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The Mystery of the Disappearing Debates


Over the past two months there have been two outstanding initiatives, at long last, to organize a proper debate on electoral reform.
In April, the La Sentinelle Group contacted Lindsey Collen of LALIT to be one of four speakers at a debate on Electoral Reform to be chaired by Abdoolah Earally. The other speakers were to be electoral systems expert, Rama Sithanen, and political scientist, Shafic Osman, both of whom had confirmed their participation, as well as a representative of the editorial board of the L’Express group. Two days before the debate was due to be held, the event was cancelled. LALIT put this down to the beginning of the “koz-koze” at Clarisse House having confused and hyper-politicized the event. But, this was a guess. And once the confusion was over, the debate was not re-launched.
A few weeks later, the Institut Cardinal Jean Margeot contacted Ram Seegobin of LALIT to be a speaker at a debate they were planning on the same theme. This time along with Justice Minister Faugoo (or a representative of his) and historian Jocelyn Chan Low. This debate also had to be cancelled because the other speakers were not available. No back-up plan has yet emerged.
At a time when debate amongst different currents of political opinion is so sorely needed, all we have managed to get so far is two near-debates.
So, Mauritius now has dozens of Universities, in terms of dishing out certificates and diplomas, and yet so little thinking, confronting ideas and proper debate.
And while speaking of Universities, it is worth mentioning that over the past year or so, three invitations to LALIT members to address students in different departments have been outright cancelled, two at the very last minute. So common has this become that in LALIT we have coined the term “dis-invitation” for this somewhat indecent behavior.