DRUG DEALERS IN UNIFORMS: Mauritius policeman arrested with stash of pills

Moka – VIJAY SHAH via Mo Ti News

A policeman on the island of Mauritius has been arrested after he was found in possession of a drug described by media as the ‘new Valium’, local news site Mo Ti News reports.

Avinash Buleeram, a constable aged 29 attached to a police station in Moka, in the island’s centre, was found carrying ninety pills of a drug called Pregabalin. The highly potent drug is normally used to treat epilepsy, fibromyalgia, nerve pain and anxiety, but has also raised concerns due to its increasing use as a recreational drug, especially among prisoners, and has the effects of calming and ‘taking the edge off of things’. Pregabalin can be lethal in high doses.

 

Buleeram was arrested this past Thursday by the Flacq district’s drug squad while at a bus station in the small town of Sebastopol in Mauritius’ east, close to the border of Flacq and Moka districts. The drugs were allegedly found in a grey Toyota car he was driving with a friend. Both men were promptly arrested and appeared at a court in Flacq on Friday.

The constable, who has six years’ service with the Mauritian police, is now being detained at Beau Bassin central jail, after fellow police officers protested against Buleeram being set free on bail. He could face a drug trafficking charge. Buleeram’s passenger was also found in possession of a cannabis cigarette, but was successful in getting bail.

Officers arrested the two man based on surveillance, catching them unawares at the Sebastopol bus station. A search of the vehicle revealed cigarettes blended with cannabis and a box of Pregabalin tablets at 150 mg strength. Police carried out further searches, turning up another 34 Pregabalin pills along with 27 tablets of another version of the drug,  marketed as Cabalin.

Buleeram was found not to have a medical prescription for the pills seized from him, and his friend denied all knowledge of the constable’s possession. It was not reported for what reason Buleeram had the drugs.

SOURCES:

Salim Kurreemun.

Radio Plus CONSEIL POLITIQUE . , Mauritius/Ile-Maurice, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/radioplusilemaurice/

“Possession de 90 comprimés de Pregabalin: Le policier reste en détention” – Mo Ti News (25 November 2017) http://motinews.info/news/possession-de-90-comprimes-de-pregabalin-le-policier-reste-en-detention

“Pregabalin: Doctors call for ‘new Valium’ to be restricted amid sharp rise in abuse” – Katie Forster, The Independent (30 June 2017) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/pregabalin-new-valium-doctors-call-restricted-sharp-rise-abuse-misuse-prisons-addiction-bma-yasir-a7817601.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Lyrica 150mg box in Finland 20110618.jpg” – Acdx, Wikipedia (18 June 2011) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lyrica_150mg_box_in_Finland_20110618.jpg

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AIR MAURITIUS CRISIS: Fifty pilots from India drafted in to man ailing airline

Port Louis – VIJAY SHAH and ABHI RAMSAHAYE via LeDéfi Media Group

A team of fifty pilots from India are being sent to the island of Mauritius to help solve a staff shortage that has brought the island’s national air carrier to its knees, reports local French-language news agency LeDéfi Media Group.

The island’s national and most significant airline, Air Mauritius is currently undergoing a crisis caused by many of its pilots refusing to report for duty, for reasons unknown. Several flights by Air Mauritius have already been cancelled since last Thursday, a serious problem for Mauritius, a popular holiday hotspot and for which tourism is a vital component of its economy.

 

The Mauritian government, frustrated with the inactivity of some of Air Mauritius’ aviators, has struck a deal with the government of India, an important regional ally, to supply the fifty pilots from Asia, who Le Défi said are now ready and waiting to take orders and man Air Mauritius’ planes. The Indian contingent are currently on standby to take over controls should more Mauritian pilots refuse to enter the cockpit.

