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As Oscar Wilde said, “I am not young enough to know everything”. I do not pretend to know what happened between Mrs. Ringadoo and the Air Mauritius cabin crew.

Although I am tempted to believe a story corroborated by four crew members, I am equally prepared to give the Ringadoos the benefit of the doubt considering that there are always two sides to a story.

But more than the repeated alleged abuse of power ( if MK cannot recall any other instances, it must have a very short memory indeed!) and threats of using one’s position to sack people as if we were in a banana republic where there are no laws and where the only way to hang on to your job is by not getting on the wrong side of powerful people, what worries is the incongruousness of this: If you sit on the Board of a bank, for example, you expect to help advise on the policy of the bank for a fee. You do not expect to get “ free money” for the rest of your life ( although you can get paid enough during your tenure to last you a lifetime!).

Similarly, if you sit on the CEB Board, you do not expect to get free electricity, or Mauritius Sugar Authority free sugar, for the rest of your life. On the other hand, you just need to sit on the Board of Air Mauritius for one term and you are home and dry! For the rest of your life!

Governments come and go and ex- Board members are still hopping on and off planes more often than we board buses. Business Class, please, thank you! And nobody seems to find anything wrong with this?! MK’s statement that “ Mr. and Mrs. Ringadoo were travelling in a group ( unspecified number) which paid for no less than eight tickets”, reminds me of the anecdote of a minister’s bodyguard who, having to disclose his salary to his prospective father- in- law, said, ‘ the minister and I together make around Rs 310,000.

It is gross! “ Le client est roi”, Air Mauritius says. Well, maybe the crew’s definition of a client is the one who pays for his ticket and secures their jobs, rather than the one who jeopardizes these. Or maybe the hapless fare- paying passenger whose booking had to be cancelled to accommodate the mandarins. Maybe their anger is their way of saying that they have had enough of “ ser cintir” while the others parasitically bleed the airline.

And while they are, the rest of us will continue to pay the high prices. As for those promotional fares we get a glimpse of every now and then in our mailboxes, they do not increase our hopes of seeing other horizons. We know that by the time “ ordinary people” like us receive the marketing mail, all the discounted seats have already been sold to family and “ kamarads”. We do not even bother to read MK''s spam. We opt for the opportunity forced upon us to discover and rediscover Mauritius. What a pleasure!

Touria PRAYAG

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