The Malta Independent 5 August 2021, Thursday

Crafts and the future

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 15 July 2021, 07:48 Last update: about 21 days ago

There is much sermonizing about how Malta’s development has to be designed in ways that make it future proof. Naturally, it is vital that this target remains a priority. We must keep focussed on measures that give full support to the generation of the knowledge and skills required by the technologies of the “future”, especially in the digital sector.

Even so, this does not have to mean that we should abandon the skills and crafts we already have or had, in more traditional areas, and for which there still exists a significant demand. Crafts cover the production of items in say, wood, iron, plastic and other materials, as well as how to maintain and repair them for use by consumers, workshops and factories, in engineering, electrical services, furniture and the rest...

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I might be wrong but it seems that we are failing to appreciate how in coming years, we shall still be needing those crafts. We need to keep providing instruction for them, while  modernising their content and promoting their popularity.

An important factor in their decline was the closure of Malta Drydocks which served as a foyer for the upkeep of many skills that unfortunately are now being left to die out.

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SINCE 2013?

The debates in Malta about the FATF greylisitng of Malta have taken a rather comic turn , especially on the part of people active in the financial services and internet gaming sectors. The latter pin the major blame for what has occurred on developments between 2013 to date.  They insist that if all concerned do their bit, with time we could swiftly go back to a situation where the FATF decision-makers will turn their smile back towards us.

Now, I can fully understand that the PN Opposition would take such a stand. What however I cannot follow is how it can be similarly adopted by those who should be at the heart of how these sectors operate – not least the employers’ association.

Obviously, the less than glorious events which happened in past years hardly helped to clear the situation.  They did place a spotlight on Malta.

Still, to pretend that there was not anything more than that, when over the years, a heap of infringements were being accumulated, actually goes beyond the comic. It raises disquieting questions. The lesson has not yet been learnt. What’s better than to go on and blame someone else!

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ITALY OR ENGLAND?

A foreign journalist asked me: Do Italy and England still have such great a political influence among the Maltese?

He was referring to the flags of the two countries which he saw displayed in the streets as well as the enthusiasm shown by many for one or other of their soccer teams.

I explained how according to explanations drawn up years ago by anthropologists and still valid, Maltese people are delighted by two way contests: in towns and villages between band clubs and patron saints for festas; in politics between parties; and in football between Italy and England, since Malta does not have an own national team which might go to the top places.

I will not say that this news bowled him over, but he was impressed. So it seems like Maltese people enjoy bickering, he said. I tried to change the subject.

 

 

 

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