The Malta Independent 21 April 2019, Sunday

Malta, the poor house of Europe

Rachel Borg Saturday, 9 February 2019, 09:54 Last update: about 3 months ago

Come Sunday, the Prime Minister has his weekly visit to the community of supporters in one village or another.  And as in every Sunday, precious gems of discourse are bestowed from above onto the benign audience.  The unspoken commandment is understood, that no one should question the veracity of the comments and there shall never be any doubt cast about the meaning.

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In his inimical way, the Prime Minster delivers just the right punch and turns all the blind corners, illuminating the issues in such a way that there is great relief from all around, that they do not need to worry about the topic anymore because it is safe in the hands of the PM and if he says it is so, then it is so.

The attention of the audiencepresentand the media, last Sunday, was drawn to the burning issue of the ever-increasing number of foreigners in Malta.  We were told that not only are these workers the king-pin of our economy but now, also the guarantee of our pensions.  Without them, we were led to understand, we would not afford to receive a pension.

How then, have we changed from being a “colony” to not being a “colony”? 

Is that why the nepotism and cronyism in Malta remain so strong?  Because we know that we do not earn anything on our own strength but depend on strangers and benefactors to provide it for us?  In this sense, the Leavers in Britain are the very opposite, although the argument is not quite the same.  Are we to always remain subservient to foreigners?  Is that the mentality we should be promoting amongst the young generation?  Will they look at their grand-parents and parents and say, don’t expect anything for your life of hardship because there were only a handful of people living in Malta and there was a poor economy at the time. 

And when the young couple go to the hospital and find it bursting at the seams, wall to wall with bums on seats,  with so many foreigners and local popuationin the health system, will they query who is currently contributing to the salaries, taxes and pensions?  Or when they are all happy and excited about their engagement and start searching for a place to live, will they blame their parents who could not afford to give them the €200,000 they need for a deposit on a flat?  Maybe they can ask a foreigner for a loan?

 

Furthermore, foreigners should not be treated like cash cows and deserve respect for the work they do.  But neither should the Maltese population be treated as deficient or in-capable of providing for their pensions.

On the contrary, if the Prime Minister is so keen on making foreign workers so indispensable to the economy, then we, the Maltese and Gozitan inhabitants, should be compensated for the way our citizens are becoming second class in the mind of the government and told to shut up and put up or we may just go hungry.

Such arguments, made to convince and subdue the nervous ones, are puerile and demeaning to all, not just the native population but also those who have chosen to come and work here.  Malta is the poor house of Europe.

This second- class mentality extends also to our freedoms and our justice, the environment we live in and the rights we have.  By abuse of power, people have become pawns of the rulers.   They must now understand only what they are told to understand.  Anyone credible, considered a threat, who speaks and utters disagreement or exposes the failure is liable to scorn and ridicule or worse.  And this extends to the Court of Law. 

Conversely another may be treated with little regard implying that they can be dismissed and have no credibility.  A brief scan of who is on the receiving end these days will soon separate the two. It is a ploy and one that is practiced quite diligently. Or is it a case of your enemy is my friend? This anomaly arose this week in regard to the Prime Minister’s reply to journalists who asked him about negative comments made by Dr Franco Debono, Law Commissioner, with quite contentious assertions.  To which the PM replied, it is freedom of speech.

Sadly for our country we are adapting to this style and division, the discriminated and the privileged.  The safe and the at risk.

Anytime too that a social and environmental problem is becoming so glaringly obvious that it can no longer be ignored, the PM is quick to go on the attack and detach himself (and therefore his party) from the harm of it all, disassociating himself and portraying himself as much a victim, as us, the people, being the democratic ruler that he is and common citizen of Malta.

He too, therefore, is unhappy about the traffic and the widening roads and the 5 storey one-roomed block in a row of 2 storey houses.  Or the wall facing you every morning where once you could see the sea and the sound of the excavator right behind your ears, shaking your house, covering it in dust.  Forget the pavement, it does not exist anymore.Neither does the road, for that matter, with all those phoney platforms jutting onto the traffic.

But we soon learn that a Minister is entitled to so many permits that one begins to lose count.  If it is parking slots at Mater Dei, or parking in Valletta streets, or travel privileges and permits for a nice swimming pool or a new building and others that are too numerous to list.  The sense of entitlement is simply unbelievable.  As is the liberty with which our own money is used and the bad deals, if one wants to call them that, made, which mean we pay thousands more than we should everyday for our electricity and our health service.

Cannot the Prime Minister look there if he needs funds for our pensions?  Check a few pockets?  Maybe we are losing small change from our trousers as we walk.  Clink clink. 

The dichotomy of going all the way with civil liberties and then pulling back the minds to a fanatical socialist mentality, with the lowest of arguments, treating people like empty vessels, unable to think for themselves and abiding only by the images they are fed, is to be condemned.  Disney Channel level.  Either we have lost all pride for the sake of tuppence or we have really been stitched up like the Christmas turkey.

It is true that there is very little that is better out there these days although the fight is valiantly fought by more and more distinguished and ordinary citizens.  Some courage to change, some spirit to protest and some knowledge to distinguish a suppressor from a liberator are crucial.  Do we despair or do we grow?  Fear is a benign factor underlying any primitive argument.  The implied meaning is that whatever we do not like about the country or the way it is being run can threaten the economy and therefore your livelihood.  So, be careful what you think.  Be very careful and just listen to Joseph.

 

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