Mauritius’ prime minister Pravind Jugnauth condemned the unofficial strike by Air Mauritius’ flight crew, claiming they were betraying the country. The PM said at an inauguration of playing fields in Résidences Briqueterie, Sainte-Croix: I find it unacceptable that people can act against the interests of Mauritius,”

“There will certainly be repercussions, but they (the airline) have my support,”

The airline’s board of directors have already terminated the employment contracts of three pilots this past Friday. The dismissals were followed by a press statement from the board, in whixch it said  it had “taken note of the detailed report presented by management” whose initial conclusions “confirm a premeditated and concerted action”.

The Air Mauritius debacle mirrors a similar situation in Europe, when the Anglo-Irish economy airline Ryanair was forced to cancel hundred of flights after senior management messed up pilot working hour rotas following a change in statutory holiday periods. Also in the UK, another air carrier, Monarch, went into administration with the loss of 1,900 jobs after losing £100 million of profits due to terrorism and the impact of Brexit on the travel economy.

SOURCES: 

Defimedia.info, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/www.defimedia.info/

“AIR MAURITIUS : 50 PILOTES INDIENS PRÊTS À PRENDRE LES COMMANDES” – Abhi Ramsahaye, LeDéfi Media Group (8 October 2017) http://www.defimedia.info/air-mauritius-50-pilotes-indiens-prets-prendre-les-commandes

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Air Mauritius A330-200 3B-NBM HKG 2012-7-16.png” – Sergey Kustov, Wikimedia Commons (16 July 2012) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Air_Mauritius_A330-200_3B-NBM_HKG_2012-7-16.png

MAURITIUS COMMERCIAL BANK: Major island bank voted best six years running

Port Louis, MAURITIUS
VIJAY SHAH via Le Defi

The Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB), one of the largest banking firms operating on the Indian Ocean island, has been declared ‘2016 Bank of the Year – Mauritius’ for the sixth year in a row, French-language Le Defi Media Group reported this past Friday.

The bank, one of the island’s few indigenously operated financial institutions has won the coveted title six times in the past eight years. A feature of the Mauritian high street with its distinctive red and white livery and stylised red sailboat logo, MCB received its latest award from The Banker, a banking magazine covering retail finance, technology and investments globally, and part of the prominent London based Financial Times group, who also publish the highly regarded Financial Times newspaper here in London.

 

 

Luke McCreevy, representing The Banker cited MCB’s record of offering local excellence in the island’s lucrative banking sector. He said “The jury found that the MCB is the Mauritian bank that grew the most during the last twelve months. This growth is reflected not only in the excellent financial results achieved but also by the range of initiatives taken by the MCB during this period,”

Antony Withers, MCB chief executive said “This award inspires us to do even better in 2017, and already we intend to offer our clients even more services, more effectively,” 

MCB, headquartered in the Mauritian capital, Port Louis, also maintains branches in the Seychelles, Maldives and in Madagascar. It is the oldest bank on the island, founded in 1838, as well as also having the distinction of being one of the oldest retail finance institutions in sub-Saharan Africa. After a slow and rocky start, the bank began to massively expand in the post-World War II years and now maintains forty branches and 150 cash machines in Mauritius alone.

 

SOURCES:
Arzina Ghannoo.
“LA MCB ÉLUE BANK OF THE YEAR POUR LA 6E FOIS” – Le Défi Quotidien/Le Defi Media Group (9 December 2016) http://defimedia.info/la-mcb-elue-bank-year-pour-la-6e-fois
“Mauritius Commercial Bank” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauritius_Commercial_Bank
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:MCB-Logo.png” – MCB Webmedia and Mauritius Commercial Bank, Wikimedia Commons (25 July 2013) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MCB-Logo.png

KOONJOO TRAGEDY: Daughter of Mauritian politician dies from severe burns

Plaine-des-Papayes, MAURITIUS
VIJAY SHAH via L’Express

The daughter of a member of parliament on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has died from injuries caused by a lamp she lit during prayers, local French-language publication L’Express reported yesterday.

Vandana Devi Ranjat (née Koonjoo), 40, the eldest daughter of Oceanic Economy Minister, Prem Koonjoo, was admitted to the Burns Unit of Victoria Hospital in the western town of Quatre Bornes twenty days ago in critical condition, following a tragic incident while participating in family prayers at the family home in Plaine-des-Papayes, a small village near the town of Triolet in the island’s north.

