We are glad that today, Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, worthy son of an illustrious father, is continuing in the same tradition that makes our small island a place where life still retains its dignity.When we became independent in 1968, our economy was based almost entirely on a mono culture. The sugar industry dominated every aspect of our activity. After 30 years, a transformation has taken place which has assigned sugar to a third place in the economic pecking order. The textile industry churning out quality products and knitwear of the latest design has become the main foreign exchange earner and employer of labour. Whereas in 1968 hardly anyone in Europe had heard of Mauritius, today it is the tourist destination of prestige. Chains of four and five star hotels provide the latest luxury to holiday makers in search of high quality resort.

Mauritius has made a reputation as an offshore business centre and blue chip financial companies have set up shop. The Mauritius Freeport is another addition to the series of innovative institutions to provide efficient service to countries of Indian Ocean Commission and Eastern and Southern Africa.

With a homogenous government at the helm, there is now more clarity of purpose and coherence in policy. The present opposition, acting as watchdog, provides the necessary lever for the effective functioning of democracy.

Peter Chellen and his team should be congratulated for bringing out a special edition of Mauritius News to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Independence of Mauritius. The 25th Anniversary special issue was a great success as it focused on the remarkable achievements of our economy and projected Mauritius to an audience for whom the insight was a revelation. There is no doubt that this special edition will attain the same objective and reach a wider readership.

When we look back at the past thirty years, we take pride that we have succeeded in preserving our island as a bastion of democracy in a part of the world where multiparty system and the ballot box had lost their credentials. The unreserved submission to the will of the electorate has not only shielded us from the fall out of ethnic and religious tremors, which still affect more advanced regions, but enabled us to register solid economic results, so much so, that Mauritius is quoted as an example of economic success.

Mauritius can boast that it is one of the few countries where transfer of sovereignty was not followed by any upheaval. The spirit of tolerance and the policy of sharing which guided the political philosophy of the father of the Nation, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, which subsequently became the credo of successive governments, remains our most treasured heritage.

Mauritius has long come of age and is now joining the rank of mature nation-states.

If the past is an indication, then the future can be contemplated with optimism. But it is up to us to gird our lions and put our shoulders to the wheel to ensure that the future does not turn its back on us.

On this Solemn occasion, let us all commit ourselves to be the standard bearers of Mauritian dignity and the cherished heritage of righteousness, tolerance and striving for better days ahead.

Sir Satcam Boolell, QC

High Commissioner