OPEN LETTER TO SIR VICTOR GLOVER : Declaration of Community Temporary Provision Bill

Discussion dans 'Actualités de l'Ile Maurice' créé par Rafic Soormally, 1 Juil 2014.

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    « The Constitution (Declaration of Community) (Temporary Provisions) Bill »

    Dear Hon. Sir Victor Glover

    Reference your press declaration published in Défi of 1st July 2014 under the title : « Mini-amendement constitutionnel : Sir Victor Glover aurait souhaité une aide étrangère ».

    I have communicated with your Fact Finding Committees in the past, and I have the utmost respect for you and your professionalism. In my view, you are amongst the cream Mauritius has to offer. Please allow me to comment on « The Constitution (Declaration of Community) (Temporary Provisions) Bill », also referred to as a ‘mini amendment’, to be debated when Parliament resumes after such a long prorogation on 4th July 2014 when the bill would be ‘debated’ and voted.

    As someone who worked on the ‘mini-amendment’, one does not expect you to say anything different. You are right in stating that the government should have resorted to foreign experts. My only objection to the setup of the Faugoo Committee, in which you actively participated, in drafting the constitutional amendments, is the presence, on that Committee, of Economist and former Finance Minister Rama Sithanen whose analyses and formulae in his January 2012 electoral reform report were exposed as flawed and even wrong, and which he never refuted. Sithanen cannot be regarded as an independent person as his recommendations were taken on board Ramgoolam’s 24 March 2014 White paper. His very presence on such ‘legal’ committee also fully justifies your opinion that the presence of foreign experts would have been preferred. Unless the government pulled it, you would have also taken cognizance of my rebuttal of the PM’s White Paper, rebuttal which contained a separate chapter to Rama Sithanen’s formulae and suggestions.

    But given the length of time PM Ramgoolam had said he would proceed to his form of electoral reform and the many weeks in which he prorogued Parliament when there is no crisis in the country (in fact, he created one through his own hysteria, with the help of Ashok Subron of Rezistans ek Alternativ, only to leave the country and go to India), and given that he relied so heavily on ‘his’ own ‘expert’ Rama Sithanen with all the latter’s dubious formulae, the PM may have judged that asking for foreign experts would not serve his purpose to perpetrate political power.

    The reason is simple. Ramgoolam is in his 14th year of office, and he wants to remain in power. So, he used the campaign of hate against community recognition, which recognition and protection mechanism are requirements under the UN Charter, as an opportunity to team up with Bérenger’s opposition to share power. Although negotiations failed in the first instance, they are still going one as the amendment bill is being presented in Parliament on 4th July 2014. Why does he want such unnecessary, and in many ways what appears as unconstitutional, reform now? This campaign against the recognition of minority communities has been going on for nearly a decade and Ramgoolam is in his 3rd term of office, coming to the end of his reign. He sees in it a golden opportunity to manipulate public opinion. This is probably why he did not suggest help from foreign experts; because he does not have much time given that general elections are round the corner and given that he is also scared that those foreign independent experts might burst his balloon. He wants to secure future power by laying the groundwork now! This unnecessary and dangerous reform is all he’s got.

    Why provisions 2 & 3 are unconstitutional?
    Section 2 of the The Constitution (Declaration of Community) (Temporary Provisions) Bill states :
    « A candidate at that decision may elect not to declare the community to which he belongs. Where he does not make such declaration, he shall be deemed to have opted out to be considered for the purpose of the allocation of additional seats pursuant to the First Schedule to the Constitution and no additional seat shall be allocated to him. »

    This opting-out provision is well and good. But the problem is that it applies to all candidates, Hindus, Muslims, Sino-Mauritians, as well as members of the General Population, as mentioned in the Constitution. General Population includes the equally minority Christians who most benefit from the Best Loser System, while non-elected Hindu candidates with the most votes are not entitled to BLS because Hindus form the largest (majority) community in whose favour the FPTP system is skewed. Only unelected members of minority communities with most votes are entitled to BLS, and they are the ones who should be allowed to elect to opt out of BLS.

    By giving Hindu candidates this option does not make any sense. While admitting she is a « Hindu », Mrs Kalyanee Juggoo, MP and General Secretary of Ramgoolam’s Parti Travailliste, said she would not declare her religion (which she wrongly refers to as « ethnicity ») at the next general elections. If all Hindu candidates do the same, it is as if the Hindu community does not exist in Mauritius, and the BLS would die. This is why it is never up to the majority to decide on minority rights. Kalyanee Juggoo can only have come up with this idea in the knowledge that this would not affect the Hindu community.

    As section 2 of the bill stands, it cannot be constitutional since the Hindu majority would not be properly identified for the purposes of BLS. To protect minorities, the majority should be clearly identified and that majority cannot opt out of the calculations since it is not a beneficiary of the BLS. Only the minority beneficiary can.

    Section 3 states :
    « Where a candidate who has not declared his community is returned as member, the Electoral Supervisory Commission shall, for the sole purposes of determining the appropriate community and allocating additional seats under paragraph 5 of the First Schedule to the Constitution at the next general election, proceed on the basis of average number of returned members belonging to each community at all general elections since 1976 »

    This is a dubious average which is not practised anywhere in the world, even in the worse dictatorships. Apparently, this “average” suggestion was put forward by Rama Sithanen. The public has not been shown how Sithanen’s average system has been worked out, based on what electoral principles, and, more importantly, how his suggestion (adopted again by PM Ramgoolam) is constitutional.

    The contradiction in section 3 is that if a candidate who has not declared his community (such as Kalyanee Juggoo) is returned as a member, the government effectively propose to ‘determine’ his community through juxtaposition with a dubious average based on past election results from 1976 onwards. Such juxtaposition is unconstitutional as it would be basing the allocation of additional BLS seats, not on the results of actual elections, but on prior elections results, which is not the type of « sovereign democratic state » envisaged under Article 1 of the Mauritian Constitution. Such provision is clearly unconstitutional.

    Mauritian MPs belonging to any community should never vote for such amendments, temporary or not. They should remember that many Whites voted for the abolition of slavery. There is no reason why Hindus should not do the same to protect minorities. PM Ramgoolam and Bérenger should also understand that minorities cannot be subsumed anywhere. Their scheme to share power is nothing less than monstrous.

    Yours sincerely

    M Rafic Soormally
    1 July 2014
  2. boispignolet

    boispignolet Membre

    Les intenses cogitations pendant de nombreuses semaines de quelques soi-disant spécialistes de la chose électorale pour aboutir entre autres à ça :

    Aurore Perraud,directrice de communication du PMSD, a déclaré le 2 JUILLET 2014 : «Il n’y a aucune gêne ou honte à dire à quelle communauté on appartient, Il ne suffit pas de dire qu’on est mauricien pour être mauricien»
    les Bleus comptent déclarer leur appartenance ethnique aux prochaines élections.

    Hervé Aimée : « Je suis un Mauricien mais un Créole avant tout…»
    Il déclinera son appartenance ethnique en tant que membre de la population générale lors des prochaines législatives.

    Kalyanee Juggoo, députée et secrétaire générale du Parti Travailliste, affirme qu’elle ne déclinera pas son appartenance ethnique.


    Ce n'est pas un mini-amendement mais un maxi emmerdement pour le pays qui pointe déjà son nez.

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