PORT LOUIS BAR
TASTES OF THE WORLD
The place to be: A new sleek and sophisticated Mauritian bar opens to a rapturous reception in north London
“The Apprentice” star talks exclusively to Mauritius Now about how best to avoid those dreaded words, “You’re Fired”
The world’s biggest food and drink festival, Taste of London’, descended on London’s Regent’s Park over four days in June
mauritiusnow JULY 2010
Government’s Rs18.3bn green light to tackle traffic jam nightmare
he government has given the green light to a whopping Rs18.3 billion bid to tackle the country’s traffic jam nightmare. It is estimated that road congestion costs Mauritius an annual Rs2 billion. This can be measured in terms of lost productive hours, the stress associated with commuting and its effect on doing business as more time and resources are wasted. A survey by the Mauritius Employers Federation in 2008 showed that 97% of businesses say they are affected by congestion. The automobile fleet has continued to grow over the past MSM leader few years and is expected to continue on the same trend. At Pravind Jagnauth the end of last year, there were 366,250 vehicles on our roads
according to the National Transport Authority. This was a net increase of 15,114 vehicles, 4.3% higher than in 2008. During 2009, a total of 12,482 new vehicles and 6,424 secondhand cars were registered. As part of spending plans under the Road Decongestion Programme, the government has given the go-ahead for the construction of the second phase of the Port Louis Ring Road. According to tender documents that were issued for consultancy services, the Port Louis Ring Road Phase 2 will start from the foot of Quoin Bluff at Guibies, cross the Mountain via a tunnel at this location, and continue its route to the east of Port Louis along the foot of Port Louis-Moka Range and up to Quay D Roundabout. (Continued on page 2)
Mauritian Football CHAMPIONS 2010.............................40 Blue Marlin made a triumphant return to the Mauritian Football Tournament, 5 years after their last appearance, by taking the trophy after a long day of intense competition
Mauritius life................................ 23 EVENTS...................................................24 showbiz................................................27 TRAVEL................................................... 29 RESTAURANTS & BARS................. 32 LIFESTYLE............................................. 35 SPORT.....................................................40
The Rs18bn Jam-buster (Continued from page 1) Consultancy services for testing the feasibility of this project and the Harbour Bridge Project as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in terms of the PPP Act 2004 were launched in 2008. The first phase of the scheme consists of the construction of about 5km of new dual carriageway starting from Motorway M1 with a grade separated junction at Soreze near Montebello footbridge to the foot of the Quoin Bluff Peak at Guibies. The second major part of the Road Decongestion Programme is the Harbour Bridge. Also called the “dream bridge,” it was given the green light by Cabinet on Friday. The Harbour Bridge will start from the Motorway M1 near Royal College of Port Louis, proceed along Reserve Street and span the Port Louis harbour for over 460 metres. The bridge will then join the Motorway M2 near Lataniers Bridge. The third project that has been approved by the government is the A1- M1 Bridge between Belle Etoile and Sorèze. The government will also launch tenders for a feasibility study of an East-West connector. The principal objectives of the project are to provide an efficient and effective transport service to support the development, business, trade, tourism and production sectors of the economy. The tender documents for the appointment of the consultant specify that the project will reduce traffic congestion on the existing road network along the alignment of the proposed
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“Phase 2 of the Port Louis Link Road is a cause for concern for the 91 families living in the region of Vallee Pitot” road. The new EastWest link connector road will include a proposal for a road linking the future East-Coast trunk road in the vicinity of Centre de Flacq to Reduit roundabout. The project will run parallel to the Moka-Camp de Masque Flacq Road (A7) bypassing villages along the same road. The new connector road will provide the shortest route as possible depending on the engineering constraints such as topography and soil conditions. The same study will include the upgrading or linking of existing main roads to the project. The government is also requesting a technical and financial feasibility study for converting the Wooton-Quartier Militaire road into a dual carriageway and joining it with the new connector road. The tender also makes provision for the assessment of the capacity of the existing roads within the main road network from Reduit and Upper Plaine Wilhems to the west coast, in particular Flic en Flac.
The newly-announced phase 2 of the Port Louis Link Road is a cause for concern for the 91 families living in the region of Vallee Pitot, who received an eviction letter last year. Even though the government had reassured the inhabitants that the project would not be implemented within the next five years and put a stay on the eviction, the squatters remain concerned. Some 200-300 people are involved and many are squatters who have been illegally occupying state land for as long as 30 years in some cases. The squatters criticise the lack of information from the government on their relocation and any compensation they might receive. They are also concerned about the disruption to their economic activities and employment opportunities. The group is benefitting from the support of numerous organisations working in the region. There are also a number of private homeowners in the region who might fall under a compulsory acquisition by the government. They are concerned about the compensation they will receive for losing their property to make way for the ring road. The inhabitants of the region will organise a meeting on Tuesday to chart their future actions. Mahesh Bugnath This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
Ujoodha on IATA board Manoj Ujoodha, Air Mauritius’ Chief Executive Officer, has been elected to the Board of Governors of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) at the 66th annual meeting held in Berlin this month. The board exercise an oversight and executive role on behalf of the membership to represent the interests of the association. It is composed of not more than 31 people elected among representatives of IATA’s active members. Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of IATA, stated: “Air Mauritius plays a critical role in connecting Mauritius to the world and has a long tradition of serving on IATA’s boards. I look forward to working with Manoj Ujoodha. I am sure he will contribute much to IATA’s important responsibilities to ensure a safe, green, efficient and profitable global aviation industry.” Mr Ujoodha said: “I am honoured and humbled by the trust placed in me by IATA
and my peers of the airline industry. It is also a testimony of the international standing of Air Mauritius as it continues to play its role as the national airline of Mauritius. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our stakeholders, in particular the Government of Mauritius, for their continued support and for allowing Air Mauritius to play its critical role. I would also like to dedicate this recognition to all my colleagues at Air Mauritius as it is equally through their collective effort, dedication and hard work that our airline is recognised at the highest level of the industry. “The airline industry faces many daunting challenges and I am delighted to be able to contribute to the progress of vision 2050.” This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
Emirates cabin crew Emirates, the Dubai-based airline, continues with its drive to add Mauritian nationals to its multi-national cabin crew. Senior recruitment officials from the airline’s Dubai headquarters will be in Mauritius to carry out interviews. An Open Day will comprise interactions to be conducted at La Plantation Resort & Spa, Baie aux Tortues, Balaclava. This new exercise follows the successful recruitment campaign held in February this year which resulted in the selection of 21 Mauritians. The number of Mauritians working as cabin crew with Emirates has grown to 79. The new recruits will take off for Dubai’s skies to join Emirates’ award winning cabin crew that hails from over 100 countries, contributing to the airline’s dynamic and international outlook.
Quality of candidates Oomar Ramtoola, Emirates Manager for Mauritius and the Indian Ocean Islands, expressed his satisfaction “that a lot of young Mauritians aspire to work for Emirates. “The fact that so many of them have successfully joined our team also demonstrates the quality of the Mauritian candidates. I wish the future candidates good luck in their endeavour to join Emirates.” He added: “Our continuing recruitment drive is another example of Emirates’ commitment to the Mauritian market, and is line with our policy of contributing to the country’s economic development.” After going through a careful selection process, new recruits are put through five weeks of intensive training and assessment at the world-class Emirates Aviation College in Dubai. State-of-the art facilities, including emergency training simulators and full-scale aircraft mock-ups, along with medical training accredited by the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, ensure that Emirates’ passengers benefit from being in the best qualified hands in the industry. This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
Row on the phone leads to court appearance F
ormer vice prime minister and minister of finance Rama Sithanen was arrested by the Central Criminal Investigation Department (CCID) last month but was later released on bail. He is charged with having “used a telecommunications device to commit mischief” under section 46H of the Information and Communications Technology Act (ICTA). The dramatic turn of events comes five months after trade union leader Rashid Imrith, president of the Government General Services Union (GGSU), filed a statement against Mr Sithanen for alleged abuse over the phone. Mr. Sithanen had been accused of threatening Mr. Imrith verbally on the phone following the controversy over the appointment of 16 consultants. Mr. Imrith claimed that at least one of them was getting more than Rs300,000 monthly, an allegation Mr. Sithanen strongly rejected. The former minister is reported to have called Mr. Imrith on the phone to settle matters but according to the union leader, the conversation turned sour and “vulgar”. In a first “authorised” statement to the press after his by the court yesterday, Mr. Sithanen said he was “extremely shocked, perturbed and sad” by what happened. He was prevented from giving a statement to the press earlier when he appeared after having been quizzed for over two hours at the CCID in Line Barracks before being taken from Line Barracks to the District Court. Mr Subash Lallah, Senior Counsel (SC) and legal counsel for Mr Sithanen, said in a brief statement to the press at the CCID: “For such a trivial matter, the police has refused my request to take Mr Sithanen in my car to the court. It is a very sad day for Mauritius – but we have trust in justice.”
What was meant to be a routine investigation from the police turned out to be a “nightmare” for the former minister. He told NEWSNOW that he was called to Line Barracks to give a statement following Mr. Imrith’s allegations. The former minister appeared at the District Court of Port Louis and he was asked to pay Rs3,000 and a debt recognisance of Rs20,000 for his release. He admitted to the press that he did use some words that “could fall in the category of foul words”. “Everybody that I have met and those who are in the legal profession told me it is a trivial matter. I wish to remind you that the case happened in February where, in a meeting, Mr Imrith made allegations in my office that some young recruits are getting paid around Rs300,000 monthly,” said Mr Sithanen. He added that he reassured Mr Imrith that he would check the figures and get back to him. The following day, Mr Sithanen noticed that the 16 recruits who were allegedly paid around Rs300,000 monthly received only Rs15,000-Rs25,000. “Like any other human being, when somebody makes such false accusations, I phoned Mr Imrith and told him that what he had done was not right. He maintained his stand and so did I. I said a few words and so did he. “I thought it was very trivial but Mr Imrith decided it was very important. That is why we are where we are,” said Mr Sithanen. The former minister said it was normal that he used “some words” because he was angry. It is a very human reflex, he said. “I am very shocked but ‘c’est la vie’ (Thats life).” Mayessen Nagapa-Chetty This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
Who wants to be a Millionaire? The promoter of the Loto game has announced a new game that will make some more millionaires. “The Millionaire” is more than a scratch card; it is a game and a TV programme that is a talk show with suspense. It will allow players to win up to Rs1 million on the weekly TV show. The scratch card player can instantly win Rs100,000. “There will be 3 million winning cards in the 10 million batches that we have printed
for the first six months of the game. Players have 1 in 3.31 probability of winning a prize,” said Jean Pierre Desbiens, Director of Lototech. Each “Millionaire” scratch card will be sold at Rs50. They went on sale earlier in the month. This game is based on a formula that has already been very successful in other countries. The innovation with this new game is that if the player gets three identical symbols of
a TV screen, he is invited to the show to try his luck at the wheel of fortune. The wheel will have to be turned three times in order for the turn to be validated; the show will last 30 minutes and will be broadcast on MBC channel 1 at 20:30 hrs on Tuesdays This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
NEWS Mauritian ‘on the run’ after kidnap scam in uk A
Mauritian who self-styled himself as a Muslim community leader in the UK has been jailed for two years after being exposed for making false claims that he was kidnapped by members of the far-right British National Party. Noor Ramjanally, 36, of Loughton, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court where he received a two-year jail term after being convicted of perverting the course of justice. But he was not present in court for the sentencing as he reportedly ﬂed back to Mauritius in February after admitting he was in Britain illegally, staying on after his tourist visa expired. He arrived in the UK on a six-month tourist visa in 1999 and consequently overstayed his visit in the country.
“This allegation was a complete pack of lies. This was one of the worst examples of perverting the course of justice I’ve seen” Ramjanally claimed in August last year he had been kidnapped from his home by two men, driven into Epping Forest and threatened at knifepoint to stop the Islamic prayer
meetings he was holding. But Judge Karen Walden-Smith described his allegations as a “pack of lies” after they were undermined by CCTV footage covertly installed at his ﬂat for his own protection. Prosecutor Matthew Gowan said that after earlier allegations made by Ramjanally of an arson attack at his home, the council and police spent £1,300 installing extra security at his ﬂat, including a ﬁre door and video intercom system. After his kidnap allegations, the police spent 1,850 man hours investigating his case at a cost of £9,234. The extra measures put in place at Ramjanally’s ﬂat proved his undoing as the CCTV cameras installed there proved no abduction had taken place.
Sentencing Ramjanally to two years’ imprisonment, Judge Walden-Smith said: “This allegation was a complete pack of lies. This was one of the worst examples of perverting the course of justice I’ve seen striking at the fabric of the justice system and also community relations.” Ramjanally is also on bail for three other offences. He is alleged to have stolen money from South Woodford Mosque, where he was a member. His wife is also being investigated for allegedly stating that she was a single mother and claimed beneﬁts including income support and housing beneﬁt. This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
Navin Ramgoolam meets the press and Tromelin P
rime Minister Navin Ramgoolam said the agreement signed between Mauritius and France on the co-management of Tromelin is an example of pragmatism, and has only been possible because of the goodwill of President Nicholas Sarkozy and himself. “This agreement is an example of pragmatism and shows that where there’s a will, there’s a way. “The French president said that he did not want Tromelin to be a grain of sand in the relationship between both countries and wanted a solution to the problem once and for all,” said Dr Ramgoolam. “Despite all that Berenger (Opposition Leader) has said, co-management has proved to be a solution of choice to the issue.” The prime minister made the remarks during a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office. The press conference was his first since re-assuming office after the general elections. He talked about his recent participation in the Africa-France summit and his series of meetings in London. The signing of the agreement for the comanagement of Tromelin does not diminish the country’s sovereignty claim on the island, said Dr Ramgoolam, and talks will be held on the sovereignty issue as Mauritius will not leave this on the backburner. He also talked about the Africa-France summit which was held in Nice on May 31 and June 1, telling the media that President Sarkozy said at the outset that global problems could not be solved without including Africa, as the continent is home to one of every four countries in the world. France is due to take over presidency of the G8 and G20 in November and this might provide President Sarkozy with the opportunity to push for the African agenda and become Africa’s advocate. The French president also made an appeal for African countries to sign the Copenhagen convention. Dr Ramgoolam announced that the Cabinet has agreed to government signing the “Copenhagen Agreement” which was agreed upon by the Heads of State in Copenhagen in December last year. The agreement provides for a pledge of $30 billion over the period 2010-2012 for balanced action between mitigation and adaptation by developing countries. The amount will be scaled up to $100 billion a year by 2020. During the Africa-France summit, talks also addressed the issue of SME devel-
ville. “This will enable Mauritius to partner with other countries to facilitate investment. The Chairman of the Board of Mauritius, Maurice Lam, will soon embark on a mission to Singapore to prepare the necessary groundwork for my subsequent visit to make first contacts on the triangular investment partnership,” he announced.
