The Malta Independent 23 May 2024, Thursday
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An unhealthy combination

Noel Grima Sunday, 4 June 2023, 08:15 Last update: about 13 months ago

This Labour administration will not, whatever it may think, be remembered for some historical milestone in our country’s history.

Nor will it be remembered for its implementation of a programme that sided with the poor and the dispossessed, in other words for its Socialist agenda.

It may be remembered for the steps that have been taken on the civil rights side, beginning with gay rights and divorce and for having attained this with the minimum fuss and strife in the country.

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(I am still in two minds about the abortion amendments, whatever those might be.)

Until this week there was one issue for which the twin Labour legislatures had become notable – the sheer amount of people they have dumped on the taxpayers, and then the lucrative packages they gifted them with.

To quote one who formed part of this gymkhana until she was forced out, Rosianne Cutajar, everyone was gorging with multiple jobs at high rates.

Not all ministers were guilty in equal measure but some ministers have been identified of having stuffed their offices with people coming from their constituencies, and mostly people with no qualification at all except loyalty to the minister.

Many, but not all, have been found out thanks to appropriate parliamentary questions and to close scrutiny of the Government Gazette.

We now can draw up a map of this heist that must be added to the three hospitals heist and other misdeeds committed by Labour. And all this at a time of stress for the national accounts which sees our national debt rising to €9 billion in the coming months. We will not escape the Excessive Deficit Procedure, to this government’s shame.

There is no way this trend can be reversed, not in the short term, nor in the long term. This Labour government will go down in history as the one that broke the bank. It will plead the consequences of Covid, Brexit and now the war in Ukraine but other countries suffered these but their economies have since recovered.

I can just imagine Dom Mintoff seeing the mess his successors have made. He would never have run up such a debt. He would never have allowed the government to become one big cash cow. He who was so tightfisted in all areas.

And he would never have allowed what is happening in his core town, the closing up of the old people’s home in Bormla. This is what has hurt the Labour grassroots most.

Let me point out a couple of things because some people must have forgotten. (And the government has stupidly not taken steps to point them out).

The home for the elderly in Bormla was built just some 35 years ago but it seems it has many structural defects. And although some repairs were carried out, the whole building is not safe at all.

Now in all the chaos that has been created no one seems to have asked Lawrence Gonzi, for whom the Home was a signal achievement, how come a building came to have so many flaws in such a short time? If people who built their home 35 years ago were to have such problems we would have problems on a national scale. But we don’t.

But then the government, read the minister, mishandled the whole issue and undermined Labour in its core area. The first the residents seem to have found out was in a letter telling them they would be moved and asking them to choose.

This was unspeakably callous and insensitive. It was only later, after the government had been clobbered all over the social media that the government weakly tried to explain how the home needed to be pulled down and rebuilt.

But such is this government perceived as being run by developers and speculators that many were suspicious the Home would be turned into a hotel, which it’s not.

Then again this government is fast making a name for itself for getting simple tasks wrong (see four projects for the Small Nations Games which went over the budget and were not ready for the Games. In the 1993 one Michael Frendo had actually injured himself trying to get everything ready for the Games). Ditto for the roadworks especially when some bright spark came up with pulling up the last stretch of the road leading to the airport and forced travellers to leg it in the dust.

So there you have it, a government run by speculators and piggies and treating the elderly with bordering on cruelty and superficiality.

An unhealthy combination.

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