The Malta Independent 26 September 2018, Wednesday

TMID Editorial: New Year - The changes we’d like to see in 2018

Tuesday, 2 January 2018, 09:51 Last update: about 10 months ago

Last week we summarized the year 2017 which, all in all was not a very pleasant one. The past twelve months saw the country’s economy grow but they were also tainted with scandal and blood.

We hope that the New Year will bring with it broad changes, particularly in the way politics are done and the environment. This is our wish list for 2018:

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We hope that action – real action – is taken action against those in power who have abused their position and who engaged in shady dealings while in office. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law.

We’d like to see politicians not only declare their conflicts of interest but also do everything in their power to cancel such a conflict. There is a clear choice for these people; they can either be in public service and serve the public or go back to private business and serve themselves. There is no space in the middle.

We’d like to see the 2013 transparency pledge become reality. All major contracts should be published in their entirety. People should be told the truth – the full truth – about the controversial power stations and hospitals privatization deals. This is, after all, our hard earned money that is being spent on these big deals. Transparency should not only apply to these cases but should become the norm for all major deals.

We’d also like to see our politicians stop taking people for a ride and start paying their tax dues. One cannot be taken seriously by the tax-paying public if they are being chased by the taxman.

At the same time people have to start holding the political leaders to a much higher standard. And these have to apply to both sides, not just the other side. People cannot excuse the opening of secret companies in offshore jurisdictions, the receiving of kickbacks, money laundering and failure to pay tax just because the people committing these actions are members of the political party they support. Something that is clearly wrong does not become right because you look at it through red or blue tinted glasses.

We’d like to see the economy grow further, but not at the cost of our limited green spaces. 2018 can be the year when ODZ starts to really mean Oudside Development Zone and no more precious countryside is taken up for construction.

It should also be the year when Zonqor is given back to the people, and where the other side of Marsascala is saved from its apparent high rise fate.

We’d like to see this government create some new economic sectors and rely less and less on the controversial passport sale scheme, which should now be scrapped.

And we should opt for a type of economic growth that does not further add to the great influx of foreign workers which, in turn leads to a greater construction frenzy and an increase in rents.

We’d like to see the PN and the PD collaborate – even if they recently announced their divorce – because this country needs a strong Opposition and currently does not have one.

We’d like to see more people taking part in social activism and speaking up against corruption and bad governance, against the rape of our environment and for other social issues. We would particularly like to see our students be more active and vocal. Free speech counts for nothing if we do not use our voice.

Lastly, we need to see a shift in mentality towards a system where journalists are not threatened, intimidated or stonewalled, and where the fourth estate – an important pillar in any democracy – is given the respect it deserves.

Is this all just wishful thinking? We’ll just have to wait and see. 

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