The Malta Independent 8 March 2021, Monday

Arguments

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 21 January 2021, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

One understands arguments that arise against the regulations that new projects being proposed need to follow. Many consider them to be a tool of excessive bureaucracy. Regulations seem to be in place in order to smother all initiative and to dull activity that could create jobs and wealth. That is how people proposing projects see matters, and they are not all of them simply dead set on making money. Some really consider they are proposing projects that are of great interest to all.

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Two problems with this:

It is clear that all important projects in the country need to be clearly evaluated to establish how they could affect the national interest in its widest and deepest meaning. We cannot tolerate policies that would subject decisions to the rule that the free market rules.

In second place, regulations intended to ensure that projects are being undertaken fairly and properly must be implemented with prudence, speed and full trasparency. I am unconvinced this is happening.  

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FARM LAND

It’s a pity that we still have not become sufficiently aware of the need to disallow the take up of more agricultural land in order to construct villas with swimming pools, huge supermarkets leveraged with German money and flyovers.

In principle, there is general agreement that viable agricultural land should be protected. Yet, on a case by case basis, claims are made to sanction exceptions to the rules.

The problem in such a tiny island like ours is that the accumulating load of exceptions threatens to undermine the basis of policies intented to protect agricultural land. When one compares the areas that in the 1950’s and 1960’s were allocated to farming with what is available now, it is easy to understand what has been happening.

Few accept how necessary it is to ensure that the protection of agricultural land should be considered a national priority. Even less so when they stand to benefit from some further exception to the rules.

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WHAT STILL NEEDS TO BE DONE

When still a young man, I believed that this country’s most important challenge during my lifetime would be to modernise the ways by which we took our realities into account, how we behaved and how we decided matters.

To study outside situations in order to search for guidlelines regarding what standards to set here would be a good thing, so long as the attempt was defined by the search for how things could be done better in the light of the foreign models that were consulted.

I always considered as outside the pale to mobilise outside support in order to implement internal reform. It’s a betrayal of the same goal that was and is so crucial – namely again, modernisation of the structures of behaviour and leadership in our society.

Now that so many years have elapsed, I find little difference in what needs to be done at present, to what needed to be done in the past. True, there is a modern veneer that covers what we see happening around us and what gets said and expressed. Actually though, changes were and still are skin deep – vitiated as they also have been by the approach practised by so many of us. They go running “abroad” to find allies who could provide them with a platform from which to attain what they would like to reach – hardly modernisation.

 

 

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