We are publishing for the interest of our visitors, a letter that LALIT sent to the Electoral Commissioner at beginning of the month. We are requesting that all electoral notices should also include versions in the kreol language.
The Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Irfan Abdool Raman,
Max City Building,
Remy Ollier St.,
4th February 2011
We are writing to you concerning the language used by your office for Notices during elections. In the past, LALIT candidates have made formal protests to your department about the fact that all these notices, for example those fixed on boards inside school yards, are written in English and all other languages used in Mauritius, but not in Kreol. These notices contain electoral regulations and useful information addressed to electors for the swift running of the voting process. The non-existence of a Kreol version of these notices renders its contents, inacessible to the vast majority of electors, in practice. As you know Kreol is the language that almost all Mauritians understand best. According to the last official census 2000 over 80% of the population declared that they usually speaks Kreol or Kreol and another language at home. So excluding Kreol is a form of discrimination against all Creolophones. We think that electors should have the right to read official documents and instructions in the language which they are more familiar with, undsertand well and with precision. So why should the vast majority of electors be deprived of this right? Furthermore last year the Government has started the process of introducing Mauritian Kreol in primary education and has set up an Akademi Kreol Morisyin which has worked on an orthography for the Kreol language to be used by the Minstry of Education for school books, pedagogical manuals and in teachers training. So now it would not be a problem to have these electoral notices written in Kreol.
As you are probably aware, our organisation has been for years in the forefront of the struggle for the promotion of the use of the mother tongue in all Government institutions. Today there is a large consensus in Mauritius in favour of the use of the written form of the Kreol language, for example, in the media, on radio, for advertisements, and in education from the level of preprimary, primary, high school right up to University. Some Ministries, like those of Fishries, Human Rights, Womens’ Rights, Health, Labour, Justice, Tourism have been using written Kreol for their announcements, pamphlets, posters and invitation cards.
We are sure that your department would like to form part of this general move towards a wider the use of written Kreol. So we are making a formal request to your Commission that it starts including a Kreol version of all its electoral notices that are used during general and other elections. This will contribute to the development of written Kreol, and particularly to its more formal registers.