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
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.