berenger is doing more: he is telling voters not to waste their vote on other candidates. It's not very different from political leaders making the silly recommendation that we elect all candidates of the same alliance in a general election or Ramgoolam's threat that voters will have to vote for all three of his picks if they want their riding to get a Minister. Voters of course have got a mind of their own and are getting smarter at every election as more and better information becomes available at their fingertips.

The by-election is also highlighting a big advantage of single member constituencies (SMCs) – we had those in 1959 and 1963 – namely the incentives for parties to field their better candidates in an electoral contest. And some of these candidates have provided us with good debates and interesting ideas like Maharajah Madhewoo – he came 7th in riding no. 13 in December 2014 by scoring 10% – who has put his pledges in a sworn affidavit. Just imagine how the quality of our Parliament would improve if we had 40 such contests in a general election.

As for what to make of Berenger's forecasts, we can turn to two previous predictions. The first one is for the May 2010 elections: he predicted 37 seats for his side and he got 18. The other one as shown below (see after 8mn if you're pressed for time) is even more telling: he was dead sure his alliance would grab all the seats in 2014 and therefore get total support for the wicked project to turn Mauritius into a banana republic. His alliance got 47 seats less, Berenger barely made it and Mauritius a top three electoral moment. While Pamplemousses/Triolet dumped Ramgoolam and still got a Minister.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Simple Tools To Evaluate Political Projects (1)


Aka "projet de societé" or social contracts. An important part of any political project is how big a cake a government will bake over a period of time and how that cake will be shared. The size of the cake is usually measured by something like gross domestic product (GDP) while the sharing by a host of numbers. Breaking down a political project like this will provide us with interesting insights. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

December 17 Likely To Be A Trailer For 2019

Voters are basically fed up with the traditional parties. They will not put Ramgoolam back in power simply because they're not happy with Lepep. Or Berenger for that matter. Nope, they're more likely to vote for good candidates. So expect to see Lindsey Collen and other candidates worthy of our votes in Parliament after the next general elections.

Of course Jack Bizlall might not have to wait that long given that he is the best option in the forthcoming by-election. No other candidate has anything that comes close to the breadth of his experience and his ability to bring back common sense to our Parliament. Indeed people who usually vote for one of the parties that spend a lot of money in an election agree: "Bizlall pu met enn bon lord dan Parlman. Kot inn arive la sa mem ki bizin." or "si dimunn servi zot lespri zot pu vot Bizlall". And "mo pu donn li mo vot parski linn defann dimunn tut long so lavi."

Hard to disagree when we see week after week how there's practically no dissent at all in our Parliament. Just way too many people who are in government or striving to be in it so they have the privilege of sinking Mauritius. Further. But after December 2014 when mountains of money and dumb simulations were not enough to push a wicked plan to turn our country into a banana republic down the throat of increasingly sophisticated voters we shouldn't be surprised to see Mr. Bizlall return to our National Assembly. In a few weeks.

Monday, November 20, 2017

A World Cup Without Robben, Gigi and Chile

The fastest football player on the planet won't be in Russia next year. So we won't see him devastating defense after defense in his own characteristic style. Gigi will also miss the World Cup given that Italy -- the country which has won this tournament more times than any country per capita except Uruguay -- failed to score against Sweden. It's always been a treat to have these icons on the pitch. Brazil will also be happy that Chile will not be making it given that they consider the side of Sanchez as one of their toughest opponents.

But Leo will be there after scoring a hat-trick. He will be in the good company of Neymar, Mane and stars we'll discover. Like those that play for the surprising national team of Iceland a country which has four times less people than Mauritius.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

How the Two O'Clock Rule Saves Lives

When attempting the roof of the world do so by 14h00. If you haven't forget about it and return to the safety of your tent. Otherwise your chances of surviving and being present at your own funeral fall by a lot. Because you'd be spending way too much time in the Death Zone where oxygen is really scarce. And be exposed to horrific climatic conditions in complete darkness. Failure to observe this rule in May 1996 led to eight deaths on the slopes of the 29,000-footer.

