LALIT has protested to the Minister of Youth and Sport for colluding with the USA’s drive to penetrate Mauritian civil society, and in particular young people. With the Diego Garcia base lease with the UK coming up for renewal in 2014, it was to be predicted that the US Embassy would accentuate its corrupting practices. Articles on the LALIT letter have been published in both Le Mauricien and Week-End Scope. The letter to the Minister is reproduced below:
To: Hon. Devanand Ritoo,
Minister of Youth and Sport,
7 November, 2012.
LALIT wishes to call on your Ministry to cancel the participation of the Embassy of the United States of America in the leadership training exercises for young people that are planned to be jointly organized by yourselves and the Embassy. We call on you to re-organize the residential seminar, so that the Mauritian Government co-ordinates and pays for the training, itself. We believe that, with the help of all the other local organizations already apparently involved in the training, it will be easy to go ahead without any dangerous and compromising “Big Brother” running the Seminar. Indeed one wonders why all the details for a Ministry activity are on the site of the USA Embassy, or why Pointe Jerome is being used by an Embassy for its own aims.
We thus formally put on record our protest against a Government Ministry exposing young Mauritians to the propaganda of an occupying power, the United States of America, during so-called “leadership” courses, and this during a residential seminar. It is totally unacceptable to have a Ministry of Youth opening up Mauritian society to penetration of an Embassy in this way. The timing, from the USA point of view, is not innocent: their illegal lease of Mauritian territory comes up for renewal negotiations with Great Britain as from 2014.
As you are aware the USA occupies part of Mauritian territory, and does this illegally.
The Mauritian State is right now in the process of contesting the British illegal occupation of the Chagos, and the British have sub-let part of Chagos, Diego Garcia, to the USA for military purposes. None of this was ever agreed to by the Independent Mauritian State. We are shocked that any Government Ministry is so blind to the clear US strategy of penetrating Mauritian society. Both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office are challenging the illegal occupation of our territory. It is certainly not a moment to allow them to get direct access to “youth leaders” in an Independent country.
Thinking about “civic and political engagement”, as the Press Advertisement puts it, demands total independence from any occupying power.
For example, using Mauritian territory (our territory according to the Supreme Law of the land, the Constitution) for attacking countries whom the Mauritian State has not declared war on, is an important question of “civic and political engagement”. The part of our territory that is illegally occupied by the USA, has been used by the US Government, as well as for bombarding wedding parties and other civilian targets like the city of Baghdad, for “rendering”. “Rendering” is a slang expression for the handing-over of illegal prisoners for the purposes of torture by third-party States. The British Government admitted in Parliament that they had unwittingly misled the House by denying such renderings previously, and the Minister concerned finally admitted formally that “renderings” had taken place on Diego Garcia. Opposing this is certainly a question of “civic and political engagement”, because they took place on territory for which we have moral responsibility.
Our young people should not be encouraged to think it normal to be “trained” in “leadership” by the State Apparatus of an occupying power that bombards civilians and “renders” mainly young people (even minors, since we are talking of “youth”) from Mauritian soil.
We hope you will be able to extricate your Ministry from this difficult situation with the utmost dignity.
Ram Seegobin, for LALIT, 153 Main Road, Grand River North West, Port Louis. 208 5551
Copies: Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Press.