THE CHAGOS ISSUE
“I expressed my disagreement with the way David Milliband acted on the setting up of the Marine Protected Area despite the promises made by ex-prime minister Gordon Brown”
opment. The prime minister said that a tranche of Euros 250 million has been voted by France for the development of SMEs in African countries. “I also had private meetings with Heads of State, including President Sarkozy. He congratulated me for my intervention on piracy and thanked me for having raised this issue,” said Dr Ramgoolam. The prime minister also held talks with President Sassu-Nguesso of Congo- Brazzaville, with Dr Ramgoolam thanking him for his intervention to enable the release of two Mauritians who were being held in the country. Dr Ramgoolam signified his intention of leading a mission to Congo-Brazaville following an invitation from President SassuNguesso. He has also proposed the setting up of a triangular investment partnership between Mauritius-Singapore-Congo/Braza-
The burning issue of Chagos is back on the agenda. During the prime minister’s visit to London, he met new British Foreign Secretary William Hague. The prime minister said there was a great difference between the current foreign secretary and the former one, David Milliband. “I congratulated him for setting up a judicial enquiry on rendition as it also concerns Chagos. I expressed my disagreement with the way David Milliband acted on the setting up of the Marine Protected Area despite the promises made by ex-prime minister Gordon Brown,” said Dr Ramgoolam. He told Foreign Secretary Hague that the setting up of the Marine Protected Area was “tainted with illegality”. The prime minister said that the question of sovereignty had to be settled, once and for all and expressed his preference for a diplomatic issue instead of a judicial one over the question, but this will not undermine the case lodged by the Chagos refugee group led by Olivier Bancoult. “During talks, it will have to be asserted that Chagossians are Mauritian citizens and discussion will take place between two countries,” said the prime minister. He announced that William Hague has delegated Henry Bellingham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, to oversee the talks on the Chagos issue. He will maintain a line of communication with the Foreign Affairs Minister, Arvin Boolell. The prime minister has appointed a new lawyer to oversee the case, Philippe Sands, Q.C., International Lawyer from Matrix Chambers. His services would be retained by government as legal Consultant on sovereignty and the Chagos matters. Mahesh Bugnath This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
NEWS Manhunt launched after 33 smash out of prison
massive manhunt was underway after 33 prisoners smashed their way out of Grand Riviere North West Prison in Mauritius by overpowering about 15 prison guards. Two officers were seriously injured. All branches of the Police Force, including the elite GIPM and the helicopter squadron, are involved in the hunt. The prisoners had overpowered about 15 guards – seriously injuring two guards – before smashing a hole in the prison wall. Three of the detainees were recaptured within hours of the breakout. Police called out all available units, with the Helicopter Squadron and elite GIPM involved in the search. The prisoners, some of whom are armed with iron bars, had earlier taken about 15 prison guards hostage and locked them up in cells after giving them a beating. It was then they smashed a hole in the prison wall and made their dash for freedom. The guards were released by a team from the GIPM (Groupement d’Intervention de la Police Mauricienne) and the Special Mobile Force, as well as the Special Support Unit. These teams later secured the entire prison. According to informed sources, the incident started earlier in the day, when the prisoners were outside in the yard and were due to return to their cells. A group of prisoners, said to number about 33-35, staged a revolt. After overpowering the prison officers, they locked them up in cells. Commissioner of Police Dhun Ishwar Rampersad had a crisis meeting with his heads of departments to deal with the situation. A state of alert was raised to all police units. Helecopters deployed appeared to be concentrating their search the Pailles region
“Our top priority at the moment is to ensure the security of Mauritius “ After the breakout, police were still trying to assess the number of prisoners who escaped. The numbers ranged from 12 to 30, but as the night wore on the final tally was 33, three of whom were quickly recaptured. The first two prisoners recaptured were Westley Fabrice Mootoo, aged 29, and Joannie Kinsley Etienette. Both were found hiding in near the prison compound. A third prisoner, Jeff Kenny Nicholas Adrien, was arrested in the city by police officers. A police team lead by SP Murugan from ADSU was tracking Fardeen Habib Moosa, aged 30. He was part of the group of 33. The police searched his home at Calcutta Road in Plaine Verte and found prison clothes. He was not at home and the search for him continues. Among the prisoners who escaped last night was Steeve Daniel Monvoisin, 32, who is accused of murder. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Tregassen Vuddamalay, who is in charge of the CCID, said last night: “Our top priority at the moment is to ensure the security of Mauritius. The police will go over and above itself to bring those people back to jail,” Mahesh Bugnath This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
Europe celebration in Balaclava P
resident of the Republic Sir Anerood Jugnauth and Lady Sarojini Jugnauth, and Prime Minister Dr Navin Ramgoolam, were the chief guests at the Maritim Hotel in Balaclava to celebrate European Week. They were joined by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development Pravind Jugnauth, former president of the republic Karl Offmann, former vice president Raouf Bundhun, several ministers, MPs and representatives of diplomatic missions in Mauritius. The reception organised by Ambassador Alessandro Mariano, Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Mauritius, and his wife. Speaking at the reception, Ambassador Mariano said he had received several requests concerning to real date on which Europe Day is celebrated “The reply is very simple and straightforward. Europe Dayflyer_Layout is celebrated on May 15:22 9. Mauritian levenes 1 12/04/2010
We had lined up a series of events for the month of May but then we understood that our projects for the month of May were not so feasible because Mauritius had a more important Page 1 appointment,” said the envoy.
The events took place last month, including a conference on the theme of the “Mauritius/ European Relations: the role of the European Development Finance Institutions, and the inauguration of the Centre for European infor-
mation which was opened recently An exhibition depicting the projects undertaken by the Decentralised Cooperation Programme of the European Union were opened, and projects initiated by the Decentralised Cooperation Programme in the east of the island were organised. After the brief speech by Ambassador Mariano, President of the Republic Sir Anerood proposed a toast to the European Union and its leaders. Mr Mariano then proposed a toast to the honour of the president and the people of Mauritius. It is worth noting that as of now the public will be able to visit an exhibition depicting the projects undertaken by the Decentralised Cooperation Programme of the European Union. Sunil Gopal This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
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African Lions D
espite the whimpers that have been coming from Africa in recent decades, there is reason to believe that the continent is beginning to roar again. According to a report by the influential Boston Consulting Group a number of African states, dubbed the ‘African Lions’, have emerged as this decade’s economic success stories. The report has highlighted eight African countries, or ‘lions’, that have played a particularly important part in improving the continent’s lot: Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia. In the last ten years combined GDP has risen almost five per cent, a full percentage point more than the rest of the world. That is a hugely significant statistic when one considers the amount of coverage that has been given to China’s growth. Speaking of China, the world’s fastest growing economy has also been the first to spot the potential in Africa. The Chinese have offered significant investments in African infrastructure, in return for commodities, something Africa has in abundance. The consultants behind the report looked at forty companies, based in the eight countries, and found them to be evenly spread between
the countries. A quarter of the surveyed companies offered financial services, twenty per cent supplied commodities, fifteen per cent – telecommunications and technology, and forty per cent provided consumer services. This last section, the largest, was well populated with Mauritian companies offering luxury holidays. Indeed, its tourism industry is such a success story that Mauritius was declared the world’s seventeenth best place to do business by the World Bank. Out of 183 countries analysed, Mauritius finished as Africa’s highest placed state, based on the quality of entrepreneurship and the measures taken by its government to ensure that entrepreneurship was thriving. Mauritius has been one of the forerunners in weaning itself off its reliance on raw materials and diversifying its economy. Its hugely successful tourism sector has been the single biggest contributing factor to its economic prosperity and worldwide recognition, a phenomenal achievement for a country with a population of 1.3 million. In recent years other African states have sat up and taken notice, following Mauritius’s lead in working to develop new sectors. The result has been a surge
in the success of companies in improbable settings. Not so long ago, it would have been unthinkable to suggest that the world’s most successful supplier of wiring for cars would come from Tunisia, but Coficab have done just that. Likewise, the world’s largest brewer is now SABMiller, a South African company. It is not just the other Lions who have noted Mauritius’s success; companies from Western Europe, India and China have started moving their operations into Africa. Aware of their own ageing populations, western companies have realised the scope for moving their manufacturing arms to the only continent on the planet with a burgeoning working-age population. African states can guarantee that supply will meet demand for labour, the opposite to the current situations found in Europe and America. Furthermore, Mauritian productivity has grown almost three per cent over the last decade, whilst American productivity has fallen to 1.5 per cent and Europe – to one per cent. In fact, its GDP per capita is outperforming the average set by the African Lions: the Mauritian figure sits at a phenomenal $12,100, whilst the Lions’ average is $10,000. All the talk of recent years has surrounded the suc-
cess of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) but many will be surprised to find that the average GDP per capita of this region sits at a [relatively] meagre $8,800, meaning Mauritius growth and development has, in some part, outstripped that of the global superpowers. The newly re-elected Prime Minister Ramgoolam clearly has lots to be praised for but, as he has readily acknowledged, the main threat to continued growth and success is the education system. Mauritian education still lags behind other nations, both in terms of its quality and its coverage. The government must therefore ensure that their policies continue to enhance the quality of education available to ordinary Mauritians. The worst thing that could possibly happen to the country would be for the gap between rich and poor to grow. The best way to prevent this is to ensure that every child, regardless of wealth, can access the same quality of education. This will ensure that Mauritius continues to be a success, and that its collective roar is heard around the world for a long time to come. Will Mathieson
Tastes of the world T
he world’s biggest food and drink festival, Taste of London’, descended on London’s Regent’s Park over four days in June. For chefs, restaurants and food and drink retailers alike, this show is the most sought after marketing event in the industry. Those lucky enough to secure a stand at the prestigious event can guarantee unprecedented coverage and increased brand awareness. Between Thursday and Sunday afternoon the event attracts around fifty thousand foodies, who come to sample the finest food and drink from London’s most prestigious brands, as well as cuisine from as far a field as Malaysia and St. Kitts. For Mark Hutchinson, Taste’s sales manager, “most people come to experience the
restaurants – it’s a wonderful opportunity to sample these places, and one that may not come along again. Our visitors really know their food and drink.” The festival is fast becoming one of London’s seminal summer events comparable, according to Hutchinson, to “Ascot and the Chelsea Flower Show.” The figures for retailers speak for themselves: turnover of anything between £10,000 and £40,000 over four days. With companies paying anything up to £250,000 to secure a premium plot at the event, its advantages for businesses should not be underestimated. The event though is primarily about the consumers, and the unique experience on offer to them. Over four hours they are
transported across the world, in the form of authentic cuisine and premium drinks. The world’s best mixologists are on hand to provide them with cocktails and top chefs cook fantastic food in front of their eyes. There are cookery and cocktail masterclasses and wine, champagne tasting sessions on offer for those who enjoy getting involved. But, for those visitors that are there purely to indulge, Taste of London will not disappoint; the sheer variety of food and drink on offer is staggering, from sizzling steak to fresh ceviché, minty mojitos to tangy tequila. As Hutchinson explains, “at Taste of London it’s all about word of mouth. If you like something you’ll tell your friends and word of mouth is a very powerful tool for the exhibitors.
“We’ve had independent beer and spirit brands stocked in Waitrose on the back of the festival. It’s a great way to network, and a great way for the big guys to recruit some new talent. This year’s largest plot has been taken by Malaysia, on the back of successful year’s in the same spot for China and Thailand. The country’s tourist board has used the area to promote Malaysian restaurants, supermarket ranges and drinks. There is traditional dancing and interactive classes on hand to keep the customers rolling in. “To be the major sponsor, as our main destination”, says Hutchinson, “is a fantastic marketing and PR investment.” But as well as the huge state sponsored exhibitors, Hutchinson also thinks it’s as important to bring independent brands in, to maintain the high quality that the event prides itself on: “We’ve got to get the new stuff in, for the ‘wow’ factor. If people come back time and again and nothing has changed they’ll lose
interest. People come here because they want to experience new and exciting food and drink. That’s why we’re starting to push the destinations more and more; people want to sample cuisine from countries like Mauritius and Brazil. It means we can keep reinventing ourselves and people keep coming back.” One such brand is Mauritius’s own ‘Green Island Rum’. Run by Yogen Bacha…, his company has been trading for six years. Starting with only two products, it now boasts a range of forty spirits, including Mauritian rum, Mexican tequila, Brazilian cachaca and Polish vodka. The company has also just acquired the rights to distribute Phoenix beer, Mauritius’ most popular beer, boasting a market share of almost ninety five per cent. The company mainly distributes its products to high-end clubs, bars and hotels, but has recently started trading online to consumers. Green Island is the biggest distillery of rum in Mauritius and the drink itself is ever growing in its popularity there. As a country
where parties and carnivals are ever-present, Mauritians take their drinking very seriously, and expect the best in terms of both quality and taste. Anyone holidaying in Mauritius will instantly recognise the Green Island logo, with its white and spiced varieties being the ubiquitous drinks of the island. Yogen has brought the brand to the Taste of London festival this year as part of his plans to establish a bigger UK market share: “The brand is a refined option – the drinks are not your typical £9.99 bottle of rum. They are available to rum connoisseurs and people that appreciate good rum. “What we get out of the festival is marketing; we don’t make any real money from the events but it is wonderful that the public can see us. People who have been Mauritius suddenly find that they can get the rum and the beer in this country as well, and that is something they may not have known before the festival. “People associate our brand with their experience of Mauritius. Once they realise
that the product is available here too, they will hopefully buy some, either online or in a shop, or at a bar.” The best thing about this event says Yogen, is that people can come and sample the product in unique surroundings, amongst world famous brands, and remember that they enjoyed Green Island rum. “Normally”, he says, “you wouldn’t expect a small Mauritian brand to be at Taste of London, amongst the big boys.” But the company has returned to the festival for four consecutive years. This is because people come back to the stall year after year, offering positive feedback of their experiences drinking Green Island at the festival. Considering the popularity of some of the larger ‘destination’ pavilions at the event, would Yogen consider doing something similar for Mauritius? “I would love to have a Mauritian pavilion at the festival next year. It would involve many more Mauritian companies coming
over to London, including government agencies such as the Tourist Board, selling the very best of Mauritian food and drink. “As a Mauritian company, we took the first step by being at Taste of London. Other companies thought that there was no money to be made but we looked at it as a marketing exercise instead. When you look at it that way, suddenly it becomes affordable. It helps companies raise awareness of their brand and word of mouth is very important in this instance.” During the festival the company has a dedicated tea of mixologists on hand to make a selection of cocktails for guests incorporating the Green Island products. Over the course of the day the stand proves itself to be very popular, with a steady flow of people purchasing cocktails, and some returning for more. Yogen definitely envisages returning to Taste for years to come. He is also looking forward to offering his new products to everyone at the Mauritian Open Air Festival in August. Will Mathieson
We’re ready to join piracy fight M
auritius is ready to try and jail suspected pirates, Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam has revealed, joining three other countries in the region that have shown interest in doing the same. Rampant piracy off the coast of Somalia has made it the world’s most dangerous shipping lane and earned Somali sea bandits tens of millions of dollars in ransoms and raised insurance premiums for ships. International navies trying to counter piracy off Somalia are often reluctant to take suspects to their own countries because they either lack the jurisdiction to put them on trial there, or they fear the pirates may seek asylum. Often pirates arrested on the high seas are returned to Somalia’s lawless shores. “During a meeting with Baroness Catherine Ashton, European Union representative for foreign affairs and security policy, I have expressed our wish to try and judge suspected pirates,” Dr Ramgoolam told reporters.
