Mutually assured preservation

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The Trilochun saga sounds more and more like the shaggy dog story that will never reach a punchline. Either the storyteller never meant for us to get to the bottom of it or the script is still being written. Either way, it is not a story likely to make us smile. It is a reminder that might may indeed be right.

It is also, sadly, a reminder of why the roder bouttes of all ilks crawl and grovel to useless, incompetent, at times worthless, ministers. Once you have acquired proximity with one of them – particularly a powerful one – your stars start shining forever.

This is how Mauritius woke up to the happy realisation that it had a rare talent in the name of Kailash Trilochun. Before his stars started shining bright, he used to meet his clients at odd places, rather than in any elegant chambers worthy of a Rs19-million lawyer.

Then manna from heaven started falling uncontrollably and the newly discovered talent started selling his unique skills to the government at rates unseen in this country before – a situation which could have continued forever had the opposition not made the scandalous rates public. From that point on, things started going haywire.

And the tale is no different to the previous ones: A scandal breaks out, a trench war follows but the protagonists never die. They play their cards right and they come out of each scandal smelling of roses.

You will recall that each scandal has been dealt with in the exact same way for the last two years. When you-know-who let slip the dogs of war against the former minister of finance, Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, we were convinced it was the end of the latter. The opposition even started earmarking candidates to field in his constituency. Lutchmeenaraidoo, on 18 April, hardly denying the accusations, made a statement the implications of which we should never underestimate: “I am the most upright guy in this government!” Then doors closed and, when they re-opened, the police commissioner had been instructed not to arrest the minister under provisional charges, the ICAC opened an enquiry, the minister was given another ministry and the protagonists reappeared reassuring us that all is well. They naturally, and almost self-accusingly, repeated the now familiar mantra, “there will be no cover-up”. Just as there was no cover-up in the case of Raj Dayal in the Bal Kouler scandal. The accused is still sitting happily in parliament drawing a handsome salary.

Then the Heritage City scandal broke out with Roshi Bhadain making a statement to the police against his own leader’s adviser and the ICAC opening an enquiry on the former. When everyone was talking about sacking the minister, the same doors closed again and the same story was repeated.

In Trilochun’s case, his lawyer made it clear from the start that he was not going to go to the police empty-handed and that he may also have beans to spill. So, don’t worry about the heavy artillery taken out against him in the form of new cases. It is part of the balance of power. Or, if you prefer, the threat of mutually assured destruction. Worry not for either party.

Students of politics in Mauritius may retain one lesson: If you are as devious as them, you have no reason to fear them. In the land of threats and counter-threats, you can get away with just about anything!

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