The Malta Independent 26 September 2018, Wednesday

Gone with the wind

Frank Psaila Friday, 5 January 2018, 09:12 Last update: about 10 months ago

In normal circumstances, it would have been foolish for the Opposition to demand the termination of an agreement with a private investor. But these are not normal circumstances, for the 'investors' have failed to deliver, and our government was wrong, to put it mildly, in giving them a large parcel of unspoiled land named Żonqor. 

 

Right Decision 

Which explains why David Agius and Karol Aquilina, the party's deputy leader for parliamentary affairs, and the environment spokesperson, respectively, were right in demanding the return of the land at Żonqor to the people of Malta. 

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'Lucky' encounter 

The so-called American University of Malta failed miserably to reach its targets as promised at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat a few years back. The latter, we were told, decided on the spur of the moment to give Żonqor to the Sadeen Group. Mr Sadeen seems to have charmed our Prime Minister - and got away with a large tract of land at Marsascala, and a prime location in the heart of Cottonera.  That was a luck encounter indeed. 

 

A mess 

Forward to today and it's a mess.  A shame, really, for private educational institutions should be encouraged. Foreign ones, nonetheless, but it is ridiculous to hand large tracts of unspoiled land to a business man with no track record to show for in this field.  Instead of granting them a licence and allowing them to build small - as start-ups usually do - our government was quick to bend over backwards to accommodate them. The reason for this foolishly rushed decision is anyone's  guess.

 

Busuttil, Delia 

Time has proved Simon Busuttil right.  He had campaigned, vociferously, against the granting of the land to Sadeen, and was accused of being 'negative' and of working 'against Malta's interests'. But he was right, and his successor, Adrian Delia took the right decision of continuing what Busuttil had started.  

 

No regrets 

I am tempted to say that from this mess, the government should learn a lesson: people's property should not be disposed of on the basis of 'I-have-a-good-hunch-this-is-a-trustworthy-investor'. But it's pointless, really. For the government doesn't look, or sound worried; the Prime Minister, probably, has no regrets in giving Żonqor away on a proverbial silver platter, and Sadeen will probably get to keep our land. 

 

Ours

And before I'm accused by the usual government apologists of 'being negative', let me spell it out clearly: if demanding what is rightfully ours is negative, then I shall wear the 'negative' medal proudly on my chest.  

Foreign investment is always welcome, but dubious investment... that shouldn't be touched with a barge pole, let alone given five-star treatment.  

 

Gone with the wind 

What was promised to be a university  in Malta's  southern region has gone with the wind, swept away, it seems, by the fierce wind which blows on the fertile land at Żonqor. 


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