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LALIT Program for the Crisis

28.03.2020

We can expect mounting pressure for a Government of national unity. This is because the MSM-ML Government, because of a three-way split, got the votes of only some one-third of the people and as LALIT has argued, they were tepid votes only. At the same time, the Opposition parties occupy a political and ideological space which is either the same as the MSM-ML’s space or to the right. So, if there is a Government of national unity in this moment, we can expect it to change nothing, or to be more repressive.


What LALIT calls for is a Program for Immediate Relief plus a New Social Contract. In times of epidemic, that is the most we can call for, given that we cannot physically organize people because we are in lockdown, and we agree with the lockdown as the only sensible public health measure.


Program for Immediate Relief and New Social Contract 


1. A guaranteed immediate revenue to each family in Mauritius, Rodrigues and Agalega. Right now people still have money, even if they can’t buy food. But soon they will not have. Half of people work for SMEs. And another percentage are self-employed. They must immediately be given a revenue.


2. Moratorium on all loans, rent payments.


3. Price controls, and where necessary, rationing of food, cleaning materials, cooking materials, medicines.


4. That workers like NEF workers and rubbish collectors and all other essential services like food distribution be immediately included in a future social contract as government employees with proper conditions. 


5. That the government assures people that, as we come out of the crisis:


a) All IRS-type villa schemes are frozen. 


b) One third of all sugar estate land (either plenn-ter or antreliyn) is given over to food crops, and each estate or ex-estate sets up a food preservation factory to preserve and transform the first crops. This way land is used for the creation of stable jobs with stable incomes. If the sugar estates do not obey Government, their land must be requisitioned and nationalized to this end. 


c) That land is freed up so that every Mauritius living in crowded housing or without a home at all, be guaranteed housing.


6. Now that we see the importance of a universal, public health system, that the Government announce it withdraws the private insurance and private health schemes it has been trying to impose on civil servants, as this will weaken our health system.