 

 

 

Ms. Ranjat, also known by the nickname Poonam, had been lighting diyas, traditional lamps used for prayers in Hinduism, on October 3. She had been replacing a diya, when its flames came into contact with her clothes after she spilled the lamp’s fuel contents on her hand. Overwhelmed with panic, she attempted to put out the flames but to no avail and they quickly spread.

Her funeral was held today in her hometown, and was attended by national luminaries, friends and family, including former prime minister Aneerood Jugnauth and his son Pravin. According to L’Express, she leaves behind her husband and one child.

Her father is a former teacher who is also a constituency member for Vieux Grand Port and Rose Belle. He has been Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands since 2014, and previously was in charge of ministerial portfolios for commerce, cooperatives and local handicrafts, and had also worked as a private parliamentary secretary.

 

SOURCES:
Alex Laridon‎.
Radio Plus – Mauritius/Ile-Maurice, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/radioplusilemaurice/
“La fille du ministre Koonjoo décède des suites de ses brûlures” – lexpress.mu/La Sentinelle Ltd (22 October 2016) http://www.lexpress.mu/article/292140/fille-ministre-koonjoo-decede-suites-brulures
“Plaine-des-Papayes: funérailles émouvantes de Vandana Koonjoo” – lexpress.mu/La Sentinelle Ltd (23 October 2016) http://www.lexpress.mu/article/292216/plaine-papayes-funerailles-emouvantes-vandana-koonjoo
“Premdut Koonjoo” – National Assembly, Republic of Mauritius http://mauritiusassembly.govmu.org/English/hmembers/Pages/Premdut-Koonjoo.aspx
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Port Louis, Parliament Building.jpg” –  Karsten Ratzke, Wikipedia (28 September 2015) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Port_Louis,_Parliament_Building.jpg

ROSE BELLE TRAGEDY: Homeless person found dead under parked bus

Rose-Belle, MAURITIUS
VIJAY SHAH via TOP FM

 

A homeless person has reportedly been found dead under a parked bus on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, local radio station Top FM reports. The body of a 63-year-old man, identified locally by his first name Raju was found this morning underneath a bus parked at a petrol station in the village of Rose Belle in Grand Port district, 10 kilometres west of district capital Mahébourg, in Mauritius’ south east.

It is not yet known how the victim died, or whether he was struck by the vehicle. Raju’s body was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Candos, in the western town of Quatre-Bornes, where an autopsy to determine cause of death will be performed.

The country’s police force have opened an inquiry to get to the bottom of the Rose Belle tragedy.

It is not known how many homeless people there are in Mauritius, but some estimates state around 500-700 nationally.

SOURCES:
Radio Plus – Mauritius/Ile-Maurice, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/radioplusilemaurice/?ref=nf_target&fref=nf
“Rose Belle: A Homeless Found Dead Under A Parked Bus” – Top FM Radio (10 September 2016) http://topfmradio.mu/2016/09/10/rose-belle-a-homeless-found-dead-under-a-parked-bus/
Yogesh Kumar Ramsahye.
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Rose belle transport – Bus Mauritius – IMG_6111” – Egidio Maurizio, Flickr (17 June 2014) https://www.flickr.com/photos/egidiomaurizio/16456507113

 

HUMOUR MOMENT: Don’t do drugs, do dhal puri

 

 

Drugs are horrible substances. Whether legal or illegal, recreational narcotics usually cause harm to the body, damaging the user from the inside and out. So instead of sniffing that line or hitting that pipe, why not tuck into some Mauritian-style dhal puri instead. You’ll look a million rupees, and you won’t have to worry about the police pulling you over and busting you for illicit dhal puri possession.

