The Council Meets Again

MT 60 Yrs – 2nd Year No 58 – Friday – 16th September 1955

The new session of the Legislative Council started last Tuesday. There was no pomp and show but the event cannot go unnoticed.

The last session had ended on the 28th of June. Since then we were kept more or less in the dark about what was going on in the minds of the deputies and the nominees. On Wednesdays, newspaper readers were badly missing the accounts of debates in Council.

Our political life would have been a trifle insipid during the holidays had it not been for the parliamentary delegation leaving for London to discuss constitutional reforms.

Now the old trend of life is resuming its course. The representatives of the people, we hope, will take to their work with renewed vigour. They must have had time surely to read, to relax and to reflect. Some good is bound to come out of the comparative inactive spell.

We expect the Council to carry on its usual work but everybody is keen to know what is going to happen to our Constitution. It will be a day to remember, the day the debate on the Constitution takes place.

Meanwhile we shall, none the less, watch with keen interest what is said and done in Council. We shall look forward, in particular, to seeing what fate has in store for the members’ motions and what kind of questions are raised every week at Question Time in our small parliament. The vigilant member will soon be marked out.

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With the emergence of political parties, we expect to find some party politics in our Council. But it would be waiting in vain for that as long as our political parties do not become once and for all ideological.

Although the Independent members have no political affiliation it is interesting to note what political colour their views reflect.

Nominees have been styled independents in London. It was perhaps to distinguish them from the members of the Labour Party and the Parti Mauricien. But here quite a different interpretation was given to the term. When Mr Edouard Piat was chosen to replace Hon Andre Raffray the virtues of Nominees were extolled to the skies. It made one ponder over the fertility of fighting elections when glory could shine so brightly on the heads of nominees. And it was suggested that only nominees could claim to be independents because they had nobody to account to! That must have set Hon nominees to wonder why, after all, they sit in Council.

There will surely be a change in the general tone of the debates in Council. The Plaine Verte meetings preceding the departure of the Parliamentary delegation to London and the London talks will no doubt inspire our parliamentarians to think in terms of sane politics – unswerved by personal, communal and religious feelings.

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The first meeting of the Council has been of a quite quiet nature. By the time it gathered momentum, adjournment time had struck. We cannot help putting on record the three important motions that came before the Council. And, by the way, we congratulate Hon Ringadoo on his election to represent the local Parliamentary Association at the meeting of the parent association in Jamaica in January 1956.

The Hon The Colonial Secretary’s motion concerning the Commission to be set up to put municipal elections right is an excellent move on the part of Government. Democracy cannot exist in an atmosphere of suspicion. There is no doubt that the last municipal election has diminished the faith of the public in matters of local government. The Commission will have to find out whether that is due to a bad system or to the manoeuvres of unscrupulous people.

Hon. Boolell’s motion for increasing the present number of Notaries Public which is 18 by 5 contained a hint that there exists today a sort of monopoly. And as 13 out of the 18 Notaries are from the White Community it was natural that communalism should have raised its ugly head. Anyhow, we hope that Hon. Nairac’s amendment will help achieve what Hon Boolell had in mind primarily, viz, public benefit.

The debate continues on Hon Rault’s motion to the effect that Government should take steps as early as possible to establish the basis of a Health Insurance Scheme. If the motion is passed Hon Rault will earn the gratitude of the poor just as Bevan did in England.

Week by week the public will now see their representatives at work. People will be unconsciously registering what members will be betraying the confidence placed in them and who will be honouring the pledge made at election time.

Members who will be acting with an eye on votes rather than concentrating on the welfare of voters will be found out in no time. Those who will be serving the people and the island regardless of electoral consequences will be ever honoured and will remain honourable for over.

(MT 16 September 1955)

*  Published in print edition on 13 March 2015

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