You know a government is on its last legs when it starts using every trick in the book to dismantle democracy, stifle debate and silence dissent. Every week, we sit and helplessly watch the most incredible ruses being orchestrated to fool a population, anaesthetised by propaganda, into believing that the government is playing by the book.
So, after a long and undeserved holiday, the speaker of the National Assembly, Maya Hanoomanjee, did what she does best: find a way of giving herself and her colleagues in government another break from the leader of the opposition’s PNQs! Apparently taking her marching orders from those she spoke to after suspending the session, she suddenly seemed to have decided to throw the leader of the opposition out – for two consecutive sessions – for having said that he had no respect for her. Did anyone not tell her that respect is neither imposed nor begged but earned and offered?
And holidays seem to be the answer to everything. To avoid the embarrassment the opposition was gearing up to subject the government to after the whole nation had been put through the show Kalyan Tarolah willingly offered, he was given an indeterminate holiday. It must be his reward for having shown so much respect for the speaker and the National Assembly that he spent his time there praying to God to protect both queen and country. And if Tarolah is enjoying a holiday at our expense, the least the prime minister can do is tell us what exactly his former PPS is suffering from. An overdose of selfies? Or maybe pain in the parts of his body we haven’t seen yet.
And thank God for our amnesia because, not so long ago, the deputy speaker, Sanjeev Teeluckdharry, was given a holiday from chairing the National Assembly debates as soon as it became clear that the opposition was going to boycott the National Assembly debates if he was to chair them, after the findings of the Commission of Enquiry on Drugs. Hanoomanjee was called in from her frequent travels and we all forgot that Teeluckdharry is still drawing his salary as a deputy speaker!
And lest we forget again, both Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo and Anerood Jugnauth are on a semi-holiday as the former had to leave the Finance Ministry – too demanding for his ill health – and the latter had to leave the primeministership – pa ena choix – and occupy more restful positions while continuing to draw the salaries they were drawing for having promised an economic miracle which is so miraculous that we no longer know what to do with the prosperity we have been enjoying since!
As for the one who took on both portfolios, I must say that he has been very busy celebrating and cutting any ribbons which come his way. From inaugurating bus stations and participating in Divali celebrations and Elderly Day celebrations – whatever that means – to opening clubhouses and launching golf courses. Without of course forgetting aeroplanes ordered by his predecessors! So much action. So little activity. And the economy is left to fend for itself. If that is not another holiday, then I don’t know what is!
And while everyone is on holiday, two major aims are achieved: There are no resignations, so no by-elections to dread. And there is no accountability. So, any elected member who is tempted to mess up, watch out. You may be severely punished by having more holidays imposed on you! We wouldn’t wish that upon anyone, surely!
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