Chaos in the po­lit­i­cal sce­nario

The cur­rent po­lit­i­cal sce­nario in Malta is one almighty mess the likes of which have not been seen for decades, if ever at all. It’s in chaos and out of con­trol. Busi­ness is pol­i­tics, pol­i­tics is busi­ness, trust is cor­rup­tion, govern­ment is a power base t

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Rachel Borg is an in­de­pen­dent colum­nist based in the tourism in­dus­try

The more con­fus­ing it be­comes the more it suits Mus­cat and his cronies. Any­one try­ing to make sense of it will have a very hard time in­deed and would need to aban­don logic in or­der to un­ravel some of it.

The orig­i­nal cam­ou­flage is the fa­mous PPPs or Public Pri­vate Part­ner­ships. A very con­ve­nient sub-govern­ment that can pro­vide the cover for any num­ber of projects cre­ated to di­vert profit to a non-govern­ment en­tity un­der the dis­guise of na­tional in­ter­est.

Or­di­nar­ily the po­lit­i­cal or­der con­sisted of a demo­crat­i­cally elected govern­ment op­er­at­ing through the Civil Ser­vice for its man­age­ment sys­tem and through its min­is­te­rial of­fices to de­liver pol­icy. The govern­ment and its min­is­ters serve the peo­ple in Par­lia­ment, where an Op­po­si­tion rep­re­sents the mi­nor­ity. This is where it starts to get its pants in a knot. Pol­icy is no longer. The civil ser­vice is no longer and the peo­ple are just a fig­ure of speech. Par­lia­ment is that funny build­ing next to the Monti.

Times have changed and so have the public’s ex­pec­ta­tions of de­liv­ery, ser­vice and en­ter­prise. Un­til the change of govern­ment in 2013, the coun­try cre­ated a num­ber of in­sti­tutes or public cor­po­ra­tions to han­dle, chan­nel, pro­mote and seek in­vest­ments for the is­land. So­cial part­ners were brought on board to share their views and ex­pec­ta­tions and also bring is­sues of con­cern to the ta­ble for dis­cus­sion along with ideas for the cre­ation of work and se­cu­rity. It was a cen­trist ap­proach that pro­moted growth and eco­nomic progress whilst bal­anc­ing it with so­cial jus­tice.

As the so­cial and eco­nomic fab­ric of the coun­try be­gan to grow more com­pli­cated, with EU stan­dards and laws, for­eign work­ers and busi­nesses open­ing in Malta and with civil rights be­ing used as an op­por­tu­nity to re-ar­range the tra­di­tional sys­tem of af­fairs in our lo­cal life, the re­main­ing po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment was in­verted and sub­verted to turn into a pri­vate mech­a­nism rather than a public en­tity.

No longer sub­ject to scru­tiny or ac­count­abil­ity, it was as though, on the pre­text of ob­tain­ing civil rights, it was to be ex­pected that tra­di­tional stan­dards will no longer ap­ply and if the peo­ple wanted their elected lead­ers to carry out this con­tro­ver­sial agenda, then it means that they are giv­ing them power above ev­ery­thing else – in­clud­ing Par­lia­ment, in­clud­ing the Church and its teach­ings, in­clud­ing the sys­tem of gov­er­nance of the coun­try.

Not want­ing to be old­fash­ioned and risk the dis­ap­proval of the mod­ern lib­er­al­ists com­ing down on them, the ma­jor­ity of the peo­ple qui­etly stepped aside for the Kas­cos, the Hen­leys and Part­ners, the Nexia BTs and co. to take charge of oper­a­tion Malta.

What we have to­day is a carte blanche for non-gov­ern­men­tal of­fi­cials and pri­vate com­pa­nies, to take over the power of govern­ment, the bank­ing sec­tor and all projects and deals that can gen­er­ate a tidy lit­tle profit for the play­ers in this house of cards. Some may call it a cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem but a cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem seeks to ex­ist out­side of govern­ment and not within it. Con­se­quently, cap­i­tal­ism in Malta is not free as it used to be.

Na­tional in­ter­est is now sub­ject to pri­vate in­ter­est. If it is pri­mar­ily in the pri­vate in­ter­est and can also some­how be made to ap­pear to be or ac­tu­ally serve, the na­tional in­ter­est then that is the pol­icy and that is the choice.

