Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo is the primary lady to serve as Deputy Prime Minister. In an interview she gave us, she talks concerning the presence of women on the political scene and in the federal government. While acknowledging that the government is “making a lot of effort to provide opportunities for women,” she considers that the presence of women in Parliament and Cabinet is “very low”. She additionally talks lots about Agalega, which falls underneath her duty, and insists that the Dornier is a Nationwide Coast Guard aircraft, the only body that may make the decision about its flights. In accordance with her, the construction of the airstrip and the pier can be a “stepping stone” to undertake further developments in the archipelago.
You are the first lady to function Deputy Prime Minister and to be in fourth place in the government hierarchy. How do you reside these obligations?
It’s a delight for the nation and for women as a result of that is the primary time a lady has been appointed Deputy Prime Minister. It helps give the government a unique image and provides women more confidence. I need to admit that this authorities has given women so much of opportunities. There was a lady in the presidency of the nation and there’s a lady in the presidency of the National Meeting. This exhibits that if a lady is deserving, the Prime Minister can belief us and entrust us with any duty at the highest degree.
Do you contemplate yourself a “role model” for women wishing to play politics?
Yes. To interact in politics, one should above all have rules and convictions. I am considering in specific of integrity, of understanding. Then, it is important to have an interest in the social because the policy is to commit to the Mauritian group. To follow politics is to decide to the country, to have the ability to take heed to the individuals and to make it potential to alleviate those who are probably the most deprived and to help them in their everyday life. enhancing their quality of life.
Leela Devi Dookhun and you’re the solely two women to take a seat on the cupboard, which is actually composed of males. How is it that your voice is heard?
As I advised you, the Prime Minister is an individual who trusts women. In fact, it have to be acknowledged that the proportion of women in Parliament and Cupboard could be very small. We had introduced a bill to reform the electoral system and permit extra women to enter the federal government. A constitutional modification had been introduced in this sense and to vary the regulation for the subsequent elections, nevertheless it was not put to the vote for lack of an applicable majority. The government's dedication to this effect continues to be there. We need to guarantee that there’s larger participation of women in the subsequent basic election.
Some political leaders would really like constitutional amendments to be tabled earlier than the dissolution of Parliament to make sure that no less than a 3rd of the candidates on the social gathering listing are reserved for women. Can we anticipate a invoice particularly devoted to this subject?
This is the prerogative of the Prime Minister. He had already introduced a primary piece of legislation. He had his causes for presenting it. I’ve the opportunity to discuss with him frequently. I know he needs to offer more women the chance to interact in politics.
You’re fortunate to have lived in a political family, but is just not it troublesome for a lady to take this path?
So far as I'm involved, I've all the time carried out social work helping these in need. I developed a love for that. This enables me to say that we do social work with out expecting anything in return. I took a liking for social work. I entered politics in the identical spirit, that is, to help the group. There are things that may be completed shortly, resembling administrative help. Others require more time. An important is the dedication to work for the individuals, especially those that need our help.
Along with your obligations as deputy prime minister, you have got two giant departments underneath your duty, specifically, those of the regional governments and the household welfare. How do you manage all this?
It's a query of organization. I’m an organized individual, with quite a bit of self-discipline.
One of the problems that fall underneath your duty, and which comes up most often in local and worldwide news, is Agalega. Simply final week, apprehension over the construction of a army base by India has returned to the carpet. What do it’s a must to say about this?
I need to say that I do not know the place this army base case comes from. The Prime Minister has stated this a number of occasions and repeated it in his Might Day assembly. There isn’t any army base in Agalega. What assurance can we give more. The creation of a pier and an airstrip in Agalega shouldn’t be new. Many governments have talked about the need for these two infrastructure tasks. The question is how long will our Agalean brothers and sisters need to stay in a state of affairs where the means of transport could be very troublesome. The Dornier, which dates from I do not know what number of years, cannot land properly in the archipelago. Nor have they got an appropriate jetty to land provides from boats correctly. The merchandise have to be transferred in canoes, at sea, and the inhabitants should walk in the water to collect the cargoes. We have now to be reasonable. The new airstrip and the jetty are strategic infrastructures important for the well-being of the Agaleans and for the event of the archipelago. These are essential tasks as a result of we will develop a dependable conductivity each air and sea between Mauritius and Agalega. India has agreed to fund the venture and we benefit from its experience in its implementation. I need to inform you that I’ve already been to Agalega: I can testify that individuals are eagerly awaiting the belief of these tasks and need us to complete them as soon as potential to enhance their lives.
