The Malta Independent 21 September 2019, Saturday

Labour’s success is no coincidence

Justyne Caruana Sunday, 18 August 2019, 10:01 Last update: about 2 months ago

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” – Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn

 

Labour’s successes are no coincidence. They are the fruit of hard work, a clear vision and strong teamwork. From the beginning, this government has been responsive to the demands and needs of the people and is open to effective interaction with all strata of society. This has been an ongoing exercise to ensure that the different views and interests that complement and work towards the common good are taken into consideration in the policy and law-making processes.

Dr Joseph Muscat’s long-term vision for a better future has borne fruit. Our successful efforts go beyond the excellent EU statistical classification of our country: they are giving each and every one of us the opportunity to be part of this success and to enjoy the benefits of an economically viable, stable and inclusive society.

 

Success breeds success

The long list of successes we have seen since March 2013 has been built on Labour’s core values of social justice, transparency, inclusivity, responsibility and active citizenship. The endless orchestration of opposition tactics against anything under the sun has proved that talk is cheap and action speaks more loudly than words. Labour has delivered on its promises time and time again and it is therefore only natural that people from all walks of life have joined the Movement surrounding Labour in ever-increasing numbers. Each and every individual who has the good of the nation at heart has been – and will continue to be – welcomed with open arms to join and work with a winning team.

Teamwork and inclusivity go hand-in-hand with Labour’s vision for a better future because it is through the diversity of thought, unique individual experiences, creativity and innovation that nations thrive and grow.

The end result of such collective collaboration means that no-one is left behind, rejected or ignored. Tangible proof of this Government’s effective, transparent and dynamic vision is the ever-increasing goodwill and encouragement of its citizens. Labour’s performance further justifies Henry Ford’s theory: “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

 

The fight against poverty

The solid principles of social and distributive justice embraced by Labour have won the day. Proof of this are the recently published statistics on income and living conditions based on data collected in 2017. My colleague Dr Michael Falzon highlighted the fact that the number of people at risk of poverty across Malta and Gozo has fallen from 24.6 per cent to 19 per cent since 2013 and that the percentage of people living in conditions of severe material deprivation has fallen from 10.2 per cent to three per cent. This is the lowest rate recorded since 2005 and – as a country – we are now registering poverty levels that are well below the European average.

This Government’s fiscal measures and incentives have helped reduce unemployment and have motivated people – particularly women – to join the workforce and become more active and productive citizens. Lower utility bills, free school transport and childcare services and a steady increase in retirement pensions with every budget are only a few of the incentives that have helped improve people’s quality of life and create a feeling of wellbeing. The good news is that more is to come.

It is no wonder, therefore, that people are appreciating this Government’s efforts in ever-increasing numbers. In fact, the Eurobarometer shows that 85 per cent of Maltese citizens believe that Malta has a strong economy – which is in stark contrast with statistics issued by the same entity in 2012, when only 40 per cent of the population believed that the economy was strong under the Nationalist administration.

 

Gozo’s strong contribution

Gozo is reaping the benefits of this Government’s vision and administration like never before. Gozitan families and entrepreneurs are growing and thriving and it would be most unfair to suggest that our island is a dead weight as – after all – was the case for many decades under previous administrations. Indeed, today we Gozitans are active protagonists and contributors to the national economy.

Since the very beginning of my Ministry, I have adhered to the principles introduced by our Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat. I invited and included each and every person and entity that wished to contribute towards bettering our island and making a difference. I was convinced and confident that the Gozitan entrepreneurial spirit, talent, resilience and altruistic values would come to the fore through tangible incentives and constant encouragement.

Apart from numerous tailor-made incentives for business, my Ministry has ensured that the voluntary sector is given enough space and financial aid to implement social and cultural projects which, in a short space of time, have placed Gozo high on the map. Today, Gozo is a place that embraces its cultural heritage, applies and incorporates modern innovative concepts and is steadily building on its reputation as a sustainable and dynamic island. The general feel-good factor has become an everyday reality for Gozitan families and our business community.

 

A wealth of NGO spirit

In just a few years, we have ensured that unity, inclusivity, creativity and fellowship are well and truly what make us unique and exemplary as a community. We have a government that plans and implements concepts aimed at enhancing the lives of each and every citizen and striving to create a space where everyone feels secure, serene and part of the whole.

Apart from helping NGOs and entrepreneurs financially, my aim has always been to foster a mentality where each and every Gozitan feels the need to contribute towards a Gozo that is better organised, clean, attractive and popular. Seeing our NGOs setting their differences aside and contributing to the betterment of our island, hand in hand with the Gozo Ministry, brings me great joy. I wish to encourage more NGOs to join this great team and am positive that, through a collective effort, we can make Gozo even more beautiful and attractive. The satisfaction and pride of a job well done is part and parcel of this collective endeavour.

This is the third summer during which the Gozo Ministry, together with diverse entities and NGOs, has organised a variety of spectacular and socio-cultural events for the enjoyment of Gozitans and visitors alike. These activities are spread across the island and include the main touristic places such as Xlendi, Marsalforn and Mgarr, together with the Cittadella and other places of architectural and cultural interest. With every year that passes, Gozo’s reputation as the place to be for entertainment and cultural and historical events goes from strength to strength – thanks to the all-year-round planning and launching of varied activities aimed at enticing visitors of different tastes and interests.

 

Gozitans as a team

My Ministry has shown that we must all work with everybody, irrespective of political beliefs, gender, race, religion and/or social strata. The collective efforts of the Gozo Ministry, the business community, the NGOs, parish entities and each and every individual, translate into increased economic activity, increased revenue and a better quality of life. This strategy reflects Labour’s vision of a country in which social and distributive justice reign supreme, no one is left behind and where every single person is a valid productive citizen striving to create and live in an island-region that has the common good at heart.

The French Jesuit philosopher Teilhard de Chardin inspires me with his words: “Whatever rises, converges. If we lift our minds and hearts, we will converge around a sense of what is good for all of us, what is good for humanity, what is good for future generations.”

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