Mauritius joins Kenya, Seychelles and Tanzania in saying they are ready to prosecute pirates. Kenya has borne the brunt of taking in and prosecuting sea bandits seized by foreign navies patrolling the Gulf of Aden’s busy shipping lanes that link Europe with Africa and Asia. Dr Ramgoolam said Mauritius needed to play a more active role in fighting piracy in the region, given its impact on security, fishing and tourism. “We need the help of EU as we must set up a special prison to detain pirates captured on the Indian Ocean as I don’t want them to get mixed up with our local detainees,” the prime minister said. Indian naval ships have been helping Mauritius to patrol the island’s exclusive economic zone, paying particular attention to the waters off Agalega and smaller atolls. Pirates continue to outwit an international patrol of warships, forcing some shipping companies to re-route around southern Africa while others employ private armed guards.
“We need the help of EU as we must set up a special prison to detain pirates captured on the Indian Ocean”
Somali pirates are holding at least 11 ships. They recently released British flagged vehiclecarrier Asian Glory after a ransom was paid. More Somali pirates have taken to the water this year than ever before, according to NATO and EU forces, but navies are combating them more effectively. The Islamist takeover of a pirate haven last month seems to have had no impact on what has become a very profitable industry, they said, but monsoon conditions meant attacks would now fall sharply until September. Alongside emerging powers such as China, India and Russia, NATO and the European Union have sent task forces to combat piracy – a move they believe has made the choke points around the Gulf of Aden much safer but pushed the problem into the wider Indian Ocean. This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
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NEWS People power I
n a recently published survey, commissioned to identify the world’s most densely populated countries, Mauritius was identified as the eighth such nation – with a population of 660.1/sq. km. This figure is 11/sq. km more than the next country, Barbados, and only 39.9/ sq. km behind the manufacturing behemoth Taiwan. This survey offers an interesting insight into the relationship between population growth and economic expansion; contrary to popular opinion, densely populated countries are rarely poor countries. Nowhere is this more apparent than in post-depression Europe. European populations are in rapid decline and, in order to support their infrastructures, labour must be imported. Subsequently, the countries with discriminatory immigration policies, Spain and Italy being prominent examples, are the countries that have suffered most during the recent economic downturn. Contrastingly, those countries that have seen their populations grow have more often than not, bucked the recessive downturn. Furthermore, of the ten most densely populated countries on the planet, three feature in a list of the world’s most prosperous places to live. The message is clear then: economic prosperity requires an ever expanding workforce, which can be achieved through immigration or a high birth rate. Mauritius is one such country, providing a perfect demonstration of this theory: the north of the island is already one of the world’s most developed luxury travel destinations. However, despite a global travel crash (pardon the pun!), the relatively undeveloped south has also welcomed extensive recent investment, and an increased level of labour immigration. Previously known as an area populated by sugar cane fields and fishing communities, southern Mauritius is now home to two of the most en vogue destinations in the country:
“Economic prosperity requires an ever expanding workforce, which can be achieved through immigration or a high birth rate”
Flic en Flac and Le Morne. The popularity of these resorts has boosted investment in the region, which now boasts improved schooling and transport. This is due, in no small part, to immigration – a phenomenon that Mauritians will be familiar with, having had a constant influx of people to its shores since the island was first populated by the Dutch. Some may be surprised to learn that the latest arrivals hail from South Africa. Africa’s most affluent southern hemisphere nation has seen around five thousand of its citizens move their wealth and skills to Mauritius. There is no doubt that the outstanding beauty of the Island – and its uncanny resemblance to paradise – play a part in its popularity with its newest residents, but the reason for the continued introduction of ever more foreign workers can be found elsewhere. Le Morne plays host to possibly the world’s finest reef, the Black River reef. This stunning patch of the Indian Ocean offers some of the best big game fishing on the planet, as well as excellent diving. This stunning locale offers a wonderful financial opportunity for wealthy investors, particularly foreign investors; within Le Morne sits Le Blaise Marina, the first development to be produced on the back of the government’s much publicised ‘Integrated Resorts Scheme’, a newly launched initiative offering foreign investors significant subsidies in addition to permanent residence, in return for investing in Mauritian businesses. In this instance South Africans account for around fifty per cent, or $700,000, of the equity for Le Blaise Marina. Now the motivation for South Africans to relocate becomes very clear; they are offered massive incentives to invest in, and develop the Mauritian economy. In return they receive the opportunity to be part of a growing economy, within a diverse and vibrant community. It is policies like this one that have helped to expand the Mauritian labour market, and diversify its economy. It has subsequently become both robust and [relatively] resistant to external pressures. At a time when the British coalition government proposes ever stricter limitations on the number of workers coming into the country, it may serve the executive well to look at the benefits reaped by a densely populated, but prosperous, country in the Indian Ocean. Its relaxed policy on immigration has allowed the economy to blossom, whilst those in Europe are crumbling. Clamping down on immigration is almost certainly not the answer to our current woes; inviting skilled labour into the country in order to expand the number of profitable industries, most certainly is. William Mathieson
Golfing accolade The Mauritius destination was presented at a Pro-Am tournament in Zurich and was classified second best island golf destination by the Sunday paper Sonntagszeitung after Bermuda. The Spanish island of Mallorca came in third. The MTPA, Constance Hotels and Stohler Tours sponsored the Mauritius prize, namely “Prix d’Honneur Mauritius” at the Zürich Golf Open 2010 on June 14 and 15. As sponsors they received a four-page coverage in the event’s magazine which will be distributed to all Swiss golf clubs. The event itself was sponsored by Credit Suisse and Zürich and supported by numerous national and international companies like Davidoff, Canon, and American Airlines. This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
Mauritius — a force to be reckoned with L
ondon hosted its own mini-version of the World Cup last month as a prelude to the big one in South Africa, fielding 32 different countries in this sixteenth edition of the two-day annual Inner City World Cup football tournament disputed’ in typical UK weather at Charlton Park. Mauritius was again invited to enter a national selection of players from a number of local Mauritian clubs operating in the London area and grouped as MIFC (Mauritian International Football Club). However, any hopes of an unprecedented double this year – they had won the plate version of the African Nations Cup in London earlier in the season – were dashed as they cruelly went out to a very good Portuguese team after being two goals up in the first half against all odds. In front of an enthusiastic crowd and spurred on by its growing army of segachanting supporters, Mauritius had produced some scintillating displays to overcome Pakistan and Barbados on Day One. But, having booked their passage to Day 2, our boys were leading against one of tournament hot favourites Portugal but with only seven minutes to go, they somehow lost
concentration and saw their lead eroded in a matter of minutes. Our expats eventually lost out in a dramatic penalty shoot-out after the Portuguese had scored a last gasp equaliser to deny our country a place in the quarter-finals of this actionpacked competition. In its earlier games, free-scoring Portugal had found the net 20 times without conceding a single goal. What Mauritius is gradually proving over time is that with the level of competition improving year on year, it
Wind power at Apollo Bramwell Apollo Bramwell Hospital has become the first healthcare provider to set up a 1KW wind turbine as part of its commitment to use green and eco-friendly energy. Installed at the southern facade of the hospital, the turbine has already caught the attention of thousands of motorists heading towards Port Louis. For Apollo Bramwell Hospital, it is the first step of a comprehensive energy management plan that has been jointly implemented by the hospital and the energy management consultants of British American Investment. The energy generated by the wind turbine will be used to charge batteries and subsequently used for car park lighting, thus reducing electricity consumption. According to the hospital’s CEO, Dr Ed Hansen, this new initiative is an example of the hospital’s commitment and contribution to making Mauritius a clean and ecological island. “It is the first wind turbine to be erected in a public area in Mauritius. Through this initiative – and lots to follow – we want to increase public awareness of renewable energy. Based on the experience of this small wind turbine, ABH proposes to install similar turbines in the near future,” he said. This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
“This is also great PR and puts Mauritius firmly on the map. We are certainly coming back next year hoping to do even better and eventually we will win it one day”
can now hold its own among the best in the world by churning out decent results against top teams. organiser Head coach Riaz Dustagheer was full of praise for his valiant soldiers, with a special mention for top scorer and Mauritian player of the tournament Johnny Edmond, who had to receive medical attention for concussion following a collision with a Barbados defender. ‘Johnny’s five-star performance and bravery typified how far Mauritius has come in this competition. I am very proud of my boys.’ Riaz’s coaching team included younger brother Naushad Dustagheer, Vassen Sooprayen, Steve Bancal, and Yaaseen Makoon, and they succeeded in their challenge to gel together a side made up of many different players from different teams in just a few weeks and get them to play as a unit in an international competition. MIFC’s chairman Nasser Bheekhun, ably supported by secretary Ajit Hurkoo, said afterwards: ‘It’s no disgrace losing to the country of Ronaldo! I feel very proud and encouraged by our overall contribution to this prestigious competition every year. This is also great PR and puts Mauritius firmly on the map. We are certainly coming back next year hoping to do even better and eventually we will win it one day.’ Iqbal Dustagheer: Main Sponsor Also lending support was MK Travel MD Cader Hosenally whilst the Mauritian High Commissioner in London, Mahen Kundasamy had also sent in a message of good luck to the boys. The success of the Inner city World Cup is largely due to the vision and organisational qualities of Mark Avery, the chairman and promoter of Love Football. Praising the smooth running of proceedings, local councillor Chris Roberts, representing Greenwich Council, the authority behind the superb Charlton Park venue, referred to the tournament in his speech as ‘professionally run and sustainable’.
