Navin Ramgoolam

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The Honourable
Navinchandra Ramgoolam
GCSK, MP, FRCP
Navinchandra Ramgoolam portrait 2.jpg
Prime Minister of Mauritius
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 May 2010
President Sir Anerood Jugnauth (2003-2012) Kailash Purryag (2012-present)
Vice President Monique Ohsan Bellepeau
Preceded by Himself
In office
5 July 2005 – 2010
President Sir Anerood Jugnauth
Vice President Raouf Bundhun (2002-2007)
Angidi Chettiar (2007-2010)
Preceded by Paul Bérenger
Succeeded by Himself
In office
27 December 1995 – September 2000
President Cassam Uteem
Vice President Raouf Bundhun
Preceded by Sir Anerood Jugnauth
Succeeded by Sir Anerood Jugnauth
Leader of Labour Party
Incumbent
Assumed office
1991
Preceded by Sir Satcam Boolell
Leader of the Opposition
In office
October 2000 – 4 July 2005
President Cassam Uteem (1992-2002)
Karl Offmann (2002-2003)
Sir Anerood Jugnauth (2003-2012)
Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth (2000-2003)
Paul Bérenger (2003-2005)
Vice President Raouf Bundhun
Preceded by Sir Anerood Jugnauth
Succeeded by Paul Bérenger
In office
September 1991 – December 1995
President Cassam Uteem (1992-1997)
Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth
Vice President Sir Rabindrah Ghurburrun
Preceded by Prem Nababsing
Succeeded by Sir Anerood Jugnauth
Personal details
Born July 14, 1947 (1947-07-14) (age 66)
Port Louis, Mauritius
Nationality Mauritian
Political party Labour Party
Spouse(s) Veena Brizmohun (m. 1979)
Parents Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, Lady Sushil Ramgoolam
Residence Clarisse House (Official)
Alma mater Royal College Curepipe
Royal College of Surgeons
London School of Economics
Inns of Court School of Law
Inner Temple
Profession Doctor, Barrister[1]
Cabinet Cabinet of Mauritius
Religion Hinduism
Website Prime Minister website
Prime Minister's Office

Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, MP, FRCP (born: 14 July 1947) is the Prime Minister of Mauritius, he is concurrently Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications and Minister of Rodrigues, Outer Islands & Dependencies.[2][3] Ramgoolam is the leader of the Labour Party. He was appointed Leader of the Opposition from 1991 to 1995. He served as Prime Minister for the first time in December 1995 until September 2000 and became Leader of the Opposition again from October 2000 to 04 July 2005. On 05 July 2005, he became Prime Minister of Mauritius and after being re-elected in 2010, Ramgoolam sworn into office for a third term on 06 May 2010. He also occupied several ministerial portfolios in the Government of Mauritius.

Early life and education[edit]

Navin Ramgoolam was born on 14 July 1947 as the son of former Prime Minister and Father of the Mauritian Nation Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam and Lady Sushil Ramgoolam.

Ramgoolam attended the Royal College Curepipe from 1960 to 1968 and proceeded to study medicine in Ireland between 1968 and 1975, where he obtained the LRCP&SI licenciates from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

He worked at Monaghan Hospital (Ireland) in 1976, and was an intern at St Lawrence’s Hospital (Dublin, (Ireland) between 1975 and 1976. Ramgoolam worked in different private hospitals in the United Kingdom, with a short stint at A.G. Jeetoo Hospital in Port Louis, Mauritius from 1976 to 1977. He was a clinical assistant in cardiology at the University College Hospital in London from 1977 to 1981. Ramgoolam was also a senior medical doctor at the Amersham General Hospital, Buckinghamshire (UK), from 1981 to 1982. From 1982 to 1985, he worked as a medical doctor at the Yorkshire Clinic in West Yorkshire (UK).

After his father's death in December 1985, Ramgoolam was on the point of immigrating to Canada when Sir Satcam Boolell (then leader of Labour Party) and Paul Berenger convinced him to come back to Mauritius and to fight and win the leadership of the party. He subsequently served as a medical doctor at Dr A.G Jeetoo Hospital in Mauritius from 1985 to 1987.

In 1987, he started his law studies at The London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London. Upon completion of his LLB degree in 1990, he returned to Mauritius to face the electorate as the new leader of the Labour party in the 1991 general elections. After a heavy election loss in 1991, he took leave as leader of the opposition and returned to London where he went on to complete his law vocational course at Inns of Court School of Law. He was called to United Kingdom Bar, Inner Temple in 1993.[4]

Leadership of the Labour Party and 1991 Elections[edit]

Ramgoolam assumed leadership of Mauritius Labour Party in 1991, succeeding Sir Satcam Boolell at this post. He contested his first General election in 1991 as leader of Mauritius Labour Party. The Labour Party was defeated by the MSM-MMM coalition of Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth and Paul Berenger, winning only 3 seats out of 60. However, Ramgoolam was elected first member of Parliament for the Constituency of Pamplemousse-Triolet, the previous constituency of his late father. Since then, he has always been elected at top of the list.

Although the Labour Party and PMSD suffered heavy electoral losses in the September 1991 general election and were faced with internal weakness, they attempted to act as an assertive and contentious opposition. The PMSD lost its veteran leader Sir Gaetan Duval at the end of 1991 after his retirement. The Labour Party leader, Ramgoolam, has been attacked by his own political allies for his inexperience in high office and frequent overseas travels. The opposition was quick to criticize the prime minister, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, for issuing a new MR20 bank note with the image of the prime minister's wife in mid-1992. In addition, the opposition and the ruling coalition have taken each other to court over charges of fraud in the 1991 election.

