The Malta Independent 16 December 2018, Sunday

The loss of independence

Timothy Alden Sunday, 23 September 2018, 09:28 Last update: about 4 months ago

The approval of the ITS project seemed inevitable, yet the Maltese population was still shocked and horrified. Daring to hope, there were moments when it seemed as if the case could swing in favour of common sense and decency.

Instead, money and greed won the day. There is nothing subtle about how the sacrifice of the school must have been part of a pre-electoral agreement to help the Labour Party into power. This is another face of clientelism, where public resources are traded away in order to benefit a political party rather than the country.

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With the project approved, we must take note that the government is willing to sacrifice entire communities and our way of life to maintain its hold over power. What independence do we have if money talks and people walk? What freedom do we have when lobbies can buy both major parties?

The Labour Party of old, standing up for the workers, is gone.

 I must here also criticise the Nationalist Party, for although they voted against the project, it should be clear to all that they are still in the pockets of the db Group. If their vote in the Planning Authority could have stopped the project, then Adrian Delia would not have opposed it. His last minute u-turn does not demonstrate principle.

Similarly, we must not forget that the Villa Rosa development this year was supported by the Nationalist Party once it came to the vote, and this development has already doomed St George’s Bay. It is the Villa Rosa development that will see both the historic Moynihan House and Dolphin House destroyed, and the valley floor built up.

Nonetheless, I admire the fact that the Hon. Marthese Portelli was ready to oppose the ITS project no matter what. The Hon. Simon Busuttil also opposed the project and caused a rift with the db Group, when it would have been most convenient for him to have remained silent on it.

In this saga, the local councils deserve the most credit, especially the Mayor of Pembroke, Dean Hili. He has been one of the only representatives of the Labour Party to speak up against the ITS project, and one presumes he must have come under a lot of pressure not to do so. He stuck to his principles no matter what, representing the residents against the monster project.

Where does all this leave us now? It should now be clearer than ever that citizens with a conscience are not doing enough to stop the greed devouring our country. It is easy to become discouraged, but instead I will let the swell of public anger empower me. We are not alone. The NGOs managed to win against ‘Townsquare’ in Sliema. Let us savour every victory and remember that this is a democracy, albeit a flawed one with weak institutions, as the Planning Authority never fails to demonstrate. Right now, it is the duty of every citizen to join in supporting environmental politicians or an NGO.

The fight will be long, hard and exhausting. But it is a fight for survival, not for ourselves but for our families, friends and neighbours, our environment and its animals. It is for our country. The ability of citizens to influence the direction of their country is being lost because developers have bought both major parties. We need to fight to get our country back, to prevent the loss of our independence.

 

 

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