Mauritian Results & Scorers Day 1: Iran 4 Mauritius 1 ((Johnny Edmond) Mauritius 2 (Kevin Siatous, Marvin Edouard) Pakistan 0 / Mauritius 2 (Johnny Edmond, Jonathan Alexis) Barbados 1 – Mauritius qualifies for next round Day 2: Mauritius 3 (Johnny Edmond hattrick) Portugal 3 – Mauritius loses to Portugal in penalty shoot-out, Portugal lose to tournament winners England
NEWS The Euro and its effect on the Mauritian economy If you haven’t been to Mauritius lately, you will be shocked at how many rupees you can’t get for your pound. With the Mauritian economy proving resilient in the face of global recession, and European economies suffering considerably, the rupee has been very strong over the past year. Business leaders, however, fear that the situation is a long-term problem and have called for a devaluation of the rupee. So, what has caused the situation to become so serious, and why hasn’t the government and the Bank of Mauritius taken steps to devalue the currency? We’ve all heard about the spiralling euro, thanks to the ongoing financial crisis in the Eurozone. Well, now, European tourists will only get Rs38 for 1 euro, down from Rs43 a couple of years ago. The pound hardly fares any better- you will get Rs47 for your pound at the moment, down from over Rs70 a few years ago. It’s important to note that the strong rupee isn’t necessarily reflecting a Mauritian economy in good health (and with the amount of government debt the country is saddled with, it could certainly be better) since the Euro and Pound are weak due to economic problems, rather than the Rupee being strong. However, the situation is as it is. The unprecedented crisis in the Eurozone has the potential to hinder Mauritian economic growth. As the debt problem spreads from Greece, to Spain, to Italy, to Ireland and Portugal (and, what about the newer Eastern European states, one might ask) more and more
money is being thrown at states in order to keep the Eurozone, and the Euro afloat. And the problem doesn’t seem to be going away. In fact, it’s getting worse. So, with the Eurozone crisis being now a medium to long-term problem, Mauritian exporters in particular are calling for a devaluation of the Rupee. Simply, if the Euro is weak, European countries can’t afford to buy as many manufactured or textile goods from Mauritius. Many experts in the private sector believe that, as the Eurozone crisis spreads, the Euro will continue to slide, until the money to bail countries out runs out. In the meantime, exporters are struggling to shift increasingly expensive goods, and tour operators and hotels are slashing room and flight rates to attract more tourists. And it is because the problem doesn’t seem like it will get fixed anytime soon, that many want the rupee to be devalued. Many feel Europe is too big a customer to ignore, and exports and tourists are two of Mauritius’ biggest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) contributors. While this makes devaluation seem a sensible option, there are some very good reasons as to why there hasn’t been one yet. A devaluation of the currency puts existing and potential investors off from investing in Mauritius. Currency devaluation makes an economy look unstable, and creates a feeling of uncertainty (would there be more devaluations in the future, for example?). Would Mauritius want to risk its reputation as the
most economically stable country in Africa over a problem created so far away? Then there is China. China, who has invested billions of rupees in Mauritius on infrastructure, would not stand for a currency devaluation, as this would reduce the value on the returns on their investment as well as reduce the value of their assets in Mauritius. Given China’s influence in Mauritius, it would never be allowed to happen. And it’s not just Chinese investors, but all foreign investors. Right now, a double tax treaty with India means investors who set up shop in Mauritius to channel investment into India, avoid paying tax on returns in India. But with the Indians ready to scrap that treaty, which will reduce the incen-
tives for businesses to come to Mauritius, Mauritius doesn’t need another reason for investors not to come to Mauritius. Beyond that is the argument that Mauritius is no longer just a sugar and textile producer, and not just a tourist state. The island has diversified its economy. There is now a prominent offshore and outsourcing industry as well as a booming IT sector. Is it right to punish these other sectors as well? These sectors need investment, so shaking investor confidence is something they don’t need. So, as long as the Eurozone remains in the doldrums, Mauritius faces a currency dilemma. Honestly, there’s not much that can be done really. The Euro and the Pound have been weak for sometime now, and Mauritian GDP is still forecasted to reach 4.6% this year, so it can’t all be bad. The new Finance Minister had a defiant message for the private sector- Mauritius wouldn’t be taking such action deal with Europe’s problems. So, it looks like exporters may need to change tact. Investing in productivity and producing higher quality goods may be a start. Sabina Jacobs
The Mauritian Travel Centre L
uc and Gisele Cheung own and run a successful travel agency in Clapham, South-West London. More than most, the travel industry is being reshaped by the digital age, and this is something that Mr. Cheung is fully aware of; he was an early advocate of the internet and has reaped the benefits of its early adoption. Formed in 1978, Travel Centre was founded by Luc and Gisele Cheung – both Mauritians – to provide flights to Mauritius for the British-Mauritian community. At the time he says, there were very few agents offering such a service and Mr. Cheung’s company quickly forged a strong link with Air Mauritius, the country’s official carrier. The Travel Centre’s sales did not go unnoticed and a deal with the aeronautical giant, British Airways, followed in 1986. By the 1990s The Travel Centre had become the wholesaler of flights to Mauritius from its two biggest providers. This success led The Travel Centre to expand his operations to include West Africa and Hong Kong and China, with the rights to act as the Chinese distributor for British Airways’ operations. At the turn of the millennium, Luc and Gisele launched Mauritius Holidays, which offered package deals to the country. This was around the same time that he acquired the domain Mauritius.com, which he originally intended to be a vehicle for selling package holidays directly. His purchase came at the height of the dotcom boom, and offered them an opportunity to apply the faith he had in the power of the internet to his own business model. “Our idea then was to turn the website into a showcase for Mauritius. It wasn’t just a means of selling holidays, but also something that represented Mauritius, and acted as a stage for the country.” The impact of acquiring such a domain name has obviously positive implications for any Mauritian business. As Luc says, “seven out of ten people that search for ‘Mauritius’ are probably looking at Mauritius.com. It’s the natural thing to do.” By his own admission, Luc was one of the first businessmen to see the potential of the internet as a profit-making vehicle. As long ago as twenty years ago, Luc and Gisele founded the Mauritian Reunion Club, an online forum based on principles similar to modern social networking sites such as Facebook. It is fair to say that the concept was visionary, preceding the social networking phenomenon by almost a decade. His idea was to reunite Mauritians across the globe through an online community. He was also using the
Luc and Gisele Cheung site as a tool to market the country and the holidays that his company offered there. In many ways he pre-empted the billion-dollar business model of Mark Zuckerburg, the creator of Facebook. At its peak the Club had four thousand paid members and over twelve thousand addresses on its database. It also became the perfect vehicle for developing The Travel Centre’s relationship with British Airways, providing an ideal selling point for discount flights to the country, a win-win scenario for both companies. An early attempt at Corporate Social responsibility saw The Travel Centre paired with British Airways to increase awareness in Mauritius to the plight of the indigenous species with a dozen or so marine biologists and ornithologists flown there to assess the local environment and ecology as part of Luc’s ‘Keep Mauritius Green’ campaign. Five thousand t-shirts bearing the campaign slogan were distributed.
“Our idea then was to turn the website into a showcase for Mauritius” “I told my clients”, he says, “‘We have to keep Mauritius Polution Free.’ Our Coral Reef were being destroyed by all the fertilisers from the sugar cane fields. Unfortunately, it was far too early for that sort of thing to have any real impact. It didn’t really go any further but I still keep the idea alive, and would like to revive it one day. To this day, clients tell me that they still have the t-shirts.” Luc’s particular interest has remained with preserving the Coral Reefs and he intends to plan a further campaign in the not-toodistant future.
With so much business foresight, and an uncanny ability to predict future trends, one is intrigued to find out what the Cheungs have lined up next. “When the internet was relatively new and not many people had access to or understood its potential, we were involved with the British Airways e-commerce team, and learned a lot from them; we believed in their vision and started to use computers long before my contemporaries. I could see just how important the internet and websites were going to become. “Now we would like to develop the Mauritius Reunion Club to serve Mauritians on a worldwide basis, using the internet as the contact medium, moving away from traditional print. In this way, news and offers can be more rapidly and efficiently shared. Through this medium we will promote Mauritius as a destination of choice not only for Mauritians abroad but for their children and friends.” “As well as Mauritius.com, I also own Mauritius.co.uk and Mauritius.tv. In a few years your television screen will also serve as your computer, and this was the motivation behind buying Mauritius.tv a few years ago. One English word that is used throughout the world every single day is ‘TV’ and, if the two words become synonymous, it will be good for the profile of the site.” Even then, Luc purchased the domain with live video streaming in mind. He felt that Mauritians the world over could connect with their country of origin, using his website as a platform to do so. And he still hopes to make that vision a reality. Despite the success of these various projects, the Cheungs insists that The Travel Centre remains the central piece of the puzzle: “It is the main core business. Selling Mauritius as a holiday destination is my primary activity.” However, there is no doubt that the face of the travel industry is changing immeasurably; the internet has changed the way holidays are marketed and purchased. How then, does Luc and Gisele envisage the future of travel developing? Mr Cheung says, “We used to sell tickets to Paris and Dublin all day long. Now we don’t sell a single one in a year. Everybody buys their European flights online. Long haul flights are still predominantly sold in-house, but that is going to change; eventually highstreet travel agents will become extinct.” Given their track record with predictions, who are we to question them? Will Mathieson
NEWS Mauritius music A
t a time when the global music industry is seemingly in decline, with the Internet killing the CD, the Mauritian music industry is bucking the trend. The Mauritian music scene is bigger than ever, with stalwarts such as Cassiya, Alain Ramanisum and the like sharing the limelight with newer artists. So, what’s different about the Mauritian industry, why is it doing so well, and what lies in the future? Of course, music is part of Mauritian history, and the music today reflects the origins of the island and its people. Music has always been an important feature of Mauritian life, but today it’s bigger than ever. These days, artists will always accompany a song with a video, and tour in Europe, given their popularity. Surprising, given the dark days of the aftermath o the death of Mauritian music artist, Kaya. The main driver of the increasing popularity of Mauritian music is the youth. The youth, who are growing up now, or are young adults, who weren’t so affected by racial divides of the past. Mauritius today is much more integrated, compared to a decade or two ago. At the same time, young people have embraced each other’s cultures. This has, in part, led to growth of the more contemporary ragga and seggae music, spearheaded by artists like the OSB Crew, and along with it, the adoption of Creole slang etc. On the other hand, one mustn’t forget that the reason big Mauritian artists tour in Europe is because of the growing Diaspora outside of Mauritius. They would never do a concert in London or Paris, if there weren’t Mauritians there! The patriotism that most Mauritians carry through life, no matter
Kaya where they are living, has led to an increase in the demand for Mauritian artists to make appearances abroad, as more and more take up residence in Europe and beyond. So with many Mauritians living abroad, there is now a demand for Mauritian artists to frequently go on tour. These deals are usually very lucrative for the artist and their label, and this pumps more money into the industry. It also adds to the international scope of Mauritian artists. Whereas decades ago, Mauritian artists would hardly be heard of outside of Mauritius, this is no longer true due to the growth of Mauritian communities abroad. So, consequently, Mauritian music is no longer purely Mauritian, but international in scope and reach. And the international connection doesn’t stop there. Recently there have been many international artists who have performed in Mauritius from Shaggy, to DJs such as Tiesto, Yves Larock and Bob Sinclair. And let’s not forget the great festivals that now appear frequently in the social calendar. From the International Creole Festival to the dance festivals put on by promoters such as Green Dot, festivals seem to be the latest craze.
Mauritian jailed Ron Felicite, a Mauritian living in Australia, who stabbed his wife to death in front of their child after a fight over Facebook, has been jailed for 19 years. Felicite killed his wife Juliette at the couple’s Narre Warren home after she told him she had met someone online. Mrs Felicite died from stab wounds to the neck inflicted in their kitchen in front of their four-year-old son. Felicite, 28, became enraged after his wife told him she had feelings for an American man she had been emailing. The Supreme Court of Australia heard he had confronted her about messages she sent to her cousin on Facebook about the man. After killing his wife, Felicite went to police and handed himself in, admitting he used “the biggest knife he could find” to kill her. He pleaded guilty to murder. Justice Terry Forrest said the presence of the little boy was an aggravating feature of what was a “savage crime”. This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
Another noticeable evolvement in the Mauritian music scene is the number of female artists now making a name for themselves. Artists like Linzy Bacbotte and Sandra Mayotte are now just as successful as their male counterparts. Gone are the days when the majority of female performers were backing singers for a famous male singer, or their dancers. This comes as women have been playing a more important role in Mauritian society than ever. There is no doubt that the internet has helped the Mauritian music culture to thrive. Surfers can watch the latest videos or classics online, and download the latest tunes. Social media is a great way for artists to boost their profile or communicate to fans. The internet has especially been important in linking Mauritian music to expats abroad. Yet the internet, as it threatens the worldwide music industry, could yet prove to be
the downfall of Mauritian music. So much so that artists continue to urge fans not to use the internet for piracy, though cracking down on piracy doesn’t feature high on the priorities of the police or the government. The music scene in Mauritius has evolved rapidly since independence. However, Mauritian music remains true to its roots to this very day, which is incredibly unique for this day and age. The humility that most Mauritian artists still have, and the connection they have with the Mauritian public is refreshing, compared to somewhere like the UK. And given the progress the industry has made over the last few decades, we can safely assume that in another 10 years that the industry would have changed significantly again. So, perhaps, this is the reason as to why the Mauritian music scene has a more exciting future than what we’re used to in the West. Sabina Jacobs
Expats heading back to Mauritius for their holidays T
here maybe more Mauritians than ever living abroad, but more Mauritian expats than ever are going back to Mauritius regularly for holidays. Gone are the days when flights to Mauritius were packed with purely holidaymakers. Today, I’d say the balance on a typical flight to Mauritius is 60% Mauritians, 40% tourists. So, what’s changing? Is it a financial thing or a cultural thing? Of course, we are, compared to a decade ago, wealthier and so can afford to go back and forth between here and Mauritius. It’s also cheaper to go back. There are more flights, more capacity and this means more affordable ticket prices. Meanwhile, the Mauritian economy has been rapidly developing and Mauritius is now more attractive and more appealing for expats to go back and visit once in a while. Yet, everyday living remains cheap compared to here in the UK. So hard earned pounds go considerably far back in the Motherland, and life can be enjoyed. Then, there is that element of showing off that is typically Mauritian! Successful people like to go back and show off how well they’ve done, from the clothes they wear, to the money they have. But, why go back to Mauritius, rather than take holidays in Europe, Asia and the like? Well, nostalgia for a start. How many of us, whilst sitting in a busy office snowed under with work, or travelling on a cramped tube train, dream of being back on a Mauritian beach sipping on a Phoenix? We long for the food, the weather, the beaches, family, and, of course, the laid back Mauritian attitude. It is precisely the Mauritian attitude to life is the perfect remedy to busy British life. It’s the jamming on the beach, the family get togethers over a BBQ and the camping trips to the seaside that bring a smile to our face and leave us pining to go back. And of course, for those who are first-generation expats, Mauritius is home! And when you are far away from paradise, of course you’ll want to go back. Expats tend to travel to Mauritius over the Christmas and New Year period, or for special occasions like weddings. Though perhaps Mauritius is becoming more commercialised over the Christmas season, it still offers the perfect antidote to the commercialism that is Christmas in the UK. There is not the pressure there is here, to spend 2 month’s salaries on presents and food. Christmas is spent on the beach with BBQ, with a much more relaxed build up. The atmosphere is totally different.
I think, with Christmas in the UK lying smack bang in the middle of the British winter, Mauritians would rather be in the 30 degree heat of Mauritius than in the UK! So, to some extent, the weather is a force that drives Mauritians back to Mauritius for a holiday. But the most overwhelming reason as to why, more than ever, Mauritians are going back to Mauritius for holidays is because of family and tradition. For those whose family still remains in Mauritius, no matter what friends and distant relatives one may have hear, the sense of family in the UK, and in the Western world, for that matter, is lacking when compared to Mauritius. Then there is the element of tradition in Mauritius, that can’t be found here in the UK. Mauritians will always travel back to the UK for a special wedding, because of tradition. And many who grow up in Mauritius, or have grown up here in a Mauritian family, tend to yearn for that familiarity they have with religious traditions especially. With the UK virtually a secular state, but with Mauritius as a state where religion features very heavily in public life, many couples living here tend to go to Mauritius for their religious wedding ceremonies because it wouldn’t have felt right to only do a service in the UK. And whilst most of us here can afford to go back to Mauritius Now and again, the same can’t be expected of those back in Mauritius to visit us here- they just couldn’t afford it. So, Mauritius is the premier holiday destination for Mauritians! And there are hidden benefits for the country to attract Mauritians back regularly, because it is a great opportunity to win back expats. With so many talented students and workers abroad, who often never return, being the very kind workers who would be so economically beneficial to the country, keeping the links between the Diaspora and Mauritius is crucial for the country’s development. Sabina Jacobs
“Expats tend to travel to Mauritius over the Christmas and New Year period, or for special occasions like weddings”
NEWS National library receives pledge from new minister M
inister of Arts and Culture Mookhesswur Choonee indicated that a plot of land has already been identified in the Ebene area to build a new home for the National Library. He was addressing guests at the opening of the first Centre of European Union Information point in the present National Library in the Fon Sing Building in Port Louis. Now that the site has been identified, the authorities must look for funds to go ahead with the project, said Minister Choonee, who has firmly committed himself to secure an ecologically-friendly, purpose-built building for the National Library which it fully deserves. The National Library is facing many constraints, the main one being the acute shortage of space to house the rapidly growing collection. There is also a staff shortage, and the lack of a capital budget for the acquisition of much needed equipment and standard reference books. Mr. Choonee also said he wanted the National Library go online, which would “help to better serve both the Mauritian people and the international community at large”.
