The Malta Independent 26 June 2019, Wednesday

Now that it’s ending, how did it all start?

Sunday, 19 May 2019, 08:48 Last update: about 2 months ago

Roselyn Borg Knight

We are just a few days away from the European Parliament elections and, as I wrap up my MEP campaign, I can’t help but reminisce about where I started from and how I got here. 

In the midst of a full-blown political campaign which I ran on a shoestring budget, all the while juggling my legal career, a four-year-old son and personally hand-delivering fliers door-to-door, it can be easy to forget how and why I first became involved in politics.

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It’s tempting to say that I started on this journey three years ago, just when the PN had suffered a colossal defeat in the previous general election. It’s also tempting to say that I became involved because I was approached to join the Party as a new candidate in the 2017 elections.

But the truth is that I’ve always been involved.

For as long as I can remember, I was always very politically aware and whenever I weighed the issues, the pros and cons and everything in-between, I always concluded that the PN was the party that I most identified with. Even as a girl, during heated debates and discussions with my dear father, I always felt that the Nationalist Party was the one that worked most efficiently and effectively to improve our country. I could see, even from a very young age, that the PN was always at the forefront of attracting new investment and creating new economic sectors. The cherry on the cake that consolidated my faith in the Nationalist Party was when, against all odds, it successfully steered Malta’s accession to the EU.

As an employment lawyer, I deal with disputes concerning employment matters on a daily basis. I represent both employers and employees in Industrial Tribunal cases, deliver training on HR and employment matters and co-own a recruitment agency. This means that, for the past 15 years, I have been in constant contact with people who are either self-employed, employers or employees. This continuous exchange with people with different realities and in different situations, has made me all the more aware of Malta’s political challenges and how the decisions of our political leaders can and do effect each and every one of us.

During my two political campaigns, I have also had the opportunity to meet people in their homes. As is expected, different people disagree on the importance of different national and international issues but, regardless of our realities, we all have one common interest at heart. No matter which side of the political spectrum we are on, we all seem to agree on one thing – that politics needs a thorough clean up, that votes for favours is a practice that needs to be eradicated and that eliminating political corruption is the first step, albeit the hardest, to safeguard the environment, the future of our children, and Malta’s identity.

As the Party’s International Secretary I am responsible for the Party’s international affairs and relationships, both within the EU and with countries outside the EU. The role involves building relationships with EU Member States, ambassadors and high-ranking officials from all over the world. 

I feel that my expertise as a lawyer, my experience in Brussels and my involvement as a member of the executive and administrative council of the party, qualifies me well to serve as an MEP. 

If elected I will ensure that laws are clear, that the process in which judges and magistrates are appointed does not remain an embarrassment for our country and that whistle-blowers are truly protected.

I also pledge to work towards achieving equality between men and women, closing the current pay gap and the under-representation of women in politics and boardrooms.  

In addition, having specialised in employment law I am very much aware of the importance of fortifying industrial relations. In Malta, more than 30,000 people are self-employed, and these individuals – who are usually owners of small to medium-sized businesses – form the backbone of our society. Not only do they generate significant business and employment for others, but they also contribute substantially to Malta’s economy at large. If elected to the European Parliament, one of my main aims will be to protect this very important pillar of our society in every way possible.

And, last but not least, I pledge to protect the environment and fight for more animal rights. For years, environmental and animal activists have been trying to improve these areas but public opinion is slow to influence, and changing public policy to protect the environment is not easy, especially under an admiration that is hell-bent on building and developing every corner of greenery that is left on the island.

I strongly believe that, with the authority and a mandate to work in the European Parliament, I will be able to give these issues the importance they deserve at European level.

Elections for the European Parliament take place once every five years and currently about 700 members of it represent some 500 million people from 28 member states. Malta faces many challenges at European level, from migration and the protection of our borders, to cyber security and data privacy as well as climate change, so it would be extremely naïve to leave our representation up to fate.

If you believe that democracy is about rights and not personal favours, then is imperative to go out and vote for the best candidates to represent us.

  Roselyn Borg Knight is a candidate in the forthcoming MEP elections

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