Paul Lismore


Rédigé par Paul Lismore le Vendredi 13 Décembre 2019

The lingering doubts and anger over the unsatisfactory way the last general elections were conducted continue to create a feeling of malaise and genuine apprehension over our right to call our nation a democracy.

But the fact remains that nothing can be done to correct any perceived injustice until Their Honour in the Supreme Court get off their arses and treat the various electoral petitions with the urgency they demand.

Unfortunately, history shows us quite conclusively that when it comes to alacrity and promptitude, our courts of justice are notorious for showing the same turn of speed as a donkey in the Maiden Cup...So, don't raise your hopes, or fears, for at least another three years, after all the legal avenues have been exhausted; i.e. when it will be time for the next general elections.

In the meantime, one can only hope that Pravin Jugnauth will use his authority as Prime Minister to ensure that the many mistakes and abuses of 2014-2019 are not repeated and that, for once, the word 'meritocracy' will be given back its badge of honour instead of being used merely as an empty slogan.

But the signs are not good, esp with Arvin Boolell as a leader of the opposition who seems destined to show us that gentlemen often do not make the best politician because they lack the aggressive, killer instinct that all political leaders must necessarily have as a prerequisite for dealing with an all powerful government.

Pravin Jugnauth must feel that all his Xmases have come at once when Arvin Boolell was appointed as leader of the opposition, instead of the more combative, reckless but too self absorbed Shakeel Mohamed, or a Paul Berenger looking for a last hurrah before he hangs up his boots after showing Ti Frer how to danse toupi...

Despite the doom and gloom, I am rather impressed with the way one new minister, someone with no experience in politics and who was unknown until her name appeared on the list of confirmed candidates, has behaved herself since she was appointed as ministre de l’Égalité des genres et du Bien-être de la famille.

Those who read my posts regularly would have noticed that I put her name forward, as well as some other names, as a very desirable candidate for the PTr. But Navin Ramgoolam and his useless advisers had a weird sense of what "Rupture" really means and decided that sticking with the old wrinkled, well past their sell by date, faces was what Lepep wanted...and Lepep has shown them where to shove their wrinklies..

What was the PTr's loss has become a big gain for the MSM, and one must begrudgingly admire Pravin Jugnauth's rather brave decision to do away with the reptiles and the dinosaurs in his party and to choose new, credible candidates instead.

I am referring to Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah, fast becoming one of the shining stars of a new administration still lacking credibility and acceptance as a result of the many shenanigans during the last electoral campaign and on polling day.

Can any of you remember anything at all worthwhile the 4 Ministers for Women did during 2014-2019? Anything at all? Apart from yapping formulaic nonsense for the gallery whilst doing next to fuck all?

Did you see many signs of compassion and empathy with the huge number of victims of domestic violence and cases of sexual abuse, and any desire by those "Honourable" ministers to do anything to stem the flow of outrageous behaviour towards those victims? How often have you heard them mention the Children's Bill and then do nothing except copy the main activity of Navin Beekarry, "Mo p enkor etidier dossiers la"?

Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah has been in office for just over a month and I remain convinced that she will add firmness and steel to a Children's Bill that should at last see the light of day within the first six months of 2020.

We simply cannot go on with the hit and miss approach of the Social Services which often means that the irreparable has been committed well before any help by the statutory agencies. It is high time that any agency that is aware of the maltreatment of a child – or the misconduct of a child’s legal guardian – should make their findings known to other agencies that might have a hand in the protection of a child who would normally go unmonitored. Consideration ought to be given for a Children's Fund, whose primary aim will be to ensure that children between the ages of five and sixteen are in regular attendance at school. The fund will also help to reduce the risk of crime carried out by children between these ages and to try, where possible, to ensure that these children have the best possible start in life.

We seem to have a little, unofficial army of "travailleurs social" who really ought to be properly trained and taken under the umbrella of the Children's Act so that they are required by law to carry out to their functions within a legal framework ,and provide the best and most accurate levels of care and protection....instead of doing it on a voluntary basis.

Perhaps the Children's Act will include what is known as Sarah's Law in the UK, also referred to as The child sex offender disclosure scheme, which allows parents, carers or guardians to formally ask the police for information about a person who has contact with their child, or a child close to them, if they're concerned the person may pose a risk. All too often, a child sex offender in Mauritius simply becomes a statistic which is dusted down when he commits another offence with a child...Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.

I am convinced that Kalpana Devi Koonjul-Shah has the spine so lacking in previous incumbents in the post she now holds to insist that no child under the age of 18 can get married without the permission of a court of law.

What can possibly explain the urgency of getting a child to marry/have children before the age of 18 when he/she ought to be instead concentrating their efforts on trying to forge a decent career for themselves? Of course, there will be the usual noises from some self appointed representatives of God, but no self respecting Minister for Children's Rights should take any notice of that in a secular democracy...nor should she take any notice of the views peddled by their political parrots in the National Assembly.

With regards to domestic violence, the new minister said this soon after being appointed: " Cela dit, je suis révoltée par les cas de violence perpétrés à l’égard des femmes et des enfants, tout comme à l’égard des hommes. Il y a eu certes plusieurs cas d’agression où les victimes étaient des femmes. Certaines ont même perdu la vie. En tant que femme, je peux vous dire que je ne peux ni cautionner ni ignorer de tels actes de barbarie." You will agree that this is a lot stronger than the mealy mouthed words of her predecessors.

It is pointless passing more and more laws if we then end up leaving it up to the discretion of the magistrates/judges to implement them properly. The amended Domestic Violence Act of 2016 already provides for a Rs 50,000 fine for the first offence, and a Rs 100,000 fine if the offender repeats the act of aggression. If he is found guilty on a 3rd occasion, then he can go to prison for up to 5 years! Yippee!

Now, the harsh reality: have you ever heard of any one of these violent bullies being fined even once? Don't you think it is time for a Domestic Violence list which would contain the names of all those who love using their female companion as a punch bag, and which would then allow the police to immediately know that the chap concerned has form in these matters?

It is time now for a mandatory minimum sentence, esp in cases where the violence is of such a nature that it demands a severe punishment. We have seen how many sexual deviants and predators get away with it in our courts of 'justice' with sentences that makes one wonder whether these magistrates/judges live on the same planet as us. Is anyone really surprised with the increasing level of sexual violence, which, in my humble opinion, is a direct consequence of the incredibly lenient attitude by the courts towards these criminals? If you can get away with having sexual intercourse with an underage age girl who in law cannot give consent and the magistrate gives us the impression that "Tifi la ti p roder", then it really is time for mandatory sentences.

Because it seems that when it comes to domestic violence and crimes against children, we can no longer have confidence in the courts to provide real justice to the victims.

Finally, the reason that compelled me to write this post: I saw the heartwarming level of empathy shown by the new minister to the mother of the 10 year old kidnapped and apparently abused by a vile man the other day. I often see politicians visiting victims because it makes 'political sense' for them to do it. That one was different. Kalpana Devi Shah-Koonjoo showed genuine empathy and human warmth to a mother who badly wanted to feel that her pain mattered.

That one act of humanity by a politician with less than 6 weeks experience in politics marks her out as quite exceptional and a long distance away from the many idiotic and ultra arrogant "serviteurs du pays".
Long may that refreshingly positive attitude continue...

Vendredi 13 Décembre 2019

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