If an individual will get sick, the Dornier must depart Mauritius to go to the archipelago. You realize that the Dornier is an previous gadget? He spends most of his time in the workshops to do his “servicing”. When not out there, we’ve got asked Seychelles for assist. It’s excessive time to place all this proper in carrying out the runway and jetty tasks.
Does the work happen in one of the best circumstances?
Completely. I see that there has been so much of speculation about this. I take this chance to point out that no Agalean had to depart his residence because of the work. At no time did we ask the Agaleans to go away their houses. The work is completed in a authorized framework. They took just a little time to start out. The massive contingent of staff comes from India. They needed to go through Mauritius earlier than being transported. I’m talking about a big workforce that had to be transported in several elements.
Is the agalean workforce also used for the works?
Development work itself has not started. At current they’re mainly excavating. The transport of staff and supplies took between three and six months. Once the work started, I’ve already stated that Agalean staff may even be engaged. Presently, I know they participate in landings of supplies, in order that they work. I had the opportunity to satisfy some Agaleans and I can say that they’re good individuals. It was excessive time to do something for them. You can’t depart them abandoned with no good means of transport. You can’t imagine the difficulties confronted by an Agalean when she is pregnant. She must come to Mauritius three or 4 months earlier than she provides start. She stays away from her husband all this time and may wait up to eight months earlier than returning to the archipelago. With the construction of the jetty and the airstrip, new modes of transportation shall be put in place and the transfer of sufferers can be simpler. In addition, we will improve the opposite constructions later. Why not build a brand new hospital? But let's start with the pier and the airstrip …
The current evacuation of a affected person has given rise to much controversy. What happened ?
Since I have been in the department, I have observed that there are some issues with what has been put in place to evacuate sufferers from Agalega. It was mandatory to wait three or four days for the affected person to go away Agalega to return to Mauritius. If local means of transport weren’t obtainable, it was necessary to undergo Seychelles. Following my go to in 2018, I noticed that the evacuation protocol needed to be reviewed. Thus, as soon because the docs in the archipelago – they’re two – inform the OIDC and the coastguards that a patient have to be transported, the procedures are initiated. If the Dornier is accessible, he goes to Agalega the identical day, or the subsequent day. Whether it is unavailable, we contact the Seychelles, who send a aircraft. Every Dornier outing prices Rs 240,000 whereas it prices Rs 500,000 via Seychelles. I have all the time stated, nevertheless, that money is just not a barrier for the government on the subject of the life and well being of an individual. Since last October, 11 evacuations have been carried out, each utilizing the Dornier and utilizing Air Seychelles. Nevertheless it happened to us, in one case, that neither the Dornier nor Air Seychelles have been obtainable. We then needed to make arrangements for a army plane from Reunion to move to Agalega. I managed to do it because of the help of the French ambassador, Emmanuel Cohet. All of this exhibits the great faith of the federal government and when you’ve got a request, you’re taking it very significantly. We do not trivialize it. It must be famous that the protocol has been validated by the police commissioner, the Coast Guard and the Ministry of Health, and has been studied in Cabinet. It’s at present displayed in Agalega in order that residents know what steps to take in case of issues.
There was just lately the case of two patients who had problems …
I inform you that the whole lot has been carried out in transparency. On April 19, the OIDC acquired a request for the evacuation of Mr. Clarisse, suffering from melancholy. The latter was evacuated on 21 April 2019 by a Seychelles plane. On April 23, the OIDC acquired a request for the evacuation of Damien Steve, allegedly crushed and suffered back injuries. On April 24, he was evacuated by a Seychelles aircraft. On the similar time, another individual, Ms. Floraine, injured in the top, was evacuated.
Throughout this period, the Dornier was on the bottom for restore. In response to the Nationwide Coast Guard report, a number of repairs and checks have been needed. It was only on April 25 that the aircraft was capable of make the trip and get well the body of a deceased policeman.
