The Malta Independent 22 July 2019, Monday

Building regulations

Alfred Sant Thursday, 11 July 2019, 08:00 Last update: about 11 days ago

Though the move came late, the government was right to issue regulations that attempt to protect citizens from the abusive inconveniences and worse that are rampantly being inflicted on residents when “old” buildings close to where they live are replaced by higher and more extensive structures. One can only hope that the new rules are strictly and correctly implemented, not ignored.

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Many more decisions need to be taken to control the huge confusion one sees wherever works are proceeding on buildings old and new. Above all, with regards to the accidents, some fatal, that regularly happen on building sites. Because most times foreign workers are involved is no reason for the authorities to take things easy.

But also on such matters as: why is it that contractors, no matter who they are, start works, and then keep the site open for months, not to say years, as works are carried out bit by bit, while causing residents all too many inconveniences? Or why is it that road works start, get abandoned, then are given another shot according to the convenience of who is in charge? Such abuses and others are happening all over, from B’Kara to Sliema, Qormi, B’bugia and Gozo. It has gone well past what should be considered acceptable.

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As if it's only in Malta!

The Commissioner who oversees parliamentary ethics has come out against the practice by which MPs are also employed by the government as persons of trust or in some other capacity. He has a point.

Still he could have placed his claims in a wider context: what is happening in the rest of Europe? It is one thing to suggest that when government MPs are employed with the state, their vote is getting tied. One could check whether it actually turns out that way.

For the same claim made by the Maltese Commissioner was also raised against Theresa May’s government  in the UK which found jobs for scores of Conservative MPs. The same arguments deployed by the Commissioner came up.

Yet if there was a government which failed to get the total support of “its” own MPs, that was precisely May’s government.

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Tsipras

As expected, Alexis Tsipras, Greek Prime Minister of  the “extreme” left lost the general election. He too expected to lose. In fact, he called the election early after his party had lost European and municipal elections. It was as if he wanted to settle the matter of who should be running the country as soon as possible.

For leaders of Greece, events of the past years have been a huge weight crushing all under it. Which is what happened to Tsipras – he took off to contest the rules of the eurozone, won two elections and a referendum on that promise, but then had to relentlessly implement the rules he had pledged to defy. He managed to keep the Greek economy afloat and within the eurozone, while having to accept the same burdens about which he had criticised his predecessors. Unsurprisingly, those who had believed in him, ended up disillusioned.

At least he also succeeded to resolve the Macedonian problem and this in the national interest. One hopes that the achievement is not cancelled by the new government.

One cannot help but feel sorry for Tsipras.

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