It took neighbourhood mobilization in 50 different places and two big street demonstrations in Port Louis, co-ordinated by LALIT, at which hundreds of families wrote individual letters to the Prime Minister, to make Government finally say it will take its responsibility on the issue of asbestos housing.
Ministers have announced that Government has a plan, or a solution.
Before that, Government finally announced in public that each family should go and put a complaint at the Citizens’ Support Unit in their area. Following these complaints, the Government got the various CABs (Citizens’ Advice Bureaux) to conduct a survey. This led to different Ministers announcing either a “plan” or a “solution”. From what LALIT gathers, families that qualify for support from NEF (National Empowerment Foundation) because they are on the infamous Social Register of Mauritius are getting offers of a house, as well as of dismantling the existing asbestos house. But this is very few people. Others are getting calls or letters to go to Social Security offices in their area, where different proposals seem to be being made. Others are getting letters from the main Hospitals to present on appointment for a screening of some sort for health effects of asbestos. All this in response to the letters to the Prime Minister, and two big street demonstrations.
However, it is the duty of Government to publicly announce what it is proposing, and not to just fumble on like this.
It needs to be made clear, and public, so that everyone knows and can act in their own interests, and take advice from others. Here is LALIT’s letter, dated 21 February 2019 calling for an official Communiqué. We have, as of 4 March, had no reply at all.
We are writing to you to request that you arrange for Government, preferably the Cabinet, to issue a formal communiqué to explain how the State intends to respond to the on-going crisis of asbestos housing. Ministers have said in public that the Government will be responding with a “plan” after a survey, and it would be very helpful to all those in asbestos housing if this plan were announced formally and publicly.
We request this centralized “Government communiqué” because the issue involves different Ministries, like those of Health, the Environment, Housing and Social Security, as well as different state institutions like NHDC, NEF and NSF.
It is not surprising that many families, not familiar with all the institutions involved, are somewhat confused as to what the “survey” and what Government is planning to do, or already doing.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
for all the “Joint LALIT Neighbourhood Asbestos Housing Committees”
208 5551, 208 2132.
153 Main Road, GRNW, Port Louis. firstname.lastname@example.org
cc. Minister of Health
Minister of the Environment
Minister of Social Security
Minister of Housing