Page 18 - Mauritian Overseas Gazette 1
P. 18

UK Mauritians’ Gazette December 2017
The tribulations of an application to the City Council of Port Louis for a land use authorisation
According to the picture(s), it can be seen that a landing bay (with a parking area) is available by the side of the building, faculties which the owner of the property has right of use for the simple rea- son that the provision of this area was made avail- able by the grant of part of his plot of land at the time of construction.
The owner of the property wants to make this self-contained unit available to overseas visitors, mainly from the neighbouring islands of Ro- drigues, Reunion and The Seychelles, to accom- modate at most two persons at a time. Modest visitors who usually make use of public transport rather than hiring cars to increase the pollution level of the city of Port Louis (See further com- ments on page 20)
The letting of such accommodation to overseas visitors requires a permit from the Tourism Au- thority. But clearance must first be obtained from the local authority before an application for a per- mit may be considered by the Tourism Authority.
An application for the necessary clearance was submitted to the local council, in this instance the City Council of Port Louis on 30 September 2016 (15 months ago). The City Council turned down the request on the ground that no landing bay and no parking facilities are available. But everyone can see from the picture(s) that a landing bay with parking faculties is available.
A City Council official did actually visit the premises, and no one knows what he wrote in his report for the CEO, head of the Permits and Busi- ness Monitoring Committee, to turn down the re- quest.
The regulations also make provision that parking faculties may be arranged in the vicinity if such facilities are not available on the premises itself. Such an arrangement has also been made by the applicant with the owners of a nearby private parking area, and a certificate from
the owners was submitted to the City
Council. Still, the CEO of the City Council would not budge from his posi- tion. A letter sent to him by the applicant ‘s
lawyer about this point has remained unanswered to this day.
The law provides for an applicant to appeal to the En- vironment And Land Use Tribunal (EALUT) against the unfair decisions of any local authority.
An appeal was submitted to the Tribunal in October 2016, and a second hearing was fixed by the Tribunal for 30 November 2017. A few days before the hearing the applicant’s lawyer received a letter from EALUT that the Tribunal was in meltdown and was to be re- constituted. To this day, it appears the Tribunal is yet to be reconstituted.
In the meantime, as they say in Mauritius ‘cabri mange salade’, whatever this expression means. But more precisely, on est dans la boîte, according to an- other Creole saying. Money is being lost in many re- spects and it’s no skin off the nose of anybody else except that of the applicant.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth is aware of this sort of malpractice going on in the country and soon after he took office this year he set up a Citizens Support Unit (CSU), launched with great fanfare to put an end to administrative shortcomings at all levels.
The applicant sent a petition to the CSU and their reply was that they were unable to deal with matter because the appeal had al- ready been submitted to the Tribunal.
The nation was given to understand, on its launch, that the CSU would be an institution with overriding powers to investigate inde- pendently and report in its own capacity like the powers of an Om- budsman. What you know! the doctor is himself sick. The CSU has declared itself bankrupt. One wonders whether PM Pravind Jugnauth is aware of the very shortcomings of his flagship to put an end injustice and unfair play in the country. Copies of the peti- tion and correspondence were forwarded to his office.
What’s to be done? The CEO of the Port Louis City Council still objects, the Land Use Tribunal is in total meltdown, the all-power- ful CSU has declared itself powerless!
A quel saint se vouer? one is at a loss! Can anybody, please advise. It is this sort of prevailing mentality and attitude that gives Mauri- tius a bad name, and which probably prompted Roseline Ng Cheong –Lum, a Mauritian lecturer in Canada, to devote a para- graph on “Kickbacks and Corruption” in her book on Mauritius entitled “Culture Shock! Mauritius” (available at Foyles, London), paragraph which we reproduce on this page. Readers will notice Miss Cheong-Lum’s warning: “It is better to just keep quiet. Mak- ing the whole thing public might attract antagonism and life could become difficult for you.”
Well, the applicant is making the “whole thing public” in the hope that Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth may ask of his flagship, The Citizens Support Unit, as to why they failed to investigate and re- port. The petition sent to the CSU could be put online for a WWW examination). If we are to keep quiet (as advised by Miss Cheong- Lum) like the proverbial three monkeys (Dumb, Deaf, and Blind) we may as well give up journalism. (However, readers are made aware of the situation if anything should happen to the applicant for the clearance application made to the Port Louis City Council)
    Extract from Culture Shock! Mauritius
The general perception is that corruption is not rife as it used to be. Corruption of public officers is per- haps unavoidable in a society where everyone is scrambling to better themselves financially. Some- times you will find that there is no other course of action but to grease the palm of somebody in author- ity in order to move your project forward. In fact some officials will sit on your files until you offer them some incentive.
If you come across cases of corruption and have no means to right them, then it is better to just keep quiet. Making the whole thing public might attract antagonism and life could become difficultfor you.....
  First floor available for letting
To be allowed to let a property in Mauritius to overseas visi- tors, the accommodation as small as a single room or as big as the Royal Palm Hotel of Grand Bay, we are given to under- stand that the law stipulates that the property must provide a landing bay with parking facilities.
In the property situated in Port Louis, pictured on this page, the first floor has been refurbished as a one-bedroom self-contained unit with all the required amenities to be made available for letting as a Tourist Residence
 The whole edition of this first UKMG issue will be available on the Internet as a Page Turning publication once the link has been created.
The Applicant
In view of such tribulations, can we say Plus ça change. plus c’est la même chose !

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