Resources such as Land and Beaches have been inherently political issues across the globe. Privatization of resources has led the world to speculate and create new trends as a response to global crisis’s. Political agendas worldwide is now more focused on massive beach and land grabbing operations. In order to secure themselves, countries and transnational companies are acquiring land and beaches in developing counties at an accelerated rate.
As from the 20th century, Mauritius has been facing constant challenges against the privatization of hectares of beaches allocated to foreign investors. These deals have not always had a win-win outcome but rather sparked neo-colonialism flares putting the livelihood of local population in jeopardy.
In 2016, the statistical segmentation of the Mauritian coast line is as follows;
43% of sea frontage by private bungalows and villas,
20% of coast line are occupied by hotels and golf areas,
and ONLY 10% are said to be public beaches.
‘Aret Kokin Nu Laplaz’; AKNL (Stop Beach Grabbing in English), a group of Mauritian activists, are voicing against beach privatization and its effects. On the 24th of August 2016, 6.9 hectares and nine hundred and forty square meters of beach (69940 m2) was withdrawn from the list of ‘ Public Beach ‘. This portion of beach described as PG Bel Air Public Beach (Pomponette/ Point aux Roches), situated in the South of Mauritius, is one of the very last coastal line which has preserved its wild and natural fauna and flora. Appreciated for its untouched beauty, locals and afar, PG Bel Air (Pomponette) has been a place of gathering for years by many.
The anecdote below among others, overthrows the saying of the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Housing and Lands of the Republic of Mauritius, Showkutally Soodhun as to what this beach is not frequently visited by people and too dangerous for swimming thus appropriate for hotel construction, namely a transnational South African company, the Pelangi Resorts.
Recently after activists of AKNL have gathered support from local citizens, the CEO of Pelangi Resorts gave an interview in L’Express, a local newspaper, stressing that the choice of the privatization of PG Bel Air Beach (Pomponette), is justified as hotels keep beaches in better conditions and clean as opposed to Mauritian citizens.
Planted by a Mauritian some 20 years back, this Tournefortia argentea known as ‘ le veloutier ‘‘has a story behind that everyone should be aware of. This is the legacy left behind by a man for the Mauritian nation!
‘Baz ti pie ‘ as this man lovingly describes ‘ le veloutier’, is the living witness of years of family gatherings and unfading memories! This is not ‘The Pelangi tree on St Felix’ as described and marketed by the promoters unaware of the Mauritian footprint! This veloutier is a symbol of an ecological resistance against time, natural calamities and prejudice; becoming a symbol of emotional attachment!
‘ Le veloutier’ itself answers to Miranda Hartzenberg Ceo of Pelangi the CEO of Pelangi to how Mauritians care, value and show respect for their natural assets, our PG Bel Air, Pomponette beach!
Existing beach and land rights are being continually violated by the authorities. Deals between transnational companies are secretly negotiated without the least consideration for the natural birth rights of Mauritians to enjoy their national heritage. High saturation of beach hotels has eroded and endangered the fragile marine eco-system.
‘Aret Kokin Nu Laplaz’ (AKNL), is inviting citizens of the world to participate in advocating land and nature birth rights as this is not only a Mauritian issue but a global phenomenon.
On the 23rd of October 2016, we are organizing a massive citizens’ picnic for a massive campaign ( Piknik Sitwayein ) on PG Bel Air beach ( Pomponette ) as from 12: 00 to 16:00.
As per the requests of foreign activists and Mauritians living abroad, we will also be launching a Facebook and Twitter campaign as from the 23rd of October 2016. The online community is invited to join us.
How to participate and advocate for land rights online ;
1. Take a selfie with a piece of paper or cartoon board written #AKNL or Aret Kokin Nou Laplaz and the name of country where the selfie was taken. Upload your photo on your personal account.
Then inbox me your photo on Facebook; Anshika Sawaram and you will be later tag in the album photo of our Facebook page Aret Kokin Nu Laplaz.
2. Sign our online petition and share to your contacts.
Thank you for your support.