Vegetable seller at 70
eelawatee Devi, 70 years old, from Poudre D’or Village in the north of the island, regularly sells vegetables by the motorway opposite the Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis. Every day, the elderly lady gets up at 4am and collects the vegetables from her small kitchen garden.
Then it’s on the first bus leaving the village for Port Louis. “We have to work if we want to survive in this expensive world.” Leelawatee said. This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
Also present yesterday were Mr. Alessandro Mariani, Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Mauritius, Mrs. S. Kistamah, Chairperson of the National Library Board, Mr. Yves Chan Kam Long, Director of the National Library, former president of the republic Karl Offman and the former vice president Raouf Bundhun. Mr. Chan Kam Long said that since its inception, the National Library has been systematically enriching its collection both in print and non-print formats, in English, French, Creole, and Asian languages to serve the information needs of the nation. “During the first decade, the National Library has already become the official depository for publications of prestigious international organisations such as the United Nations, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,” he said.
Since August 2009, documents from the European Commission have been sent to the National Library, thus justifying the creation of a European Union Information point. The EU Info point provides valuable and up-to-date books, reports, periodicals and CD-Roms issued by the Publications Office of the EU. It covers a wide range of subjects such as agriculture, culture, ecology, economy, education, energy, environment, external relations, finance, fisheries, industry information, justice, law, science, trade and transport, providing easily accessible information for consultation and research purposes. Rakshita Ramessur This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
Mauritius local news Mauritius will add yet another exclusive hotel to its collection when the hotly anticipated St Regis resort opens next Spring in Le Morne. The hotel’s design will be a mixture of colonial fixture with an Asian, modern twist. The Starwood hotel will feature 173 rooms and suites as well as three villas, as well as five restaurants, several pools, a Dive centre, a cinema, a spa, a ballroom, and, of course, a beach. The hotel will feature a butler service and aims to be a hotspot for the island’s kite surfers. The resort will keep up with the St Regis tradition, first founded in New York in 1904. Afternoon high tea will be served daily, as well as after-dinner cognac and cigars, and the famous Bloody Mary, the St Regis classic, will, of course, be available. The hotel, originally scheduled to open in October this year, will now open its doors in Spring 2011. A new Sun Resort hotel is to open in Mauritius in December this year. Long Beach, a modern resort, where “Miami meets Asia”, is to open on the site previously occupied by Le Coco Beach, which was demolished last year. The resort, like its predecessor, will focus on the family market, with specially appointed family rooms featuring in the 255 rooms and suites. The large resort will be based around a “Piazza” with multiple bars, restaurants and shops featuring alongside the beach and pools. Facilities will include a Spa, gym as well as land and water sports, and a nightclub. The rooms will have a chic contemporary design, appointed with neutral colours and be fitted with the latest in-room technology with 42 inch flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi and iPod docking stations. Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone enjoyed a family reunion in Mauritius recently, when her parents flew out to join her on set, before taking a family holiday. The actress, who is filming Break Ke Baad in Mauritius which has involved her taking scuba diving lessons for special underwater shots, has had a busy 2010, and had barely had time to catch up with her family. She said, “I have been working round the clock and I just thought that it would be nice if they can spend some time together with me after my shoot.”
NEWS The battle to beat poverty in Mauritius The minister remarked, however, that there are many businesses and NGOs that are not aware of the financing possibilities for projects. The forum will provide an opportunity for the two sides to meet and discuss possibilities for collaboration. There are 1,200 NGOs which have not registered for the national CSR programme and the minister urged these organisations to register. Minister Duval said that his newly-created ministry is slowly taking shape and currently has a dozen advisers.
HELP FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION
he government will focus its fight against poverty on children aged between three months to 17 years old, said the minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, Xavier Luc Duval. He was speaking at a press conference to announce a forum on Corporate Social Responsibility at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre. The minister said the fight against poverty and the actions of his new ministry has to be demand-driven. He also underlined that the goal of alleviating poverty can only be achieved through closer collaboration between his ministry and the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, as well as closer collaboration with the private sector and parastatals. For the current year, Minister Duval announced that 1,900 companies will contribute an estimated Rs800 million for CSR projects nationwide through the National CSR programme. This money will come from the mandatory 2% of profits that companies have to set aside for such projects. Mauritius currently has more than 100,000 poor people and amongst those, it is estimated that there are 30,000 people who live in extreme poverty. For Minister Duval, the fight against poverty should be the concern of everyone in the coun-
“Minister Duval announced that 1,900 companies will contribute an estimated Rs800 million for CSR projects nationwide through the National CSR programme” try. He added that a list of priorities has to be designed in order to alleviate the poverty issue. The CSR forum seeks to develop the priorities on the way forward. The minister said there are 350 NGOs registered under the programme in addition to 1,900 enterprises. From the Rs800 million budget, 150 enterprises will each dedicate an average of Rs500,000 for NGOs and an estimated 50 enterprises will each dedicate over Rs2 million to social projects.
Government is finalising a second Decentralised Cooperation Programme (DCP) with the European Union (EU), which will be implemented as from 2011. The first five-year programme, which started in 2005 with a funding of approximately Rs697 million, came to an end in March. The Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment Xavier Luc Duval underlined that Mauritius can serve as an example to the world as regards poverty alleviation owing to democratic practices and good governance which prevail in the country. He hailed the different community-based projects implemented by the DCP both in Mauritius and Rodrigues, ranging from poverty alleviation and improved business services to natural resource management. Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Mauritius, Mr Alessandro Mariani, added that DCP has offered a platform where everyone has an active role to play in society for the benefit of socially disadvantaged groups. The first DCP aimed at supporting the implementation capacity of non-state actors (NSAs) in the areas of poverty alleviation, good governance, fight against unemployment, and natural resources management in Rodrigues. As at March 2009, 260 projects had been approved for financing fewer than six different calls for proposals and the Small Grants Window of the programme. The amount of money committed stands at nearly Rs287 million with some Rs205 million already disbursed. Around 340 community-based projects both in Mauritius and Rodrigues have been implemented. Mahesh Bugnath This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
NEWS History of Mauritius The national motto S
tella Clavisque Maris Indici. It probably means nothing to you, given that it is Latin, until I point out that it is actually the motto on our coat of arms, and which, pre-independence existed on the “Mauritian” ﬂag. These four Latin words translate as “the star and key of the Indian Ocean”, and is the motto of Mauritius. The motto is simple but reﬂective of Mauritius back in colonial times, when it was ﬁrst created. Back then, the island was a hub for ships in the British Empire. Ships from as far as Australia would dock in Mauritius on their way to Britain, making the island of great logistical importance to the Empire. As the star of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius was supposed to be an example of a prosperous colony and one that others
should follow the example of. Many historians believe that the British took over Mauritius because it lay on the sea route between India and Britain, and that while there was French presence in Mauritius, there was always a threat to British ships. Consequently, the British Navy believed that Mauritius was the key to controlling the Indian Ocean. Indeed, once the British took control of Mauritius, the British Empire in the Indian Ocean did not come under threat until WW2. Under British rule, Mauritius became a crown colony and one of the largest producers of sugar, a lucrative crop back then, outside of the West Indies. The motto itself ﬁrst appeared in 1869 on a British pre-independence ﬂag for Mauritius. The coat of arms, which came about in 1906,
“Today, as well as lying on the coat of arms, the motto is now being used, quite literally, as an order of merit”
Doggy Dodo Meet Dodo, the stray dog from Mauritius that a Scottish couple took such a shine to, they ﬂew it all the way back to Aberdeen! Carol and Steve Buyers, discovered the abandoned dog on a beach in Mauritius while on holiday last September. Having fed her and arranged local care for her, the couple then arranged for her to ﬂy back to Aberdeen. After nine months in quarantine, Dodo has rejoined her new family, at the cost of £4,000. Mrs Buyers told of their urge to help after initially setting eyes on the thin stray. “The minute I set eyes on her there was a connection. It looked like she had days to live. I could not stop thinking about her.” Dodo must now settle into Scottish life, and the couple plans to buy her a jacket to cope with the cold Scottish weather. This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
would be based on the motto: in the shield is a star and a key, as well as the motto itself. Even though this was a British made motto, it is widely accepted as the Mauritian motto, because it sums up Mauritius so well. It also serves as a pertinent reminder to colonial Mauritius history. Today, as well as lying on the coat of arms, the motto is now being used, quite literally, as an order of merit. The Most Distinguished Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean is awarded to people who have “contributed to social progress” in Mauritius, like the Queen’s Honours here. There are ﬁve rankings of the Order, from Member of the Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean (most junior), to the Grand Commander of the Order of the Star
and Key of the Indian Ocean (most senior). Recipients of the Grand Commander of the Order include Dr. Navin Ramgoolam and Paul Berenger. As you can see, there is both a meaningful history behind these words, as well as a special meaning today. The motto both represents the island’s fruitful past as well as the highest order of decoration in the country today. It is inspirational in two ways: that countries can aspire to be like Mauritius, and citizens (and non-citizens) can aspire to do great things for the country to achieve the order of merit. One could say that it embeds all that is great about the country: its importance in the world, and the achievements of its outstanding people. Sabina Jacobs
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Grand Baie gets Rs2bn complex
rand Baie La Croisette... Remember the name as this major new property development by MaxCity Properties looks likely to become the hotspot of the Northern region. The first phase of the project should be completed by the end of 2011 at an estimated cost of Rs2 billion, according to Danny Fon Sing, Director of MaxCity Properties. Grand Baie La Croisette (GBLC) is an innovative concept in the sense that it is a mixed-use development where people can live, work, shop and relax all in one place. “We wanted to break away from the traditional commercial centres which are all look identical: that is, you have a supermarket with a commercial space in front and a huge parking lot. Our concept makes efficient use of the land resources, especially given that Mauritius has a very limited supply of land,” said Mr Fon Sing. That is why GBLC has been designed as a mixed-use development which takes into account the need for efficient land use and comprises a multitude of facilities. The centre will not owe its lifeline to the operating hours of the supermarket but rather will continue providing services till late. Spread over 30 acres, it promises to introduce a new urban lifestyle in the island, being strategically located at the intersection of
the M2 motorway which meets Chemin Vingt Pieds within a major tourist area. Phase one will be built over 15 acres and will create an estimated 500 jobs. At the very heart of the development is its Esplanade, which will be built over 5,000 square metres and is similar in concept to medieval towns in Europe. The Esplanade will provide a large recreational area where the public can come to relax among the water fountains and take part in various activities like cultural events, sporting events and promotions. The complex will also have a clock tower which will house the lifts that will carry visitors from the underground parking of the Esplanade to the heart of the complex. “Economic activity will not depend on the supermarket and people can come here for more reasons than just shopping. We will have a cinema complex with five movie theatres that will play Bollywood and Western blockbusters. There will be restaurants for fine dining, fast food outlets, pubs, restaurants and a gym and spa,” explained Mr Fon Sing. There will be facilities and services for the people who will be living in Grand Baie La Croisette so that clients can find everything they want under one roof. The objective of the promoters is to create a place where people can find high-end fashion in one cluster, youth
products in another, as well as a recreational cluster, a food cluster and the Esplanade. The promoters of the project are: MaxCity Real Estate Partners (a joint-venture of MaxCity and HV Group), Societe de Sottise and MCB Capital Partners. MaxCity Properties have been active in the property development sector for the past 20 years. Their track record includes projects such as One Cathedral Square in Port Louis, Emerald Park morcellement in Trianon, Emerald Park shopping complex also in Trianon, and the flagship project:1 Cybercity in Ebene.
MIXED-USE PROJECTS • Starts within 2 months completed by end 2011 • Built over 15 arpents of land • Over Rs2 billion investment • Create over 500 jobs • 24,000 square metres of commercial space • 5,000 square metres of Grade A offices • Over 50 luxury apartments • 5,000 square metres Esplanade • Over 1,100 places covered parking spaces
• Northern region is home to majority of expatriates living in Mauritius • And island-wide population during weekends
WHATS THERE • Shopping • Hypermarket • High fashion • Young fashion • Homewares and furniture • Duty free and craft market • Leisure • La Grande Esplanade • Eating out • Fine dining restaurants • Casual dining/street cafes • Foodcourt • Wine bars/Pub-Resto-Lounge • Entertainment • Multiplex cinema • 5 screens, 900 seats • Late night shows • Grade A Offices • Apartments • Fitness centre Mahesh Bugnath
Targetted markets • Northern region population excess of 240,000 persons • Tourists 340,000 per year
This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First English-language daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
MAURITIUS LIFE Diabetes affects 17% of Mauritius M
auritius has a serious diabetes problem. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that. It’s in the newspapers all the time. But are you aware how serious it is? According to the International Diabetes Federation (www.idf.org), an international organisation with headquarters in Belgium, apart from the tiny Pacific Ocean island of Nauru, Mauritius has the highest proportion of its population diagnosed with diabetes, 17%, of any country in the world. That’s around 148,800 Mauritians out of a population of 1.2 million that are estimated to have diabetes. Perhaps not surprisingly the country with the third highest proportion of its population estimated to have diabetes, after Nauru and Mauritius, is neighbouring Reunion with 16.1%. So just what is diabetes? Well, according to the Diabetes Mellitus information website (www.diabetesmellitus-information. com), it’s a slightly mysterious disease whose causes are not fully known. What is known are the various factors that can lead to someone developing diabetes so, armed with this information from an early age, people have a much greater chance of avoiding ever developing the disease. One of the main causes of diabetes is diet. Eating too many foods full of carbohydrates, fats or proteins is bad for the body. It prevents the pancreas from performing its function of secreting insulin, necessary to allow sugar present in your blood to enter muscle and tissue cells.