A particularly acrimonious row developed over Ramgoolam's absence from parliament beginning in July 1992 in order to pursue a law degree in London. The speaker of the National Assembly claimed that the Labour Party leader violated rules relating to absences by members of parliament. The case was referred to the Supreme Court. The Ramgoolam affair not only has prompted grumbling within the Labour Party but also has highlighted the tension within the ruling coalition, namely, the continuing friction between Paul Bérenger, external affairs minister and secretary general of the MMM, and Prime Minister Jugnauth. Bérenger criticized Jugnauth for calling the National Assembly out of recess while Ramgoolam was out of the country, claiming that the prime minister was merely creating another pretext for stripping the leader of Labour Party of his seat.[5]

1995 Elections and First Tenure as Prime Minister[edit]

In 1994, Ramgoolam's party joined hands with the Mouvement Militant Mauricien and they won the 2 seats contested in by-election in January 1995 in constituency of Rose-Hill-Stanley. Ramgoolam then assumed Prime ministership of the country in December 1995 following the landslide victory in the 1995 General election in which the coalition he led won all the 60 seats in parliament. His first prime ministership was marked by two by-elections that he won and marred by island-wide racial riots after the death of Joseph Reginald Topize, also known as "Kaya", the famous Seggae singer of creole origin in prison. In 2000 he was defeated by two political leaders, Paul Bérenger and Anerood Jugnauth, who joined hands to oust him out power, but was still elected as first representative of his constituency in National Assembly.

From 1995 to 2000, he was much criticised by the media with his inexperienced way of holding high offices and the Labour party which was at the highest peak in 1995 as it had never won a 60-0 elections began to sank in polls.In the early days of 2000, the labour party nevertheless was ahead in the polls to win over the MMM and MSM. However at the last minute in a 45 minutes meeting between Sir Jugnauth and Berenger, an alliance of MSM-MMM was remade and Ramgoolam lost heavily once again winning only 8 seats against 56 seats. Sir Anerood Jugnauth became Prime Minister in 2000 following his victory.

2000-2005[edit]

Following the victory of the MSM-MMM alliance, he resigned as Prime Minister. Between 2000 and 2005, he was Leader of the Opposition. He once again was at the same point of beginning with only 8 Mps. He initiated new policies and a new team. He took on board former members of the MSM and MMM namely Rama Sithanen & Rashid Beebeejaun. Sithanen who was finance minister in the MSM government helped in economic policy making and Beebeejaun ensured the support of the Muslim electorate concentrated in Port Louis. He then initiated a coalition of small parties alongside with the labour party in early 2005 and stood as Prime Minister again.

2005 and Prime Minister[edit]

In 2005, he made a coalition the Social Alliance led by Labour Party won the election. Ramgoolam kept his promise to introduce free transport services for the elderly as a tribute for their efforts to bring Mauritius to where it stands and students for they are the future of the nation. He also specified tight deadlines for achieving various other (short-term) macroeconomic measures to ensure the country sustains development. These involved tax reform amongst others.

His management in terms of making diplomatic relationship with other countries have served him well. He has made enormous contribution to the economy since his second appointment as Prime Minister

Following the general election on 5 May 2010, Ramgoolam was re-elected as prime minister and the Mauritius Labour Party won a majority of 41 seats against 18 seats by the MMM of Paul Berenger and 1 seat went to the FSM. The good handling of the economic issues, ensuring an improved growth during the global financial crisis, is considered by some to have been a determining factor in his winning the election with a more comfortable margin than in 2005. Another important factor was his political strategy of allying himself with the MSM, which ensured the opposition did not have a credible alternative prime minister. The Labour-led coalition won 29 seats out of 30 in rural constituencies and 12 seats of out 30 in urban constituencies. This was the first time since 1991 elections that a Mauritian Prime Minister won a second consecutive term. The MSM however quit the alliance in July 2011.[6]

Honours[edit]

Ramgoolam has received several accolades and honours. In 1998 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Dr Honoris Causa by the University of Mauritius, Dr Honoris Causa from Aligarh Muslim University, India and Dr Honoris Causa by the Jawaharlal Nehru University, India in October 2005. Other awards he attained are the Grand Officier de la Legion d’Honneur from France in March 2006, the Honorary Freeman of Rodrigues from Rodrigues Regional Assembly in March 2007, The Wilberforce Medal from Wilberforce Lecture Trust, Hull, United Kingdom in June 2007, The Rajiv Gandhi Award from Mumbai Regional Congress Committee, India in August 2007, The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award from Government of the Republic of India in January 2008 as well as Grand Commander of the Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean (GCSK) from the Government of the Republic of Mauritius in March 2008. In Paris, Ramgoolam received the Prix Louise Michel, awarded generally each year to a high personality in recognition of his or her outstanding contribution in the political field. He was made Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by the Padmashree Dr D. Y. Patil University, Mumbai, India in February 2009, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP) of the Royal College of Physicians, London in May 2009, Honorary Doctor by Staffordshire University, United Kingdom in July 2010, Order of the Rule of Law by the World Jurist Association, Bethesda, Maryland, USA in April 2011, Overseas Bencher by the Inner Temple, United Kingdom in April 2011 and Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) by the Kurukshetra University, Haryana, India in February 2012.[7]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Veena Ramgoolam (née Brizmohun).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Anerood Jugnauth
Prime Minister of Mauritius
1995–2000
Succeeded by
Anerood Jugnauth
Preceded by
Paul Bérenger
Prime Minister of Mauritius
2005–present
Incumbent