The Malta Independent 25 February 2020, Tuesday

Before it’s too late

Rachel Borg Saturday, 18 January 2020, 09:05 Last update: about 2 months ago

As usual, whenever the country is distracted by national events, the elves move in and bypass protocol and ethics and do their dirty business without proper scrutiny.

We are used to this happening on Santa Maria period, Christmas & Summer recess of Parliament, and whenever the opportunity arises. 

The incoming Prime Minister Robert Abela has seen fit to re-appoint Ian Borg as Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects (the latter replacing Planning) with Planning now falling under the remit of the Minister Aaron Farrugia in the Ministry for Environment, Climate Change and Planning.

Well, the two Ministers are going to have to get along very well to ensure that they both have their work flourish. 

In the meantime, even whilst the ink was drying on the stamp of his re-appointment, Minister Ian Borg has sent in his diggers, his CATS and his trucks to start wreaking havoc on farmland and healthy mature trees in Attard. 

One would have hoped that before confirming him in the job, the Prime Minister would have respected the many people who have signed petitions and protested over the Central Link Project and at least have asked Borg to put the works on hold until he has had time to re-assess the need for this expansion and its conformity within an environmental plan.  The new Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning should also be consulted now.  Definitely, the impact of the Central Link Project flies right in the face of all three topics. 

This is not ludo.  Flipping the tokens to reach achievements.  The impact of the damage and the cost to the landscape and livelihood of farmers is incalculable.  The kind of project that it is, also has the hallmark of a Joseph Muscat type of an act now pay later deal. 

Maybe this is what is meant by the jargon of continuity.  The responsibility is now on Robert Abela’s shoulders.  Unless he acts, he will be remembered, like Joseph Muscat, not just for being the leader of the Labour Party but also for the Prime Minister who failed to do the right thing. 

When ex-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat did not rid himself of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri when their Panama accounts were revealed, this failure to act undermined his very authority right to the end.  It defined the type of administration he led as one of a mafia style.  The same as with the Vitals agreement, the AUM (American University of Malta) agreement, the Electrogas power station, the visa scandal of Neville Gafa’ notoriety, the Nexia BT and Keith Schembri connection in the sale of passports, together with the way the list of new citizens appears, the appointment of judges to the judiciary and the shady, internationally known Pilatus Bank controversy.

Some things are simply too controversial to be ignored.  Having the strength of a majority does not mean that anything goes.  In the world today, where many people are said to be “woke” and socially conscious of behavior, environment, climate change, gender equality, justice, peace and a decent standard of living, it is totally disconnected for a leader of a democratic, European country to have agendas that work only for the few. 

Scott Morrison the Prime Minister of Australia is facing huge backlash to his behaviour and position with regard to the vast fires that have ravaged the country.  He was seen to be passive and unconscious of the effect that climate change was having on the land.  People came out to protest in big numbers. 

It is totallyout of place for a PM to be passive and uninformed of the current, serious events that are shaping society and our world today.  Unless there is a genuine effort to come to terms with the cost of policies that are based on an alpha model only, then Abela too is destined to remain in the small circle of Labour’s Movement, without breaking out onto a national, let alone international stage. 

We are back to the partisan mentality, the division, the false ideas of unity and poor management.

The same can be said for the Gozo Tunnel project.  Justyne Caruana kept her place as Minister for Gozo.  The tunnel is not wanted.  Again, petitions have been signed against the project.  Citizens of both Malta and Gozo are deeply saddened by this prospect and yet it is business as usual for the Gozo Minister.

All of these unconscious projects need to be reviewed and preferably discarded to the 19th century from where they came.   Otherwise, who or what are they protecting?  Are there any diabolical pacts hidden behind them?

The Labour party is full of young and energetic members who could easily transfer their skills and enthusiasm to embracing a new society, a forward-looking country, able to make a radical, positive transformation.  They also should be letting go, completely, of the division and the hatred that has been a hallmark of the party.  The One TV mentality is the Achilles heel of Labour. 

Muscat preached the narrative of meritocracy, rule of law and transparency.  It was used as the new blue print of the labour party.  Instead all we got was the total opposite and more of the same tribal propaganda on One TV.  We do not want continuity of failure.  We want truth and justice and honest government.

Wrong doings are not classified under “mistakes”.  They are plainly and simply, distortions of honour and integrity and their fruit is rotten and we have had well enough of them to recognize them for what they are. 

So, please, Prime Minister, check your continuity pledge before all you see around you is concrete and tarmac.  The country needs to move to a new era.  It is a new world out there.  Anyone who does not become a part of it is doomed to be protested and rejected and judged to have failed the whole of the community in Europe and the world.

Just take a look, as Simon Busuttil heads to a prestigious role in the European Union and Joseph Muscat grasps desperately at abortion for a life ring.  Ironic, how he uses death as a life-saver for himself.

Then also turn to the suffering immigrants whose mobile containers get toppled by the wind and who are fleeing from a war now raging in Libya.  We know this is not something for you alone to solve.  We know that our island too has its limitations.  But environment is not just trees and air.  It is community, humanity and a peaceful future with opportunity for all to have a chance at this God-given life on earth.

Please, Prime Minister seek to have a social conscious and give Malta the new life it deserves.


  • don't miss