Thursday, December 6, 2018

THE MASQUERADE

At a time when Virtual Reality & Internet of Things (IOT) are driving industries across the globe, on the tiny rock in the middle of nowhere, 17 companies are wrestling for 3 additional FM Radio Broadcasting Licenses. Down in his grave at the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, Guglielmo Marconi must definitely be a happy man.

The Basilica also hosts the grave of one of the finest thinkers of the Renaissance period Niccolò Machiavelli. A character whose immense mastery of the mind would not suffice to understand the rationale of the whole exercise in a market which is shrinking by the day. If there is to be an explanation, then it certainly has more to do with political sense rather than business case.

The contribution of all 3 private radio stations during the last general elections cannot be ignored and with the current term nearing its end, strategies are unfolded by the remnants of l’alliance Lepep to ensure their stay in power.

Out of the 17 contenders only three will be awarded a FM Radio Broadcasting License . As per reliable sources within the Government, the two contenders guaranteed of securing a license are : 1) Mayfair and Purely Communications Ltd 2) First Talk Ltd .
Though the proposal is built around former Officer of Board of Investment ( BOI) Arvind Nilmadhub, the man to watch out for is Balkrsihna Choolun, known as Vedan Choolun Director of UK based Internet TV Network UiTV. A man said to be one of MSM’s London boys. The sharpness of Vedan Choolun is such that early 2017, he had already engaged a specialized firm, Clyde Broadcast to design a turn key proposal for a radio station in Mauirtius ….. when officially the invitation for submission of proposals by IBA was published on 15th February 2018. With UiTV’s recent twist, engaging in pro Pravind Jugnauth propaganda, Members of Parliament will be willing to clear doubts on the possibility of collusion.

The second favorite to obtain a FM Radio Broadcasting License, is the company belonging to a man who since 2015 has been blessed with Midas touch. In fact every step of Chintamanee Gohin leads him to a field of gold. So amazing, that he ranks high on the watch list of Opposition MPs who believe he is the new “Gooljaury”. First Talk Ltd is the latest of a string of companies set up by Chintamanee Gohin, also known as Sunil Gohin. Right from IT consultancy Services, Gambling & Betting , Data Processing, Online Publishing , News Agency, Sunil Gohin is surfing the wave along with the fascinating omnipresent Ms Yarchana Lokee. From Quatre Bornes to London it’s been a silky route for the duo, with Mauritius Telecom as a lucky talisman in most of the ventures. To the extent that most of Sunil Gohin’s offices have been moved so close, that one could easily mistake them for subsidiaries of our national telecommunications company. Though other bidders do enjoy support of the government and MSM, Sunil Gohin has a definite edge, view his readiness to get the radio live within a short span. Just as in the case of Vedan Choolun, former employees of Inside News affirm Sunil Gohin had begun preparations prior to February 2018.

There are however a few challenges lying ahead, namely :i) the migration of frequency which is being unfairly imposed on the current 3 private radio stations, willing to resist ii) the funding of most of the projects which will be done by none other than the State Bank of Mauritius, itself plunging down steeply iii) the availability of competent personnel, view most of the targeted people anticipating the joy to be short lived, have turned down unimaginable offers.

We do owe respect to other bidders, particularly a couple of them who naively do believe Fools day is only on 1st of April. The race to the third spot is wide open but not for them to grab. The focus will be on the behavior of one particular board member of the Independent Broadcasting Authority. Will the Solicitor General, Dheeren Dabee play along the script of this masquerade?

Categories