The Malta Independent 20 January 2019, Sunday

Remedies

Alfred Sant Thursday, 10 January 2019, 07:45 Last update: about 10 days ago

When a person suffers an injustice, or when wrong decisions are taken that badly affect his/her life, or when even if the relative decisions are correct and necessary but impinge badly on citizens’ lives in a big way: what remedies exist to provide compensation for the damages that are experienced?

In addition, if remedies do exist, how are they being applied in reality?

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This is an area where good practice is totally absent. The strongest remedies remain those undertaken on a political level to compensate for the hidden or manifest discrimination experienced for years by supporters of the party that loses an election. They might obtain remedies of some sort when their party wins a later election. Quite likely, the remedies they get then end up creating new injustices.

It does not seem as if the office of the ombudsman has enough powers to provide adequate remedies. Nor is there a mechanism outside the courts, with any competence to deliver transparent and effective compensation.

There are two problems when court remedies are sought: they come assorted with politico-cultural prejudices even if these are well hidden; and till they are delivered, so much time will have passed that probably whoever is seeking a remedy will have already found a lodging at the cemetery.

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At Marsaxlokk

Last Sunday morning, the atmosphere at Marsaxlokk was very pleasant. The weather was beautiful, sunny yet fresh. The markets for fish, food and household items were crowded with tourists and residents. Restaurants were all making preparations for lunch.

Though everybody I met agreed that in economic terms, things continue to improve, complaints could still be heard. Two precisely.

Fishermen and residents argued that the promises to construct a breakwater made to them in the past have remained a dead letter. They have a point. 

And there was the question regarding the opening times for the markets: Should they close shop at three o’clock in the afternoon or at sunset? This weekend, the local council will be organizing a referendum on the issue.  All residents I spoke to want a period of the day during which they can enjoy the seaside promenade. Some of the hawkers feel that if this happens, they will lose too much income. It should not be impossible to find a compromise solution.

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Agriculture

Also on display at the Marsaxlokk markets, there were impressively beautiful farm products...  marrows, pumpkins... you name it. I was assured they were all produced in Malta.

Local agriculture is again getting some attention: more people are realizing – rather late, but better late than never – that it is in agony.

Given Malta’s membership of the EU, the chances were always slim for farming here to endure and prosper. For a while, by means of temporary “subsidies”, the pressures to which the sector was being subjected were kept within tolerable limits.

Yet, over the medium term, the farmers of Malta and Gozo had little hope of achieving viability. To make matters worse, there was a failure at the time when the available “subsidies” were quite significant, to make wise use of them. Maltese farming was not linked to skills and product options that could conceivably compete head on with the output arriving from the European common market.    

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