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At the same time as the UN SIDS International Meeting,
LALIT launches campaign for an alternative political economy

12.01.2005

In a challenge to the way the bosses and successive governments have dealt with the impending economic crisis that will be aggravated by the end of the Sugar Protocol of the EU-ACP Lome Convention and the end of the Multi-Fibre Agreement, LALIT has announced the launch of a new national campaign for an alternative political economy. The announcement was made at a LALIT press conference held on Tuesday, 16 January, 2005 at the LALIT headquarters in Gran River North West, Port Louis and chaired by LALIT member, Cindy Clelie. Le Mauricien, L'Express, Le Defi, Le Matinale, MBC Television and RADIO ONE were present, for the Press.

The program was described by Ram Seegobin, in reponse to a question from a reporter, as being "transitional" in that it starts with the economic realities of today and presents demands that will bring about a dynamic for change. The major problem facing Mauritius now is unemployment. That Prime Minister Paul Berenger changes the way of calculating unemployment to make it look less than it is does nothing to prevent unemployment. He gave details of the kind of changes that LALIT envisages in the agricultural sector, which has since the time of colonization been dominated by the production of sugar. This sector needs to produce food, to process food and to export it, as well as supply the local market.

Discussing the way in which the SIDS International Meeting never in any way put into question the burdensome colonial heritage of the economies of "Small Island Developing States". He said that it was not surprising that agreement could not be reached on matters as basic as the Kyoto Treaty when there are some 17 colonies in the SIDS meeting, including colonies of the United States of America which opposes even the mild Kyoto Treaty.

"The campaign is to be launched Sunday," Alain Ah-Vee announced, explaining how the campaign will be multi-dimensional, including neighbourhood meetings, audio-visual sessions on agriculture and agro-industry, as well as leaflets and posters.

Rajni Lallah launched the new 80-page Program Booklet that LALIT has produced called "Towards an Alternative Political Economy: Agriculture, Agro-Industry and Electricity". She described how this program, the sixth in LALIT's Program Series, was produced over the past two years, through meetings in all the branches and through LALIT's commissions. She also said it had had two preliminary versions, one dating from 2003 produced in cyclostyled form which was used for neighbourhood meetings over the past six months. "It works!" she said. Another thoroughly reworked edition came out at the end of last year as a result of the additional input of people who know about planting, animal rearing and fishing who came to LALIT meetings. This was for members. Now this 80-page Program is for use both in the LALIT campaign, she explained, and also on sale in public. It costs Rs50.

Also present at the Press Conference were Andre Pierre, Ally Hosenbokus and Lindsey Collen.

LALIT members are working on putting both the English and Mauritian Kreol versions on the web-site in the Documents section. They should be up-loaded within the next week.