Last week LALIT ran a new poster campaign reading “The People’s Language must Enter Parliament”. Langaz Lepep bizin rant dan Parlman.
LALIT has long run a campaign to lift the ban on the mother tongue, Mauritian Kreol, in Parliament. The National Assembly language, according to the Independence Constitution of 1968 that sorely needs amendment, is “English”. We want this to be amended to the languages are “English and Kreol”. We agree that French, as the status quo states, is also permitted for addressing the Chair in the National Assembly, to which Mauritian Bhojpuri should be added.
It is particularly important for Kreol to be allowed in Parliament now in 2017, because the MBC TV has this year begun for the first time to give live coverage to the National Assembly sessions. This move towards more democracy is made rather empty when foreign languages are the only ones allowed in the National Assembly. Since MPs and Ministers speak mostly in English, and sometimes French, people do not know what they are saying. Many MPs, quite normally, have a less-than-precise competence in these two languages, themselves. So, as well as the usual kinds of duplicity, elected members can hide behind their imprecise mastering of the language they use, and their electors imprecise knowledge of the languages.
Gradually LALIT’s campaign has near universal acceptation. All major political parties are in favour. The Prime Minister has said there are only some technical issues. We, in LALIT, are convinced that these technical issues (assuming it means a fortnight’s training of stenographers, and the gradual translation of basic texts into Kreol, starting with the Constitution and the NA’s standing orders) can be resolved simultaneously with the lifting of the banning of our language