The RRA (Rodrigues Regional Assembly) at its meeting this week decided to restrict, by way of regulations, the import of vehicles older than seven years. This measure, as stated by the Chief Commissioner, Mr Serge Clair and the Deputy Chief Commissioner, Mr Nicholson Lisette, at their respective speeches, aims at better managing road traffic and the vehicle fleet in Rodrigues in the context of a long term vision.
The number of vehicles has risen substantially during the last decade and already Port Mathurin is experiencing parking problems. The roads are often jammed rendering traffic fluidity difficult. It is also expected to curb down pollution and environmental problems due to the state of old vehicles, according to the proponents. The upward trend is marked with an increasing influx of the number of vehicles at each boat trip from Mauritius.
Latest statistics from the National Transport Authority indicate that the number of vehicles (all categories included) has gone up from 9159 in 2012 to 12975 in 2016 as at December.
However, members of the opposition in Rodrigues are not of the same view. They argue that Rodrigues has other priorities, the main ones being water problem, the extension of the airfield, the enlargement of the sea port area and the problem of connectivity among others. That is why they effected a walk-out just after the intervention of the Minority Leader, Mr Nicolas Von Mally. They believe it’s a strategy of the ruling part to divert attention on the real problems on the island.
The Minority Leader questioned the pertinence of such a regulation at a time when people are facing lack of employment opportunities and are at a loss about the fate of their livestock in view of the sustained embargo on export and the drought period. Many are those who have to toil hard to make both ends meet. It’s a measure in favour of capitalists to the detriment of the “tidimoune”.
Some people, he argued, use a modest form of transport to carry water to their field and fodder to feed their livestock; and now limiting the age of vehicles to be imported from mainland will only add up to their hardship: “limitation lage a 7 ans pe empess bane ti dimun ressi asté ene masine pou saryer delo pou li servi pou so zanimo et mem lerb pou zanimo. Rodriguais so zanimo pas pe vendé sa pas enn problem pou sa gouvt la? S’est-il demandé. C’est ene la loi au detriment ti dimun mais ki pou favorise capitaliste”, he said.
Opinions from common people have it that this measure is probably linked to lobbies from capitalists, but at this stage it’s only a speculation. Anyway, the regulation has been passed and it will be effective as from 2018.
Latest news indicate that the MR (Mouvement Rodriguais) has announced its intention to apply for an injunction against the regulation next week.