10 people lost their lives in a small perimeter in Port-Louis on 30/3. That was during the day. With most people in office buildings. What do you think would have happened if it was at night and there was a compact crowd of tens of thousands of people of all ages in the streets?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Mauritius Discovers She Has An MP Called Tarolah

That was a few weeks ago. We also learned that he was a PPS. Mauritius found out about this obscure politician not because he made a game-changing contribution but because of what he did with his mobile. And while you would be hard-pressed to list half of the roughly seventy politicians that we sent to our National Assembly in 2014 it would not exactly be the first time. It would be an even bigger challenge to remember what they've contributed in making Mauritius better.

This is clearly a sign that our Parliament is way too big. And is costing us too much. It definitely highlights the absurdity of the suggestion that we need an extra 20 MPs to correct the lopsided outcomes that our excellent FPTP system produces on some occasions. It's silly for two reasons. One is that between 1977 and 2014 India has kept her number of MPs constant although the voting population there rose by half a billion. The other is that we can actually correct the imbalance by making our Parliament smaller. And that too without compromising the big advantages of the FPTP system or resorting to totally undemocratic devices like party lists and double candidacies.

Some History On Its Way

With the departure of Soodhun there's a possibility we might see Fazila Daureeawoo in the front bench of our Parliament. This would open the door for her to become the first female acting Prime Minister. All it will take is for the three ministers that are highest in the hierarchy to be out of the country. And it might happen when President Fakim -- who's been awfully quiet about recent threats to our national unity -- is in the Le Reduit. The odds of Ms. Daureeawoo making history are actually higher as PJ would have to dump Collendavelloo, a huge and growing electoral liability, soon. Very soon.

And if you noticed more history was made last 12 March when for the first time a Prime Minister of Mauritius who attended our flag-raising ceremony at historic Champ de Mars hadn't declared a community in a general elections. It would have been basic poetic justice for this honour to go to SSR the first time the Four Bands replaced the Union Jack. But that was not possible. This didn't distract the team he built from proving Meade wrong. A very tall order.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

30/3 and 3/5 Are Our 9/11s

11 people died on 30 March 2013 after 15 centimetres of rain fell on Port-Louis. That's 83% of the 2,996 people who died in the US on September 11, 2001 after adjusting for population. And 34 days later another 11 of our fellow Mauritians perished in a bus accident.

11 people dying in Mauritius is roughly equivalent to the 10,600 lives that were lost in India during the 2004 tsunami. So basically in 2013 we were hit by two deadly tsunamis within about a month.

We cannot forget what happened. Which is why we should refer to them as 30/3 and 3/5 so they stay in national conversations for as long as possible. Just like there is 26/11 for Mumbai and 7/7 for London.

Kinn Mars Pli Byen?

Flat tax TINAnen ek volontaria depi 2006 uswa taksasyon progresif ek benevola avan 2006?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Redesign of Coat of Arms Overdue


Seriously Mauritius. A dead and lazy bird on the left. An imported animal on the right. Both dressed in colonial tailcoats. A dead industry in the middle. A boat that we haven't used to go to work for at least a week. Hopefully it's not one of those boats that was involved in large-scale human trafficking. 3 palm trees. A key that will now be appropriate only when our independent country turns 52. And a star (mullet argent). Plus the 200-plus-year old reason why the British seized the island: Star and Key of the Indian Ocean. That was before the birth of the Wright brothers and Santos Dumont.

This beauty was apparently designed in 1906 by Johann Van Der Puf, the Mayor of Johannesburg. Might have been relevant then. But is definitely not now. We should organise a design competition. To get rid of this embarrassment.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Chetan Sashital Explains The Bases of Imitation

3 Reasons We Are Not a High-income Country

The first one is land use. If we removed all the sugar and replaced it with what we have elsewhere our GDP per capita at the end of 2015 would have increased by 48.5% to $13,575. And given us access to the high-income club.

The next reason is currency policy. If we had kept our currency fixed at its 1985 level of 15.58 rupees to the USD -- not a lot to ask from a Tiger as the majestic cats have been known to increase their exports while their currencies appreciate -- our GDP per capita would have been 2.25X larger. That is it would have climbed to $20,608.

The final reason is the devastating effect of the 15% flat tax. If we had clocked the average 8% growth rates promised since 2005 our output per capita would have shot up to $13,136 in 2015. Or about 44% higher. Which is by the way roughly how much the crazy land use has cost us. And gives us precious information to assess relatively recent policies.

