AN EXEMPLARY PUNISHMENT TO SHIELD OUR VISITORS AGAINST RAPISTS AND ROBBERS
The recent incident which took place on a public beach in Cap Malheureux where a young German lady tourist was sexually assaulted by a young of 17 years of age is another nail in the coffin of law and order, especially concerning the security of foreigners in the country. We all know that Mauritius is well known for its lovely beaches which lure foreign visitors to the island. Those who come to the island never miss a stroll along the beach. But our beaches could lose all their glamour if they are stalked with rapists and robbers along with an absence of security for the strollers. Therefore where is the fun of boasting the beauty of our beaches through videos and magazines if foreign visitors cannot enjoy them at first hand, where at any time they can be a prey to hooliganism.
We have a flourishing tourist industry which hinges heavily on law and order for its growth. It generates billions to our economy. Any increase in violence against foreign visitors could kill the golden goose of tourism. The security of that industry has become more than imperative. The tourism industry needs an effective protective umbrella to shelter our visitors against robbers, rapists and criminals. The tourist cannot be confined within the four walls of his hotel. He must feel free and safe to move about to do sightseeing and enjoy our beaches.
The country is in urgent need of a tightening up laws to clamp down on robberies, crime and violence. Law and order in this country has become a toothless bull dog. It just barks but does not bite. The robbers, rapists and criminals are operating without fear. There is an acute lack of dissuasion in the country
Now see the difference between Singapore and us. In Singapore a lady tourist can leave her hotel at any time in the night and come back safe and well. Whereas in Mauritius that same visitor will not be able to walk even in broad daylight in Grand Baie or Cap Malheureux without exposing herself to risks as that German lady tourist who was recently raped in broad daylight on the beach. As for the night, just forget about it where she will be a veritable prey to the many evil-doers roaming the streets.
To protect our tourist industry on which we rely overwhelmingly for our economy, we should toughen our laws against any kind of violence on foreign visitors. I suggest that a special tribunal be set up to deal with all kinds of aggressions against the tourists. And the punishment meted out should be severe and exemplary. It should serve as a salutary reminder of the aggression on foreign visitors.
Each time there is an aggression on a foreign visitor, it is the image of the country as a tourist resort which is dented abroad. Law and order in the country is thrown into question. The victim whose dream destination has turned into a nightmare will paint not only a dark picture of our country abroad but also will probably never set foot again on the island to avoid relive the nightmarish adventure he or she went through. He or she will choose another destination. Likewise I don’t see that German lady tourist strolling the beach of Cap Malheureux again without reliving her sexual aggression.
Today in Ireland Mauritius is no longer a dream destination after the murder of Michaela Harte in a hotel at Grand Gaube. The image of the country as a tourist resort has been tarnished with the murder of that Irish lady. The island is coupled with lack of security, even in the hotel.
So the security of foreign visitors should be the overriding concern of the authority if we want to promote Mauritius as a dream destination. The existing laws should be reviewed and made tougher, the prison life should be made harsher. A system of bare back-flogging coupled with community work should be introduced for minor offences instead of light term of imprisonment.
Regarding the sexual assault of that young German lady tourist on a public beach by a young, many are not agreeable to the sentence after his conviction― the rapist is spending one year in a Correctional Youth Centre. Many will tell you that the rapist, in spite of his young age, has not got his just deserts. A good bare bottom-flogging should have been added to his detention as an ideal exemplary deterrent to deter not only the young man from reoffending but also to dishearten would-be rapists.
By Raj Paneken