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Bigger Challenges


When the flag of Mauritius was flown for the first time at the Champ de Mars 54 years ago, it was not quite clear what the future of the country would be. We had just emerged from a tumultuous election the year before in which the population appeared to have been torn asunder into two distinct blocs, led respectively by the LP and the PMSD, at loggerheads with each other on partisan lines, compounded by the racial/religious divide.

It goes to the credit of political leaders of that period that, despite the almost desperate situation which prevailed all around at that time, they battled it out to gain independence. There was an ideal to pursue, but it commanded a price. The political leadership assumed the risk; it was leadership of the highest kind, one that would not be deterred from facing the high risks associated with an island without natural resources and an economy which Professors Titmuss and Meade had cautioned as from 1961 to be heading towards a Malthusian debacle if corrective measures/development programmes, which they themselves had proposed, were not initiated.

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