Finally if we had no sugar cane, had been very reasonable with our currency and had clipped the robust 8% growth our GDP per capita would have been $43,971 or 4.81X bigger than where it was at Christmas time in 2015. This of course would have been 83% of the corresponding number for a famous South-East Asian Tiger.

Miow.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Chuttoo Says Labour Laws Harm Mauritian Workers



Interesting debate where we learn that the hire-fire provision in our labour laws started in 2008. That's the period our very basic welfare state was being messed up by a toxic bean-counter. Mr. Chuttoo also refers to the practice of co-determination by Germany. Which is essentially about integrating workers' opinion in the decision-making process.

Why wouldn't you want your staff to help make the workplace better and where more competitive products/services are delivered? And align interests of all stakeholders? As the trade-union boss reminds us this makes it easier to freeze wages when it's needed as workers know they'll profit in any upside potential. Naturally this is easier in Deutschland where a strong mark has made Germany a very wealthy country and where policies are crafted in the interest of all Germans. Not of the weakest exporters. Not of the 1% only. And certainly not of foreigners.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Our FPTP System Has a Built-in Recall Election

Kind of. But it happens only when there's a general election. Given that politicians can inflict significant damage to our economy or take totally unpatriotic and completely stupid decisions like privatising water a lot faster voters need to be able to boot them out of office anytime between two general elections. So our excellent FPTP system should be improved by equipping it with standard recall elections -- something which Lalit suggested in early 2014.

We also need referendum legislation so our elected governments can ask for our permission on matters of national interest. For example Lepep campaigned against the Metro Leger but it is now proceeding with essentially the same unnecessary project. It should have organised a referendum to ask for our green light first. Same thing for the idiotic idea of privatising the CWA. It's nowhere to be found in their electoral manifesto. We never voted for it. Lepep cannot go ahead with that project before asking us what we think. We are not children. As they found out in Barkly recently.

Of course you realise that party lists and double candidacies are totally incompatible with recall elections. These two contraptions prevent us from deciding which politicians -- some might be inclined to shoot others -- we want to keep out of parliament. It's like a football game without a red card. Or one where selected players show a brown card to the referee to stay on the pitch after being shown a red one. Not a bad idea to make a list of the parties who are in favour of double candidacies so we can avoid them like the plague. Plus there's a by-election soon. So let's start: Rezistans ek Alternativ, ...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Why India Missed The Industrial Revolution



A little bit of history doesn't hurt. Funny that some people here who had seen the declassified notes of the British PM Harold Wilson – just like anybody with an internet connection – seem to take them at face value. That is the independence of Mauritius was automatic and SSR loved to be called Premier. They seem to think that the Leader of the LP came to the negotiation table mostly unprepared. SSR and unprepared??? He also took his General Secretary to London even though that guy had lost his seat in the 1963 general elections. By 96 votes. Probably to cheer the latter up as he'd always wanted to go to Trafalgar Square.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

RIP Sugar


It's heading there. Less than 1% of GDP now and declining further. It would already have been dead if so much good money had not been thrown after its bad situation. And if it was not for the completely silly policy of competitive depreciation. I heard Krepalloo Sunghoon mention that it costs Rs17,000 to produce one ton of sugar that now sell for less than Rs15,000. How much bigger would the loss be at the very reasonable rate of 25 rupees to a dollar? No wonder then that thousands of acres of sugar cane have been abandoned. But that's kind of natural. We can't pursue activities that are incompatible with the kind of money that is needed to live properly here. Unless if we want to allow modern forms of slavery like too many seasonal workers and God knows what else. Just like we use cars and buses to go to work. And not horses.

We should use the land under sugar cane to grow food and to create more productive opportunities for our unemployed youth. So that we move Mauritius forward.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

How Mauritius Can Increase Its GDP By 50%


Remove all sugar cane and replace it with the kind of stuff we have on the other two-thirds of our land area. That would boost our GDP – and the per capita number as shown in the above chart – by almost half. And get us out of the middle-income group after being trapped there for almost three decades.

