Letting a new era of social injustice begin – 6 questions for Mauritius…
The Governement of Mauritius was proud on the 30th of August to inaugurate it’s latest billion-dollar gem. A State of the Art airport designed to respond to the challenge of a slugishly growing traffic.
Proud too, were the People of Mauritius. It was like entering a new era of technological excellence. I was… really ! But as of today, after the momentous euphoria, when I project the weight of such an effort against the country’s most urgent social needs, I have big doubts. While our target tourist markets are struggling to move out of a rampant and persistent recession, we are in phase of Pharaonic adventure. This is dubious development !
The Great Pyramid of Giza did not make Egyptians happier! It gathered centuries of pride and fame. In the end, in 2013 A.D, 5000 yrs even after, they are still carrying the payload of the 2,3 million stone blocks!
Aspiration v/s inspiration
I love technology, I love modernity… I would have loved so much to see my Island-nation build up into the next Dubai or Singapore… Some kind of modern eco-friendly, sustainable land, where governing would be about people-centric, democratic and sensible decision-making. We, The People of Mauritius, have the human means and resources to achieve these, but not our administrators, obviously! When you dig and investigate into the government’s priority list, you just find works under progress for posterity… not for the common man.
A new modern Billion-Dollar Airport is always good… gets us to be proud of what can be acheived in our country when there is a will to lead and… when some special lady in red and his fellow Ghost-Building Real Estate Expert keep on enriching themselves in some ill-fashioned way seemingly… To the satisfaction of the people at the top of our country. Nevermind that… Only for NOW !
But let’s put this tale of a pharaonic airport into perspective for a few minutes, shall we ?
Is it better to have a new Airport when most of our Court Houses are in ruins, using Canvas as roof ?
These sensitive areas have known episodes of larceny and arson and these are the places where our, The People’s, Justice is supposed to be done. Barrister Rama Valayden once refused to plead in such conditions and he was right. As we are asked to respect Justice and the Judiciary, we expect that We, The People of Mauritius, are respected in return.
Is it better to have a new shiny Airport when essential Hi-Tech health equipment need to be replaced ?
Dialysis machines, CT-Scans, Cardiac and surgery Units are faulty in each and every hospital of this country… so they say when asked why the waiting lists are so long… Is it so normal to prefer a Tourist WOW to the renewal of Cancer or pediatric wards that’re falling apart ?
Is it better to have that Billion-Dollar Airport than injecting Rs 700 Million in a murdering and unsafe National Transport Company ?
Getting new safe, eco-friendly buses has become a secondary issue, it seems ! And yet more than Rs 400 000 is being leveraged on a daily basis, thanks an illegal increase in Bus fares.
Is it better to have a new technological jewel, when you are not even sure to get there alive, if you get stuck in Port Louis or in Canal Dayot or in some other regions of the North during a 3-hour downpour ?
Is a Billion-Dollar Airport more important than delivering the promises of social housing for those most vulnerable of us and alleviating poverty in more than 50 more than needy “poches de pauvreté” ?
Billions have been injected in an airport that has been working right for +1 million pax forecasts. These figures have been downsized ! Was that the right moment ?
We haven’t been fully hit by the Occidental Recession wave yet. The purchasing power to travel of our traditional tourist markets has declined and we will get, sooner or later, the full blast of it. On the other side, our Tourist sector is being less creative… Deploying efforts in China and in Russia seem to be a resourceful bypass, but those markets are in search of the extraordinary… not actually the offer we have, compared to Reunion Island or The Maldives or even emerging Sri Lanka. All this to ask if it was the right time for such debts, even if it’s always good to forecast and anticipate.
Who pays the bill in the end? We pay… as always
Now we may well understand why we all need to accept raises in Bus Fares, Television Licence, CWA, WWA, CEB Bills and more. We ALL… YES We ALL 1,3 Million Mauritians, will have to finance the repayment of this beautiful achivement, even if there’s less than 200,000 of us who can really benefit from the advantages of a Modern and Costly Airport… Not forgetting the very few who would use the VIP facilities to drown the country under tons of Drugs or to evade Customs Duties…
We, The People of Mauritius, are the ONES who will pay anyway, with or without the incomptent political parties in power… It’s beautiful, Shiny, New, Glittering but at some point in time, in any case, we will feel the weight of it…