The Malta Independent 21 May 2019, Tuesday

Gozo debate

Alfred Sant Thursday, 14 March 2019, 07:52 Last update: about 3 months ago

During a public debate held recently in Gozo at which I participated, topics that have featured for a long while in such meetings were raised again. All were related to connectivity problems. These are still causing the departure of many Gozitans who go to live in Malta, huge inconveniences to Gozitans who work in Malta and underinvestment in promising sectors.

However some aspects of the existing shortfalls in connectivity leave me nonplussed. All right, a tunnel is to be built between the two islands. Whether one agees with it or not, one must still agree that some years need to elapse before it becomes operational.

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Meanwhile, efforts should be made to not allow connectivity problems from escalating. For instance, the prevailing volumes of passenger traffic between the islands surely justify the commissioning of a new ship in the Gozo Channel fleet. It also makes necessary the quick resolution of the legal tangle that has stymied the establishment of a fast ferry service. As well, total priority should be given to the cable that was about to be set up between Malta and Gozo to ensure that internet provision is technologically cutting edge.

Why is it that these initiatives seem to have jammed? 

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Ronnie Pellegrini

I knew that Ronnie was seriously ill but the last time I had seen him, some two weeks earlier, he was still fighting back. By the beginning of this week, he had lost his fight.

I got to know him well a long time ago, when he served as shop steward for workers at Bortex and I was chairman of the company’s board. Times were tough as the clothing industry was losing competitiveness. More than once or twice we clashed in a big way.

Later, we had disagreements of a different sort when I served as President of the Labour Party and he was a leading figure in Labour’s youth section, within the “Lorry Sant” faction, as it used to be known. As the years went by, I came to appreciate increasingly his way of doing things: he would be ready to go for confrontation but this would always be in genuine mode, above all in a spirit of loyalty to the Labour Party and the GWU. I got used to having full trust in him and have never had to regret this. We became friends and remained like so.

There was a huge courage in how he endured his illness, and I could only admire it. I will miss his advice, his support and his energy. My deep condolences go to his wife and all his family.

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Paola

With the weather converging towards spring, the main square at Paola has become a very pretty site... or it will be when the newly planted trees come to full maturity. I was there over the weekend in the morning and it was quite a happy scene.

All those I spoke to agreed that there has been a quality leap in how the place is run. There was just  one complaint: traffic flows have been organized differently to how they were in the past. I believe that people will eventually become accustomed to the change. I too lost my bearings when driving over into the square...

After all, we hear so many complaints about what goes on in our streets and squares. It is only fair that when a change in this area has been successful, it is at least given some acknowledgement. 

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