Fair and square

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The Prime Minister made an appeal to journalists on Wednesday; be fair in your criticisms, he asked. That’s a very reasonable request, I believe, and one that is pertinent; for let’s face it – we’re not always fair and criticisms aren’t always constructive (and it wasn’t easy to write this!).

That said, first things first and credit where it’s due; Navin Ramgoolam needs to be congratulated for having opted out of the May Day rally. It was a waste of time, of money, of breath and of spittle. For we all know all the while pretending that we don’t, that the crowds that the political parties manage to gather on May Day don’t even go close to being representative of the parties’ respective strength.

So, here’s to hoping the Prime Minister will not just talk the talk of modernity but walk that arduous walk and put a stop once and for all to this May Day travesty; I mean there is more to politics that flexing the muscles and beating one’s stomach. Opinion poll or not.

In fact there are bushels more and that’s where we – the press – come in. A government, as far as I am concerned, has better things to do than go on a soapbox to attack its opponents on May Day; it’s got work to do. The Prime Minister said his aim was to modernize the country and to do that he was going to open himself to debates. He said he welcomed constructive criticisms. Music to my ears, I tell you.

Let’s start then, shall we? There is absolutely nothing modern in mixing religion\culture with politics. Wednesday’s show at the MGI in Moka should not have happened – or rather it should have happened without the politicians and if the Prime Minister is serious about modernizing the country – same as he says he’s serious about ridding our electoral system of racism -, then he should start by refusing to attend sociocultural and religious functions. And frankly? It would have been better to have held the annual May Day rally – as inane as it is – than use the excuse of the celebration of Maharashtra Day to have a dig at his opponents.

I mean how can one take the Prime Minister seriously when he talks about everybody having the same rights and being entitled to the same chances when he chooses to make that statement before a crowd handpicked by the President of a federation who openly states that his federation supports Navin Ramgoolam’s party? How much do you want to bet that Balraj Narroo’s discourse would have been different had he not been catapulted chairperson of the CEB board? How much do you want to bet that all those involved in socalled socio-religious and cultural organizations – who gleefully surrounded the Prime Minister on Wednesday at the MGI – would have all been in Port Louis had their bank accounts not become pleasingly heavy since their rubbing shoulders with government members? Is that a fair point?

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