Peo­ple to watch Tricky times, even for the thick­est skins

The string of min­is­te­rial res­ig­na­tions and cor­rup­tion scan­dals of re­cent years does not nec­es­sar­ily mean the is­land has a new set of faces

The Africa Report - - COUNTRY FOCUS - Kervin Vic­tor in Port Louis

Harvesh See­go­lam Reg­u­la­tor on a tightrope

The new chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Com­mis­sion has a chal­leng­ing task to po­si­tion Mau­ri­tius’s fi­nan­cial ser­vices cen­tre as an im­por­tant ju­ris­dic­tion while en­sur­ing that lo­cal reg­u­la­tions com­ply with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. As the key reg­u­la­tor, See­go­lam has to steer the process to cre­ate a 10-year blue­print for the in­dus­try. Its goal is to iden­tify high­er­value niches and tackle cur­rent bar­ri­ers such as skil­land in­fras­truc­ture gaps. With new chal­lenges like Brexit on the hori­zon, See­go­lam has his hands full.

Roshi Bhadain New ‘Re­form Party’ seeks to po­si­tion it­self ahead of elec­tions

Roshi Bhadain re­signed as fi­nan­cial se­vices min­is­ter and as a mem­ber of par­lia­ment this year. He had man­aged the BAI cri­sis when he was in of­fice, which he de­scribed as the is­land’s big­gest Ponzi scheme. Fol­low­ing his res­ig­na­tion – in part be­cause of the gov­ern­ment’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to push on with a con­tro­ver­sial light-rail project, he cre­ated a new party, the Re­form Party. He wants to po­si­tion it as a key po­lit­i­cal player in the near fu­ture. “It’s not just a one-man show,” he as­sured sup­port­ers at a re­cent rally, and says it will run 60 can­di­dates in the next leg­isla­tive elec­tions.

Paul Lam Shang Leen Clean­ing up the drug money

Paul Lam Shang Leen, a former chief jus­tice, chairs the Com­mis­sion of In­quiry on Drug-Traf­fick­ing, set up in 2015 af­ter the seizure of Rs2bn of drugs. He has al­ready in­ter­viewed politi­cians, lawyers, busi­ness­men and pris­on­ers, among oth­ers. Many are wait­ing for his con­clu­sions to find out who is pulling the strings of drug traf­fick­ing in Mau­ri­tius. He has yet to say whether he will call in Prime Min­is­ter Pravind Jug­nauth for an au­di­ence.

Navin Ram­goolam Never wants to see another court­room

Af­ter his de­feat in the 2014 gen­eral elec­tions, it seemed to be the end for former prime min­is­ter Navin Ram­goolam. More than Rs200m ($5.9m) were seized from the Labour Party leader’s house in 2015, and he has been forced to face jus­tice in 11 cases – 10 of which he has won, with only one re­main­ing. The last charge is for money laun­der­ing, and is on­go­ing. Back in the po­lit­i­cal arena, he now prom­ises to break with the past if he is re-elected. His sup­port in the ru­ral ar­eas – cru­cial for win­ning elec­tions in Mau­ri­tius – re­mains strong. He reg­u­larly crit­i­cises Prime Min­is­ter Pravind Jug­nauth for his lack of lead­er­ship. Ram­goolam is promis­ing to work for poorer Mau­ri­tians, say­ing pol­i­tics as usual only ben­e­fits those who are al­ready rich.

So­maskaran Ap­pavoo A lit­tle tur­bu­lence on en­try for new Air Mau­ri­tius boss

Air Mau­ri­tius fi­nally got its new chief ex­ec­u­tive on 14 July af­ter a six-month wait. As a former pi­lot, Ap­pavoo will bring a cer­tain per­spec­tive to the job. That has started with some in­dus­trial re­la­tions work – iron­ing out a pilots’ strike. But he will also con­cen­trate on the fleet over­haul that Air Mau­ri­tius has be­gun, in­clud­ing a large or­der of planes: two A350-900s be­fore the end of the year and four more long­haul planes in 2018. Mau­ri­tius has signed up to cer­tain pro­vi­sions of global open skies agree­ments, which should see a greater deal of com­pe­ti­tion. Cer­tainly, tourism op­er­a­tors have been push­ing for more flights for some time. Air Mau­ri­tius will have to en­sure it main­tains cruis­ing speed if it wants to keep up with the con­ti­nen­tal be­he­moth, Ethiopian Air­lines, or the var­i­ous Gulf car­ri­ers who ply routes across Africa.

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