Destination: Rogue Island

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We were on a slippery slope. Now, we officially are a rogue state. 

There is little in the behaviour of this government that is driven by anything other than preserving the interests of those in power and their cronies. The rule of law and the interests of the state are the last thing on their mind.

Whichever way you look at it, the event which has been making the headlines this week is a disgrace and the way it was handled is typical of the rogue state that we have become: An urgent board meeting is called and some of its members decide to sack three pilots with immediate effect. A quick introduction of these members who are always available on short notice to take ‘urgent’ decisions: Bissoon Mungroo, the Jugnauths’ official birthday party organiser, was convicted in a swindling case at the Mauritius Meat Authority. Prakash Maunthrooa, affectionately referred to as Pran cash, has been using every trick in the book to avoid facing justice in a serious alleged corruption case. Mike Seetaramadoo, a close member of the clan, is such a great asset that, to get him out of trouble, the former CEO of Air Mauritius was sacked and two lawyers had to resign from a disciplinary committee charged with examining the serious allegations against Seetaramadoo – i.e. having falsified his qualifications and experience to get the job he now has. The new CEO, Somas Appavou, who quickly showed his heavy-handedness and lack of elegance by adding fuel to the fire, was the latest addition to this hotchpotch. Naturally, those ‘independent’ members representing the private sector on the board did what they do best: observe radio silence. As they did when the former CEO was summarily dismissed with total disregard for the law! 

The next thing we knew was that one of the dismissed pilots had been asked to leave the country on the next flight available – after 10 years spent in our country, serving our airline! – and that staff were being asked to take salary cuts while the board continued to pocket their huge salaries and inordinate fringe benefits! And that the prime minister had given his full support to the board and threatened to bring in 50 Indian pilots – an insult to the sub-continent and their airline industry – as if Indian pilots are just waiting for a rogue state to sack its own pilots and replace them with pilots from India! 

And don’t think anyone in government is concerned about any of this. While four of our planes were grounded, incurring over Rs 240 million in losses, while 1,000 passengers found themselves stranded and in total chaos, many ministers and MPs – including the prime minister – were taking photos and selfies with foreign actresses! Others were no doubt busy using their position to promise jobs and benefits to unsuspecting young women or gearing up to continue sending them salacious messages and photos of their anatomy from within the National Assembly. Or visiting drug lords in prison! While the police are focusing on pilots and journalists, the Tarolahs, Sesungkurs, Jahangeers, Jadoo-Jaunbocus’, Teeluckdharrys… are free to carry on with their activities!

Is it any wonder then that the leader of a socio-cultural organisation, one who normally rubs our leaders the right way, dares urge the prime minister to “put his house in order”? If even those who normally wax lyrical about ministers are subtly denouncing a weak leadership, what more proof is needed that the country has become not only a rogue state, but a chaotic one as well?  

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