No, no, no you say. Sugar has a bright future. Really? Then let's raze all of our towns and grow sugar cane and shrink GDP by 98% or USD11.8bn. That would collapse our GDP per capita to $283 or a level close to that of South Sudan – a country which has been in civil war since 2013. We'd probably experience the same thing if we reverted back to being a mono crop. It'd take a less extreme scenario to have people in the streets. That's for sure. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Collendavelloo Whisked Away After Making Insensitive Remarks



That was in Barkly on Monday when he said that opposing parties could eventually sit around a square, round or oblong table but that he preferred one which is karé karé. As the clip shows no one on his side found that funny. The residents of Barkly present at the meeting were not in a laughing mood either. It couldn't have been otherwise when we know that some of them had just been through the traumatising experience of seeing their houses demolished. For the Lepep tram which we don't really need.

It's not exactly the first time the Minister makes controversial statements. He's the same politician who wants to privatise the CWA because he doesn't like its hotline

Sunday, September 3, 2017

World to Discover Steve Jobs Theater on September 12



When the Cupertino giant will launch the iPhone 8 and some other stuff. The Foster-designed building is huge: its circumference is bigger than the gigantic Pentagon and its diameter longer than the Knock Nevis.

All set for the tech juggernaut to make another dent in the Universe.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

For 629 Cleaners Earning a Pittance Light Finally Appears at the End of the Tunnel



They were earning Rs1,500 per month. Some for 11 years. Which coincides roughly with the Sithanen flat tax. They will now earn around Rs9,000. Most of the extra Rs55-60m they will take home as a group every year will probably be spent – and help make the economy grow faster – unlike the additional monies which the trickle-down policies have handed to those who already have everything.

Kudos to the CTSP for fighting for these ladies.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Teleplus Gets Two-And-Half Times More YouTube Views Than L'Express

After adjusting for how long they've been around. Teleplus has clocked 18.3m views on its YouTube channel since June 3 of last year which is a bit more than one third what L'Express received. Of course L'Express has been there more than seven times longer. So about 40,700 views are registered on Teleplus on a daily basis compared to 15,700 for L'Express. TOP TV gets 13,400 daily views – unlike Teleplus and L'Express it doesn't have any newspapers or magazines – while ION News grabs 9,400 views every day. Radio One too has a channel and it gets 3,300 views each day. Surprisingly one pretty good media platform doesn't have its channel yet.

It would be interesting to adjust these numbers for the types of videos hosted. Like what is the split between thrash/quality reporting. Who should do that? MRC, UoM or ICTA?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

What Do You Know About the Sachs Commission?

The one about electoral reform. It's mentioned so often by politicians. But as a thinking-person what have you taken away from it? How would you explain it to a friend in a couple of minutes. Incidentally there was also a select committee on electoral reform chaired by Ivan Collendavelloo in the early 2000s. Do you know what were its recommendations and if they make any sense to you?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Blog Different is Nine

Which means we'll be double-digits in exactly twelve months. But we'll hit the 1,500th post and 5,000th comment well before that. And probably end up 2017 with at least 100 posts. Something that hasn't happened since 2012. No shortage of things to write on. Might even break the record of 10 posts in a year here.

Watch out for stuff on...

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ki Piariv Nu Peyi?

Samem promye zafer enn kamwad finn dimann mwa zordi. De pli an pli dimunn pe truve ki kondisyons pe deteryore Moris. Revelasyons komisyon lor ladrog pe fer nu konpran lanpler fleo la. Konbin sa ek inegalite ek povrete ki flat tax Sithanen ek bann lezot politik pagla finn kree: 44 fwa plis dimunn finn tom dan la povrete ant 2007 ek 2012 ki ant 1997 ek 2002 – 22,000 kont 500. Ek lor 11 banane mank 1,000 milyar rupi dan prodiksyon nasyonal. Proliferasyon bann kazino ek lezot gambling house dernye 10 an finn anpir la sityasyon sirtu kinn etabli bann lyen ant rezo ladrog ek lindistri zugader. Azut depresyasyon rupi ek bann lezot politik dan dife pu u konpran kot nun arive ek kot nu pe ale.

Deza ki Moris nu ti setiem peyi kot litilizasyon lopium par kapita pli elve dan lemond. Nu bat Pakistan ki vwazin ek Afganistan – pli gro konsomater par kapita dan lemond – ek wityem. Devine kisana dernye. Pa tro difisil konpran kifer nu enn sanpyon dan brain drain. Bann seki sanpyon dan admir zot lonbri apel sa skills mismatch.

