The Malta Independent 26 February 2024, Monday
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TMID Editorial: The value of an apology

Friday, 1 December 2023, 11:04 Last update: about 4 months ago

Commuters were met with a deep sense of frustration on Wednesday morning as the north of Malta was left in gridlock owing to the closure of Burmarrad Road for works.

This was compounded by the fact that commuters are already facing a myriad of road closures ranging from Selmun to Ghajn Tuffieha which have made it exceedingly more difficult for commuters to navigate their way out of the northern areas of the country without having to be subjected to traffic jams.

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Many questioned why Burmarrad Road – a significant thoroughfare which connects St Paul’s Bay and Mosta – was closed as the morning rush hour began, and it later transpired that this was due to emergency maintenance works which had to be done overnight.

This was announced by Infrastructure Malta itself on social media soon after the road had reopened and the traffic had eased.

“We’re sorry!” the statement began.

“During last night's emergency maintenance works, there were simultaneous technical failures of two asphalt plants that Infrastructure Malta had booked for these night works. Recovery efforts were further hampered by inclement weather, mainly affecting works in Triq Burmarrad, Burmarrad. This led to the road being reopened at 9:30 am this morning instead of 5:00 am as originally scheduled,” the roads agency explained.

“There is no other way to say it than to sincerely apologise to road users for the inconvenience experienced this morning,” it added.

The fact of the matter is that however much one plans something, there are still factors which can get in the way of things being done in accordance with that plan – and those factors sometimes can be beyond one’s control. 

Perhaps one could have planned a bit better for the potential of inclement weather, but having not one – but two – asphalt plants failing in a single night one would think is quite rare.

While the frustration of commuters who by now are sick and tired of endless traffic jams owing to a road infrastructure which, look at it as you wish, is not up to scratch for the sheer amount of cars on Malta’s roads is well-warranted and justifiable, it was refreshing to see Infrastructure Malta be transparent as to what happened and, more so, to apologise for it.

It’s perhaps symptomatic of the situation in the country that something as basic as an apology is considered to be refreshing, but the fact is that government ministers and agencies have been far more likely to shift the blame for or even attempt to justify their shortcomings when they happen.  Some go as far as denying they were even shortcomings in the first place, leaving people scratching their hands and wondering what type of reality they are living in.

One can only hope that more officials and authorities take this example and start to take responsibility for their shortcomings when they happen.

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