The Malta Independent 29 February 2024, Thursday
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Construction

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 24 April 2023, 08:00 Last update: about 10 months ago

Calculations that relate only to outturn and the number of employees in construction give an erroneous overview of why this industry plays a central role in the island’s economy and finances. This is not because the data that is being referenced is incorrect but because construction has to  be placed alongside the perspective of the ongoing trade of commercial and residential buildings.

Businessman Anġlu Xuereb once explained how while construction costs had remained almost stationary over the years, the valuation of buildings increased incessantly. It happens because the value of land in a small island like Malta just continues to rise.

As a result, construction and real estate constitute a sink into which are drawn funds all primed for easy investments, speculation and by extension, money laundering.

It is a system which essentially helps service the cash flows of  whole economic sectors and of entrepreneurs, even as businessmen and firms involved in construction end up carrying huge bank loans as well as equally huge outstanding tax dues with the government.

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DROUGHT

Little by little, Europe is being penetrated by drought. The Mediterranean climate and vegetation are slowly advancing north. To enjoy a summer like one used to do some years back in Malta or Greece one will now need to go to the Atlantic coasts of France or Holland.

Meanwhile drought in Mediterranean countries will be bringing them closer to the climate of the Arab Gulf, dominated by the desert. Is this an exaggerated scenario peddled by those who wish to convince us of the “fable” that the world climate has heated up excessively?

What is certain is that in Spain and Greece among other places, the spread and forcefulness of forest fires have been greatly on the increase. Not all are being ignited by criminals out to create mayhem.

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THE MALTESE LANGUAGE

Everybody or almost agrees that the Maltese language should be safeguarded. Where disagreement emerges is about how, where and when this should be done.

We are told that language will necessarily change over time in line with the manner by which its own speakers speak it. If the Maltese are using language forms they borrow from other languages they listen to on the means of communication or films or from tourists they meet, is that not a natural development? On such a basis, languages like Italian, French and others evolved from spoken Latin.

It is said that the Maltese orthography and grammar must be simplified, not least to make school examinations less tough. Even so, some of the new models for doing so have left me totally perplexed. Now I am one of those who -- I am ashamed to say -- still commit big orthographical mistakes when writing in Maltese.

Could the time have come for a general agreement (and not just within academic circles)  about what we need to protect and safeguard in the Maltese language and how best to do it?

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