Remember, eating large quantities of sugary and fatty foods is also likely to make you fat and obesity is another major factor that can cause diabetes These bad foods include biscuits, bread, cakes, chocolate, ice creams, puddings, deep-fried foods,etc. We all know how fond Mauritians are of very sweet things and of deep-fried snacks like samosas. But cutting back on these and substituting plenty of fruit and vegetables and other healthy foods in the daily diet is one immediate step Mauritians could take to lessen their chances of developing diabetes. Of course that doesn’t mean never again eating chocolate, ice cream, or other sugary foods. Just make them luxury foods and eat them in moderation as occasional treats. Too much fat in your body makes muscle and tissue cells resistant to insulin. So exercise often, eat properly and you seriously decrease your chance of developing diabetes. Age is also a major factor in developing the disease but this is largely because the older a person becomes the less active and more overweight he or she becomes. You’re not going to get diabetes just because you’re getting older, especially if you lead a healthy lifestyle. Smokers, needless to say, are also highly prone
to developing diabetes as well as lots of other diseases that will kill them. Diabetes can also be hereditary, caused by viral infections, or the result of too much stress, grief, anxiety or worry. One thing that becomes clear from all this is that diabetes, in all its forms, appears to be caused by the body’s inability to generate enough insulin or to deal with the insulin it has generated. And it appears that the simplest way to avoid ever developing the disease is, as with most diseases, to lead a healthy, energetic life. Easier said than done in our modern society where so much work is done sitting at a desk, working on a computer – and so much of our leisure time is taken up with lazing on a sofa watching TV and snacking on unhealthy foods, or sitting at a computer e-mailing friends, or talking to them via chat lines, Facebook and MySpace or just watching YouTube. Sad to say, these days it takes an effort to remain healthy. But it can be done, especially if enough people want a healthy lifestyle. The power of the consumer should never be underestimated. In England, healthy foods only really became readily available when enough people demanded it. And they did
this by telling supermarket managers that they wanted to buy healthy foods and, if they couldn’t get them at the supermarket, they took their business elsewhere, to the growing number of health food shops that began to open in the UK in the 1980s and 1990s. The same thing can happen here in Mauritius if enough people demand it. So come on all you Mauritians. We want our island to be famous for its beauty, its beaches and its wonderful ocean, not as the diabetes capital of the world. This is a disease that can cause you to require regular daily injections of insulin, that can cause you to lose body parts and that can, ultimately, kill you. It’s not nice and it’s a major Mauritian problem. It’s time to change all that. So get healthy and lessen your chances of ever contracting diabetes. Tony Smart This article was exclusively provided by NewsNow: The First Englishlanguage daily internet newspaper in Mauritius. Visit NewsNow.mu
EVENTS What’s on MAURITIAN OPEN AIR FESTIVAL 2010
ugust 2009 marked the time of something very special for the Mauritian community in the UK; the Mauritian Open Air Festival, held down in Down Lane Park. For one hot, sunny day North London was transformed into a little piece of paradise. A huge crowd gathered for the event, the like of which had not been seen in the UK for some time. They were suitably rewarded with a collection of amazing performances from a variety of Mauritian artists on the purpose-built main stage. The headliners, Mighty Jah, almost blew the roof off the stage, with a performance that was rapturously received by the audience. They were ably supported by One Love, Sega Blues, the Tropical Flowers Sega Dancers and the Chagossian Sega Dancers. With all these amazing ingredients it was no surprise that the event was an overwhelming success. On the back of last year there was no doubt that the event had to be restaged this year, only this time even bigger, bolder and better. And we are pleased to announce that this has become a reality; this year’s Mauritian Open Air Festival returns to Down Lane Park on Sunday 8th August 2010! As promised, this year’s event is guaranteed to be a memorable experience for everyone in attendance. Just like last year, the festival has attracted a stellar line-up of performers. The legendary “Mr Bhai Aboo” himself, Claudio Veeraragoo & Seggae pioneers, OSB’s very own, Blakkayo & Master Kool B, will be headlining the main stage. The three artists are widely revered for their continuing inﬂuence on the direction of Sega music. They have played a huge part on spreading the genre beyond Mauritius’s shores, and their performance is something both not to be missed by fans and savoured by those who are new to Sega. With such a spectacular headline acts, there is no doubt that the carnival atmosphere is destined to return to Down Lane Park again this year. As you’d expect, Messrs Claudio and Master Kool B and Blakkayo, will be performing all their greatest tracks, which are guaranteed to put everyone in the right mood as the sun goes down. In line with its expansion, this year the festival is pleased to welcome some of Choice FM’s ﬁnest on to the decks. Their blend of urban and carnival sounds will be accompanied by some spectacular stage performances – a combination that is not to be missed! As everybody knows, the Mauritian Open Air Festival is not just about great music; we know how much pride Mauritians have in their culture and, for that reason, we will be providing the ﬁnest Mauritian cuisine, as well as the Phoenix beer tents, to keep the party going all night long. For the connoisseurs amongst you there will also be a healthy amount of Green Island rum available. There will also be a funfair for the children, and those that are young at heart, making this the ultimate family summer event. As well as the traditional fairground rides, there are inﬂatable sumo challenges, bungee runs, and gladiator jousts, all sure to bring out the inner child in even the most hardened adult. Professional henna artists will be on hand to give everyone their on special memory of the event, and there is face painting available for the children. This year’s festival is truly going to be an event on a scale like you’ve never seen before. For anyone who loves fun in the sun, make sure you’re there on Sunday 8th August. The event is only two minutes walk from Tottenham Hale station, making that long journey home a little bit easier!
ADMISSION Adults – £5, Under 10s – Free Limited stalls available! The Mauritian Open Air Festival offers an exciting trading or marketing opportunity for local businesses, organisations and charities. To reserve you’re stall contact our team now on: 0843 289 3231
www.mauritianopenair.com Join us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter Search for: Mauritian Open Air festival 2010 Sunday 8th August 2010
We look forward to seeing you there!
Dates for your diary Mauritian Speed Dating Monday 5th July Mauritian Open Air Festival Sunday 8th August Assumption if the Blessed Virgin Mary Sunday 15th August Eid-Ul-Fitr* Friday 10th September Ganesh Chaturthi Sunday 12th September Arrival of Indentured Labourers Tuesday 2nd November Divali Friday 5th November Christmas Saturday 25th December * The exact date of this festival is subject to conﬁrmation as its celebration depends of the visibility of the moon.
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SHOWBIZ In conversation with… Alexandre Martin T
rioco’s leader, Alexandre Martin is a well known face in Mauritius. He agreed to give MauritiusNow an exclusive interview about his latest film project called “Anatole” and his career to date Hi Alexandre, we are currently on the set of your next film. Can you tell us a bit more about this new project? We have been working on this film project called “Anatole” for three months now. It will be the first Mauritian comedy movie ever produced here. The story is about a poor family, the Bretzel’s, who win Rs 30 million on the lottery. Once rich, this family decides to quit the deprived area they have been living in for years and to buy a luxury villa in a splendid suburb. Anatole’s parents’ attitudes change, and they seem to have forgotten all about where they came from. They no longer talk to their poor friends, but instead become pretentious people. This new social status does not fit their son, Anatole, who misses their former way of living and all their old friends. Anatole, as you can see (refer to photo), is a kind of clumsy character who will go through weird and hilarious situations. I can tell you that in the film he will fall in love with his beautiful neighbour, and he will be kidnapped by two rascals who want to get hold of the Bretzel family’s money. This movie is a challenging project and I’m proud to be part of it. Why did you choose to go from short-film to a full length movie for “Anatole”? I have always wanted to produce a full length movie. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough money to do it. But for Anatole, we managed to find sponsors and to gather enough money to shoot this first 100% Mauritian movie. There are about 25 people working on this movie today. Who are the other artists who are actually participating in this movie? There is Lindsay and Chantal Mootien, who are both well known on the Mauritian scene. Then there’s Logane Marie Jeanne, Joelle Buckland Ludovic, and Félicité, with whom I created the Trioco group. We are all working very hard on this movie and we hope that the public will appreciate it. I must say that we are also having a lot of fun on the set!
Coluche and Jean Marie Bigard to name a few. I love their work and I’m continuously trying to learn from them. You left Komiko to create your own group named Trioco five years ago. Was it a new challenge for you? A really big challenge in fact. When I left Komiko, I didn’t know what I was going to do. Then one day, two friends of mine, Ludovic and Denis Félicité came to me and talked about creating another group. And I said why not? We started playing in festivals and fancy fairs throughout the island and we got very good feedback from the public. Then we decided to created short films that we put on DVD. We were surprised to find out that our initial stock of about 500 DVDs that we were planning to sell in two months, were sold out in only one week! That was absolutely crazy! We then made more DVD’s and sold thousands and thousands them.
“It’s always pleasant to see that your work is appreciated. Last time I checked, the Trioco’s videos have been viewed more than 950,000 times” Soobraydoo. We were both very engaged in social activities at that time. We quickly created the Komiko group and came up with our first play called “Belle Parole”. We were lucky enough to have it aired on TV and people loved it right away. We then started to play throughout the island and that’s how Komiko became so popular. It has been an incredible experience.
I read that you first wanted to become a chef. What made you change your mind to embrace a comedy career? I’ve always enjoyed eating, and as I was not very good at school I decided to quit and follow a culinary course at the IVTB. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out very well. As I’ve always been interested in comedy, I finally decided to earn a living by making people laugh.
Where do you get your inspiration from? I get it in my everyday life. I love observing people wherever I am, and I try to get as many character defects in my plays. When people watch the plays, they are always saying that they know someone who looks like the character. My aim is to make Mauritian people laugh at themselves and it seems to be working great!
And that’s how Komiko was created? Well, before creating Komiko, I performed in my school’s theater group. It was a thrilling experience and I immediately knew that’s what I wanted to do for a living. I participated in drama festivals throughout the island, that’s how I met Miselaine
Who are the comedians that have influenced you the most in your career? I used to love Christian Théodorine. He was a great comedian and he always made me laugh, he inspired me a lot when I first started. On the international scene, there’s Louis de Funes,
Your plays, available on YouTube have encountered a great success. What do you think of that very positive response? It’s always pleasant to see that your work is appreciated. Last time I checked, the Trioco’s videos have been viewed more than 950,000 times. That amazing! I still can’t believe that our videos are so popular. I’m happy to see that Mauritians from abroad can view our work and have a good laugh. There are more and more young comedians who aspire to one day become as popular as the Komiko or Trioco group. What would you like to tell them? There are no doubt a large number of talented young comedians in Mauritius. Unfortunately, it’s still hard to earn a living in that field. They will have to persevere and try to reach their goals. I think that in the coming years, it will be possible for the local artists to make a living in the comedy field. But for that to become possible, we will have to export our work in countries where the Mauritian Diaspora lives. What lies ahead for Alexandre Martin? For now, I will be concentrating on the Anatole movie, but in August, we are planning to play in a Comedy Festival around the island. Are you planning to perform in England in the near future? I would really like to come to England and perform in front of my fellow countrymen. All we need is someone who can organise everything over there. If anyone who would like to organize a Trioco Tour in England, he or she can contact me on 737 4535 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. Would you like to say something to your fans in the UK? I first want to thank them for their support and I hope that I will be able to come to England and perform in front of them in the near future. And don’t forget to buy original DVD’s of our shows to support the cause. Jose Daniel
SHOWBIZ In conversation with… Nick Hewer N
ick Hewer is the star of the hit BBC programme, The Apprentice, in which budding businessmen and women have their acumen tested to the limit by Lord Alan Sugar. As Lord Sugar’s right hand man, Nick knows better than anyone what makes good and bad candidates, and how best to avoid those dreaded words, “you’re fired.” Mauritius Now exclusively caught up with him to discuss all things Apprentice… Hello Nick. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Can you tell us when we are next going to see The Apprentice on our screens? Hello. I have just been told that The Apprentice series seven has been re-commissioned by the BBC for the spring of next year. The junior version has also be re-commissioned which is very satisfying news. As far as I know, the junior show will be filmed in the summer, to be broadcast in the autumn. It will be a much longer series than this one was; this series was six episodes long but the next series will feature ten episodes. What are your thoughts on the junior programme? It came about through Lord Sugar’s enthusiasm for a junior format. He wanted the BBC to create a programme for young people, in order to ensure that he would commit to the adult show. He was proved right because it pulled in around 25% of the viewing public and was watched in huge numbers by young people. We’re really pleased with that. What is happening with the main show then? Series six has been delayed from its intended broadcast date of spring 2010 because the then shadow culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, demanded that the show be delayed due to Lord Sugar’s role as a government advisor. Of course, such an idea is ridiculous; ours is a reality television show involving the recruitment of an apprentice. It does seem a bit over the top to politicise a TV show… It was decided that it may ‘disrupt the smooth running of government’ which seems hopeless to me, particularly as so many of the viewing public were left disappointed. But anyway, that’s in the past. So on to happier matters. How successful has the recent series been? We had 28,000 junior applicants and we were very impressed by the calibre of said applicants. They were great, great kids and we’re very fond of them, almost without exception. We were really heartened by how smart and fresh they were. Were you impressed by the winner? Very – he’s a smart and well presented young man, and I think he has just got into Oxford. He’s a very good chap. What about the main series? It starts in late September, or early October, and runs right through to Christmas. Although it’s still in production to a certain extent, I think it’s going to be a great series. The qual-
ity of the candidates is very high and they’re all very intelligent. We’re delighted that the BBC has re-commissioned it because we clearly have their confidence. I think it’s right that we have their confidence because it’s doing a good job of teaching young people about business. Enterprise is now, amazingly, on everybody’s lips. Enterprise is vital to the recovery of the British economy… It’s the backbone of the economy, which is built on small businesses. Enterprise is a wonderful thing; I’ve just returned from Sierra Leone, which is a very poor country, and I’ve met some wonderful young people. I met a young man of 19, by the name of James, who had been a street kid – robbing and thieving in the capital. He had been given an opportunity and he has learnt a craft, as a carpenter. He’s already beginning to run his own business. It just proves that if you give people the opportunity they can be successful. So, if people are given a chance in business, you believe they can thrive? Absolutely; it’s largely true to say that entrepreneurs will thrive under any conditions. Have you ever travelled to Mauritius? I have never been but I would like to go. When I first started working in London the Mauritian High Commission had its
offices in the same building, in Trafalgar Square. I’m reaching the age where the lure of a beach holiday is becoming stronger, and where better to go – by reputation – than Mauritius. What then can we expect in September, from The Apprentice series six? The audience figures are growing all the time. Last year we peaked at around 11 million viewers, and that’s fine because the BBC is competing with other major channels for viewing figures. Everyone wants the biggest slice of the cake. The other consideration is whether it is admired by our ‘peers’. By ‘peers’ I mean the media and people within the industry. To date we have won everything, other than the National Television Awards which are sponsored by ITV. In that instance, our category was won by Loose Women, which was extraordinary. We’d love to win another BAFTA though, because we consider that the ultimate award. There’s a belief that when you’ve won one, you won’t win another so we want to disprove that. If the junior version is nominated it might happen. Do you have faith in the junior format of the show? Alan Sugar, who is the driving force behind the whole shebang, actually thinks the junior show is the better of the two. He’s tremendously good with youngsters and believes that they hold the key to the future. Will Mathieson
Aquarium Ptes Aux Piments Aquarium Ile Maurice, Route côtière, Pointe-aux-Piments, Tel: (230) 265 4561 Situated at Pointes Aux Piments, a coastal and charming village in the North of the island, Mauritius’ only aquarium offers a thrilling experience to those seeking to know more about the local marine life. In fact, this marine park is populated by 200 species of fish, invertebrates, live coral and sponges sheltered in numerous receptacles divided in five rooms. A sandy path will guide one to all the five rooms where one will be able to get a closer look at the variety of marine life that have been gathered there. Open everyday, the Pointe aux Piments Aquarium is also known to as a tool to promote awareness. “By taking a better look at what lives beneath the surface of the sea water, people seem to be more concerned by the environmental issues. It’s a really important issue in Mauritius and if we can help in one way or another, we are happy”, explains one of the aquarium’s guides. Since its opening the marine park has become increasingly popular with both locals and tourists. It has quickly become a must see attraction.
