The Malta Independent 5 August 2021, Thursday

Grey, red, disgruntled labour lists

Peter Agius Wednesday, 21 July 2021, 10:50 Last update: about 14 days ago

Not a single week goes by without news hitting the headlines showing Labour's excesses, bad governance, corruption, sleaze and impunity.

Investigations by the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life around the involvement of cabinet member and Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar in a multi-million property deal with the alleged mastermind behind the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, is just one example in a series.

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No surprise, therefore, that the list of people denouncing labour is on the rise. In a recent opinion piece, Desmond Zammit Marmarà called on the Prime Minister Robert Abela to dissociate himself from his predecessor, Joseph Muscat, a previous 'man of the year' for corruption. Zammit Marmarà, a former Labour Party local councillor, explained that as a Labour Party delegate, he voted for Joseph Muscat to become leader of the party. Nowadays he feels the need to eradicate Joseph Muscat’s negative legacy.

Marmara has also expressed deep concerns on labour’s disdain for the environment. In the latest from a never ending trend, last week the Pulis family woke up to find parts of their fields swept of soil after refusing to give up their Żabbar arable land to the omnipotent Infrastructure Malta in the umpteenth road widening debacle.

Zammit Marmarà is no voice in the desert. More people in the Labour camp are becoming vociferous. Earlier this week, Mark Camilleri, the head of the National Book Council expressed his frustration on Facebook announcing plans to publish a book on Malta's current political and financial crisis that will "reveal new untold facts about Labour and corruption(hopefully)  leading to new arrests and police investigations."

Last week, Chris Peregin who in 2013 also voted Labour, joined the Nationalist Party led by Bernard Grech to do his part in starting a fresh page for Malta. Citing his own words, Chris is no fervent Nationalist, but a Maltese citizen who has a natural interest in democracy. Those who want Malta to be a better place to live in know that there is only one way forward, and that is to strengthen the Nationalist Party to respond to existing and future challenges that Malta needs to overcome.

To start with, we need to get off the odious FATF Grey list. Before Labour ruled the day, Malta had built a name for itself attracting Foreign Direct Investment and Financial Services to build a thriving services economy. Under Labour’s watch however, we are threatening the goose laying the golden eggs, now labelling businesses and investors in a negative manner worldwide because of its failure to act on its own scandals including the sleazy operations within Pilatus Bank, 17Black and a never ending list of money-laundering allegations.

Instead of addressing this issue head on when warned, the Labour Government started to fine small companies to impress foreign bodies that it was actually doing something, but this was just a show, acting weak with the strong and strong with the weak. On the other hand, other explosive FIAU reports were kept hidden in the drawer. While this is labour's doing, the Nationalist Party has taken a clear decision to put the national interest first because we truly owe this to the professionals in the services industry who have already paid a high price in terms of profitability and competitiveness to conform to the Moneyval criteria.

As if one bad list was not enough, government’s actions put Malta on another negative list. As of this week, Malta has been placed again on the EU’s red travel list by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control as the number of Covid-19 cases continued to rise sharply. The lack of foresight and planning by the government has nullified the sacrifices of front-liners, those administering vaccines non-stop and citizens who stayed indoors for months.

Maltese expats who spent months away from their families are now paying the price of incompetence in government’s action and poor tourism/travel policies. Adding insult to injury, a legal notice which in its word says that expats would be exempt from quarantine, is being interpreted in a hundred different ways for similar cases.

Evidently, Malta and the Maltese deserve better. We need to be ready to turn the page and join those who have stood up to be counted to denounce labour's excesses. 

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