GIS – 26 December, 2018: 2018 was a very important year in our history as it marked the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Independence of Mauritius on 12 March during which all Mauritians felt great pride and joy, said the Acting President of the Republic, Mr Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, in his 2018 Christmas message to the population on 25 December 2018.
The Acting President also focused his message on the havoc caused by the drug scourge, domestic violence and crimes as well as the outstanding performance of Mauritian athletes in 2018. He congratulated athletes who made Mauritius proud by bringing the country 128 medals following their successful participation in international competitions namely, at the Commonwealth Games, the Youth African Games and the Youth Olympic Games.
Speaking about the economy, the Acting President pointed out that in 2018, the growth rate remained stable at 3.8%, and, indicated that a lot of expenses were made with regards to infrastructural modernisation across the country. The Metro Express, he emphasised, is the largest project ever undertaken in Mauritius in terms of infrastructure development and will bring about a great change in our transport system and enhance our road and trading environment. Mr Pillay Vyapoory also lauded the introduction of the minimum wage, creation of the Citizen Support Unit, progress in tourists’ arrivals as well as the reform in the education sector, that is, the Nine-Year schooling project.
As regards the environment, the Acting President observed that since some years now environment protection has become key in the management of the country and that climate change is presently indeed a reality. He also evoked the introduction of major eco-friendly initiatives which include the abolition of the use of plastic bags in Mauritius and Rodrigues, the distribution of Eco bins with the objective to collect a 100 million plastic bottles annually, and, replacing the use of polluting energy sources such as coal and heavy oil with renewable energy.
Moreover, the Acting President spoke about societal problems which include the fight against poverty and the drug scourge, and, in particular the proliferation of synthetic drugs, the destruction caused by domestic violence, criminal offences and fatal road accidents.
Mauritius, Mr Pillay Vyapoory highlighted, is a Welfare State where citizens are recipients of social benefits. He recalled that the Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment provides financial assistance to 10 000 families and that the National Corporate Social Responsibility Foundation has allocated funding of up to Rs 203 million to NGOs for project implementation aimed at reducing poverty and inequalities. If people make efforts, they will be able to come out of poverty and ensure a better future for their children, and thus, it is important to inculcate moral values to the youth at an early age, he remarked.
In addition, the Acting President expressed concern with regards to the drug plague and noted that several drug seizures were carried out as well as operations to halt money laundering practices. It is good to combat drug trafficking but it is even essential to eliminate drug consumption, he stated. It is likewise saddening that drugs has entered our schools and young people have to understand that drug is a poison and they should not destroy their lives by consuming drugs and alcohol, he emphasised.
On the subject of domestic violence and crimes, Mr Pillay Vyapoory highlighted that laws have been voted to protect women and helpless people. He indicated that a change in attitude is a must and people should respect women and the elderly even more. Finally, with regards to the number of road fatalities, the Acting President expressed the wish that Mauritians, in 2019, become more aware about safety on the roads which in turn will bring about a drastic reduction in the number of road accidents.
The year 2019 holds the promise of a great future for Mauritius, said the Acting President. In fact, he stated, Mauritius is expectant of a positive verdict from the International Court of Justice of The Hague regarding its sovereignty claim on the Chagos Archipelago. Furthermore, in September 2019, the Metro Express will be in operation, and in July, our country will be hosting the Indian Ocean Island Games and these Games will be an opportunity for all citizens to gather around the National Flag in a sporting spirit to strengthen our national unity, he added.
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