The Malta Independent 26 February 2024, Monday
View E-Paper

A daunting inheritance

Noel Grima Sunday, 26 November 2023, 08:22 Last update: about 3 months ago

The last general election in Malta took place on 26 March 2022 and thus the next one will take place, plus or minus, by 2027.

We are thus some four years away, or maybe less, considering that the previous legislature did not complete the full term.

By this time one would expect the government to have filled in all the posts in the system and to be firing on all cylinders, so to speak.

ADVERTISEMENT

For this is an administration that keeps all decision-making posts within a closed circuit of One News journalists and others about whose loyalty there are no doubts.

This cuts corners on such niceties as due processes and goes heavy on direct orders and suchlike.

So why then are we not seeing everything moving smoothly and the country, less than a county elsewhere, being such a model country? Why is there such a confusion, dirt and neglect around? Why is there all this overarching impression that for all the money spent the situation on the roads is worse than it has ever been?

Before going there and trying to analyse why we are not at peak form, we must examine first of all the backlog the country and its government are facing.

Such as Air Malta, for instance. Just weeks away from its death and just weeks before the birth of its successor, we do not know its name, its livery, and all that makes an airline. How can people buy tickets from a yet unnamed airline?

This silence hides something else, maybe even more pernicious. There are those who are not speaking because they’re already in. Some people must already know what post they will be having. This is one version of the ‘seamless transition’ that Robert Abela was speaking about though we had no idea it existed.

These people will probably tell us they are the best persons to run the national airline but it’s hard to refrain from thinking these same persons are best qualified to run the new airline straight into the ground.

Air Malta is not the mess left behind by the previous government only, though it contributed too.

Another inheritance from the preceding administrations is the country’s economy and the national debt which has grown beyond proportion under Labour and which is still underestimated by the present government.

The Budget Speech included some good ideas to tackle the debt overhang but left huge gaps where more debt can be incurred. And this, specifically this, is a clear failure of this administration and no other

Take the Film Commission and its runaway budget, for instance. Attention has been drawn to an abridged version of what was claimed to be the commission’s annual report submitted to Parliament. It is not signed but reminded me of the articles that the present Film Commissioner used to submit as opinion articles and which I, to my shame, used to publish, after doing some slight corrections.

Apart from the atrocious English and non sequiturs there is an underlying defect. For all the empty boasting by Johann Grech a report by Ansa said this week that the city of Palermo hosted no less than 137 movies being shot over the past two years. Beat that, Johann with your hot air. And that most probably did not have an Awards Night with all the expenditure.

Next, the equally wasteful Malta Tourism Authority with its sponsorship of Manchester United, the team that the tourism minister sides with, and the sponsorship of popular concerts with consequent distribution of free tickets to political supporters with no account seeming to have been kept who got what.

I would have thought that with tourism rising and rising there would have been less use of such incentives but there, you see, my economic thinking is still at the age of dinosaurs.

So far I have written about challenges left behind by previous administrations. There are many other challenges peculiar to this one.

Like the huge task of tackling the three hospitals stupidly sold by the government to private hands who had no idea of running a hospital. Apart from trying to recoup the money already spent there is the modernization of the three decrepit hospitals to be undertaken.

And finally, though there are obviously others, all the issues connected to population explosion which the present government, whatever it claims, continues to foster and encourage.

Even with all the goodwill in the world four years or less are not enough to scratch the surface. It’s time for Abela to eat humble pie.

[email protected]

 

  • don't miss