The one who was once considered untouchable in power and who had influence in various areas of the country is preparing to leave the Champ de Mars. This would be interpreted as a break in relations with the MSM. But is this really the case?

His financial resources have often stirred up his political adversaries. But today, the influence of Jean Michel Lee Shim seems to be disintegrating on the political scene. If he left unclear the support he will give to the next general elections, the fact remains that the games of chance magnate finds himself in a less comfortable position than in 2019 during the previous legislative elections.

In those years, criticism of him focused on his influence on the gaming sector with the rise of SMS Pariaz of which he was the founder. In 2024, he is especially perceived by public opinion as the one whose management of the Champ de Mars, through the People's Turf PLC (PTP), dealt a fatal blow to the horse racing industry. The arguments defended on Friday on Radio Plus according to which the role of the PTP at the Champ de Mars was reduced to simple “koup turf” activities are far from convincing.

As are also the denials of the majority shareholder of the PTP regarding its support for individual candidates. According to our cross-checks with certain elected government officials, none of whom will dare to say it openly, it is known in the mysteries of the Sun Trust that candidates who competed under the banner of the Morisien Alliance in 2019 benefited from political support personal from Jean Michel Lee Shim. Assistance orchestrated through a network of intermediaries, mainly from the legal world (lawyers, solicitors, notaries).

A senior source at Government House says the ramifications of Jean-Michel Lee Shim's influence extend far beyond simple interactions with the MSM leadership. The businessman is also personally involved with several members of the MSM on an individual level. Which leads this source to strongly doubt that he has become persona non grata in the eyes of the Sun Party.

Despite his recent withdrawal from the public scene, symbolized by his disengagement from the Champ de Mars, this source affirms that Jean Michel Lee Shim retains significant influence within the MSM: “He is deeply anchored in the party network. »

However, the possibility of a rapprochement between the PMSD and the MSM adds a new layer of complexity to the already delicate situation of Jean Michel Lee Shim concerning the Champ de Mars. Xavier-Luc Duval was very critical of the management of the PTP. Moreover, the leader of the PMSD will categorically refuse to associate with the MSM if Jean Michel Lee Shim continues to be the strong man of the Champ de Mars, we learn.

Ongoing talks between government emissaries and the Mauritius Turf Club appear to be motivated by a desire to court the PMSD, according to a source at government headquarters. But here again, this highlights that a withdrawal of Jean Michel Lee Shim from the Champ de Mars does not mean that the MSM will agree to cut ties with the latter. “The PMSD will not be able to come and dictate to us who we should have as a funder,” she specifies.

There is also the fact that Jean Michel Lee Shim has, it seems, not closed the door to a possible association with the PTr-MMM-New Democrats (ND) alliance (see box). And this, even though in 2022, when he was preparing to take control of the Champ de Mars, he had been very critical of the opposition, accusing it of not being able to stand up to the government.

What are Jean Michel Lee Shim's relations with the parliamentary opposition, more precisely with the PTr, a party of which he claims to have been a member and which had appointed him to the board of directors of various government institutions, such as the university? of Technology of Mauritius or the former Board of Investment? The differences between the businessman and the party leadership arose when the then government refused to remove certain obstacles regarding the development of SMS Pariaz across the country. This situation could have been better managed, thus allowing the PTr to keep the war chest of the businessman who makes such a difference during an electoral campaign, it is said among the reds.

Other sources within the PTr, however, say they do not believe in a break between the MSM and Jean Michel Lee Shim. “This is simply a cinema aimed at destabilizing the opposition in the run-up to the general elections,” it is said.

Possible financial support from the businessman

Navin Ramgoolam: “Li pe kone ki divan-la pe sanze”

The PTr/MMM/ND alliance does not want to hear about Jean Michel Lee Shim. Asked several times about the possibility that the opposition alliance would accept financial support from the businessman, Navin Ramgoolam simply did not wish to give credence to this possibility: “Se enn sinema tou sekinn arive in Champ de Mars, you can iron to destroy MTC, overnight to iron this? Inposib. » For Navin Ramgoolam, “Li pe kone ki divan la pe sanze”.

His comments on Radio Plus

“Where is your election with MSM?” »

During the program “Au Cœur de l'Info”, last Friday, Jean Michel Lee Shim maintained the mystery over the identity of the party he plans to support in the next legislative elections. To a question from Nawaz Noorbux, who wanted to know if he would not have become an embarrassment for the MSM, Jean Michel Lee Shim replied: “Or is it possible to vote for the MSM? Mo neutral mwa. »

The businessman indicated that several aspects must be taken into consideration before deciding on the support he will give to a party. He insisted on the fact that he devotes exclusive loyalty to the party he supports. “Mo pa manz banann dan de bout mwa. Last fwa why did I say I did MSM? Who did I leave? Nou al enn sel nou sinser nou. His bann zafer given isi given laba ipokrizi-la avek Lee Shim pena sa. Nou pankor desires me not to be able to prostitision everywhere. »

“Ki manyer mo kav bliye Ramgoolam kinn donn mwa SMS Pariaz”

During his speech on Friday, Jean Michel Lee Shim made numerous nods to the PTr and its leader, Navin Ramgoolam. He recalled that it was after the 2005 legislative elections that one of his companies, SMS Pariaz, obtained its operating permit. “Mo dir li enn big mersi linn donn mwa patant SMS Pariaz. » Asked more explicitly about the possibility that he would grant his financial support to a party other than the MSM, Jean Michel Lee Shim replied: “My goodness. Se demokrasi sa. Ki manier mo kapav bliye Ramgoolam kinn donn mwa SMS Pariaz. Now I'm off to work. Mo kapav bliye sa? »

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