Thus we have an LNG tanker nudg­ing its way – re­luc­tantly it seems – into Marsaxlokk, like a han­gover from a boozy party, a prop­erty bo­nanza that is wreck­ing lives and liveli­hood for many, a health sec­tor that is in the hands of un­known en­ti­ties spi­ralling into a three headed mon­ster, a visa sys­tem that has opened the doors to even more po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous cit­i­zens and the type of in­vest­ments that pre­fer non-Euro­pean in­vestors with Panama ac­counts to a se­cure Euro­pean com­pany that is sub­ject to the rules and reg­u­la­tions of the EU that we are mem­bers of.

The sub-con­text of this an­ar­chi­cal ap­proach is the op­por­tu­nity it cre­ates for per­sons or busi­nesses aligned with the projects and deals.

We the peo­ple can­not ever re­ally know if the whole deal or in­vest­ment is ac­tu­ally in our best in­ter­est or not. And be­ing that it has at its source a pri­vate and per­sonal in­ter­est, then it is to be as­sumed that in fact, our na­tional in­ter­est is in­ci­den­tal to the whole deal.

Any other mat­ters of state man­age­ment, like the out of con­trol traf­fic con­ges­tion, the eco­nomic and so­cial needs of the pop­u­la­tion, our for­eign pol­icy and rep­u­ta­tion, ethics, morals and obli­ga­tions on which our con­sti­tu­tion and in­de­pen­dence was staked, se­cu­rity and the en­vi­ron­ment have all be­come red flags for this govern­ment and that is sim­ply be­cause these is­sues – at least un­til some an­gle presents it­self – present no fi­nan­cial in­ter­est in solv­ing or be­cause they in fact re­quire a fi­nan­cial com­mit­ment.

All of this has thrown the tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal or­der into chaos. Maybe the coun­try needed to re­view its ap­proach and how to deal with a more glob­alised world and eco­nomic prob­lems fac­ing many economies. Pos­si­bly the slow and se­cure method of the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions was no longer up to the task of bring­ing out the best of what the coun­try had to of­fer. So now we have this bril­liant and en­ter­pris­ing in­di­vid­ual, an ex­am­ple to com­merce, we are told, to whom we al­most owe a debt for com­ing on board the govern­ment galleon laden with gold and who is not ac­count­able in any way to the public, whether he has or has not any ac­counts in du­bi­ous banks and in Panama and other off-shore places, be­cause, in truth, he is sim­ply on loan to the govern­ment and not ac­count­able to the peo­ple. A proper Bu­ca­neer.

Com­pare this, then, to the mot­ley of in­di­vid­u­als con­test­ing on the PN ticket and who them­selves are rather un­fa­mil­iar to the public, af­ter the decades of the stal­warts of Ge­orge Borg Olivier, Ed­die Fenech Adami, Dr Lawrence Gonzi, Guido De­marco, Censu Tabone, Louis Galea, Francis Zam­mit Dimech, Austin Gatt, Richard Cachia Ca­rauna and oth­ers and con­fu­sion is the or­der of the day.

When ask­ing the PN to change tack and sail a new course, the whole crew changed. Peo­ple are un­fa­mil­iar with the new po­lit­i­cal ap­proach, one which is more vet­ted, more ac­count­able, more close to the or­di­nary per­son, with the abil­ity to work to­gether with the so­cial part­ners, so­ci­ety and in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions, ex­pe­ri­enced in some ar­eas and novice in oth­ers, al­low­ing for a ren­o­va­tion of ta­lent and com­mit­ment in a way that we have not seen be­fore.

Hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced the ar­ro­gant, risky, cor­rupt­ible ap­proach of this cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion, the public is weary and doubt­ful. More and more they will trust their in­tu­ition and that in­tu­ition is telling them that hon­est mis­takes and in­tegrity will be far bet­ter than de­ceit and cor­rup­tion and foul deals, no mat­ter how much suc­cess it can boast of.

There is a fu­ture for the com­ing gen­er­a­tions to se­cure. And not just in their ed­u­ca­tion and de­vel­op­ment but in their char­ac­ter, so­cial jus­tice and good judge­ment. All ar­eas where this govern­ment of Joseph Mus­cat has left the stage.

It may be that peo­ple are cau­tious about putting their con­fi­dence in a new team, them­selves in­vig­o­rated by a sense of hon­esty and will to com­mit to work­ing for the com­mon good. But they should get on board with the new crew and lend a hand on deck if they want to sail away from these slime in­fested wa­ters.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.