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The Political Landscape of Mauritius

Mauritius’ political landscape is not the definition of stable, with the current acting Vice-President being Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory. His role came to be, as the previous president, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, resigned in March of 2018. She was the first female to be chosen as president of the country, which was a considerable feat. The issue was that she received accusations of spending tens of thousands of rupees on personal items, that included clothing, jewellery, shoes, etc., and she did so with a card issued by a well known international charity. The money was intended for scholarships for impoverished students who were in need. Gurib-Fakim denies these accusations and claims to have repaid all of the cash that was spent

Pravind Kumar Jugnauth was named prime minister after his father, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, resigned from the position. He was undoubtedly well qualified for the role, having been the Minister of Finance. This was not too long ago, only January 2017. Despite it seeming to be an ever-changing, rolling cycle of leaders, Sir Aneerood Jugnauth was the longest-serving leader, having held his role as prime minister since the independence of Mauritius in 1968. He was the leader of the Militant Socialist Movement (MSM) Party, and this also made him the minister of finance and interior issues/affairs. The MSM party and the Labour Party had held power since 1968, except for the period from 1982-1983, as well as 2003-2005, when there were brief periods of others running the country.

The politics in the country are not the most stable, with the party not being favoured by everyone, and considered to be somewhat controversial. The state formally operates under the structure of parliamentary democracy which means there are three branches including the legislative, executive and judiciary branches. The democratic system also means there are multiple parties. There is a President as well as a Prime minister in Mauritius.

The Mauritius Fruit Bat: A Need for Protection

The Mauritius Fruit Bat is known to be the only remaining native mammal on the island. It is what is known as a large megabat species and is also known as the Mauritian Flying fox. In July 2018, its conservation status was upgraded to the endangered category, meaning that in the future it is very likely to become extinct. This is what happened on the island of Reunion in the 18th century.

The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation is understandably profoundly concerned about this turn of events. They are convinced that the loss of population of the bat is a direct result of the official cull which took place in 2015 and 2016. Even at that time, conservationists argued that the slaughter wasn’t necessary, despite its approval from the government as a way of controlling the species.

The cull was initially organised to cut the population of the Mauritius Fruit Bat, as it was believed to number over 100000. They were said to be causing significant damage to the banana, pineapple and lychee crops, thus putting the country’s export trade at risk. The cull was supposed to have wiped out over 40% of the bat population, leading to widespread condemnation.

Specialist and expert groups have warned that the extinction of the fruit bat would have a shocking impact on the biodiversity of the island, as the bats play an essential role in the pollination of native flowers, and the dispersal of their seeds. Other threats to the bat include illegal hunting, the loss of their natural habitat and cyclones. At the time of the cull, 80% of the Mauritian islanders opposed it.

Today, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation is doing its utmost to ensure the future of the fruit bat, holding workshops to research the problem of preserving the island’s fruit humanely. Proposals include the use of netting to protect the crops. It can only be hoped that their efforts are successful.

Recent News; Mauritius’ World Famous Golf

Mauritius is full of beaches and activities for all. Not only is it a great place to play golf leisurely but it is also the host to golf tournaments and games for the pros as well. The Four Seasons hosts theMauritius Open. South African golfer Frittelli found this tournament a key part of his career as it helped his name make the list of top 50 golfers on the Official World Golf Rankings and therefore hold Mauritius in high regard. The tournament is hosted in what is, for many, considered to be winter but in Mauritius it is warm and perfect golf weather in November and December.

The course at the Four Seasons is known to be both beautiful and challenging. It is sponsored by large companies, organizations and luxury brands to match the luxurious feel of the course and the island. Hosting large and world recognized tournaments such as this draws tourists and golfers alike. There are golfers from all over the world who come to play the courses both on and off the various resorts.

The Four Seasons golf course is especially unique as it was designed by a pro golfer Ernie Els and was designed with pro golf in mind. The course was designed so perfectly that it hosted the AfrAsia Masters for 5 years in a row, from 2010 to 2014. The course was also designed with 6 holes that allow golfers to play beside the breathtaking and humbling Indian Ocean.

Events like these put Mauritius on the map and beyond just the benefits to the golf community but also stimulate the economy of the country, draw tourists and help Mauritius become an increasingly independent and stable nation. It has helped make Mauritius make a name for itself and increase its popularity amongst European and international travelers.

Important Historic Milestones for Mauritius

To understand Mauritius’ present and current situation, we must understand their past, and the critical milestones that helped the country evolve to be what it is today.

In March 1968, Mauritius gained its independence from Britain. Despite this, the Queen remains the person in charge and the respected head of state.

Upon receiving and declaring their independence, the country developed a new flag that was symbolic. The red stripe was a symbol of blood that was shed when slavery and suffering were a sacrifice made during colonisation. It also represents the self-determination, and the struggle that was fought as the island sought independence. The yellow stripe in the middle is the light associated with autonomy and the sunshine that is related to the country’s bright future. Finally, the green line was, and still is, symbolic of the greenery that can be seen and enjoyed all over the island.

  • The 1970s were a time when nature was at risk, but the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation was formed to combat this. It worked towards and successfully saved, many endangered species of birds including the Mauritius Kestrel, the Echo Parakeet as well as the Pink Pigeon, all three that were almost extinct.
  • The 1990s marked what is now known formally as the First Economic Miracle, when the post-colonial time allowed the economy to boom, with the manufacturing sector taking off, and realising great success. Tourism was booming and continued to grow, and the sugar industry also contributed to the unprecedented and impressive growth of the economy.
  • 1992 was the year that Mauritius became an official republic after 24 years of independence.
  • 1994 was a time that was traumatic for Mauritius, as it was devastated by Cyclone Hollanda, but it was also a year that showed the country’s strength as they banded together to rebuild their beloved nation.

The Changing Narrative of Mauritius’ Story

As the BBC reminds us, Mark Twain was convinced that ‘Heaven was copied after Mauritius’. Many people, both locals, and those who have visited once or visit regularly would agree. From the breezy beach, to the clear water and the tall palm trees, it is hard to find anything wrong with the views and landscape. Mauritius, however, is so much more than just beaches and postcard worthy views.

Recently, Mauritius has become increasingly popular as a destination for tourists, expats and those looking for a long term island lifestyle. Attention has been given to the diverse and interesting cultures and the melting pot that the island is becoming.

For example, Port Louis is a hub of activity in the morning with the market being a popular spot for morning shopping, coffee, visits and breakfast. This is where the majority of people who live in Port Louis and even the surrounding areas buy their groceries. You will hear French, Creole and even Hindi being spoken at the market and see products from a variety of cultural backgrounds and places.

News, blogs, social media and other outlets for communication and information often focus on the luxury resorts and high class accommodations and vacations that the island has to offer, but it is important to also understand, acknowledge and appreciate the rich and diverse culture that makes up this beautiful island. The people are as beautiful as the beaches and there is increasing attention being given to this, as resorts have started to share the spotlight with locals and a different type of experience on the island.

The people of the island who have settled here and the history of it ranges from pirates to slaves to farmers and everything in between, and this story is starting to be told more and more by national and international news and information outlets.