FW: Mauritius: Paradise Lost?

Tania van Schalkwyk tvs at uskonet.com
Wed Mar 6 08:57:41 EST 2002

Contactez tvs at uskonet.com <mailto:tvs at uskonet.com>  pour la version
francaise de cette petition.

« You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven. And
that heaven was copied after Mauritius. »
-Mark Twain, 'Following the Equator', 1897.

Mauritius: Paradise Lost?
Petition to Save L'ile aux Benitiers.

Mauritius, once a tropical rainforest paradise, is fast sinking like
Atlantis, under the weight of its concrete jungle.  The latest assault
our country comes in the form of plans to develop L'ile aux Benitiers on
southwest coast of Mauritius. The proposed project by Food & Allied
Industries Limited (FAIL) would have devastating repercussions on the
environmental & sociocultural ecosystems of our island.

After having received, as gifts  from the state, the most beautiful
of the Mauritian coast, leaving a bare minimum of public beaches to the
Mauritian public, the 'developers' now want to appropriate themselves of

Even while  environmental reports conducted on behalf of the Mauritian
government  categorically insist on the  conservation of islets, and to
"restore biodiversity of islets" ( National Environmental Action Plan,
, p.175 "Coastal Zone Management Programme")-
Even while the government engages itself to adhere to and apply
international conventions on the protection of terrestrial & marine
This same government, on the other hand; seems to continue to try and
dispose of these islets like sale items at a fleamarket; when their rich
biodiversity has not even been properly studied or taken into

L'ile aux Benitiers  is unique. It is totally absurd to transform this
islet's natural environment into a  hotel/residential/camping/etc.
Such an idea is even counter-productive to the economic welfare of the
region: including the fishing & tourist industries.

It is blatantly obvious that there will be serious, negative
to the site's fragile ecosystem of  marine & terrestrial life, to which
l'ile aux Benitiers is crucial .  Two examples of the many disastruous &
irreversible damages that will be incurred due to an infrastructural
development of the islet, are :
-       The increase in boat traffic  & access  necessitates  sand
extraction  which leads to a long-lasting  degradation of the quality of
water and marine life.
-       Development of and construction on the terrestrial environment
necessitates deforestation which leads to soil erosion.

And what of the negative sociocultural impacts such development will
have on
the quiet & peaceful villages of the region( notably La Gaulette) ; an
integral part of our Mauritian culture ?
-       Noise & Light pollution.
-       An increase in prostitution and delinquency.
-       Savage development.
-       The loss of village traditions.

        Will La Gaulette, Mauritius have to suffer the same fate as Grand
Bay or Flic en Flac? Costa del Sol (Spain) or Durban beachfront (South
-       We therefore categorically oppose ANY DEVELOPMENT, including
hotel/residential/golf course/restaurant/recreational/commercial
occurring on  L'ile aux Benitiers An islet so important to us all:
-       La Gaulette villagers, Mauritian citizens, foreign tourists, the
plant, animal and sea life of Mauritius, the tropical ecosystem of the
Indian Ocean and therefore the planet and all its inhabitants.
We launch an international appeal for the protection, conservation and
restoration of the terrestrial and marine biodiversity of L'ile aux

We urge the Mauritian government to review its position and procedures
towards the classification of our country's islets.

We request L'ile aux Benitiers to be reclassified as a nature reserve.

We urgently request the relevant authorities to implement  an
education & information programme in the region, so that all persons
our islets, beaches and lagoon can do so in a well-informed manner,
therefore ensuring responsability towards the social and environmental
protection of our coastal heritage.

        For the Future of Our Children. For the Future of Our Planet.  March

Only after the Last Tree has been cut down,Only after the Last River has
been poisoned,
Only after the Last Fish has been Caught, Only then will you find that
Cannot be Eaten.
-Cree Indian Prophecy

Please follow these instructions in order to sign the petition:

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to the following address:   tvs at uskonet.com <mailto:tvs at uskonet.com>
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Thank you!

Collectif pour la Préservation de l'Île aux Bénitiers :
Komite des Forc Vivs de La Gaulette, Ecosud, Solidarite Anti-Pollution
l'Ouest,  et al.
Email : tvs at uskonet.com <mailto:tvs at uskonet.com>
For more information & other ways to help .

        (1) Tania van Schalkwyk tvs at uskonet.com <mailto:tvs at uskonet.com> ,
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