I want to point out that the Dornier is a National Coast Guard plane and that the latter is the only group that may make the choice on its flights. Neither the OIDC nor the ministry has this decision-making power. We also should not have the talents to make such an assessment. It is in any case an airplane and there are security measures to respect. It takes particular technical information to guage whether an airplane can take off or not. That is why the protocol offers for the use of an IDC Seychelles aircraft for evacuation when the Dornier is unavailable. We comply with issues very intently. We don’t need to make the life of the Agaleans troublesome.
You’re additionally answerable for the portfolio of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Youngster Improvement and Family Welfare. The issue of home violence continues to dominate the information. How do you apprehend this drawback?
Domestic violence is a critical scourge, whether or not in Mauritius or around the globe. We know that it is principally women who are the victims. It is extremely essential that we give our help to women. We have now already amended the laws on the protection of women and increased the fines for many who use violence. As a lawyer, I had the chance to defend instances of home violence. One of the most important difficulties of domestic violence is that they take place between 4 walls. Beforehand, it was a taboo problem that triggered many women to hesitate to report their husbands. They often made a press release to the police, but did not reply for many causes. There’s an consciousness campaign supported by women's associations. Now it is not a taboo and at this time we invite women to return ahead and denounce when they are victims of domestic violence before it is too late.
The judgment pronounced in the case of Ravel de l'Argentière shocked many people. What do you assume ?
Absolutely. Everyone anticipated a stronger judgment. We respect the judiciary. Nevertheless, it is good that the DPP has appealed. We are ready for the end result of the decision. We stand in solidarity with all the victims. We understand their struggling. Allow us to hope that the judgment of the attraction will permit us to see extra clearly, to see extra justice and extra comfort for the victims.
The well-being of youngsters can also be part of your duties. Can you tell us about it?
One of our priorities is the well-being of youngsters who’re weak. We have now common meetings with all stakeholders to see what could be achieved to enhance their well-being. We determined to divide the CDU into two entities to facilitate its administration. We now have the Various Care Unit and the Baby Improvement Unit. With the Various Care Unit, we put rather a lot of emphasis on integrating youngsters into households. Shelters are a short lived lodging. Now, the place of a toddler is in his household, not in the “shelters”. We recognize that in excessive instances, where a father commits incest on his baby, he have to be faraway from his family for his own safety. To facilitate visits, we’ve now organized visits to social centers. We insist that these visits happen repeatedly in order that the bridge between mother and father and youngsters isn’t minimize off. We also have a “back to home program”. We know that it isn’t straightforward to boost an adolescent. That's why we now have a program to help mother and father. To date, we’ve got been capable of send 79 youngsters back to their families. Sixty have been adopted by households as half of the “foster care” program. Underneath this program, the child have to be returned to his mother and father after a certain interval of time. Every time we handle to send the kid again to his family, it's a pleasure for me. A special unit, chaired by the everlasting secretary of my ministry, Ms. Jaunboccus, must approve the location of a toddler in a household. Typically, we favor to put the kid with a family member, but all the time with the concept the child can return to his family as quickly as attainable. Reflections are beneath means in order that we will have increased supervision till he is 18 years previous and his safety and well-being are assured.
What about adoption?
There are three sorts of adoption. There are overseas couples who undertake Mauritian youngsters. We are presently reviewing the Adoption Act. Legislation is sweet with regard to full adoption and legitimization by adoption. Nevertheless, we’ll need regular follow-up when the child leaves the nation for the remaining of the nation until the child is of age. We must have the ability to hold in touch with the child.
One other scorching problem you’re coping with is road distributors. What is the current place?
This file is processed by my ministry, but the Ministry of Public Infrastructure can also be concerned. As you recognize, it was essential to assessment the websites initially selected for road distributors, together with Farquhar Road, next to the former police station. The municipality has informed all the retailers that the event work has been completed. We’ve got carried out all the things to the satisfaction of these retailers. These peddlers are very understanding individuals and we work with them to take action to the satisfaction of everyone.
The final word…
I wish all our brothers of the Islamic faith a “Ramadan Kareem”. A great Ramadan!