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Ramgoolam Folly: Proposing Co-gestion of Chagos with USA


One of the common ruses of the powerful is to get the powerless themselves to propose something that undermines their own integrity. Then the powerful can stand back and laugh, taunting them when they later try, without success, to recover the former moral high-ground they have lost.

The UK-USA alliance is particularly good at this – what with Britain’s centuries of colonial experience and the USA’s still unbridled power over its vassals, even as its empire now heads for the same bankruptcy that ended the British Empire.

The USA and/or UK must have deviously fed Ramgoolam the idea of “co-gestion”, knowing that his very making of the proposal could be mortal to the Mauritian position. And Ramgoolam has fallen for it. There is no other explanation for such folly.

Let us examine the significance of the exact date of Ramgoolam’s immoral proposition: 5 August 2014. This is the very moment in history when the USA and UK are in a tight corner about illegal renditions on Diego Garcia. The British Government has admitted on 4 August to begging the USA to censor the Senate Hearing Report, a 6,300 Report due out right now. Obama had already announced five days before that “We tortured some folk” (31 July). The Senate Report is known to expose the kidnapping, illegal imprisonment and torture, as well as the lies and deceipt to cover it all up, on Diego Garcia. The truth will also expose the UK, like Poland before it, to massive reparations suits from victims of rendition on their territory.

So, instead of the Mauritian Prime Minister announcing that, “Mauritius will no longer tolerate a military base on our territory, Chagos. The base has been used for torture and illegal rendition. It has been used for bombarding civilians in the Second Gulf War now known to have been declared on the basis of lies, thus against international law. The base was the cause of the illegal dismembering of our country. The base was the cause of the immense suffering of the people who lived on Chagos, which was part of Mauritius. We call for it to be closed down. We call for Mauritius to be re-united, in terms of its territory and its people. We call for reparations for Chagossians from the US and UK for forcible removal. We call for a complete clean-up of Diego Garcia, and for reparations to be paid to the Mauritian Government for the re-establishment on Chagos of any Chagossians who want to live there. The Mauritian Government will immediately set up an Island Council and a Constituency No 22 for Chagos. ” It is this kind of principled position which will get support from the African Union and the Non-Aligned Movement and the SADC. Why on earth should anyone else in world support a proposal for Mauritius to become “co-gestioneur” of the entire Chagos with the illegal occupier of part of it?

Ramgoolam has corrupted his position. He no longer merits to be Prime Minister. He even undermines his own claim for Mauritian soveriengty, in general, as well as in his case under the Convention of the Law on the Sea! We see the vassal, Navin Ramgoolam, symbolically standing dwarfed by the White House couple in a photo opportunity, suggesting this outrageous “co-gestion” of Chagos with the USA.

There used to be a right-wing communal taunt against immigrants to the effect that “lokater pe rod vinn proprieter”. But today Ramgoolam, as Head of State, is seeking something totally absurd: “Proprieter (the State of Mauritius) pe propoz vinn ko-lokater ansam ar enn lokater (USA) ki su-lwe enn sel lasam (Diego Garcia) dan lakaz (Chagos) ar enn skwater ilegal (UK).” And the timing gives it all away: just when the US and UK are being exposed publicly for their 50 years of crime on Chagos and Diego Garcia.

11 August, 2014