The aquarium is home to a large number of species including the Crown Squirrelfish and the Devil Firefish as well as a number of sharks. You will get to see them first hand at the Mauritius Aquarium alongside some of the most colourful marine life imaginable; purple, neon yellow, and florescent green are some of the amazing colours you can expect to see. The biggest receptacle, called the “Big Blue”, is more than fifteen meters wide and contains a large variety of sea creatures which you will be able to observe close up without the fear of being eaten! A “touch pool” allows young visitors to interact with a variety of marine specimens whilst being assisted by one of the Aquariums guides. You can also relax by having a drink or a light meal in the snack bar, whilst admiring the splendid panoramic view of the small cove of Pointe-aux-Piments. And as in every touristic park, one will end his visit by going through the souvenir shop where all kinds of gifts and memorabilia are available. For a fun, educational family day out, make sure you pay a visit to the Aquarium of Pointe aux Piments. Jose Daniel
The Grand Mauritian Turtle Bay, Balaclava, Tel: (230) 204 1400 Nestled between a natural marine park and lush sugar cane fields, The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa invites you to experience the magic of Mauritian hospitality in a luxurious setting. Inspired by traditional Mauritian architecture, this resort has a laid-back tropical feeling that evokes memories of days gone-by, whilst maintaining a sophisticated quality in keeping with the standards of a 5 Star Resort. Spread over 10 hectares, the resort is bordered by the reef and ocean nature park on the coast and lush sugar cane fields behind. One will be welcomed by dedicated and talented staff who will help make your dreams come true. At your disposition, they will cater to your every need and make your holiday experience a unique one. The resort boasts 193 guest rooms and suites, with stunning views over the ocean. You will be sure to enjoy any of the 15 individual villas. The latter offers a variety of categories, ranging from Deluxe to Select Suites; all equipped with large private outdoor terraces and offering stunning views over Balaclava and turtle bay.
In the main restaurant ‘Season’s by Stephane’, renowned executive chef Stephane Brallet offers a very special ambiance, whilst pampering his guests with fine Thai, African-Indian and local cuisine. You will no doubt be charmed by the savoir-faire of the chef. You might wish go to the Brezza, which offers Italian cuisine, whereas light snacks can be enjoyed at the pool-side restaurant & bar “Reflections”. Two bars are located in an airy and easy going ambiance by the two swimming pools, and Bar ‘68’, a contemporary lounge bar, can be found in the main building. The Mandara Spa is perfect for those in need of pampering and a kids club will keep the little ones busy with an exciting and varied range of activities. And if you’re a water sport enthusiast, you’ll be spoilt for choice with a diving centre and other watery pursuits to tempt you. There are also 2 heated swimming pools, one exclusively for adults and a stunning beach, so sun, sea and sand are very much on the agenda! At night, feast on Italian delights at Brezza or stylish, modern cuisine at Season’s show kitchen, ending with a drink or two by the pool. Jose Daniel
TRAVEL Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort Domaine de Bel Ombre Tel: (230) 601 55 00 Situated in the Southwest of Mauritius, Le Telfair Resort & Spa is located on the former sugar estate of Bel Ombre, a geographical location which will enable you to admire both the crystal waters of the Indian Ocean and the luxuriant mountain of Plaine Champagne. Nature is at the heart of the resort from the pristine reef-enclosed lagoon and beach, the adjacent nature reserve of Valriche, to the championship golf course. Ideal for family holidays, Le Telfair Resort stands out for its exceptional range of services tailored for the enjoyment all holyday-makers. The stunning cathedral-like reception is a welcoming first encounter where carved wood and natural fabrics dominate the décor. You will spend your nights in one of the twenty beautiful villas, each of them dotted amidst tropical gardens with French windows that open out to a refreshing verandah. Rooms are spacious and perfectly furnished, making you feel right at home. The countryside that surrounds Le Telfair Golf and Spa Resort is impressive. The foothills of the Plaine Champagne Mountain descend in a sheer drop of over 500 metres on one side, while the other side is framed by stretches of long white beaches and the vast Indian Ocean. Watch chefs prepare your meal at the main restaurant before you enjoy dining with unforgettable views of the sea, mountain or river. Set on soft powdery sand, guests can relish the catch of the day. For a special romantic treat the Château de Bel Ombre is the ultimate location where dreams and romance reign. An array of land and water-based sports are on offer including a simply spectacular 18-hole golf course. One will no doubt take advantage of the fully equipped gym and 3 floodlit all-weather tennis courts. Explore the area on mountain bikes or take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful surroundings. When it comes to well-being and relaxation, the spa of the resort is the place to go. The Six Senses spa is set in a tranquil courtyard with various private areas. You will find a range of modern and ancient spa treatments that will satisfy all your needs. For nature lovers, the huge Valriche Nature Park of Bel Ombre, spreading over 3500 acres, presents a unique opportunity to observe the numerous birds, butterflies, deer, wild boar and even monkeys in their natural habitat. Le Telfair Resort is definitely among one of the best hotels on the Island. Jose Daniel
RESTAURANTS & BARS UK
Mauritian Spot Walthamstow, London Located in Walthamstow, East London, the Mauritian Spot restaurant has attracted international acclaim amongst the Mauritian community. Its owner, Ahmed Abdool, is immensely proud of the reputation his establishment has earned. Founded by Ahmed seven years ago, the restaurant has become one of London’s most popular Mauritian eating establishments, attracting visitors from around the UK, and as far a field as Canada, France an Italy. Its authentic Mauritian cuisine has become as popular amongst its customers as the more established Indian and Turkish dishes. Ahmed himself comes from a culinary background – working in various restaurants in Mauritius, both in service and in the kitchen, before moving to the United Kingdom. “Our success is down to word of mouth”, says Ahmed. “People trust our food and keep coming because, when they taste it, they really enjoy it.” Mauritian Spot offers a wide selection of authentic Mauritian dishes, including a selection of biryanis; halim; dhal puri; fried noodles; and fried rice. There are also a number of Mauritian sweets and desserts on offer. All dishes are available to eat in or take away. The restaurant also offers outside catering and Ahmed says this is one of the most popular sides of his business: Ahmed distinguishes the Mauritian community from its African and Asian neighbours, citing its small population as a unique factor. He feels a duty to provide reasonably priced, authentic Mauritian cuisine to his compatriots, seventy per cent of whom have moved to the United Kingdom within the last decade. Ahmed says he had to work very hard upon arriving in the UK to make ends meet and he does not forget this fact when pricing his menu. With the acquisition of the domain www. mauritianspot.co.uk, which is going to be used to expand the catering side of the company, Ahmed is positive about its future: “If we continue to get a good response, we plan to open other branches around London. We think that demand will steadily grow over the next five years, as the Mauritian community establishes itself here. By then we will be able to supply all Mauritian catering needs. When I dined at Mauritian Sport, early on a Tuesday evening, there was a steady flow of diners coming into the restaurant, with the majority choosing to eat in the restaurant rather than take their food away. The atmosphere itself was very amicable and the staff were all extremely friendly. Although it is not immediately obvious that the restaurant specialises in Mauritian cuisine, I am assured by Ahmed that its
reputation amongst the community means this fact is not important. I am inclined to agree with him, considering the popularity of the restaurant. All of the dishes that one would expect are on offer, such as fish and chips, pizzas and kebabs. The chicken kebab in particular, served with a selection of sauces and a fresh naan, was delicious. The chicken had been marinated in what could be described as ‘sweet chilli’ and it was excellent. There was no overpowering spices and the flavours were subtly complimentary. The accompanying mint and chilli sauces were creamy and tangy enough respectively to prevent the dish from being too filling, and I hardly paused from eating from start to finish. To understand the sheer variety of cultural influences that have shaped Mauritian cuisine, I sampled to very different dishes: beef biryani, cooked in an authentic deg, and fried noodles. The noodles were wonderfully light and fluffy, and not at all stodgy. There was just the right amount of heat, which gave the dish a really fresh edge. In contrast the biryani was very rich, in line with the best that I’ve tasted. Unfortunately the selection of flavours I had tasted meant that I was too full to sample any of the puddings but, as my first experience of Mauritian cuisine, I can say that the Mauritian Spot was a triumph. Ahmed and his staff are very welcoming and extremely proud of what they do. For such a reasonable price, this restaurant is definitely worth a visit. Will Mathieson
RESTAURANTS & BARS UK
Mauritian recipes Each month Mauritius Now will bring you a variety of delicious and exciting recipes presented to you by our very own specialist chef from Mauritius. Visit www.mauritiusnow.co.uk for all the latest recipes, which are updated every month.
PORT LOUIS BAR Opening times: Monday - Thursday: 12pm - 12am Friday - Sunday: 12pm - 2:30am For bookings and reservations contact: 07940 043 511/07894 541 954 www.portlouisbar.com Turnpike Lane has been the recipient of a very exciting addition, in the form of new venue The Port Louis Bar. This sleek and sophisticated Mauritian bar is the brainchild of brothers Kailash and Kilan Chadee, and has just opened to a rapturous reception in north London. The two men were both born in Mauritius’ capital and thought it appropriate to use it as the inspiration for their vision of the bar. In Mauritius Kailash says, “people say ‘let’s go to Port Louis for a drink; we want people to say the same thing about this place.” The family is very proud of its heritage but, having lived in the UK for much of their lives, they feel they have a unique viewpoint from which to understand what makes a good Mauritian venue. According to Kailash, the influx of Mauritians into the UK has left many without somewhere definitively Mauritian to congregate: “Before people didn’t have anywhere that they could identify with. We wanted to create an ambience where people are free to come and revive the culture that they have back home. Although it means a lot to us, because we were born there, it was more about giving
something back to the people that made us feel at home away from home.” That is not to say that Port Louis is exclusively Mauritian; the brothers are at pains to stress that their concept is one of inclusivity, welcoming everyone to the bar in the name of enjoyment. Kilan explains, “Anyone that wants to hold a meeting, birthday, meet other people – they should come to Port Louis. It is a home from home for both Mauritians and the residents of London.” The décor itself is very minimalist and refined, giving an air of sophistication as much as it is warm and welcoming. The colours of the interior are warm reds set against cream with deep mahogany wooden flooring. This is perfectly offset by the comfortable leather sofas, which themselves are contrasted with tables and tall leather chairs and stools aligning the walls. The duo intends Port Louis bar to be an upmarket establishment. It is a ‘bar’ in the modern sense of the word, combining quality drinks with knowledgeable clientele and good music, with a sprinkling of authentic cuisine on top. As Kilan says, “We always aspire to be the best that we can be, and we hope that our customers will feel the same. We stock quality alcohol and we want people to come for that sort of experience.” Talking of alcohol – the essential ingredient of any good bar – Port Louis offers the very finest Mauritian beers and rums, favouring the island’s famous Phoenix beer
Special Fried Rice
Salted Fish Rougaille
Ingredients (serves 4) 4 tablespoons oil 25g boned, diced chicken 125g diced fish fillet 125g prawns 2 large eggs (beaten & seasoned with salt & pepper) 1/2kg basmati rice (boiled in salted water and drained) Soy sauce Chopped shallot Salt, pepper Method: Heat oil in a large pan or wok and stir-fry chicken pieces seasoned with soy sauce and pepper for about 2 mins. Add fish and prawns, season again with soy sauce and pepper and continue to stir-fry for 1 or 2 mins. Keep the fried ingredients to one side of the pan. Put in 1 more tablespoon oil and pour in beaten eggs. Stir so that the eggs set in threads. Mix with other fried ingredients. When well mixed, add rice, sprinkle over soy sauce and pepper and stir-fry to heat through. When rice is hot, sprinkle over chopped shallot, mix well and remove from heat. Serve hot with tomato chutney.
Ingredients 125g salted fish 4 tablespoon oil 1 big onion (sliced fine) 300g chopped tomatoes 3 green chilies (slit) 1/2 teaspoon ginger/garlic mixture Thyme, chopped parsley Salt 2 tablespoons chopped shallot
Variation Some finely shredded cabbage with grated carrots can be stir-fried and added to rice.
