The Malta Independent 20 May 2024, Monday
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Making sense in all the confusion

Noel Grima Sunday, 19 March 2023, 06:57 Last update: about 2 years ago

Many, myself included, are today finding it difficult to assimilate all that has been happening these past days with regards to the hospitals issue.

In one and the same day, on Thursday, one had to follow what was going on in Parliament in a particularly confused sitting, attend to declarations coming out on the social media, and if one intended to attend the PN protest in front of the House and then later attend the monthly commemoration of Daphne Caruana Galizia in front of the Law Courts make their way there.


Too much to follow, too much to understand, too much to form a judgement that is not based on prejudice or spin.

Hence inevitably many just give up and continue with their lives. When an election comes around, they cut through the arguments and vote for the party they’ve always voted for, mainly Labour.

And all the solid arguments made are not heard. Why the hospitals deal was a bad deal. Judge Depasquale went into the details and concluded it was the wrong deal. But who has the time and the means to read 140 pages?

In Parliament on Thursday Robert Abela made a long speech which was interpreted as being in defence of Stewards. Isn’t he the head of the government which is expected to sue Vitals/Stewards to try and recoup the money given to them?

Many were not really expecting the government to express contrition over a deal gone bad, because governments don’t do contrition, and not just here. Abela is overdoing the defence of his predecessor. But he was the continuity candidate and he got elected so.

Now things have changed and Abela and the circumstances have put the government in a very tough spot. And Vitals’ decision to leave ship leaves the government that defends the deal to pick up the pieces.

We may call the coming step as the renationalisation of the three hospitals (unless there is some crazy idea to get somebody in the private sector to step in Vitals’ boots, as some are saying).

Renationalisation could work but some tough decisions will have to be taken. When Mater Dei was planned, under the name San Raffaele, it was never intended to be Malta’s one and only hospital. Then the surgeons are said to have complained they could not cope with two centres (let alone Gozo) and Alfred Sant decided Malta needs only one hospital. We have been suffering from this ever since (and Malta’s population has doubled in the meantime).

Meanwhile, what’s to do with what has been paid? And what’s to do about the promised investments and upgrades that never happened? And what’s to do about the promised new hospital in Gozo?

And what’s to do about the whole lot of them who followed the leader blindly even when they must have been noticing things were not right? They have already been found guilty in the court of public opinion, for backing a non-runner that could never fulfil even part of what was promised . Do they do that in their private lives and business? Or why is everyone profligate with the money of the country?

Meanwhile one should not be overly impressed with the findings of the latest MaltaToday survey which showed a huge decrease in support for Labour that is now just a mere margin of error ahead of the Nationalists.

And the Nationalists would do well not to dream on just on the strength of one survey result.

If the survey result shows the people’s concern on the hospitals issue, there are many more issues for people to be concerned about, from the state of the environment to the very important rule of law issues. Out in the big wide world people are concerned about the war in Ukraine and now also on the collapse of three banks in the United States and in Switzerland, about which Malta’s mass media are completely silent.

Here in this country we hyperventilate on who will win next year’s European Parliament election. That’s what comes from not focusing on the issues and trusting in soundbites and spin.


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