The Malta Independent 21 September 2019, Saturday

Lazier by the day

Rachel Borg Saturday, 17 August 2019, 08:53 Last update: about 2 months ago

The growing belief about the way life is being shaped in Malta and what the political class has to offer, is that the tank is empty or filled with junk and old ideas.  It is amateur in the least, corrupt in the extreme and lazy in policy and positive contributions to the well-being of the individual and the state as a whole.

Parties from both sides of the spectrum fall into the same basket.  Labour were elected in 2013 with many ringing slogans and posters loaded with emotional and engaging messages.  Today, those are no more than crumpled papers tossing about in a scirocco across dusty and dry earth.

After promising the earth, all we have is dust and heat. 

First case of evidence are the people evacuated from their property when it fell or was breached by the construction work adjacent, who are still in limbo, without access to their home or what’s left of it.  Simply abandoned or stranded.  Isn’t there any agency or policy that ensures these people are looked after instead of being accused and intimidated by the contractors?

It may be that the President of Malta is the neutral protector who intervenes in such situations to ensure that those who suffer due to insufficient policies, receive structured care.  Until now, we do not have much evidence of this role and rely solely on the election time to get some action by candidates who scramble to take credit for what should be received by right by a grieved citizen.

The country badly needs a Centre for Policy Research which would be made up of professionals, experts and intellectuals in their field, to study and propose policy to the government and its administrative body.  A respected think- tank.  The civil society movement Repubblika should be integrated into the Centre.

The areas to address are many but can include:  Economic Policy – Environmental Law and Governance – International Relations and Security – Law, Regulation and the State – Urbanisation – Climate Emergency – Civil Service.

Our country is facing a stark reality.  If we carry on the way we are now, we are heading for a complete breakdown of environmental, social and economic policy.  People have been sacrificed in favour of business.  No longer at the centre of politics, people are a mere inconvenience, a nuisance and a burden that currently does not have a value and is dumped from one Ministry to another.  Some issue is raised by one Minister or colleague, like the rainbow flag of Malta this week, which saw our country’s flag used as a banner for the gay rights movement or the White Flag beaches.  The concept of a nation is gone and lost.  All that exists is whatever may give some publicity to a Minister or MP who fights for a bit of the cake.

Our country has imported workers way beyond its sustainable figure and yet it allows a boat of illegal immigrants to suffer at sea just to please Italy or some fictitious concept.  Certainly, the narrative that is told to the rescued victims, needs to be restrained as it may be biased in their favour and it should not be up to the NGOs or ship captains at all to deal with the outcome of what will happen to the immigrants apart from taking them to a port.  But the reality is there and the inhumane treatment has to stop.  At the end of the day, the EU can only be as effective as its members make it. 

The environment is for photo-shoots only, trying to justify the unjustifiable. Pollution is all around us, our streets are filthy and in places resemble the slums of Rio or Calcutta.  Noise is the standard and our towns are no longer home. 

The economy is good for some or many but yet the percentage of those who are disadvantaged is growing by the day. 

Robberies and theft are all around us.  We never know what we are going to find when we get home.  Our house may be robbed or we may be simply standing at a bus-stop at San Anton Gardens, get pushed to the pavement and our purse stolen from our bag.  This was the experience of a lady who had just been to a meeting with the President of Malta, in connection with her volunteer work in the area of mental health and who chose to use public transport.

Road safety for pedestrians is failing over and over again and awful traffic accidents are occurring daily.  The same for construction workers.  Fatal falls and accidents are leaving children without their father. 

Foreign women who married Maltese men and then separated are left in limbo, because they cannot get a work permit, leave their children without care or leave the country. 

All these hardships are a daily affair in Malta.  In the meantime, all we hear are PA decisions made by persons who have a conflict of interest or have some book of regulations that is nothing short of wizardry. 

Amateur, weak, impoverished and corrupt.  That is how we can define this government.  It is imperative that people are put back at the centre of policy.  The other policies will follow around that concept.  If people are at the centre, then it means that they deserve a better environment for their health, cleaner air and greener areas.  Children deserve a good education and to be lifted from poverty and have good care and a place to live.  Principles cannot be sacrificed in favour of a few privileged investors. 

The Sadeen dormitory for the AUM is an example of the mentality of this government which thinks it can give away our heritage, our land and our buildings any way it likes, rendering account to no-one.

We generally look towards the European Union to be the Centre of Policy but it is time for us to create our own think tank that has a close knowledge of the way things are being done here in Malta and to hold the government, whichever it may be, to account on all policies.  All the reform that has been advised to us to be done, by respected organisations, must be implemented without delay.

If this government has no interest in the common good and the poor reputation it is earning, growing lazier by the day, it should at least allow for new policies to be elicited and to be led by a higher body which can inject a most needed new sense of direction.

Pleasing a few party organisers who fill our streets with noise and scantily dressed tourists, is not the kind of management that will save us.

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