For those who have never encountered the awesomeness that is dhal puri, let me explain. This is a snack popular on the island of Mauritius and an unforgettable part of my island’s culinary landscape. It is unleavened bread (rather like a chapati or thick tortilla) filled with lentils and spices, and often consumed as street food. Also known as ‘dhol/dhall puri’, this food goes great with a dollop of ‘zasar’ (pickle).

IMAGE CREDITS:
Fano Miasta.
Radio Plus – Mauritius/Ile-Maurice, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/radioplusilemaurice/

BAGOOADUTH KALLOOA: The Mauritian of many talents

Flacq, MAURITIUS
VIJAY SHAH via Le Défi Media

The small Indian Ocean island of Mauritius may not have the clout of many other much larger countries when it comes to producing people that can be defined as ‘great’ and ‘multitalented’, but that does not mean that Mauritians are not capable of reaching those dizzy heights.

Enter Bagooaduth Kallooa. He has been described by Le Defi, one of Mauritius’ most widely read newspapers, as ‘a man of many talents’. He began his working life as a nurse working in patient care on the west coast of Mauritius, inspired by his humble origins, and his desire to help the poorer parts of society who rely on the island republic’s government-run hospitals. Kallooa’s talent and professionalism was quickly noticed by the health managers of Flacq Hospital, who readily promoted Kallooa to the position of head nurse, a role he still holds.

Bagooaduth Kallooa – second VP of the ICN and head nurse at Flacq Hospital in Mauritius – (c) Le Defi Media

Bagooaduth Kallooa also became keenly involved in the local trade union movement, as he understood the importance and hard work of looking after patients, where there is a major requirement of patience, sacrifice and a good dose of determination to heal the sick. He also understood, as a nurse himself, that he and his colleagues worked tirelessly and selflessly under very trying conditions, and he personally felt saddened by the negative and abusive attitude shown by some members of the public towards caregivers and other medical professionals just trying to do their job. Kallooa began organising trade union activities to protest against the difficult conditions nurses endure, as well as trying to build unions that are there “24/7” for their members and at the same time avoid the militant unionism that has annoyed many ordinary Mauritians in the past.

More than thirty years after Kallooa began his nursing journey, things have gone full circle for the multi-talented health professional, who also a keen photographer, sculptor and painter. He is the first Mauritian to be elected as Second Vice President of the International Council of Nurses (ICN). The ICN, founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1899 is a non-governmental organisation made up of worldwide national nursing organisations. It works to promote and guarantee the quality of patient care, lobbies for sound healthcare policies and to make strides in improving and developing the teaching of the profession. It currently has 16 million members in 137. Kallooa will have joint responsibility for the ICN’s activities in the Africa region, according to Le Défi.

Despite his keen involvement in a busy career and his new promotion to the ICN, Kallooa finds time to draw on his many creative talents. He practices painting, sculpture and photography, receiving several international awards for his photo work alone, including one memorable gong from the Commonwealth Broadcasting Corporation, relating to a photography project he did on the theme of communication . He has exhibited his creations all over Mauritius and the world alongside the Alliance Française, often based on his observations of everyday mundane life, and in 2015, Kallooa travelled to China to showcase a photo exhibition of children he took pictures of in different countries over a span of 25 years. He donated the proceeds of the Chinese exhibition to the Girls Child Education Fund (GCEF), a charity that promotes the education of orphans internationally.

Kallooa is a shining example of not only the talents and determinations of Mauritius’ people, but also a solid lesson in how working hard and using your skills and talents to benefit others is in itself a blessing.

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Le Défi Media Group, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/defimediagroup
“BAGOOADUTH KALLOOA: L’HOMME AUX MULTIPLES TALENTS” – Mario Boutia, LeDefi Media Group (23 April 2016) http://defimedia.info/bagooaduth-kallooa-lhomme-aux-multiples-talents-26161/
IMAGE CREDIT:
“BAGOOADUTH KALLOOA: L’HOMME AUX MULTIPLES TALENTS” – Mario Boutia, LeDefi Media Group (23 April 2016) http://defimedia.info/bagooaduth-kallooa-lhomme-aux-multiples-talents-26161/

PHOTO MOMENT: Morning from Mauritius

(c) Mauritianen in Nederland

 “First morning light 🌞

The sun breaks over the horizon on a beach near Le Touessrok Resort on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, in this image released today by Facebook page “Mauritianen in Nederland” (Mauritians in the Netherlands).

