The Malta Independent 24 October 2021, Sunday

Talk is cheap

Rachel Borg Saturday, 25 September 2021, 07:47 Last update: about 29 days ago

In the absence of a free, independent and balanced national television station and a dubious Broadcasting Authority, we have become trained to listen more to what is not said than what is said. 

If the Prime Minister makes a speech on Gozo and promises new ferries and a fixed air link but does not make reference to the tunnel between Malta and Gozo set to be built, then we know he wants to shift attention away from it.  But in the usual bombastic way, some great project must be mentioned to impress, distract and give rise to discussion.  This time round it is the metro. 

We have become well-trained however, to sniff out the truth from the lie, the facts from the image and the business from the selective benefit.

The people of Marsascala and other concerned citizens were quick to pick up the real impact of the proposed marina and to immediately react to save their town from the invader.

In Gozo, resistance to the mega projects taking place in every village and its outskirts has prompted councillors to call for the protection of places that have a value to the public and community beyond economic development.  Such as Hondoq in Qala where various proposals have been put forward. 

Those organisations and associations that respect their office, role and trade are refusing to become tarnished with the same brush as those few renegade professionals who are responsible for much that has become maligned in our country.  Unfortunately, the grey-listing made that clear before the accountancy profession and financial services took a more robust position against the ongoing culture.

It is good to read that the Kamra tal-Periti, the architects’ regulatory body, has launched an investigation into the conduct of an architect, particularly present in a number of controversial appointments and applications. President of the chamber of architects Andre Pizzuto said in an interview with Lovin’ Malta that they are looking into the four criteria of misconduct set in law, including “professional negligence, misconduct or malpractice” or “behaviour that brings the profession into disrepute.”

In another initiative that promotes action and not just talk, a group of local architects and engineers have released an afforestation proposal for the Maltese Islands. The proposal ‘Help Malta Breathe’, which was released in the form of a video on social media, outlines the concept of planting of over 40,000 indigenous trees in a series of designated sites in Malta & Gozo.

Local councils have also submitted several options for the reorganization of waste collection.  Instead of the current door to door service, The Local Councils’ Association (LCA) has proposed a gradual shift from door-to-door waste collection to point-based waste collection.

This point-based collection system would see a network of public waste containers – above and/or below ground − that would be grouped according to the national waste separation strategy.  Taking it a step further, with composting bins would be in line with the circular or cyclical economy which seeks to re-use and re-cycle and avoid new products.

The LCA also really needs to come together to face the problems that come about from the road building and arbitrary decisions that are taken by Infrastructure Malta without consulting the councils.

In making their voice heard, Maltese resident passengers who were forced to quarantine in a hotel instead of their home, brought about the change that was needed. 

Now parents are demanding that pupils should not need to wear a face mask in class.

There is nothing to fear in coming together, in standing up for the good reputation of professional organisations or elected representatives.  And often, it is these people who need to speak up to defend the ordinary citizen who will face much more of a challenge in making their voice heard and to explain the cause whilst offering solutions.

Moviment Graffitti are evaluating public opinion at the moment on organising a protest on the running and management of the Corradino Correctional Facility.  Individuals who are directly affected by tragedy should not be silenced by bullying and intimidation. 

Just as the number of prisoners who have died during the past two years at CCF is shocking, similarly the cases of properties that suffered damage and have collapsed, even with fatalities involved needs to addressed.  These serious grievances cannot be left to gather dust in a file that lies at the bottom of some Minister’s drawer.

Corruption does not happen only in Malta but the passive attitude of people here towards it is what differs to other countries.  In other countries there is an expectation that it should be the exception and there should be no impunity.  Even countries like Italy where the Mafia has great influence, the police have dedicated squads to investigate and bring charges.

It is better for us to pay attention to what is not being done, as in the remedial changes listed in the Inquiry report and the many times that Ministers say they only act on facts, when those facts are widely known to exist and merit resignations and structural policy changes.

Cover-ups are becoming worn and flimsy.  The stench is too great and seeping into the corridors of power. 

Up to now there are dozens of issues which should have been addressed by the Prime Minister but which are ignored.  Talk of what the government has done and what it promises for the next election is the stuff that gets reported by our state media whilst the magisterial inquiries, police arrests of prominent persons and journalists’ fact checking and debate on policies and projects goes unmentioned.

Many people are happy to live in fairyland.   They listen to the radio and TV programmes with full trust that all they are hearing is the truth and nothing else is valid. 

It seems that nothing can change this.  Not even the most atrocious criminality or the most obvious double standard. 

The sad thing is that all of this can get fixed and cleaned up with the right will.  Then the public will listen with interest to new projects and policies that can really benefit society.  For now, we must keep on lifting the veil from the reality.

 

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