Last Wednesday, Alain Ah-Vee, Rada Kistnasamy, Dany Marie, and Rajni Lallah presented Lalit's program on the ecology and the environment in a press conference at our headquarters in Grand Riviere. This event was held in the context of World Habitat Day on the 6th of October.
Alain Ah-Vee who presided the press conference stated that the ecological problems threatening humanity today could be solved only through collective decisions based on co-operation of peoples of the world, not by timid attempts such as the Kyoto protocol. Even those timid attempts are being sabotaged by the US, which is now allowing Russia the space to delay the adoption of the Protocol.
The world economic system based on profit-making is responsible for the ecologically catastrophe of today, he said.
He said that in Mauritius, the MSM-MMM government is destroying habitat, and is threatening life for future generations. Alain Ah-Vee talked about the effect of the Integrated Resorts Scheme on the habitat: "working class areas will be transformed into 'servants quarters' next to huge domains of villas". "This clearly reflects nostalgia for the period of slavery and colonisation" he said. He also said that many tourist places describe themselves as being "domains". One even calls itself "The Plantations". All this is remniscent of colonisation and slavery, he said.
Alain-Ah-Vee also spoke out against the IRS project in Le Morne that Paul Berenger visited just before he became Prime Minister. Le Morne is a historical site, with deep significance for everyone in Mauritius. It was the place where runaway slaves lived. This site is being desecrated by the indecent presence of villas for the very rich.
"The MSM-MMM government is destroying the ecology and the environment" he said. "It is destroying agriculatural land, is creating unemployment, and is protecting big business". "The environment and the ecology should be democratically controlled" he said.
He explained how the Environment Minister is not in favour of protecting the environment, but is more interested in protecting the tourist industry. The environment, he said, is being moulded for tourist consumption: poor peoples' houses are branded as being "eyesores" and walled up, there are regulations passed to discourage political posters because they are supposedly "dirty", but advertising panels are given a free rein.
"The MSM-MMM government is using the pretext of environment protection to use repression", he said. People are fined for dropping a matchstick on the one hand, but the capitalist class in being allowed to imperil the environment by removing 200 cubic metres of sand from La Prairie; by destroying 6 thousand arpan of agricultural land and replacing it with concrete buildings; by the big Integrated Resorts Scheme whereby capitalists will build enormous villas for the very rich on what is now agricultural land, even on historically important land like in Le Morne, where runaway slaves lived. It has been announced that these villas (and their swimming pools, golf-courses) will get water 24 hours a day unlike the rest of the population.
Rada Kistnasamy presented Lalit's 19-page program on the Ecology and the Envronment. He said that the program was the result of collective work involving branches and regionals of Lalit. The program also includes a section on our postions and actions from Grup Zenn Lalit (Lalit Youth) actions to stop the building of an artificial reef in Tamarin, to Lalit actions against lead poisoning, to Lalit militants' actions against the privatisation of public gardens, to Lalit militants' work against the nuclear base on Diego Garcia.
He also talked about the urgent need for ecological rights to be protected by the Constitution, and for it to be included in the UN Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.