SOURCE/IMAGE CREDIT:
Mauritianen in Nederland, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/Mauritianeninnederland

POLICEMAN ABDOOL: Mauritian police officer recalls vicious assault

A police officer on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has recounted a vicious attack launched upon him by local youths while on duty near the Gare du Nord area of Port Louis on February 11th, an eyewitness video of which was widely shared on social media and saw the apprehension of three of the attackers last week.

Constable Sameer Abdool, who was on traffic duty at the Trou-Fanfaron police post in the Mauritian capital, recalls how he noticed a group of young men crowding around a zebra crossing. He approached the men and asked them to be patient “for their own safety” as vehicles surged past on the city’s notoriously busy streets. They disregarded Con. Abdool’s advice and attempted to cross into the road anyway. Abdool then moved forward to stop one of the assailants for fear he would cause a road collision.

It was at that precise moment, according to the island’s French-language media group Le Defi Media, that the attack on the constable kicked off. Darren Eddy Brasse, a local youth aged 22, swung a punch at Abdool, striking the side of his head. “I received a punch to the temple, I felt nauseous“, Abdool told Le Defi. Brasse’s brother, Andy and friend Andrew Brice Samuel joined in the assault once Abdool received the blow to his head.

In the eyewitness video, captured by a passer-by with their mobile, Con. Abdool is seen grappling with one of the youths as he tries to protect himself from more punches. Brasse then throws a punch which narrowly misses Abdool as he tries to get away. Then another youth marches up to the policeman, slapping him with full force around the head. A few seconds later, a man in a red basketball vest suddenly jumps out from the crowd, putting Abdool in a headlock as a gaggle of shocked people assemble on the zebra crossing, stopping traffic. After a long period of inactivity from observers, a concerned passer-by manages to free Abdool from the fracas; his distinctive reflective uniform brace pulled out of place, the officer appears visibly shaken. Another police officer was also targeted in the melee, although the attack does not appear in the video and the officer in question has not been identified.

The video of the savage assault soon appeared on Facebook, where it went viral among islanders and Mauritians abroad. The island’s police began an investigation into the assault on Abdool. Despite the grainy video quality, the island’s police force was able to recognise the suspects.

A police raid in the area of Cité Roche-Bois on Friday and Saturday saw the Brasse brothers and Samuel arrested at their homes. Darren Brasse was interrogated by a team led by senior police officer Daniel Monvoisin, where he admitted his part in the attack on their colleague, saying that he was annoyed at being told not to cross the street by Abdool. He lost his temper and then struck the policeman, Brasse told officers.

All three are now in police custody, where they will be interviewed in connection with other crimes, Le Defi reports.

SOURCES:
HEM News Agency, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-news-agency
Le Défi Media Group, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/defimediagroup
“Agressé à la gare du Nord – Le policier Abdool : « Monn truv zekler »” – Irfaad Olitte, Le Defi Media Group (22 February 2015) http://www.defimedia.info/live-news/item/68342-agresse-a-la-gare-du-nord-le-policier-abdool-monn-truv-zekler.html
Mauricien, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/mauricien1968
“VIDÉO SUR FACEBOOK: Une première arrestation suite à l’agression de deux policiers” – 24 Heures Info (22 February 2015) http://24heuresinfo.com/2015/02/21/video-sur-facebook-une-premiere-arrestation-suite-a-lagression-de-deux-policiers/

 

INTERNET EXCHANGE POINT: Mauritian government aims to bring in faster nationwide internet

The Mauritian government plans to unveil a new internet exchange point in the island’s premier technology hub to help bring faster web-surfing and e-commerce infrastructure to the public and businesses, it was reported today in the French-language newspaper L’Express.

The Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tassarajen Pillay-Chedumbrum announced that Mauritian ISPs (internet service providers) such as Orange Mauritius/Mauritius Telecom and Bharat Telecom, will possibly be able to connect a local exchange point into their service networks to bring about faster speeds and download times for their Mauritian customers. A current point exists, but the newer version will be a faster and more developed service being offered to all the country’s internet providers on a mutual shared basis.

(c) austinevan/Flickr/Compfight

A information technology complex in Ebene’s CyberCity.

The exchange point will be a piece of switchboard-based IT infrastructure that connects the networks of different operators in a technologically mutual effort to rapidly increase broadband speeds on the island. The point will also be a cost-saving exercise that will benefit ISPs, as they will be able to exchange traffic to relieve their networks, thereby slashing the average amount of expenses incurred for each provider. It will also lessen the country’s dependence on costly international satellite and fibre-optic networks. The point will give equal priority to all Mauritius-based ISPs with a lack of traffic hegemony or filtering rules to hinder that objective.

The current exchange point technology is a ‘layer-two Internet exchange’ operating over Ethernet, which means that participants exchange traffic via an Ethernet switch without any settlements, according to the government ministry in charge of the original internet exchange point. It has not yet been publicly announced what the new point’s exact hardware and operational specifics will be.

In order to begin building up an internet exchange point (IXP) especially for Mauritius, the ministry will organise a workshop in partnership with the African Union Commission. This was announced yesterday (Monday 25 August) by ministry representatives at the Cyber Tower in Ebène, the heart of Mauritius’ steadily growing IT industry. The workshop hopes to train up a new generation of Mauritian IT technicians with the requisite skills to lay the foundation of the improved island-wide IXP.

If we can have a local Internet exchange point, this will allow us to minimise the cost. We will not have to pay international fees. In addition, the Internet will be faster, “said Pillay-Chedumbrum.

The exchange point, known officially as MIXP, has already had a web presence established as the groundwork starts up. The MIXP website describes the service as “the professional, neutral Internet exchange that leads the way in global peering services enabling the savings of precious International bandwidth in Mauritius“. A previous incarnation has been in existence since June 2006, but with fewer capabilities.

Telecommunications have had a long history in Mauritius. The first telephone line was installed in 1883, only seven years after the original device was said to have been invented by Scot Alexander Graham Bell. ICT services also took off early on the island, with the establishment of a governmental National Computer Board (NCB) in 1988 to advise the island’s parliament on the formulation of national policies for the development of the IT sector and promotion of technology culture in Mauritius. The following year, the Central Informatics Bureau (CIB) was organised to encourage increased computerisation of civil service records. Since then, Mauritius has become an important centre for IT-related activities in the Indian Ocean and the African continent, with numerous national and international ICT firms setting up shop in the CyberCity park in the town of Ebène, which is south of the Mauritian capital Port Louis.

The new MIXP forms part of the Mauritian government’s ambition to continually raise the standard of corporate and public ICT services on the island. Ministers are aiming to make the ICT sector the ‘fifth pillar’ of the Mauritian economy, after tourism, agriculture and finance, and envisioned transforming Mauritius into a ‘cyber island’.

SOURCES:
Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind
l’express, Twitter https://twitter.com/wwwlexpressmu
“TIC: un point d’échange Internet local pour réduire les coûts de connexion” – lexp Société/lexpress.mu/L’Express (26 August 2014) http://www.lexpress.mu/article/251452/tic-un-point-dechange-internet-local-pour-reduire-couts-connexion
“Home” – MIXP – Mauritius Internet Exchange Point http://www.gov.mu/portal/sites/mixp/index.htm
“About MIXP” – MIXP – Mauritius Internet Exchange Point http://www.gov.mu/portal/sites/mixp/index.htm
“Telecommunications in Mauritius” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_in_Mauritius
IMAGE CREDIT:
‘austinevan’, Flickr via Compfight http://compfight.com/search/cybercity-ebene/1-3-1-1