It is said that everything is fair in love and war. But the Medical Council of Mauritius is neither love nor war. So I thought until I had the privilege in participating in these elections.
I sincerely believed the elections would be a friendly competition among colleagues of the medical fraternity. I would soon crash to my senses. The disillusionment was intense. I had to accept that the curse of latent communalism had reached the medical shores!
Such a base reaction by such high level intellectuals is a matter of dismay. More shocking was the ‘inducement’ of the younger generation by some vested interests to further their own ends. Young colleagues should be encouraged to be above such considerations. However the contrary was observed. Some dark forces did not take into account the fragile fabric of our society and indulged in despicable behavior.
I can only hope and pray this attitude was a one-off reaction and would not be reflected in daily medical practice. Otherwise, the very future of medicine in our paradise island would be in grave danger! Let us hope doctors are not led astray by such base instincts. A true doctor or other health professional never takes into account the ethnicity of a patient in their fight against disease. We hope that all remember it, always!
Medical Council elections the world over follow the rules of any other election. The respective councils publish guidelines for canvassing. Statements from candidates are encouraged and some councils even publish these on their websites, during the weeks before elections. As an example, the British Medical Council clearly states that “elections mean canvassing”. Candidates are even advised to canvass on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Not so in Mauritius! Strange contradiction that the Medical Council doesn’t allow such things! Here the rule is that candidates are not allowed any manifesto or active canvassing! I wonder how a candidate informs voters of his ideas for the profession and why they should vote for him.
Previous councils have not done anything to remedy this contradiction. They have in fact reinforced this fallacy. I won’t surmise on the reasons! This situation is illogical, more so in 21st century Mauritius. Changing it might be the only way to defeat the ‘underground’ distribution of messages, even some or many with distinct communal undertones! Transparency means much less risk of ‘dérapage’, communal or otherwise.
Another fallacy, perhaps unique to our island and another source of discord! Medical Council elections have generally taken place in a single center. However, this time we were informed elections would be held in different centers across the island to encourage higher voter participation, which is usually around one third only! Yet, once again elections were held in only one center. After investigation, it came out that the Medical Council had not approved the holding of elections across the country. Candidates from the one hospital were thus unduly favored. The Victoria hospital being closest, a large majority of doctors were able to easily come to vote. Regional hospitals, SSRNH, Flacq, Rose Belle, AG Jeetoo showed much lower participation. In this era of regionalization I do hope this situation is remedied in the next elections for suspicions of bias to be removed.
The pre-election turmoil unveiled many skeletons in cupboards! Some more appalling than others! Allegations of condoning illegal practices etc by the previous council and what not! What seems most scandalous is the alleged case of someone registered as a doctor without taking part in the Medical Registration Examination (MRE). This hasn’t been denied since its publication on 26th January 2019 in the DÉFI PLUS. It is probably a most blatant injustice to the 244 pre-regs who took the November 2018 examinations.
I wonder what could be the solution to this ‘disgraceful’ situation. There appears but two options: It would probably be justice to allow registration as doctors to all those who spent long days and sleepless nights preparing for these exams! Short of deregistration and MRE exams of the person involved! It would only be Fair Play!
It can only be hoped that the new Medical Council will make public all relevant documents in these and other cases in a spirit of transparency. Or else the Medical Council risks losing all credibility and being perceived as the personal property of some ‘group’ which manipulates the rules of the Medical Council in all impunity.