Method Clean fish and allow to soak for about half an hour in cold water. Then cut the fish into small pieces. Heat oil and fry the fish pieces well until they become brown. Remove fish form the oil and keep aside. In the same oil, fry the onion for a minute, and then add all other ingredients (except shallot) and a little salt. Cook until mixture thickens and a thick gravy is obtained. Add to the rougaille, the fish pieces and 2 or 3 tablespoons water. Allow to simmer for 2 mins more. Remove from heat. Sprinkle over the chopped shallot. Extracts taken from Mauritian Delights by Mrs Lalita Sookhee, which contains over 300 absolutely delicious Mauritian recipes. To purchase, please contact Mrs Lalita Sookee: email@example.com 1 Farquhar Street, Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius. Telephone: 230-425-3803/230-750-1860 Fax: 230-425-3803
and Green Island rum varieties respectively. There are also premium vodkas and whiskeys available for those not accustomed to the Mauritian flavours. Port Louis bar, though, is not just a drinking establishment; as an island community famous for its love of parties and Sega music, no Mauritian bar would be complete with-
RESTAURANTS & BARS UK
“It is a home from home for both Mauritians and the residents of London”
out an element of dancing. Kailash imparts, “I don’t think there’s anywhere in England that can have that atmosphere that Sega induces back in Mauritius. However that element is something that is really important to us and that’s what we wanted to instil in this venue.” The food on offer perfectly compliments the relaxed vibe of Port Louis. The traditional gajaks, or snacks, on offer are small but very tasty dishes to accompany customers’ drinks and conversation. The brothers are very specific that they do not want to project the image of a restaurant where families would come to sit down and eat a three course meal. However, the food is both authetic and delicious, and proves a perfect addition to a few drinks in relaxed surroundings. The opening night itself proves to be a roaring success; there is a genuine air of excitement amongst both the staff and the rapidly growing number of guests. As the duo predicted, that atmosphere at the start of the evening is very casual and relaxed. Young groups and families are joined by couples sitting and enjoying a drink, whilst
the Sega music is being played by the DJ. The food is proving to be a huge success and ensures that the drinks continue to flow freely. As the night wears on, and the crowd begins to swell, the pace begins to liven up and eating makes way for dancing. The door is constantly being opened by a new group arriving and heading to the bar. The music has more of an energetic vibe and the customers are starting to dance. In true Mauritian style the party goes on long into the night. By the smiles on everyone’s faces, and the atmosphere within Port Louis bar, the opening night has been everything its owners had hoped it would be. A special thank you must go to the staff, who were both diligent and friendly, and made the night even more special with the quality of their service. Having thought about it, the best way to sum up The Port Louis Bar is to borrow the proverb that adorns its entrance: “You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius.” Will Mathieson
LIFESTYLE Lifestyle with Stef L
et’s face it, in the UK the weather hasn’t really screamed summer yet, however I’m hoping that you, unlike me, will soon be jetting off to a hotter climate for a few days – or even better, a few weeks – of fun and frolics. I’ve gone through excruciating pain this month to pick the best of beach wear for you, knowing that it won’t be me sporting one of the beautiful swimsuits below! Still, in the name of fashion journalism, I’ve picked some truly beautiful pieces for you this month. And whilst I was at it, I’ve selected some essential and easy to pack beauty products too. Enjoy and happy holidays!
UNDRESS.... THE BANDEAU BIKINI With a vintage feel, this yellow ﬂoral print bandeau bikini by Emobi is one of the cutest sets out there. It suits most shapes but is particularly ﬂattering on women with smaller breasts as it won’t cause spillage and will give the illusion of a curvier top half. £69 www.fashion-conscience.com
FOR TALL GIRLS...BUT NOT ONLY If bikinis are not your thing, this Waikiki red polka dot swimsuit is sexy, stylish, ﬂatters all shapes – especially tall girls – and at £28 it’s a real steal. www.longtallsally.com
IF YOU’VE GOT IT, FLAUNT IT How gorgeous is this Reﬂection one shoulder swimsuit by Gottex that leaves your midriff bare? Granted, killer abs (or at least the lack of a beer belly) are needed to do this piece justice, but hey, if you’ve got a washboard stomach ﬂaunt it in this colourful beach wear. Pair it with the Gottex Reﬂection silk open kaftan with the same pattern for ultimate beach fashion. £195 and £290 www.becheeky.com
YOU CAN LEAVE YOUR HAT ON.... Avoid over-heating and sun strokes in style with this absolutely fabulous wide-brimmed Soleil hat. You’ll feel like Bianca Jagger in St Tropez. £22 www.longtallsally.com
FOOTWEAR If gladiators have started to feel a bit too last year (and the one before, and the one before that), swap them for these pretty Sinha sandals in natural brown. Comfortable, cute and easy to pair with different looks. £40 www.longtallsally.com
TRAVEL LIGHT Being able to pack the essentials is a great skill, but we all know we like to look gorgeous on holiday. Davines have come up with a great idea: natural hair products gentle enough to use on the face and body too. Try the Authentic Moisturising Balm for face, body and hair. Use on the hair as a conditioner, on the face as a makeup remover and on the body as a balm. Leave on for 2 minutes and wash off. Packed with organic carthame oil, sunﬂower and sesame oils and shea butter, it will leave your hair and skin soft and hydrated (£16.80). The Authentic Cleansing Nectar is perfect as a shampoo and body wash (17.60). If you are in need of a deep conditioning treatment The Authentic Replenishing Butter can be used as a wash-off masque for the hair and as a leave on balm for face and body (£22.60). The Authentic Nourishing Oil (£29.20) works wonders for hair, face and body too, making them soft and ultra moisturised. www.davines.com Stef Bottinelli
Green Island UK Limited
21 Turnpike Lane Wood Green London, N8 0EP
Finest Mauritian Rum, Spirit, Wine and Champagne Importer
TELEPHONE 020 8348 3388
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8881 8686 www.greenislandrum.com
RNT TRADING COMPANY LTD Main importer and distributor of mauritian products in the UK We specialise in: Dhall Pouri, Parathas, Pickles, Snacks, Fizzy Drinks, Massala Powders, Fresh Vegitables, Apollo Noodles, Sirop Dowlut plus many more Mobile: 07961 366 572 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 0208 548 4702
Large group bookings taken We also cater for all occasions
JOSEPH MYNAH & CO SOLICITORS (Commissioner for Oaths) We care and respect our clients Crime, Immigration, Prison Law, Commercial Law, Conveyancing, Employment Unit 54 Grove Business Centre, 560-568 High Road, Tottenham, London, N17 9TA Tel: 020 8365 9940 Mob: 07985555447 (Raj/Krishen) Email: email@example.com Website: www.josephmynah.com
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SPORT FUNDRAISER Haany Halim T
he terrible plight of the Chagossian people is something that is well known to Mauritians: in 1965 the British purchased the islands from Mauritius with the intention of seceding them to the United States who had earmarked them as a perfect location on which to build a military base. In order to make way for this base, 2500 native Chagossians were forcibly removed from their homes, their livestock slaughtered and their residences destroyed. What people may not be as aware of is that those people were forced to live in the slums of Mauritius where, to this day, almost 4000 Chagossians remain. Not only have they lost the right to inhabit their own land, the onset of poverty has also brought with it a myriad of social problems, namely depression; suicide; drug and alcohol addiction; overcrowding; and unemployment. The Mauritian government is working with its British counterpart to correct this wrongdoing but the immediate problems of the Chagossians are going unnoticed. However, help has come from an unlikely quarter; ex-American serviceman, Haany Halim, has decided to take matters into his own hands and embark on a charity fundraising effort for one such victim.
Having seen a documentary from the investigative journalist John Pilger, Haany and his girlfriend were moved to take action themselves. He got in touch with Olivier Bancoult, leader of the ‘Chagos Refugees in Mauritius’ movement, and asked what he could do to help: “He told me about this specific case, of a lady who was getting kicked out of her house and I said I wanted to do something for her.” The case Olivier was referring to was that of Noelline Seballam, a Chagossian lady living in the Port Louis slum. Although her house only amounts to a shack, she has been asked to vacate the property, and is now homeless. Olivier explained to Haany that just £800 would be enough to secure Mrs. Seballam a property elsewhere. Haany says that, having seen the sterling work that Olivier had already done, “I said to him, ‘I’m with you’.” From there Hanny devised an event that could raise the funds to secure the plot of land that Mrs. Seballam so badly needed: “I don’t usually like asking people for money so I figured we had to come up with something crazy that would stick in people’s minds. Initially I only planned to tell family and friends about it but it seems to have got a bit bigger than that, which is great.
“We came up with the idea of a hike – setting off from central London at about 4AM on Saturday morning and walking to a town called Godalming. It’s about 38 miles from the start to Godalming and we’ll aim to walk that on Saturday. We’ll sleep for a few hours and then get up at a similar time on Sunday morning and walk another 40 miles to the finish in Portsmouth. “Initially it was just going to be me and my girlfriend but when I spoke to a guy from work about it he wanted to jump on board. Then a girl from my girlfriend’s office also wanted to get involved, so there are four of us now!” The £800 that Haany and his fellow fundraisers are looking to raise will secure a small
plot of land for Mrs. Seballam and a house – of sorts – to live in. as Haany says though, here in Britain we certainly would not call it a ‘house’ as it is more akin to the shelters that populate the shanty towns of the developing world. The group will make the phenomenal journey, across Britain’s A roads and on foot, to Godalming – over 38 miles away – before resting for the evening. They will then repeat the process to reach their final destination on the south coast. To put this effort into perspective, it is equivalent to walking one and a half marathons each day, with cars whizzing past constantly. The idea comes from Haany’s childhood in Virginia, America; as he says, “I don’t like running and I don’t go to the gym – I’ve even got a nice belly on me – but I love hiking and I love doing extreme things. I’ve done no training whatsoever so I’m probably the least fit of the four of us. We’re going to be walking for about fifteen hours each day so it will have to be fast and, to make things worse, the weather forecast predicts temperatures of 29 degrees on Saturday!” Haany is keen to emphasise that every penny raised will go to Mrs. Seballam and her new property. All of the expenses incurred on the hike will come out of his pocket. He wants to give a special mention to the generous owners of the Inn on the Lake, the hotel that the foursome will be staying in in Godalming on the Saturday evening. Everyone at Mauritius Now would like to wish Haany and the group ‘good luck’ for the event. They will be starting out on the morning of 26th June and will arrive in Portsmouth at some point on the afternoon of Sunday 27th June. Haany is still looking for money to raise the full amount for Mrs. Seballam. If you would like to make a contribution to this worthy cause, please contact him via email at Haanyhalim@gmail.com. We will be reporting back on how everything went in next month’s issue. Will Mathieson
Goodwill FC (Continued from page 40) It seemed that penalty shootouts in the Quarter Finals had started a trend, with both Semis being decided by penalties. The first Semi-Final, which featured Blue Marlin and Rhinos had been slow-paced and tactical, ending 1-1. It was just as tight on penalties, with Blue Marlin the eventual victors, beating Rhinos 4-3 from the spot. Meanwhile, Real Maurice had led by a single goal in the first half of their Semi Final against Cosmos, but Cosmos, never one to give up, and spurred on by their disposal of Champions Club Des Iles, held on, and scored late on to take the match penalties. Real pulled something out of the bag- they missed a couple, early on in the shoot-out, but plucky goalkeeper Raid Sookrah pulled out some big saves to put them through.
Final Blue Marlin got the better of a tight Final in which a Blue Marlin penalty proved decisive. Blue Marlin had started off the game slow, and Real Maurice enjoyed more possession. Real’s dominance soon translated, with James Fraser managing to slip behind the Blue Marlin defenders, who were caught napping, and finishing coolly to put Real 1-0 up. The goal proved a wake up call for Marlin, who found some energy in response, and pushed forward. Marlin put more and more pressure on the Real defence and this soon paid off, eventually scoring from a corner, with Nishal Gujadhur managing to head the ball in a busy box, and guide it into the back of the net. Inspired, Blue Marlin pushed on, trying to find a second, hitting the post in the process.
“We really showed the Mauritian football tournament what they were missing without Blue Marlin in there. We’re really proud”
Real Maurice FC
London Yara FC
Club des Iles FC The second half started off slow, with many players getting tired and suffering from cramp. Real Maurice started off the brighter, with captain Vissen Appadu working hard and leading by example, but Blue Marlin were resolute in defence, keeping tight and frustrating the Real Maurice players. As time went on, Blue Marlin started to enjoy more possession, and Real Maurice barely got a sniff at goal. Blue Marlin began to apply the pressure once again, with the Real Maurice defenders playing with their backs against the wall. Eventually, Darren Appadu was judged to have brought Neil Moonesawmy down in the box, somewhat controversially. However, the referee had made up his mind and quickly pointed to the spot and Blue Marlin skip-
Kestrel FC per Yeamish Rughooo stepped up and slotted home coolly to put Blue Marlin 2-1 up. It was effectively game over, with Maurice really starting to the feel the tiredness, and couldn’t find anything more in the tank. There were scenes of joy at the final whistle when the fans mobbed the captain and manager Ravin Soobadoo. Clearly delighted, he told us, “We really showed the Mauritian football tournament what they were missing without Blue Marlin in there. We’re really proud. A big thank you to the organisers. The competition has really improved since the last time we played here but at the end of the day, the team that picks up the trophy should be considered worthy winners. We were dropping like flies; cramps, tiredness. Only yesterday a
few players pulled out, so the character that they showed today has been immense.” Real Maurice manager, Gavin Pullia, was disappointed. “I thought we played well. It’s just one of those things” he told Mauritius Now. “I’ll thank the players for coming down and thank them for their efforts. We’ve made the Final again, four times in the last five years, so it shows the kind of team we are.” The award ceremony, led by tournament organiser Vishnu Soobadoo, marked the end of another successful tournament, with Champions and fans absolutely delighted. In an earlier edition of Mauritius Now, Blue Marlin warned us they’d retain a trophy that was “rightfully theirs”. Well, no argument there then. Sabina Jacobs
SPORT Blue Marlin FC â€” Mauritian Football Champions 2010
lue Marlin made a triumphant return to the Mauritian Football Tournament, 5 years after their last appearance. They came from behind to beat Real Maurice 2-1 in the Final, taking the trophy after a long day of intense competition.
Road to the Final The crowds had gathered early on Sunday to show their support for their teams. Blue Marlin qualified top of Group 1 with 7 points, with Cosmos qualifying in second place with 6. Rhinos finished third but qualified as a Best Loser. From Group 2, defending champions Club Des Iles finished top, having won three games out of three, including a game that saw them hit a record breaking 9 goals against Kestrel United. Clavisque also qualified in second place with 6 points. In Group 3, Skylarks finished top with the maximum 9 points, with Real Maurice qualifying in second place and Regents taking the other Best Loser spot. The Quarter Finals were pretty eventful, with 2 penalty shootouts and the defending Champions being knocked out in a shock result. Only a single goal separated winners Blue Marlin and Clavisque in a closely fought match, whilst Cosmos shocked Club Des Iles, beating them comfortably 2-0,to the delight of their fans. Meanwhile, Rhinos beat Skylarks 3-1 on penalties having played out a goalless draw and Real Maurice beat Regents on penalties, after Regents equalised in the dying minutes of the game after Real had gone 1-0 up early on. (Continued on page 38)
Blue Marlin FC celebrate their win