The Malta Independent 26 May 2019, Sunday

Glasshouses

Alfred Sant Monday, 13 May 2019, 08:02 Last update: about 12 days ago

I am astonished by the behaviour of PN representatives who have in the past few years distinguished themselves by blustering against the alleged sins of today’s Labour administration. But meanwhile they themselves would still have associated with people whose behaviour is shown to be nothing better than the one that such representatives accuse others of, in rants that highlight the scandal of it all.

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My wonder is not at the imprudence that is thereby being shown, as much as at the hypocrisy that’s involved. Those who live in glasshouses should not concentrate on throwing stones out of it, especially if when in doing so, they are also hitting out at the national interest.

You’ll get no prize if you conclude that I am referring to Mr David Casa and his close association with Ms Lara Comi.

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Nylon Knitting

Mostly I remember the factory which many years ago, we were trying to rescue from total shutdown. We relied on the efforts of new owners who had taken it over. They intended to develop its operations in line with the market openings they then had.

At the time, it was called Chatillon and had been established in the 1960s to produce synthetic fabrics. By the end of the 1970’s, it was sinking. The company that took it over, another Italian concern, based in Bergamo and run by the Pezzoli family, was in the same line of business.

I admit I was amazed when I visited it last week and viewed the progress that has gone on and on since then. The factory at Qormi is now called Nylon Knitting and has tripled in size, perhaps quadrupled.

A huge and continuous investment in the firm’s capital equipment was carried out to produce nylon fabric for products like disposable nappy and zip linings.

Water and energy usage are crucial. In full respect of EU rules, all available measures of support should be extended to Nylon Knitting in order to ensure that the significant investments committed to this factory remain competitive. 

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Empty houses

We hear a lot about the problems of fast rising rents – less about the problem of vacant dwellings. Not all of these belong to elderly citzens who now live in old people’s homes or to owners with more than two residences.

I realised that there exist more complex problems these past weeks during house visits organised as part of the European Parliament campaign. For instance at Rabat, back of the derelict Verdala hotel, one finds streets in which the houses look quite empty and seem to have been so for quite a time, since the paint on their front doors and the casings on the outer walls have been peeling off for a long time.

This is what I was told: the problem here is that after the residents died or left, no one could buy, renovate or hire these dwellings and they ended up in limbo. Apparently they formed part of Church assets that were turned over to the government following the agreement between the two on Church property in the 1980’s but they are still tied to other third party obligations. So though vacant, they cannot be released to the market.

If this explanation is correct, I cannot understand how the problem was not resolved a long time ago...

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