Power-hungry tandem Ramgoolam-Bérenger tries to silence Radio Plus

Discussion dans 'Actualités de l'Ile Maurice' créé par Rafic Soormally, 28 Sept 2014.

  1. Power-hungry tandem Ramgoolam-Bérenger tries to silence Radio Plus​

    Ramgoolam and Bérenger irritated by Radio Plus questions

    When a named media is accused of being a « mercenary media », it means that that media is being likened to mercenaries (also referred to as « soldiers of fortune ») who are « hired to serve in a foreign army » to kill and murder like people witnessed in many African and Middle Eastern countries. Mercenary also means « working merely for money or other reward; hired ». (Ref. Oxford Dictionary).

    During the joint PTr-MMM joint press conference held at Ébène on 20 September 2014, Paul Bérenger accused Radio Plus of « behaving like mercenaries ». Listening to the questions posed by Axcel Chenney, Rédacteur en Chef of Radio Plus, to PM Ramgoolam and his newly found partner Paul Bérenger, former leader of the opposition, at no time did the interviewer make any wrongful allegation against either Ramgoolam or Bérenger. He merely asked pertinent questions, especially given the severe criticisms formulated by the former leader of the opposition against the government and some of its Ministers such as Vasant Bunwaree and Rajesh Jeetah. Ramgoolam did not take the question kindly and made sarcasic remarks about the interviewer's laptop, while Bérenger said he would make no comment on those two Ministers who he referred to as « Ministres sortants ».

    In a question addressed to Paul Bérenger, Axcel Chenney referred to the records entered in Hansard concerning a series of questions put in Parliament by the then MMM opposition to Minister Bachoo with respect to public contracts and concerning the PNQ of Alan Ganoo (MMM) on the floods (in which many died). With the view to informing the public, the questioner wanted to know whether the Serious Fraud Office would review all the questions put by Raffick Soreefan, by Reza Uteem and all the others concerning « les contrats de travaux publiques ».

    Ramgoolam was visibly annoyed and asked Axcel Chenney « Qui lagazette ou réprésenter ou », to which Axcel replied politely « Je suis le Rédacteur en Chef de Radio Plus », and Ramgoolam retorted « Radio Plus. Mo pas surpris ». For his part, Bérenger, to whom the question was addressed, said : « Moi mo pas pou réponne parcequi Radio Plus, depuis un certain temps, zotte comporte zotte couma banne mercenaires cotte banne agents politiques de bas étage. Mo pénan l'intention réponne. [..] Mo conné qui zotte pé faire tous les jours. C'est honteux. »

    Given the Oxford Dictionary's definition of mercenary, Paul Bérenger is effectively accusing Radio Plus of being hired (for money) by political agents to put those questions at the joint Ramgoolam-Bérenger press conference. Any reasonable person is likely to believe that such unsubstantiated, even gratuitious, accusations are intended to lower Radio Plus in the estimation of the public, Radio Plus being very popular in Mauritius. Radio Plus may very well have a remedy in libel, which is actionable per se.

    Following Bérenger's abdication of the role of leader of the opposition over several months and his parallell negotiations with PM Ramgoolam to form an alliance, and his final resignation as leader of the opposition after the alliance was concluded, and following the prorogation of Parliament over many months with the complicity of Bérenger in the quest of Ramgoolam and Bérenger to sieze power through power-sharing with Bérenger as PM with reduced powers in a so-called Second Republic when Ramgoolam seems certain Mauritians would elect him President with increased powers after major constitutional amendments after the next general elections which the tandem Ramgoolam-Berenger are certain to win with at least 3/4 majority, there is no doubt that the country is in dire crisis with people very scared. Axcel Chenney of Radio Plus has done an excellent job in putting the questions he did, however embarassing they may be to Ramgoolam and Bérenger.

    Since there is no functionning government in Mauritius for nearly 9 months while Ramgoolam and Bérenger are plotting how to gain power the way they want, they have to castigate the media which they feel is exposing them for what they really are. Accusing Radio Plus of behaving like mercenaries is clearly intended to lower this media in the estimation of the public and to deter it from asking such probing and embarrassing questions in future because their prime ‘modern’ objective is that they are trying to silence the media as they do not want the truth about their manipulations and schemes to be laid bare before the population. But the function of an independent media is not only to keep the people well informed but is also a watchdog and a guardian of our freedoms.

    M Rafic Soormally
    24 September 2014

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