The Malta Independent 25 April 2019, Thursday

Talent

Owen Bonnici Friday, 1 February 2019, 09:19 Last update: about 4 months ago

In all the years working in the field of culture - both in Government and in Opposition - I met hundreds of artists from all sectors and you quickly realise what culture stands for. And by artists I do not only include theatre producers painters, opera singers or contemporary ballet dancers, but I also include all those who give their utmost to keep our traditions alive, for instance and the various art forms. 

If we had to go by the rules of geography, Malta is a small in size.  However, apart from the richness of our Cultural Heritage, we have an added bonus - the commitment of the people behind all the cultural events that make it all happen. 

I am always astonished by the sheer determination of all our artists to prove themselves in all our cultural sectors, and most of the time the level of preparedness and talent is at par with artists in the international sphere.

It is in this context that I would like to pass some reflections on last week's XFactor.

For a lot of people - and when I say a lot of people it means a lot - the main event has undoubtedly been Malta's own XFactor. Social media was inundated with comments, discussions and whatnot - a healthy and much needed input from all, as I personally encourage all to give feedback on our work this sector. 

First of all I must compliment all those who were behind this first edition. It was a professional event, organised on international standards. I underline that XFactor Malta was based on the international format, and our National TV Station excelled in bringing this event to its audience. Based on the British television music competition The X Factor, I am sure that the international producers were proud with our excellent achievement! I am. 

Statistics show that the live shows had a reach of more than 180,000 adults; this does not include the thousands who followed the event on social media.  

XFactor Malta was more than just an enjoyable show to watch on our TV screens. The event served as a platform for all our local talent, even the hidden talent, in this sphere, by giving them an excellent opportunity to bring their artistry to the fore. The event made dreams come through. 

500 applications were received, of which 150 made it to the auditions. 24 successful acts made it through the six-chair challenge, 12 finalists and the nerve wrecking live shows finally won by the talented Gozitan singer Michela Pace.  

I already had the opportunity to congratulate Michela personally, but again, a heartfelt congrats to our Eurovision representative for this year. Choosing a winner from the talented finalists was not an easy choice, as all gave their best so I also must applaud all of the artists who participated as well as the finalists. 

More than a show, XFactor Malta served to bring forward new talent to the scene who entertained us all with a variety of performances. New faces to this sphere which all are talking about - and this is what my ministry is striving to achieve. More participation by all those out there, creating new opportunities for all. This is what culture is all about.

 May I point out that all these performers did their thing free of any charge - there was no application fee, no charges at all during the event. The organisers footed all expenses be it vocal training, mentoring, make-up, props, musical arrangements, choreography, outfits and stage effects.  This, for Malta, was a first. 

Now that XFactor Malta is over, preparations are at hand for Michela to excel in the Eurovision, this May. I am sure that our National TV Station - PBS - and as a member of the European Broadcasting Union will do its utmost of what the Eurovision entails, from the correct song choice to all the necessities. 

Michela, we all stand behind you and we will all cheer you, for your next big event. No matter what, you will do Malta - and Gozo - proud.

 

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Malta is also proud with its financial achievements.

The Independent Credit Agency Moody's has confirmed Malta's rating as A3 Positive with positive prospects for the future.

Once more this rating endorses the Government's incessant work not only in the financial sector, but in all sectors which contributed to another positive result.

In its analysis of our economy, Moody's stated that this rating is expected to better our country's standing in public finance.

The credit agency also explained that this positive rating has been mainly achieved thanks to the robust growth in our economy. 

The report also says that the country has a good and strong economy reflecting an increase in income per capita compared with other countries. An increase that is also bringing about a reduction in poverty.

Moody's also anticipate that this year the growth rates will remain strong due to the noticeable investment by the private sector. The economists are predicting another record when it comes to the Government Surplus - indicating a surplus in the region of 1.2% of last year's GDP.

It is also good to note that despite the continuous allegations coming from the Nationalist camp, Moody's also said that Malta meets the standards for good practice in most of the principles of International Monetary Fund and states that it welcomes what FIAU is doing to further combat money laundering and financial terrorism.

Institutions in our country are described as healthy - brought about by the strong laws enacted to further protect and strengthen them.

A certificate that this Government has a good plan for our country, is committed to and is doing all possible to enhance our institutions, no matter what.

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Malta will host the next Summit of the Southern European Countries next June. This was agreed in a declaration signed by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and leaders from Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain in Nicosia, when issues of mutual concern for the region, including migration, were discussed.

Malta will again welcome and host world leaders to discuss matters of importance concerning the region. 

Our Government will continue to work not only to enhance the country's internal standing, but also to positively contribute to mattes that effect our region - and beyond.

I am saying this because it is the total opposite of what the Nationalist Opposition is working for. It is unfortunate that we have an Opposition whose only aim is that of portraying Malta in a negative manner. Opposition members unashamedly take up every opportunity to blemish our country even in international fora.

We are getting results and excellent comments and reports from international independent agencies for our work in bettering our country's standing, and not only in the financial sector. We continue to receive reports that we are excelling in what we are doing to better democracy and the rule of law.

Malta's got talent.

 


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