On Sunday 8th June, some 100 village councilors, ex-village councilors and representatives of grassroot organisations from the villages of the South of Mauritius responded positively to the appeal of Lalit (Curepipe-South Regional) to participate in an Assembly to debate the new Local Govt Bill.
The Assembly was hosted by the Plaine Magnien Village Council and several other village councils joined in Lalit to call this special assembly. After the presentation of the Local Government Bill by Rajni Lallah, a lively, high level and sophisticated debate followed. More than 20 Villages from the South were represented and actively participated in the debate. It can be said that this assembly was one of the most democratic people's assembly ever held in the South Region. Participants ferociously voiced their concerns over the take over of regional democracy through the new LGB, by a layer of rich people and the traditional parties which rich people fund. One of the most experienced participant, Mr. Prit Ramkissoon, from Rose Belle, argued with passion and clarity, that democracy is being turn upside down by abolishing Village Councils government is removing democracy from below to impose the masters voice from the top.
The Assembly concluded on several resolutions, namely: to oppose the abolition of Village Councils, to oppose any attempt to introduce taxes on housing while grassroots democracy is being suppressed, to oppose any conditions attached to the Grant of regional bodies, for workers of the public sector to be able to stand candidates in local elections, for only residents of a region to be able to stand candidate in local elections. The assembly unanimously voted for mass Village Assemblies to held in all villages of the South and adopted a resolution for the principle of a mass demonstration to be debated in the coming Villages Assemblies. The Assembly was chaired by Ashok Subron.