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LALIT calls for Kreol to be Official in National Assembly


LALIT has written to the new Leader of the House and Speaker calling for a constitutional amendment to allow Kreol to become joint (with English) medium in the National Assembly. Here is a copy of LALIT’s call:

The Leader of The House, Hon. Sir Aneerood Jugnauth
The Speaker, Hon. Maya Hanoomanjee

Dear Sir, dear Madam,

Since the Alliance Lepep has come to power, and since the new Government intends that, when appropriate, the National Assembly be broadcast live on MBC TV, and

* Since Kreol is the main language of “lepep”,
* Since Ledikasyon pu Travayer had a Survey conducted by SOFRES in 2009 which showed that 67% of the people are in favour of using Mauritian Kreol in the National Assembly, only 18% are strongly against, and 9% somewhat against. This was despite the survey also showing, in another question, that only 20% of people knew there were Kreol dictionaries in existence!
* Since Kreol is now taught as a subject in its own right, in schools, and has been for three cohorts,
* Since Court Transcribers have led the way by following a course in written Kreol, organized by the Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies,
* Since the MIE has a Kreol Unit headed by Dr. Nita Ragoonundhun, preparing text books in Kreol,
* Since the University of Mauritius and the Open University offer courses in and on Kreol at graduate level,
* Since the theoretical linguists, in particular Prof. Dany Adone and Dr. Fabiola Henri, have done the groundwork on elucidating the Mauritian Kreol grammar we all already use naturally,
* Since there is a national orthography prepared by, inter alia, Dr. Vinesh Hookoomsing and Dr. Arnaud Carpooran,
* Since there is a growing body of literature in Mauritian Kreol,
* Since Ledikasyon pu Travayer was in 2013 awarded the UNESCO Linguapax Prize for promotion of the mother-tongue, Kreol,
* and since there are full-length dictionaries, and a grammar handbook prepared by Dr. Daniella Police,

We call on your Government, which, together with the OPR, now has a 3/4 majority, to introduce a Bill for a Constitutional Amendment at the first Sitting of the National Assembly, so that the Official Languages of the National Assembly become both English, as it is at present, and Mauritian Kreol, while French can still, as it is now, be used for addressing the Chair.

This means, in technical terms, amending the Constitution to add the letter and words in square brackets:

Section 49: The official language[s] of the Assembly shall be English [and Mauritian Kreol] but any member may address the chair in French.

We believe that, if approached in good faith, that the political parties in the Opposition will agree to the Amendment.

In practical terms, the Hansard Stenographers will need a one-week training course. The Open University, MIE, LPT, or the University of Mauritius, can probably organize one, or the Speaker can perhaps call on an individual pedagogue to run such a Course.

We suggest that the Minister of Justice calls for volunteers (like the Kreol Speaking Union, academics, associations) to translate The Constitution, immediately, and Erskine May: Parliamentary Practice, over the next 6 months (all 500 pages), into Kreol. The Speaker and Deputy Speaker will need to set up a small committee of lexographers with knowledge of both English and Kreol, to discuss “Parliamentary” and “unParliamentary language”.

This process of decolonization and further democratization will also be a unifying factor for “the people” of the country.

We thank you for considering this.

Yours sincerely,

Rada Kistnasamy

Copy to: Minister of Justice, Hon. Ravi Yerigadoo.
Leader of Opposition, Hon. Paul Bérenger.
Head of Labour Parliamentary team, Hon. Shakeel Mohamed.
The Press.

29 December, 2014