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CTSP, MLF, CITU, Playgroups & LALIT: 23 July Action against Compulsory Fingerprinting


LALIT, together with the two trade union Federations, CTSP and CITU, the women’s organization Muvman Liberasyon Fam, and the Playgroups Association announced holding an action at the Registrar General’s Building on Wednesday 23 July as from 9:00 am concerning the new biometric ID Cards that the Ramgoolam Government is attempting to impose on the people. This was announced by Jane Ragoo and Rajni Lallah in a Press Conference held at the GTU offices on 11 July.

What will this action be?

Members of the organizations who have not yet converted their ID cards because of being in the go-slow, will queue up, each with their birth certificate, old ID card, proof of address and other relevant documents, and formally apply for a new ID Card. When fingerprinting is required, they will refuse. “When our application is refused, as we expect it to be, then we will submit a letter to say that we do not give consent to be fingerprinted, we are calling for destruction of the entire centralized data-base as was done in the UK, and for legal amendments to be made so that the card is not compulsory.” This letter will be addressed to the civil servant in charge of the centre. Another original will be presented to the Prime Minister, whose office is in charge of this invasive project.

Jane Ragoo denounced the bosses who put pressure on workers by bringing the ID Card team on to worksites, and put pressure on workers to give their fingerprints. Vinod Seegum called the Government’s campaign “matrakaz”.

Rajni Lallah said that the Authorities were acting in a bizarre way, and she mentioned three different ways in which they act bizarrely.

MNIC panics but pretends business as usual
Firstly, on the one hand the MNIC are acting as if all if normal, announcing how 700,000 people have already taken out cards, while on the other hand, they show signs of panic: they have had to resort to fingerprinting workers on work-sites, where, with the help of bosses, they can extort them. They have even resorted to threats of five-years’ prison and now, since the DPP has announced that he is “unlikely to prosecute” until the final judgments of the cases have been handed down, the MNIC propaganda machinery, which is quite fascistic, has now changed its tune, and is making threats of eternal “trakasri”. You get a red cross struck over you if you want to sell a house, or do any other legal or official transaction!

Legal Cases Delayed then Rushed
Secondly, the State apparatus is also acting strangely on the legal front. The State Law Office had for 9 months quite blatantly used delaying tactics in all three cases before the Supreme Court, even in injunctions that are supposed to be urgent matters, still being at the stage of exchanging documents. Then, suddenly when the DPP made his announcement about being unlikely to prosecute, and when about three-quarters of people had already been forced to take out their new cards, then the Chief Justice came into Court and called for judgment in the two appeals against the refusal of injunction, to be over in 30 days, i.e. by the end of July.

PMO forcing fingerprinting and declaring fingerprinting illegal
Thirdly, the Prime Minister’s Office is being drawn into total internal contradiction: there is the MNIC in the PMO forcing fingerprinting on everyone for ID card purposes, and there is the Data Protection Commissioner who has declared compulsory fingerprinting for attendance “illegal”, and called on the police to act against the bosses of Alteo sugar estate and Clavis primary school. This contradiction eventually became unbearable within the State Law Office, which has to have legal officers defending both. The State Law Office has on two occasions abandoned the poor Data Commissioner to fend for herself in Court.

India: ID (Aadhaar) Card Suspended
Rajni Lallah said that Indian jurisdiction is relevant, and that three interlocutory Court Orders have over the past 9 months literally suspended the ID card known as the “Aadhaar Card” in India. Firstly, NO social service can any longer denied someone just because they have no card, just as Mr. Rao Rama is threatening to deny people services in Mauritius. Secondly, NO data can be transferred from the ID card data-base to any other department without the express permission of the person whose data it is.

Israel: Most Security Conscious State Suffers Data Leak
Rajni Lallah also referred to the revelations by Ish Sookhun that the MNIC’s own site was leaky as a sieve, while the Government’s site was also totally insecure. Citizen’s data was easily available without so much as hacking being necessary! In this context, Rajni spoke of how a sacked data worker in Israel in 2006 stole the total data-base and it ended up being owned by ogranized crime in Israel, in the first instance, and then being available on the web. All sorts of private data on Israelis, including medical and adoption records, which are sensitive data, are on the web.

Linked-In “Ads”
Rajni Lallah also provided the journalists present with downloads of a number of what you could call “Advertisements” on social media like “Linked-in” posted by people who had worked on the MNIC project with the Prime Minister! So much for the much-vaunted “confidentiality” clauses! Private sector contract workers have no knowledge of such a thing.

Present at the Press Conference were Vinod Seegum and Rishi Bundoo of the CITU, Reeaz Chuttoo and Jane Ragoo for the CTSP, Pushpa Lallah and Nitish Mungur for Playgroups, Shabeela Kalla for the MLF, and for LALIT there were Alain Ah-Vee, Rajni Lallah and Lindsey Collen.

Present for the Press, inter alia,were Weekly, Le Matinal, Le Defi, Teleplus, Le Mauricien, L’Express, ION news. The MBC TV, though invited, was not present. Perhaps the national broadcasting station is too busy broadcasting propaganda from Mr. Rao Ramma.