Transparency Mauritius Youth Parliament 2016/2017

A project funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.

Resolution on Economy & Environment

The Youth Parliament,

Alarmed by the adverse impact that the tourism industry has had on the environment;

Concerned by the irreversible effect that part of such impact may have;

Stressing the need to combat environment degradation in the context of global warming;

Recognising nonetheless the substantial financial contribution made by the tourism industry to the Mauritian economy;

Aware of the balance to be struck between economic growth and environment protection,

1. Proposes that an Eco-Tourism Master Plan be devised in order to tap into new tourist markets while preserving Mauritian fauna and flora;

a) A conducive legal framework be created for existing hotels to adopt Eco-Tourism standards;
b) Enhanced use of renewable energy be encouraged with hoteliers;

2. Recommends the setting up of a Recycling Agency to, amongst other tasks, develop a national recycling policy, monitor and vulgarise recycling practices in Mauritius;

a) The Recycling Agency shall be entitled to conduct public awareness campaigns and offer hands-on approach towards a cleaner Mauritius;
b) The hands-on approach established by the Recycling Agency shall be applied in the school curriculum.

Resolution on Mauritian Youth, Education & Employment

The Youth Parliament,

Recognizing that education constitutes one of the pillars of a society;

Alarmed by the lack of psychological monitoring and career guidance at essential stages of education;

Deploring the absence of a framework guaranteeing education to work force transition;

Concerned by the scarcity of internship opportunities at secondary and tertiary levels;

Emphasising the need to keep up with new technologies that will assist in the workplace;

Regretting the lack of transparency and meritocracy in both public and private recruitment,

1. Proposes that the educational system be more inclusive, and be reviewed in order to include career guidance, psychological monitoring, mixed classes, and abolish gender-specific subjects;

2. Calls for the setting up of an employment office in all universities and secondary schools with a view to easing the education-to-workforce transition;

a) To that effect, a public institution, which will oversee all employment offices and analyse trends and conduct studies to advise students, shall be established;

b) The employment office shall secure a mandatory internship for all students completing their education, be it at secondary or tertiary level;

3. Suggests that more emphasis be laid on entrepreneurship, with a focus on new technologies;

4. Urges that a legal framework be devised so as to ensure that the notions of transparency and meritocracy are fully applied for recruitment in public and listed companies.

Resolution on Human Rights

The Youth Parliament,

Noting with concern that the public is not fully aware of fundamental human rights;

Expressing the hope that actors of the civil society in collaboration with stakeholders create such public awareness;

Regretting the highly prejudicial effect that provisional charges, arbitrary arrests and detention may have on individuals;

Emphasising the recognition of the fundamental right to presumption of innocence;

Desiring the need for restructuring the process of complaints against police,

1. Proposes that citizens be better informed and sensitized about their rights and duties through public awareness campaigns;

a) The sensitization process can be facilitated by further empowering all concerned organisations, such as the National Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsperson for Children, the Equal Opportunities Commission, as well as NGOs;

2. Calls for a three-phase review of the police force, by:

a) Amending the current legislation to review the practice of provisional charges, prevent arbitrary arrest and fully respect the presumption of innocence;

b) Reviewing the recruitment and training of police officers with strong emphasis on the rights of citizens;

c) Further empowering the Police Complaint Division, under the aegis of the National Human Rights Commission, to better investigate complaints lodged against the police corps;

3. Demands that an assistance mechanism be created for families, with a special emphasis on single-parent and reconstituted families, with a view to securing children enrolment in school, welfare housing and psychological support;

a) This assistance mechanism should also cater for vulnerable children and those with special needs by establishing a national inclusion program.

Resolution on Corruption, Good Governance & Meritocracy

The Youth Parliament,

Alarmed by the number of reported and unreported cases of corruption;

Regretting the slow evolution of the law under the POCA;

Deploring the inconsistent judicial pronouncements on specific matters of corruption;

Concerned by the lack of transparency in public appointments;

Noting with concern the insufficient coordination between ICAC, EOC and other relevant institutions,

1. Proposes that the legal framework regulating the fight against corruption be reinforced and/or upgraded;

a) A review of the Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA) with particular emphasis on the appointment of the Board Members of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC);

b) The Equal Opportunities Commission shall be further empowered to combat cronyism by, amongst others, amending Section 27 of the EOC Act;

c) A judicial resolution mechanism shall be established in order to exclusively address cases of corruption;

2. Requests that knowledge about corruption be disseminated as early as possible through the national educational curriculum;

3. Urges for the creation of strong public-private partnerships in the fight against corruption;

4. Calls for a review of procurement practices with a view to appending notions of good governance, transparency, accountability and efficiency to public procurement.

Resolution on Elections & Politics

Alarmed by the fact that the electoral system has remained unchanged for the past four decades;

Regretting that electoral boundaries have remained unchanged in spite of the migration of populations since Independence;

Further regretting the fact that electoral campaigns are not statutorily regulated;

Deploring the fact that the financing of electoral campaigns are not governed by any legal framework;

Further deploring the lack of statutory power of ICAC to look into such financing,

1. Calls for a review of the electoral system with a view to seeking a fairer representation of political constituents across Mauritius;

a) To that effect, a nation-wide assessment of potential new electoral district boundaries shall be carried out;

b) An evaluation of possible combinations of First-Past-The-Post (FPTP), Proportional Representation, and Two-Tier systems shall also be carried out;

2. Demands that the powers of the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) and those of the Electoral Commissioner be amended so as to allow a complete oversee of elections;

a) A new department whose duty will be to monitor party funding shall be set up;

b) This department shall also examine the possibility of granting public funds to political parties;

3. Urges that donors be legally bound to declare any contribution beyond a prescribed amount, and to declare to whom that contribution is made;

a) It shall also be mandatory that political parties receive contributions only via the official party bank account;

4. Calls for a reduction of the running of a general election cost by:

a) Abolishing paper ballots and adopting an electronic ballot system;

b) Digitizing the process of voter registration;

5. Recommends a cap of maximum, consecutive or not, of two tenures of Prime Ministership.

Resolution on Freedom of Information

The Youth Parliament

Concerned by the lack of transparency and accountability within many public institutions;

Regretting the fact that access to information is severely limited due to archaic legislation;

Noting that there is insufficient protection to private data as held by Public Bodies;

Aware that the right to information is paramount to the consolidation of democracy,

1. Proposes that the Freedom of Information Act be implemented, and in so doing;

a) Review and amend the current legislation that may hinder the full application of the FOI Act, such as, amongst others, the Official Secrets Act and parts of the Criminal Code;

2. Demands that access to information be enhanced by, amongst others;

a) Digitizing the process concerning both information requests and data publication;

b) Prescribing a reasonable timeline for the processing of information requests;

c) Establishing a clear and reasonable public interest test for information requests;

3. Calls for the extension of the concept of open data to para-statal entities and listed companies, as well as media companies and regulatory organisations, such as the Independent Broadcasting Authority, amongst others;

a) Open data shall serve to ensure transparency, accountability and preserve/secure broader independence in the fulfillment of the objectives of a democracy with a Government of the People, for the People and by the People;

4. Suggests that better safeguards be set up concerning national security and personal data;

5. Recommends the amendment of the current legislation to facilitate the establishment of local private television.

April 21, 2017