The Malta Independent 27 May 2019, Monday

Social cases

Alfred Sant Thursday, 25 April 2019, 08:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

Situations exist among families that seem to reflect not only the internal relations they hold, but also what happens in their surroundings – given the web of social relations they find themselves in.

For instance, one encounters situations of unemployed people who never find work. And this in an economic scenario where job opportunities are being created on a massive scale.

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Why is it that men and women who are neither young nor old, seemingly get caught in a net of constant unemployment? Are they truly doing their best to escape from it?

Do they possess the skills and the abilities to deliver them from the quagmire of unemployment? Indeed, many of them have what it takes – but they do get so caught in the feeling that they  deserve to find somebody who’s going to “save” them, that they keep back from getting through on their own steam.

One could accuse them of laziness. Some of them might actually be so. I am still not convinced though that this judgement applies for all who have been caught in the illusion that because nobody has shown an interest in helping them,  they are justified in waiting till somebody does turn up who does, instead of striking out to be their own rescuer. 

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Privatisations

Reports completed by the French Court of Auditors regarding how the French state managed the privatisation of autoroutes provide interesting reading. Management of these highways had been handed to the private sector, which makes its profit from the tariffs it charges to drivers of cars and other engines that use them. Private firms then assume obligations towards the state in return for the financial benefits they enjoy through their franchise. Obligations can take the form of building new roads, as well as the upkeep and maintenance of highways.

According to the Court of Auditors, companies with such arrangements have regularly succeeded to reach agreements with governments (of all political shades) that give them advantages greatly superior to the burdens they must carry.

In negotiations, the state is shown up as a weak partner, while the firms it negotiates with appear as the tough agent. How does this disequilibrium emerge, since for sure, there should be none?

The issue is reminiscent of the accusations which the Maltese government has been subject to, as for instance when building concessions are extended to private companies on government owned land

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Easter in Cottonera

Last Sunday, though the weather was grumpy and wind bursts kept everywhere fresh, at Cottonera the festive mood stayed keen. This is an area where people know how to celebrate Easter. Eagerness characterised the groups of people that gathered in all of the Three Cities. On the other side from the “new” building which houses the American University of Malta, the men from Vittoriosa won their usual challenge of taking the statue of a resurrected Christ through a run... despite the wind.

It was a pleasure to walk up and down the narrow, fascinating streets of these cities, emptied of people. All had left to view the band marches. This is a place whose value we have taken too long to recognize, by way of its urban environment, as a tourist attraction or as a community which provided historic breakthroughs in the development of the Maltese nation.

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