The Malta Independent 5 December 2021, Sunday

Girls’ night out

Rachel Borg Saturday, 23 October 2021, 08:12 Last update: about 2 months ago

The way that the nation’s business is being conducted by Robert Abela’s Ministers is like watching one of those gadgets that shoots out balls for tennis players to practice their game, or clay pigeon shooting.  Pull!  Shoot.  Smash the plate.

There is a kind of frenzy to policy that we see when birds come home to find their nest is gone, the tree where they were sheltering, no more. 

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There is disorganisation and a sense of panic as ideas are launched to catch votes and attention but confusion reigns supreme.  At the moment, the calm and clear direction and vision coming from the Opposition is putting Labour’s girls’ night out into stark contrast.

From one round to another, karaoke and fancy dress. 

Ian Borg’s glorious vista of open roads and your favourite song playing in the wind have all but vanished into a pile of fumes, as cars line the lanes trying to turn off the main road onto to slipway or artery, switching from one lane to another in the hope of finding a way through.  Thankfully, I do not use my car that often, but even I can see that “something is rotten in the land of Denmark”. 

Konrad Mizzi puts his legs up and makes some calls, whilst putting himself above the party he belonged to, the constituents of Malta and Gozo, and the current Prime Minister, Robert Abela, not to mention the authority of the PAC.  All under the nose of ordinary citizens paying more than €50 million extra in their utility bills and for a long period, when the price of gas was cheap, above the market rate.  Bills are being contested left, right and centre and all the finance minister can say is that it was based on a PN calculation.

Same way Ian Borg tries to justify the proposed Marsascala marina by saying it was part of the PN development plan. 

Either they have no idea on how to do anything original of their own, or else they hide behind flimsy excuses and empty clichés and use the PN badge to gain credibility.

The jewel in the crown is the back-tracking on trapping of finches.  For once, we were able to breathe a sigh of relief, when Bird Life informed us that the derogation for trapping had been repealed, only to have it reinstated a few days later.  Could it be that the FKNK caused a fracas and as usual, the Minister allows himself to be led by popularism?

Isn’t there anything at all that has been done with integrity and honest intentions?  Does it have to be all based on popularism and hedging? 

Their panties are all in a twist at the Hal Far race track where there will be a pop up store for the metro as well.  Down in Balluta bay too, where the metro entrance will soon find itself under water once it digs under the square.  But maybe the Fortina Group can use the pond for another catamaran.

And then they have the face to come out and say that the PN is irresponsibly promising everything to everyone.  Maybe they need to consult a few of the past programmes of the PN and see how it was done and take some lesson on how it can be done now by saving on all the dirty deals and expenses to the tax payer with all those jobs dished out to persons of trust, jobs in the public sector and direct orders.

Same as when Malta was being scrutinized by Moneyval and the excuse was that the good work the government had done was not being appreciated.  Again, Clyde Caruana tells us that Air Malta is subject to over and above regular scrutiny and that is why we have not yet received the state aid package for it from the EC. 

Well, now the Minister gets to experience some of the scrutiny that ordinary businesses and individuals are going through, thanks to the grey - listing and well known assertions about corruption in Malta, not taken seriously by the Police, the Attorney General and the government, from Joseph Muscat to Robert Abela.  The shadow of the role played by people from around the highest office of Castille hangs ominously around the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and cannot be detached from the opinion of the EC when deliberating anything that could benefit or be seen to be aiding those who should be held accountable.

Now that the construction industry and the PA have outdone themselves, and surveys show that 90% of youths put the environment as an important issue, Abela is scrambling to come up with projects that introduce some conscience about the environment, nature and quality of life around construction and road building, all the while that trees are being uprooted in Pieta, along the marina. 

Who are they kidding?  Is this what a responsible agenda looks like?  When it all gets too much, just lift your glass and make a toast to our children’s future.

The cost of living and of the tourism product is sky-rocketing.  With what we will be facing very soon and are already feeling, the increase of €1.75 is a futile exercise.  Perhaps if they had less people employed in the public sector and the need was felt to go out and find a job with the private sector, then wages and salaries would find market rates that reflect the true value of employment, leaving the government with more funds, able to compensate those in need in a more meaningful way.

All the while, our front-liners, hospital staff and education are seen to be not glamorous enough for Labour’s budget.  Children too can be left to struggle during the heat waves in boiling classrooms, like a Dickensian work house.

Robert Abela has done away with the office responsible to reduce bureaucracy and transferred the portofolio to the permanent secretary but if you ask a foreigner here, a mother who is struggling to keep up with 3 jobs, how she is plagued with bureaucracy in trying to enroll her child to school, you will see that it costs the country money to deal with such excessive demands from the schools.  She needs to repeatedly leave her job to go and provide the documents she is asked for and is at her wits end as to where she can source them.  It seems, though, that the relaxed need for documents and applications applies only to certain developers in the construction industry.

In the second quarter of 2021, the general government recorded a deficit of €220.1 million, the NSO stated.  This is apart from the debt which runs into millions.

As the world is coming under great pressure with climate change, the hike in freight costs and raw materials, such burdens on the Maltese population cannot be resolved by partisan, populist and amateur attempts at giving the impression of a healthy and diligent government whilst urgent direction and responsible minds are needed to deal with the realities we face.

Leaving uncertainty around the election date is also wearing thin on the national good.  People expect clear leadership, not some astrological forecast of when Mars will be in the right sector and a win is projected.  But I suppose it’s just more games. 

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