Count their blessings

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The poster is absolutely beautiful. And the happiness complete. The King Father, who was too old and too tired to rule, has suddenly realised that he is fine after all, thank you. So father and son sat together and shared the spoils of the kingdom in a very friendly, family atmosphere. The son took on the mantle of power to reign over the country but that is not enough. He also kept the finance portfolio as no one in his cabinet is competent – or trustworthy – enough to handle it. 

The next thing we knew is that father and son also decided that the King Father – still too tired to remain in the post he was elected to occupy – now has to handle Chagos, Rodrigues and, according to the latest news, law and order! And everybody will now live happily ever after.

So, the Queen Mother, Sarojini, finds herself in a very enviable position: her son is prime minister and minister of finance, her husband is minister mentor and minister of defence, who is also in charge of the police, in addition to Chagos and Rodrigues and her cousin – Nayen Koomar Ballah – is secretary to cabinet and head of the civil service.
But there is more. Her niece is Maya Hanoomanjee, the speaker of the national assembly! Isn’t that a happy tale?

Happier still when you come to know that the speaker’s daughter now occupies a top position at the State Property Development Company Ltd, now part of Landscope Ltd. You will recall that – according to her own admission – she did not even know the position existed nor did she apply for it. It just fell into her lap in the same way bills keep falling into ours. So, Naila Hanoomanjee suddenly upgraded herself from the dark and crowded tube in London to a chauffeur-driven limousine and plenty of travel and other fringe benefits.

Now while Niece Maya’s daughter is enjoying all the privileges of a position handsomely remunerated from our threadbare pockets, her sister also happened upon some manna from heaven. She first created a company last July, Rum and Sugar Ltd, with zero ‘turnover’, zero ‘gross profit’, zero ‘administration costs’, zero ‘other expenses’, zero everything. She waited for five or six months and the Procurement Committee, in its wisdom and total independence, decided that her company had the required experience and expertise – members of the family learn fast – to supply biscuits to the duty-free outlets at the airport! Since she followed the ‘right procedure’, our dear Sheila Hanoomanjee came out as the luckiest bidder in the world! 

And don’t bother reporting any of this to any of our ‘independent’ institutions: They are so terribly independent that they see no evil and hear no evil. Remember Youshreen Choomka? The member of the MSM, who was appointed as chairperson of the Independent Broadcasting Corporation (IBA) against the IBA Act, which clearly stipulates that no member of the board should have any political affiliation? Do you recall how she suddenly decided that, as chairperson, she was the most suitable person to occupy the position of director? Well, I hate to inform you that when the case reached the Equal Opportunities Commission, she just delayed appearing until they managed to dismiss the former chairman, Brian Glover. And then there was no case. So, she is still the director of the IBA. If you are asking where the then-acting chairman of the board of the IBA, Dev Phokeer, who helped implement this plan is today, let me reassure you that he is absolutely fine. He is now sitting on the Integrity Reporting Board! I would therefore suggest that you shut up and save your efforts for a better cause. 

They look us straight in the eye and say we live in a democracy where meritocracy prevails. Who are we to disagree?

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