The Malta Independent 8 April 2020, Wednesday

Tempests

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 17 February 2020, 07:43 Last update: about 3 months ago

For almost three whole days, winds and floods caused deaths and enormous damage in roughly half the European landmass. At the other side of the world, in Australia, huge heatwaves first triggered strong fires that leapt across vast plains. Again people died as well as billions of animals. Soon after, dangerous floods came in the wake of violent tempests.

Events of this sort which are following on each other seem to be confirming the thesis of those who claim that the world climate is changing. Yet, it is not the first time that such change has happened over the millenia. Scientists used to describe the effects of the first, then the second Ice Age, though they might now be labelling differently the periods concerned  

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However this is the first time that climate change is happening because of human agency. Past changes in climate occurred over hundreds of years. Unless steps are taken to correct for today’s changes, we are told that they could develop much faster.

Some still disbelieve these forecasts. Actually, is it not true that tempests and heatwaves have become more frequent and much more powerful than they ever were in the past?

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DEFENDERS OF THE CONSTITUTION

Defenders of the constitution have multiplied. One curious observation about them though is that in order to defend it, they first would like to change it.

I’ve always held that in and of itself, the constitution remains valid even as of now. What happened over the years was that it was applied in a less than genuine manner. On this point, no matter who it is who plays the saint and the hero, the truth is that all share in the blame for such a state of affairs.

The best defence of the constitution can only start with a serious and honest analysis of where and how its provisions were wrongly applied; and the reasons that accounted for this.

At least, before we start shooting from the hip to propose changes, it would make sense to first finalise such an analysis. Otherwise we’ll end up submerged in chatter about reforms and counter reforms that get shunted into the agenda according to the whims of those concerned in the debate.

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POLICE

Headlines were made when it was discovered that in the traffic squad of the police corps it had become the practice to load overtime pay returns with hours that were not taken up. The system was in place for quite a while and a lot of people were involved.

Quite rightly, many thought it was a scandalous practice that amounted to corruption, fraud and a dereliction of public duties.

But if it was discovered that this practice... regarding overtime overreporting... is not prevalent only in the police traffic section but also in other branches of the public service...?

Were this to be the case, it would probably mean that among extended strata of the service, the view is that payment for what one does is inadequate. So it is considered legitimate to use any stratagem that might compensate for the problem. One option is to skive and go work somewhere else on government time. And there’s the option of registering more hours of work than one has really done in order to jack up the financial rewards of one’s actual hours of service...

 

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