FMI truve ki lekonomi robis. Mo dimann mwa kot zot pran rasyon

Democracy Needs A Little Help From Fowdar

That is resigning from Parliament to provoke a by-election in riding No. 6 of Grand Baie/Poudre D'Or. It's necessary because our electoral system doesn't yet allow for recall elections that we could have used to immediately remove Collendavelloo from our National Assembly. And because Lepep seems to be taking a bit too long to make good on its electoral pledge of organising referendums on matters of utmost importance. The Minister must go as he wants to colonise CWA for all sorts of bogus reasons including because he didn't like its hotline. Besides he forgot how to resign. Unlike in 1989.

Mr. Fowdar would of course be most welcome to run again for the same seat. His position on this fundamental issue has been a rare breath of fresh air. All the way. Voters have definitely taken note. It would also be a great opportunity for the tiny ML to test the declaration it made at its rather lacklustre congress that it had now become a national party. Fielding a candidate and having the right poster like the one below during the campaign might help reverse the general feeling that it is a one-term party. At most.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Our Body Should Decide What We Eat



Our alimentary tract has been designed to essentially eat fruits and vegetables. Fish is good too. Chicken is not as good but better than red meat. Cooked veg food is nice but doesn't make you feel as alive as when you eat a good salad. Doesn't hurt of course to remember that old Egyptian proverb:

"One quarter of what you eat keeps you alive. The other three-quarters keep your doctor alive."

And how can we forget to exercise enough?

Monday, August 7, 2017

€222m Later Neymar Appears At PSG

From Barça. He will earn $53m a year for five years making him the best-paid footballer in the world and play alongside an in-form Dani Alves and fellow members of the Seleçao. The Catalan club want to fill the void with Coutinho. That would be a terrible blow for the Reds as the Brazilian is so crucial in enabling Liverpool to produce games that are pleasant to watch. Plus there was some hope that with recent signings like Mohamed Salah and the return of Mane the team would finally find the rhythm that is needed to mount a serious title challenge.

Even if the Spanish club doesn't land Philippe he will be chased by the PSG if their bid to get the sensational Mbappe doesn't work out. But the latest news is that Liverpool might not sell their attacking midfielder even if there's a £100m on the table. Arsenal's Wenger points out that this is a consequence of a country owning a club and reminds us of the time when the first £1m transfer was deemed unreasonable.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

MK Should Ask Us To Name Five A350 XWBs

Like Qantas did a couple of months ago. But our national airline has ordered 6 of those planes I hear you say. I know. One of them has to be 12.3.68. And has to fly over the Champ de Mars at noon sharp on March 12, 2018.

Independence General Elections Turn 50

Tomorrow. The appropriately-named Independence Party won all the three seats in riding numbers 4 to 16. Which gave it 39 MPs out of the 62. The PMSD grabbed the remaining seats. The election results appear to contain some fascinating information on the mood of voters 50 years ago. Will need to play with them one of these days. Couldn't stop from reminiscing my meeting with the second member of Belle-Rose/Quatre-Bornes when I saw his name in there. That Independence thing was so big that he refused to obey the retrograde instructions of his leader of not attending the celebrations. That must have been quite easy to resist.

And a week from now partition of the Indian subcontinent will turn 70.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

PM Fails To Convince We Need A Tram

Here are some of the reasons he recently put forward in favour of the controversial project:

1. You would stop using your bike. Hmm, riding a bike keeps people in shape. In Edinburgh bus corridors double up as bike lanes.  And here's what the rush hour looks like in Copenhagen where 45% travel by bike to school or work.

2. You would stop travelling by bus. Ok, so the tram will be a door-to-destination service. Interesting. To say the least.

3. Won't need to wake up early to wait for a bus God only knows when it's arriving. And not being sure you'll have a seat. How will we get to a tram station if we don't live near one? Schedules can be improved, posted at bus stops and bus routes reassigned accordingly. We can also reserve 20% of the front seats of buses for people over 60. Bus can be very comfortable too.

