A hop, skip, and a jump

We are all so chuffed now that we are just a hop, skip and a jump away from the cul­mi­na­tion of all the heav­ily-guarded projects en­trusted to Kon­rad Mizzi, to­gether with his Panama au­dit reach­ing their cli­max.

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Photo: Jonathan Borg

Rachel Borg is an in­de­pen­dent colum­nist based in the tourism in­dus­try

We have waited, long, pa­tiently. Pages of print and on­line con­tent have been writ­ten on the sub­ject of when and how these grand projects, such as the Elec­trogas Power Station, the con­ver­sion from Heavy Fuel Oil to gas of the BWSC power station and for the pow­er­ing up of the sup­ply from the LNG tanker sit­ting like an ex­tra-ter­res­trial space-ship on the wa­ter in Marsaxlokk will ac­tu­ally be de­liv­ered. So “doable” have they been that it seems a re­laxed at­ti­tude sur­rounded them and they took in­ad­ver­tently longer, so much longer, than was in­tended. But, the time has come or so we are told. Well timed to co­in­cide with Malta’s pres­i­dency of the EU and all the pub­lic­ity around it.

Over at Karin Grech hos­pi­tal, we are also given to be­lieve that a trans­for­ma­tion is tak­ing place on a level that makes the emer­gency Red Cross field hos­pi­tals look like a doc­tor’s surgery when com­pared to the ca­pac­ity and readi­ness to be found at Vi­tals Global Health­care ser­vices. So nice to have such a cosy ward es­pe­cially in this cold weather, all cud­dled up to­gether, sneez­ing on top of each other.

We waited also right to the end of 2016, ex­pect­ing as we had been promised, for the PM to pub­lish all the out­stand­ing con­tracts which in­volved, amongst other things, an 18 year com­mit­ment to pur­chase elec­tric­ity at a fixed rate and giv­ing land to Sadeen for the build­ing of a cas­tle-prop­erty in Zon­qor, the same au­dit re­port on Mizzi’s es­capade in Panama, as men­tioned ear­lier was also due on the “we shall show you” list, still, how­ever, un­der his belt.

Funny though how the one re­port that may ac­tu­ally have some con­tent – that of the FIAU – is also still kept locked away.

But time is press­ing and an elec­tion be­gins to draw near. Other than post­pone the elec­tions to a later date, the pres­sure to de­liver on the promised re­ports, con­tracts and projects is now upon Joseph Mus­cat and Kon­rad Mizzi.

In­stead, the year be­gan with an anti-cli­max as we were told that petrol and diesel prices are to in­crease by 0.04c. Back to the fu­ture. In­stead of the kitchen, this New year, we were given the car. Both items so im­por­tant to the Mal­tese so­ci­ety.

As for any calm, se­ri­ous, non­twit­ter, in-depth and open in­ter­views with the Prime Min­is­ter, at such a cru­cial time for Malta, with so many ques­tions that need an­swer­ing, all we re­ceive are plat­i­tudes about “fake news” which is the lat­est school­yard taunt of the day and as copy­cat as it gets. It brings to mind the reclu­sive Howard Hughes, one of Amer­ica’s first bil­lion­aires, who be­came a Hol­ly­wood movie mogul be­fore plung­ing into a reclu­sive life­style prompted by ob­ses­sional fears of germs and con­tam­i­na­tion.

We are left to rely on “govern­ment” bill­boards and jolly blogs in­stead of in­tel­li­gent in­ter­views, rem­i­nis­cent of a fas­cist past in by­gone eras on the Euro­pean con­ti­nent.

Can any­one show us what is hap­pen­ing right now in Malta that is in any way in­no­va­tive, avant-garde or worth­while? The in­ces­sant bring­ing up of civil rights is not go­ing to save us from the big­ger pic­ture, rapidly wear­ing thin and fake copies of mas­ter­pieces that go to make up the book of fairy tales and nurs­ery rhymes. Mary had a lit­tle lamb... and ev­ery­where that Mary went her lamb was sure to go...

Maybe the im­pres­sion is that Malta is a place where north meets south, or east meets west and deals can be done over a steak din­ner and bot­tle of red, whilst the pres­sure of scru­tiny is taken off and a lit­tle jaunt is wholly plau­si­ble. A kind of “what hap­pens in Malta, stays in Malta” venue, so in vogue with the lads.

The re­sult is that more and more young and not so young cit­i­zens of Malta and Gozo are not wait­ing around any longer and have tipped their hat to the sunny isles and headed for other shores, where ca­reers and a fu­ture are made not by un­der the table deals, Po­si­tions of Trust or crony­ism and nepo­tism, but by fair se­lec­tion and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of achieve­ments. Even those ap­proach­ing re­tire­ment are look­ing to pur­chase a prop­erty over­seas, long­ing to get away from the high prices, free for all and de­pre­ci­at­ing en­vi­ron­ment around us.

It is much bet­ter to join our EU neigh­bours on their own shores and en­joy the op­por­tu­ni­ties of a bet­ter de­vel­oped so­ci­ety, how­ever trou­bled their coun­try may be than sur­vive in the dis­com­fort of a de­luded, se­cluded and rot­ten car­cass – and that’s pre-LNG tanker and risk to life per­cent­ages. It is just too un­pleas­ant liv­ing here un­der this stress and demo­cratic deficit – even the ir­reg­u­lar mi­grants keep their dis­tance. The num­ber of in­sti­tu­tions and or­gan­i­sa­tions that have been ren­dered use­less, the amount of jobs and money that has gone to non­de­script per­sons, the plat­i­tudes, the lies, the abuse have changed for­ever the demo­cratic face of this coun­try.

Cut­ting some rib­bons and un­veil­ing of plaques and mak­ing of cer­e­monies will not change a thing. On the con­trary, with­out a new per­spec­tive or a de­ci­sive ac­count­abil­ity, the rot will only con­tinue and make com­fort­able the weak and sad fig­ures of a bad com­edy.

The re­cent com­ments from the So­cial­ist MEPs, the hug­ging, the back slap­ping, the jolly state­ments, the ques­tion­able ap­proval of per­mits and projects by the EU com­mis­sion, this buddy buddy ca­ma­raderie is not what we ex­pected from se­ri­ous politi­cians.

We are left with the im­pres­sion that all en­quiries are al­ready set and sealed, ready for ar­chiv­ing, the sooner to be­gin the process of work­ing through the months of Malta’s pres­i­dency and call­ing it a suc­cess.

Si salva chi può. Lib­era nos a malo.

The Malta In­de­pen­dent Satur­day 14 Jan­uary 2017

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