2023 has been a very rich and eventful year. A series of events has affected Mauritian society in several ways, be it politically, economically and socially. 2023 was also a year of economic recovery around the world and in Mauritius, several companies are posting huge profits compared to previous years. For the last show of the year, several guests were invited like Tejvin Woodun, Kugan Parapen, David Sauvage et Ashok Subron. The topics addressed will be a review of the year 2023 and a political assessment of the regime in power for this year. The debate was moderated by Ashvin Gudday.
What do you remember from 2023?
David Sauvage began the debate by talking about the global ecological situation. Climate change is a subject that has been put forward for a long time by ecologists and scientists for this year because in “November 2023 alone, the increase in the temperature of the planet exceeded the 2 °C.” As a reminder, the Paris Climate Agreement, to which several countries are signatories, had adopted its international treaty on global warming. The purpose of the treaty was for the mitigation and reviewing the means of financing that contribute to climate change.
“Science shows that life on the islands will be seriously threatened if the temperature exceeds 1.5 degrees. We are in a major crisis where the ability of people on the islands to live is threatened.”
Even here, too, the economic model based on capitalism played a very important role, says David Sauvage. Indeed, those who have the funding will be able to live peacefully on islands and those from the working class will struggle to live and adapt to the global warming that the islands will encounter.
The eco-socialist activist insists that the people must be able to count on their government, because they are accountable to the people who have allowed them to be where they are. As a matter of fact, the regime in power must be able to take urgent decisions in the face of a major ecological situation and not remain inactive and silent as seen at the time of the sinking of the MV Wakashio.
For Ashok Subron, 2023 is a continuation of what was happening in 2022. The working class who makes up more than the majority of the population are being knocked out by rising prices and the high cost of living. Mauritian families have not been able to live in a decent way, says the trade unionist. With the increase in living life, many families have had to incur debts and according to figures from the Bank of Mauritius, the household debt has increased. On the one hand, we see that a large segment of the population is suffocating due to rising prices, and on the other hand, a very small handful are getting richer thanks to the depreciation of the rupee.
The economic recovery for the year 2023 is quite stable, confirms economist Kugan Parapen. Looking at the figures released by private companies for this economic year, we see that many of them are posting miraculous profits. Indeed, the depreciation of the rupee has caused a lot of problems for a social stratum since many households are struggling to make ends meet, except for the big conglomerates, it has benefited them well.
« Certainly, the economic model in which we operate is not really stable and this is due to a structural weakness and all these structural problems will surface year after year, if they are not addressed once and for all.”
Is democracy in jeopardy?
With all the events that have happened in 2023, to say that Mauritius is a state where democracy reigns seem false. Indeed, since the current regime has been in power, there is not even a semblance of democracy that is revealed. Right now, we live under a regime that is addicted to power, but above all manipulative, » Woodun said. All kinds of stratagem are utilized by the regime in place against its political opponents. Even the parliament that is supposed to be the “temple of democracies” is used as a playground by politicians, where they insult, criticize the parliamentary opposition members without even really debating the issues that are crucial for the proper functioning of society. David Sauvage, for his part, mentions that Mauritius is facing multiple crises, whether ecological, social or democratic. For more than 55 years since Mauritius’ independence, no major changes have been made to help create a livable society. We are in an economic model that does not guarantee the good life of Mauritians with dignity. All of these problems threaten democracy, and it is because of this that many red lines have been crossed in recent times.