4. You will know when you arrive at your destination. Again these can be fixed by penalising buses that are late for no good reason. Significantly curbing the unchecked growth of private cars won't hurt either.

5. You won't be stuck in traffic anymore. There's traffic everywhere now and at hours we never had it before. A proof that our transportation policy is too primitive. Blame it to a great extent on a car pool that's growing in an uncontrolled fashion.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

What Does Singapore Know That We Don't?

Plenty. Let's take their transportation policy for example. Why have they been removing cars from their roads for three straight years? Btw, this has brought back the car pool there to levels not seen in 8 years. Well they are decreasing the number of cars because it is a very inefficient technology. A car is idle more than 90% of the time. So it's pretty unproductive. And it is costly in so many other ways: time wasted in traffic which could be put to better use, burning fuel, pollution, stress and so on. The so on has to include all the space it uses and the other dimensions of traffic that slow you down.

Now when you look at what is being done here it's hard not to conclude that our transportation policy is being crafted in a very amateurish manner. I was totally horrified to hear my friend Georges Chung – an excellent economics teacher at the HSC level but a rather lousy policy-maker – say that one of the assumptions in the transportation planning involving the Metro Express is that the number of cars would be increasing by 5% every year. He obviously hasn't had a good look at the data – he's not the only one for sure – and apprehended the consequences. And it's not the first time. Indeed he has been a huge advocate of 'competitive depreciation' for many many years even suggesting that it is painless. The relevant data seem to tell an entirely different story.

Nando Bodha appears quite overwhelmed too. He scrapped the point system a couple of years ago. Quite a sloppy decision. He's currently spending billions to decongest the road network. Enlisting the help of the Korean Expressway Corporation is not a proof of mindfulness. They couldn't care less to help you saddle yourself with a prehistoric technology as long as they get paid. One that requires the transformation of our sacred Champ de Mars into a dinosaur park. That too after the obliteration of La School.

We're far better off with a bus rapid system (BRT) and freezing duty-free privileges for a couple of years. It's time for Lepep to hit the pause button. And organise a referendum.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sindikalis Pare Pu Zet Guvernman Si Banla Pa Aret Badine



CTSP pe diman guvernman donn bann dat kan lalwa travay retrograd pu amande sinon zot pu kumans enn kanpayn nasyonal pu Lepep pa eli prosin eleksyon. An dot mo zot pe anvi ki guvernman respekte so bann promes elektoral kuma inplemantasyon saler minimum ek organiz enn referandum lor Metro Express ek kolonizasyon CWA. Zot panvi Ramgoolam revini nonpli. Pa kav donn zot tor etan done ki Ramgoolam, Berenger, Jugnauth, Duval ek Collendavelloo pratik enn politik ekonomin neoliberal e antipatriotik ki pe kontinye mari kul Moris.

Inn ler pu avoy zot dan karo kann pu de bon.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Referendum Legislation Could Save Lepep From Electoral Mayhem

Beyond satisfying an electoral pledge it would provide it with important feedback on pressing national issues and opportunities to course correct. For example there is a very wide consensus in our country that we don't need the Metro Express just like saddling the CWA with a management contract is an act of zero governance. While it's true that Government can reverse immediately these two crazy decisions without organising a referendum there are other matters of utmost national interest that it would not want to lump together with a general election. These include electoral reform and the full legalisation of abortion.

Lepep has nothing to lose and everything to gain from deepening our democracy with such a legislation. It knows how smart voters are in seeing through all kinds of wicked schemes. Like the one that was put in front of them in December 2014. And of course a referendum organised before the next by-election would steal a lot of the latter's thunder plus allow Mauritius to strike something off her bucket list.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

At What Age Are Mauritians Dying These Days?

This is different from life expectancy which looks at how long a baby born in a year might expect to live on average. Which by the way was 77.69 years for women and 70.59 years for men back in 2012. So baby girls born 5 years ago should expect to watch 7 EPL seasons more than their male counterparts. And eat an extra 2,592 meals assuming they have their last kari pwason ek farata a few minutes before leaving. The numbers for Rodrigues are better: 78.47 years for women and 73.27 for men. That is baby girls in Rodrigues were expected to live an extra 9 months and baby boys 2.68 years more. The urit will definitely not be leaping for joy. The overall number for our Republic in 2015 was 74.6 years or 9.1 years less than world-beating Japan.

