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In the context of Monday's budget

08.06.2003

It is a key moment in Mauritian history for us to stop and think. In fact, it is already late. Economic disaster could easily be looking us in the face very soon.

And it is not just Lalit saying so anymore. The bosses and the Government are finally coming to terms with the bancruptcy of their economy. The Sugar Industry, even they admit it now at long last, has no future. Free-Zone-style industries haven't either. Mass redundancies in the Sugar Industry under the notorious VRS are now being more than matched by textile factory closures on a scale never seen before. And the bosses now openly promise worse to come. Unemployment will begin to reach mortal levels soon.

At the same time, it is Budget Day on Monday, and we can expect Government to do no more than take measures that ultimately only serve to aggravate these two major problems. While all these key things are taking place, there is also an important debate going on about the future of the CEB, a sector central to long-term planning.

It's in this context of generalized flux that Lalit has begun a national campaign to force Government and the bosses, and their accredited ideologues, to wake up and act in the interests of the people of this country.

As for the rest of us, we haven't got any choice. We have to fight for our right to stay alive on the planet. It is that that is under threat.

Here is an outline of our campaign:
1. We demand mass conversion of land to planting of food, and this to be done by "organic" and "green" methods on a huge scale, for peoples' food needs and, on a larger scale than ever before, for export. This way Mauritius can get around the disaster that the sugar industry is facing as the Sugar Protocol runs out. This way Mauritius can become a world leader in food production which is guaranteed GMO-FREE. This will create employment on a large scale, and, at the same time, respect Mauritius' natural heritage. We have the advantage of being a nation of islands, so that we can be free from "contamination par les OGM".
2. We demand compulsory conversion of ex-sugar mills into agro-industrial plants, for exporting produce. This will create employment and absorb the shock of the ruinous globalization that the multinationals are subjecting us to.
3. We call on Government to oppose all new "rounds" at the WTO and to call for suspension of existing WTO agreements until a "World-wide Social Audit" is completed, instead of the embarrassing policy of first encouraging new rounds and then going around begging for exemptions, the way Cuttaree and Jugnauth are doing.
4. We oppose privatization of the CEB. This process must be reversed now, and the CEB bureaucracy replaced by a democratic structure. Unfortunately the present debate on CEB is very parochial, never ever touching on the key issues being addressed world-wide in this epoch, i.e. kinds of energy that are neither polluting nor blindly reliant on finite stocks of fossil fuels that are being depleted irrationally.
5. We demand massive investment into research and production of genuinely renewable and clean energy. In particular Solar, Wind and Sea (tidal and wave) energies. With this kind of vision, and a well-planned CEB, Mauritius can become a world leader in clean, durable and, in the long term, cheap energy. This can create a lot of employment and keep our islands' ecologies balanced.