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Photo No. : P110729-12

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THE CALL OF THE CLARION is the open letter written by Archbishop Ian Ernest to the Mauritian Citizens and in his introductory he says succintly , " ....it is not my intention to criticise any particular individual, individuals or groups of people, although, if anyone does feel offended,.it is presumably because the truth can hurt ".
MAUEN 110729-4
July 29, 2011

[Diocese of Mauritius - Indian Ocean] An open letter to my fellow citizens

It is not my intention to criticise any particular individual, individuals or groups of people, although, if anyone does feel offended, it is presumably because the truth can hurt. We face a society-wide problem. Nor are we alone in this; most other societies in varying ways and to varying degrees face similar problems. But it is in the society in which we live that we have to address the problems and look for solutions.

Steps to be taken
In the first place, therefore, I would urge our Prime Minister to ensure that the Equal Opportunities Act is promulgated at the earliest opportunity and without further delay. I would also ask our political leaders to give urgent priority to the formulation and introduction of an anti-racism/anti-communalism bill. The strains on society caused by ethnic fragmentation are too great to continue ignoring them. Of course, such a measure would provoke outrage in some quarters, where vested interests prevail, but the time is always right for us to “fight the good fight with all thy might”.

Corruption, cronyism and the way public money is spent need more serious attention, including a major change in mindset amongst some of those drawing salaries from the public purse.

What else can be done? I would suggest the setting up of some sort of Social Advisory Council or Think-Tank at several arms length from Government to examine problems and offer solutions. And here, I am not talking about lengthening prison sentences or the use of the death penalty, neither of which has been shown to have any useful impact on crime, and that without considering moral factors. I am talking about such things as how to educate society and how to bring in legislation and reforms that will have a genuine impact.

All this needs not just political will but the awakening of all members of society to the realisation that it is more than time to address our problems, each individual in his or her own way.

I have not spoken of poverty. In part, this is partly being addressed but it has to be addressed properly and in a global way. Building houses for a potential bank of votes is not poverty alleviation. Some poverty is, of course, self-inflicted, through addiction to drugs or alcohol and is difficult to address. But we are a small country, where nothing should be considered impossible because of the sheer scale of a problem. And I do not believe that poverty in itself is at the root of social evils, although it may exacerbate life’s difficulties.
There are plenty of poor people who lead decent lives. There are plenty of rich people who are greedy and devoid of any moral sensibility.
To our leaders, I would say, please do not fail us. To my fellow countrymen, I would add that we all have an individual responsibility to make a difference. There are too many ways that we have all failed.

The Most Revd Ian Ernest
Bishop of Mauritius
Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean

09 February 2011