It hasn't always been like that. At least for women. Indeed female life expectancy for the island of Mauritius has been up to two-and-a-half years more than those for our sister island. This was true in 1983. The situation had reversed by 1992 and since 1998 women on the two islands were expected to live within one-and-half years of each other. Life expectancy for men in Rodrigues has been higher by at least two years between 2006 and 2012 even hitting a max of 3 years in 2009. Mauritian men could probably catch up by running at least 5 minutes every day. A Bus Rapid Transit system should make that a lot easier.

To answer the question in the title I looked at the age of the people who passed away in the last three days. The average for the 130 of our citizens who just departed is 68.06 years. The standard deviation is 15.22 years.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Why are Thousands Taking to the Streets in Hamburg?



Because they're worried about the climate and inequality. And why are people doing the same thing in Brazil? They are sick of seeing several corrupt politicians pocketing giant kickbacks while asking them to make sacrifices and swallow more austerity measures. Like pushing back the retirement age and putting a ceiling on pension benefits.

Not very different from what happened in North Africa less than a decade ago. In Mauritius too trickle-down economics has broken the economy and inequality has reached levels never seen before. This is simply not sustainable.

Friday, July 7, 2017

La School is Latest Victim of Flat Tax

In two ways. As a country trickle-down economics has made us seriously short of cash. The other is that the focus has changed. Culture, beaches and national priorities have taken a backseat to a concrete invasion.

We've become retarded in way too many fields. At a time when the pace at which the World is getting smarter is increasing.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Fighter Jets Have Their Own Body Language



NATO F-16 buzzes the plane that was carrying the Russian Defense Minister over the Baltic Sea. Soon after an Su-27 comes in the middle and shows what it has under its wings. The NATO plane then flies away.

This comes after renewed tensions in Syria.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

LKY's Son Plans to Leave Singapore

Lee Hsien Yang is the youngest child of the former PM. He issued a joint statement with his sister Lee Wei Ling yesterday expressing concern about the omnipresence of big brother. In this case they are referring to their elder sibling, Lee Hsien Loong, the current Prime Minister of Singapore.

At the centre of the dispute is their parents' house at 38 Oxley Road which LKY wanted demolished. Lee Hsien Loong wants to preserve it.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Issues in Recent British Elections Are Relevant to Us



Listened to the first half hour and found it quite interesting. And relevant with respect to the rubbish we've been experiencing for the past decade. Just in case you missed it.

First 60-0 Turns 35

Three and half decades ago Mauritians were busy voting out every single MP in their government. This included Kher Jagatsingh, a 50-year old maverick, who had completed what he considered his biggest challenge: the reform and development of education and cultural affairs. After coming up with the idea of free education five and a half years earlier.

The tectonic shift of the results the following day didn't impress me that much. Because I was asking everyone calling in on voting day how they thought it would go. One deadpan answer from a trusted source gave me pause: 60-0. It sounded so real and definitive that other predictions received before and after that call kind of sounded fake.

Voters obviously did the right thing on 11 June 1982. Given their ability to understand the progress made at that time. They even showed wisdom in that complete sweep. And have gotten a lot more sophisticated since then.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Heads Roll As May Tries to Form Minority Government

With the help of the DUP. That might not be enough as there have been calls for her resignation within her own party. Jeremy Corbyn is also making plans to form an even smaller minority government. Brits may have to vote again if 2/3 of the MPs so decide or if two different minority governments don't survive a no-confidence motion.

Corbyn ran an effective campaign and promised to "...build a Britain that works for the many, not the few." This included following a worldwide trend of bringing back utilities under public ownership because "...water bills have increased 40 per cent since privatisation, and our private energy providers overcharged customers by £2 billion in 2015."

Friday, June 9, 2017

PJ Increases Top Tax Rates By 5%

In his budget yesterday. Along with a negative income tax (para. 280) of up to a thousand rupees. These should mitigate the growth of the Sithanen Toohrooh and could help reduce inequality. Not a bad start but it won't be enough. The establishment of a National Investment Authority (para. 321) is a good idea to optimise returns of the NPF/NSF and other parastatals and to provide much-needed opportunities for local finance professionals to put their skill set to contribution. It might even improve pension fund governance.

