Blog: PNQ - Own Goal? Or?
I am wondering why the Leader of the Opposition, Paul Berenger asked the PNQ over the visit of the PM and why did he not withdraw it after the successful outcome of the meeting between David Cameron and Navin Ramgoolam was known?
First the majority of MMM MPs rallied to the government position over the abortion amendment bill. It was voted by a very large majority on Tuesday. Then there is not much enthusiasm to pursue the series of MMM and MSM meetings around the country. They have been postponed. And then came the PNQ.
The opposition and some commentators have been speculating that nothing positive would come out of the discussions in London. They were saying that the visit was ill-prepared, the Chagos issue would not be raised, that the PM was not invited to the Queen’s golden jubilee celebrations. They all wished the mission to fail. The opposition has even said that Navin Ramgoolam had received a humiliating treatment at 10 Downing Street. The talks were first held with junior ministers.
The British High Commissioner has clarified that a visiting Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street is always received by a minister who takes him to the office of the British PM. That is the protocol and that is how business is done.
The Prime Minister has clearly stated that the main purpose of his mission was to sign an agreement dealing with captured pirates to be judged in a court in Mauritius. The documents relating to the setting up of the court were signed at the residence and the office of the British Prime Minister that is 10 Downing Street.
It is the first time since 1997 that a Mauritian Prime Minister is received at 10 Downing Street. The pictures and statements released show that all protocols were observed, discussions were held in a cordial atmosphere. The body language proved that a good relationship and communication has been established between the two leaders. This augurs well for the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of State and Government meeting in Mauritius.
It was perhaps a mere coincidence that another picture showed Navin Ramgoolam being flanked by the Queen and the British PM. Usually the Queen ought to have been flanked by the two Prime Ministers.
By taking the bold decision to host the court over piracy, Navin Ramgoolam has shown his maturity. He is playing in the big league. The league which wants to get the Indian Ocean rid of pirates. It is in the vital interest of our country that the pirates are made harmless.
There comes a time in the life of a nation when all citizens are expected to rise and rally as one nation, as one people. I do not think that there is one Mauritian who will not support the Prime Minister over the issue of piracy and in our claim of sovereignty over the Chagos archipelago.
No Mauritian, today or tomorrow will ever agree to give up our claim over the sovereignty issue. The British had illegally excised our territory before independence. The African Union, the Non Aligned movement, China, all support our claim. Mauritius rightly does not recognize the British Indian Ocean Territory and the marine protected area around Diego.
But do we have any other choice than to fight for our rights. The way we are doing. Although we have the majority of nations on our side, together with UN resolutions, can we or any other country go to war to establish our rights? Paul Berenger learnt it the hard way when he realised that a Commonwealth country cannot take another Commonwealth country to court. As Prime Minister, he had threatened to withdraw Mauritius from the Commonwealth to take Britain to the International Court of justice.
The vital defense and security interests of the US, the Western world and our own are at stake. That is why the strategy of our PM not to question the continued existence of the American base over Diego is the correct one. Navin Ramgoolam had already informed the British Prime Minister that he would raise the matter during his proposed forthcoming visit to the US.
Mauritius would like to be a party to the negotiations between the US and the UK to renew the agreement in 2016. Just to establish our sovereignty, every political party, every political leader, every Mauritian should understand that our struggle to get back Diego Garcia and establish our full sovereignty over Chagos archipelago is the struggle of every Mauritian and not of Navin Ramgoolam only. We have to wage this battle together.
Are you thinking that Diego is drawing MMM and Labour towards each other? Was the PNQ an own goal? Or should we read something more?
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Former Director General, MBC.