A peaceful mass gathering is expected to take place in Port Mathurin on Saturday 19th of June. It was announced by ‘Soldat 2021’ during a press conference on the 16th June at Baie Lascars. This platform comprises of a group of people who joined together to fight for the repatriation of some 266 Rodriguans still stranded in Mauritius since the month of March, following the suspension of flights between Mauritius and Rodrigues due to the propagation of the ‘COVID-19’ pandemic in Mauritius. Up to now, more than 300 of them have been able to come back through special repatriation flights. Unfortunately, some 266 compatriots are still stranded in the main island. The platform spokesman, Christian Leopold, seized the opportunity to thank the government who tried its best so that they could come back home. He also thanked all those who, in a way or another, helped them in Mauritius during almost three months. Namely several NGOs, the Anglican diocese, the Catholic church of Rodrigues, the Rotary club of Mauritius, many volunteers, Rodriguans living in Mauritius, friends and acquaintances, etc. A minute of silence was observed in respect of those who passed away in Mauritius before they could get back.
Christian Leopold also thanked the government for the one-off grant amounting to Rs 10,000 allocated to each family stranded in Mauritius. And also, for having put in place the protocol allowing them to come back. « But we must not forget that 266 of ours are still in Mauritius and are living or surviving in exceedingly difficult conditions. And this pacific march is in solidarity with these people. We want them to know that we are still fighting for them to be repatriated. We know quite well how much they are suffering, as we have also been in this situation just a few weeks ago. Today, we are back with our families and that is why we have got to fight for them so that they can come back too », he said. He states that it can be extremely difficult for a Rodriguan to be stranded in Mauritius for such a long time. « Most of us had planned to go to Mauritius for a few days for different reasons. We had a budget for our stay over there, according to the number of days. And once our business was done, we were supposed to come back immediately. Some of us were on leave, the students were on vacation, and so on. But we had set a date to come back. We had a return air ticket. We did not expect that such circumstances preventing us from coming back would arise », he added.
Christian Leopold stated that he clearly does not understand why these people are still in Mauritius. He thinks that these people are being punished for undetermined reasons that nobody knows. « This is a punishment, these people are being punished by the government », he cried out. He made an urgent appeal to the government to allow these 266 persons to return to Rodrigues at the soonest possible through special repatriation flights, as it has already been done on four occasions. « I beg our leaders to show better feelings and show mercy towards our own citizens, our brothers and sisters who have families, children, as well as a job back here », he said. He also urged the whole population to come in support during the pacific march to show their concern and solidarity about this whole ‘dramatic’ and unbearable situation. He finds that if quarantine procedures cannot be done in Mauritius, these people can undergo same in Rodrigues itself, as all the hotels are free from customers.