The Malta Independent 13 July 2024, Saturday
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Quo vadis Malta?

Sunday, 7 May 2023, 08:06 Last update: about 2 years ago

Our country is at the crossroads in choosing what mission, vision and strategies should be adopted to tackle many issues and challenges that the country is facing. In this write-up, some of these hot-potato issues, which are irking policymakers and the population in general are outlined in the hope that the big picture is made clear. The country cannot afford to keep these matters on the back-burner any longer if its social and economic well-being is to be preserved.


The illegal immigration saga

Most illegal immigrants leave their country and trafficked into Maltese territorial waters mainly being left to fend for themselves in small boats in rescue zone. The Maltese government is expected to take them on.

Of recent and for once, the Maltese government refused to take illegal immigrants and they were taken by the Italian government. If Malta was forced to take them on, the government could have refused as our medical services and welfare facilities are presently overloaded. In such a case, Malta would have had to take only half of them. This is the policy of the European Union (EU) on member states, which many would consider as a form of liberal dictatorship, whereby the country’s national identity is gradually compromised and eroded. The EU together with NGOs expect countries to take on illegal immigrants and provide them with free services.

Persons who try to enter a country illegally, notwithstanding what the EU says, should not be allowed in. The integrity and security of the country and in this case the Maltese population should come first and foremost.

Even those who are already living illegally in Malta should be repatriated. Most, if not all, of these immigrants are being trafficked and transported by large ships and left on smaller boats in the rescue zone and countries are being unfairly made to pay the price for the crimes of others. No country should fall to these cheap tricks. Those who took the liberty to transport these persons and leave them in the rescue zone, should be tracked down and forced to take them back to their country. The strict rule should be to give a proper health check to these persons and return them back to their country.

It is a gross lie that these persons are escaping war-torn areas. This is what neo-liberal political parties and NGOs repeatedly say. The truth is that our country’s national identity is under threat when taking in illegal immigrants at all costs. This is leading to multi-culturalism, cosmopolitanism and multinationalism that does not work for a small island or rock of 17 miles in length and 9 miles in width. Plus, this is further adding to the over-population with bigger overcrowding creating facilities, living conditions, criminality, health and traffic problems. How many more people can this country take on? A limit must be set as the over-riding principle seems to be, “the more the merrier”.


The role of the construction industry

It has been rightly reiterated that if construction and development stop in Malta, the whole country is brought down to its knees due to the negative ripple and multiplier effect. But should this country be highjacked and held ransom at the mercy of what the large construction industry dictates to the party in government? It is no secret that this industry is the main financial sponsor of the main political parties.


The need for balance

The time is ripe and high for a political party that does not accept sponsorships from big business lobby groups. Our parties are being sold off and conditioned by big businesses as to what they do or say regarding the general administration of the country. Have the two main political parties failed in their fundamental mission to put the Maltese people first? Our country needs political parties with a message of love, dedication and respect towards this country and its people. Our country cannot sacrifice any larger tracts of fertile land and pristine countryside. Not only is our source of fresh produce sacrificed for development but what once was laid down as ODZs (Outside Development Zones) are being given away for development purposes. How long can this carry one?

We are living in a country where the governments are mere puppets of big business as they give away even larger portions of land. What was once considered as a jewel in the Mediterranean, our country is now being gradually reduced to a “Manderaggio” and this to enrich further a handful of persons. Those farmers who have been working their land through the qbiela system as they toiled these fertile fields, will no longer be able to produce fresh products for the people. Soon enough, more farmers shall be “cleared off” their fields to make way for development and construction.

The need for a third political party to balance off the two main parties is very difficult because both parties dominate the political scene, both having designed an electoral system and voting method that favours the two-party system. It is easy for the two parties to come to a collusion or in cahoots with each other on issues when there is no competition from a third voice in Parliament.


Selling off Malta

As a nation we should take pride of what is owned by the Maltese people and not sell it off to foreign entities. The long list of closed, sold or partially sold national assets is getting longer as time passes, such as the Post Office; Public Lotto; Mid-Med; Power Station; Enemalta Corporation; Maltacom; Dockyard; Shipbuilding (closed); Seamalta (closed) and Cargo Handling (closed); Operations of the Malta International Airport… Air Malta?


Alienation first-class

As the above serious matters are not properly brought to the fore, our nation is being purposely alienated by focusing upon relatively petty issues such as the case of an author who wrote a book about Hitler. Instead of discussing seriously the real challenges of our country, these are side-lined and the enormous issues to tackle them are kept under wraps and words are only uttered when the situation is hopeless or it is too late to matter.


The land reclamation concept

It is granted that our economy’s dependence on the construction craze cannot be halted abruptly as the whole country will come to a standstill. It is logical to conclude that instead of ruining further this country, land reclamation is an option.

The mighty ugly Magħtab mountain, together with the various unused quarries, have abundant construction waste within them which could be utilised for this very reason. If the English were able to construct London on marshland (mud, clay and water), Malta is able to do likewise through land reclamation. In no way is it being said that this will be an easy task, but we cannot afford to stay in our comfort zone and take the easy way out by building further. If the land reclamation concept is not introduced soon our country, in 30 to maximum 50 years’ time, will be lost. The agriculture industry will eventually cease to exist, while what remains of our countryside today will end up developed into concrete square ghettos.

With the amount of foreign people coming to work in Malta daily, land reclamation is not an option but a must. Also, our policy-makers are not content with increasing the population figure to just the million mark, but are allowing the flood gates open wide to exceed this figure. And all this because of uncontrolled construction and an economy build on cheap mass labour.

It is only at face value that our economy is “doing well”, even though the President of the European Commission, Ursula Van der Leyen told Malta, “Well done Malta!” There are people living in poverty, Maltese citizens are being evicted into the streets as rents have rocketed to €1,000 per month for just a one-bedroom apartment. Foreign workers are deciding to go back to their countries of origin, as the cost of living in Malta is unbearable. Our children are emigrating to other countries as they no longer see a future here.

Our country needs to be given back to its people. Perhaps a new political party is required to bring the two main political parties to their senses and tell the underlying truth. This is needed more than ever. Indeed, telling the truth can be a dangerous business; but time has come to face the true facts.

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