The scandal mill

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The scandal surrounding Álvaro Sobrinho is already fading into a distant memory, having been dislodged by a bigger scandal: An individual close to the MSM leader and a key figure of the MSM being a suspect in a Rs2 billion worth heroin drug deal.

Geanchand Dewdanee is already out on bail in a corruption case. That did not prevent him from going in and out of the Prime Minister’s Office with such ease. It would seem that he did not feel out of place, being surrounded by people who had or are still having serious brushes with the law.

Dewdanee comes to add more embarrassment to a Sun Trust already burdened by the weight of several embarrassing drug allegations.

You will recall that Veer Luchoomun, brother of Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) Sandhya Boygah and Education Minister Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun’s nephew, was openly accused by the then leader of the opposition, Paul Bérenger, of being the “big boss” of a heroin drug ring. This scandal culminated in a police constable, Arvind Hurreechurn, dying in police custody in very suspicious circumstances. The Commission for Human Rights made a bit of noise about the suspicious circumstances of the alleged suicide and we haven’t heard a thing since about how a police officer committed suicide by hanging himself with a towel tied to a sink.

The current prime minister then came out all guns blazing against the press and was quick to defend Boygah’s brother on the grounds that there was no proof of any involvement in drugs.

Before we had forgotten about that scandal, PPS Roubina Jadoo-Jaunbocus, member of the MSM, hit the headlines for conducting long and astonishingly frequent visits to convicted drug lords in prison, many of whom were not her clients.

Add this to the MSM’s eloquent past with the Amsterdam Boys heritage (see our cover story in Weekly) and Harish Boodhoo’s allegations about the long-standing relationship between drug dealers and the Sun Trust, and you have a government on the back foot.

In another country, scandals of this magnitude would have brought the whole government tumbling down. In our paradise, the whole embarrassment to the new prime minister and his team will last for about a week. Like everything else. 

And don’t look forward to parliament resuming this month, hoping it will yield some transparency. There are ways around answering questions. You will have noticed that the ICAC has suddenly decided to enquire into the biscuit saga. So, for as long as this institution is ‘investigating’, members of parliament can hide behind that to refuse to answer any questions about whether or not the speaker – against whom there is a motion of no confidence – is involved in selling biscuits from her own residence while drawing a residence allowance as a speaker.  That way, the issue drags on for months and the smell of the biscuits slowly but surely fades away.

Sobrinho’s case has gone the same route. The president of the republic, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, battered by a stream of revelations surrounding her close links with the businessman, is waiting for a ‘brief’ from the Financial Services Commission (FSC) before she makes any comments. How the FSC is going to tell us about who brought the businessman to the country and who organised the lunch at the State House to introduce Sobrinho to the governor of the Bank of Mauritius and the then-minister of finance is beyond us. But the word ‘enquiry’ has been brandished so shut up.

This new drug scandal, worry not, will be treated in the same way. There is a police investigation so no comment, no explanation.

And, a few days from now, the prime minister will look us in the eye and, without blinking, will talk about his determination to crack down on the drug trade! And he will get away with it! Because he knows and we know that our memories are short.

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