The big negatives include the extension of 8-year contracts to foreign labour in more sectors of the economy (p38). You don't want to do this when the economy -- broken by Dr. Calamity -- is not creating any jobs. At least not before you have a good look at pay ratios and remember that there's so much of unemployment and underemployment here. I didn't see -- haven't really read the budget yet -- anything to freeze the growth of the pool of vehicles. Not too sure you want to give all these fiscal exemptions. For example, is the minuscule tax rate for exporting companies going to apply irrespective of their size? After the rubbish of 'competitive depreciation'? Does the CMT need that?

Hopefully there will be some big improvements in these plans before the Finance Act is passed. Like scrapping the Metro Express project. And a massive reduction of nonsense.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Mauritian Taxpayers Handed Rs5 Billion Bill

Because Government lost the arbitration against Betamax Ltd. That's going to be hard to pay given that the Sithanen flat tax has broken our economy and there's tens of billions of rupees missing in the Government till. It's going to be even harder for voters to digest. How did we end up in yet another mess? Has there been any negligence and recklessness along the way?

At the very least salaries of Ministers -- and that of the Leader of the opposition given that he was the DPM until recently -- should immediately be cut by 80% to save around Rs150 million over the next twenty-four months. Government MPs should also take a big pay cut. Per diem rates should be revised downwards and overseas travel reduced to a strict minimum. Official cars should be traded for more reasonable alternatives. Like bus passes and bikes. And running shoes.

We also need to have more tools to deal with these kinds of situations. Like legislation that could better align the interests of politicians with ours. Including mechanisms for seizing a significant portion of the assets of members of cabinet after they play bull with our china shop. This is all the more necessary given that there are other cases pending including the USD1bn of damages lodged by Rawat.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Who Can Stop Rafa?

Looks like he's in demolition mode at the French open. He won it 4 times in a row. Didn't win two years and then clipped a streak of 5 championships. Before not winning it for another two years. There seems to be a pattern here.

If he gets past his fellow citizen this afternoon, he could be meeting Novak on Friday. Or Thiem, the only player who beat him on clay this year. But Wawrinka and Murray are still around.

Some really good tennis ahead for sure.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

NMH Saga Enters New Phase

The Special Investigator submitted his conclusions to the FSC a few days ago without some parties telling their side of the story on the ground that the appointment of Mr. Taukoordass was inappropriate. Mainstream media has leaked that there could be multiple violations of securities laws involved. And that the report has been sent to the legal adviser of the regulator for advice.

Let's see what happens next.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Currency Policy Incompatible With Feline DNA


GDP per capita for Mauritius was only $9,142 at the end of 2015. That placed us at spot 68. We would have done a lot better had we not adopted a policy of 'competitive depreciation' for the better of thirty years. If we had kept our currency fixed at its 1985 level -- which was not too much to ask from a Tiger -- then we'd be 32 spots higher. Or just above the Arabia of the Sauds. And in the company of other high-income countries.

We were also stuck below the $10,000 threshold because the Sithanen flat tax has broken our economy. Had we kept on growing at 5.5% since 2006 we'd be seven notches higher. Fourteen if the 8% growth rates promised by the bean-counter had materialised.

In the meantime another Tiger has confirmed her stripes. A combination of high growth rates and systematic currency appreciation -- 60% over the thirty-year period -- has pushed Singapore ahead of Germany, Sweden and even Denmark.

Only dimwits will believe that 'competitive depreciation' is painless.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Longest Serving 007 Dies At 89

Was watching parts of Spectre again yesterday and reading about Daniel Craig. And found out about Roger Moore still being the longest serving James Bond -- Sean Connery remains my favourite. Was also thinking that I should research the third incarnation of 007 so that I'll eventually be able to write a decent obituary. Next thing you know the suave actor has passed away.

My first contact with Mr. Moore was in The Saint. Ah, that intro. We'd whistle it before and after the program. Several times. And at school too. He then appeared in The Persuaders where you'd see him with Tony Curtis week-end after week-end. It was one of the most popular series in the early seventies. The theme music was great too. 

Should find some time to learn a bit more about him. Like I did for this other icon.