Thanks O Lord for giving us DOM

After that superficial film “Dear Dom” has been showing for some time, given that a large number of Maltese citizens are shocked as to the content of the said film (how dare he) I would humbly suggest an alternative based on the following 6 points :

  1. Dom was God’s gift to Malta. We should light candles and praise the Lord for this gift.
  2. Human rights in Malta know their first pronouncement to Dom who was their most steadfast defender. The Gaddafi Prize for Human Rights is adequate recognition of the effort made!
  3. The media should thank their lucky stars that Dom was Prime Minister as he entrenched freedom of expression and completely removed the Laws of Libel. The media during his time was as free as can be.
  4. Dom led the first transparent Government in Malta: the media could ask anything, and they had the information at hand before even asking.
  5. The shareholders of the National Bank of Malta should thank their lucky stars that they had a staunch defender in Dom Mintoff. If anyone else had been Prime Minister he wouldn’t give a fuck about their rights (jigi jitnejjek mill-Kostituzzjoni). Anyone less serious would have removed their limited liability to have them face the music. But Dom, he  was no bully. He defended the hard working citizen.
  6. The civil service should thank Dom for making their period of service a memorable one. Transfers on political grounds were history during the Dom Prime Ministership. Everybody got his due. Promotions were never withheld to those who were not Labour Party lackeys. The more you were critical of Dom Mintoff and his government the more you were respected.  Dom even discriminated against Labour Party supporters to ensure that those supporting the PN and Mabel Strickland got the highest appointments in the Civil Service.
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Manoel Island : il-mozzjoni

Mozzjoni dwar Manoel Island approvata mil-Laqgha Generali Annwali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

Din il-Laqgha Generali,

konxja li l-izvilupp intensiv li sar f’ Tigne kemm fuq is-sit tal-MIDI kif ukoll fuq is-sit maghrufa bhala ta’ Fort Cambridge kerrah iz-zona kemm vizwalment kif ukoll bhala rizultat ta’ impatti fuq il-kwalita tal-arja b’zieda astronomika ta’ traffiku, liema impatti ser jizdiedu bl-izvilupp propost ghal Town Square,

tafferma li dan l-hekk imsejjah zvilupp bela l-ftit ispazju miftuh li kien ghad baqa’ f’tas-Sliema u li dan il-process ghandu jkunu imwaqqaf l-iktar kmieni possibli,

tirrizolvi li l-Gvern ghandu jiehu l-passi necessarji biex isewwi l-hsara li ghamel bil-kunsens tal-Oppozizzjoni Laburista bhala rizultat tal-politika zbaljata taghhom t-tnejn li biha jinkoragixxu zvilupp bla razan u li  ghaldaqstant f’dan il-kuntest il-Gvern ghandu jiehu lura Manoel Island minghand il-MIDI u jikkonvertiha f’park rikreattiv ghal pubbliku b’facilitajiet komunitarji u hielsa minn kull zvilupp spekulattiv u dan minghajr ma jhallas l-ebda kumpens lill-MIDI taht kwalunkwe forma

*****

This General meeting,

conscious that the intensive development carried out at Tigne both on the MIDI site as well as on the Fort Cambridge site has impaired the visual integrity of the area as well as through an astronomical increase in traffic generated has further cotaminated the quality of the air, which impacts will increase with the proposed Town Square developement,

affirms that this so called developement has engulfed the few remaining  open spaces left in Sliema and states that this process should be halted the earliest possible,

resolves that government should make amends for the damage which it has caused with the consent of the Opposition Labour Party as a result of their misconceived politics of encouraging development at all costs, and consequerntly resolves that government should reclaim Manoel Island back from MIDI and convert it to a recreational park accessible to the public, containing community facilities freeing the sapce from speculative development and that this should be done without the payment of any form of compensation to MIDI,

AD Executive Committee for 2012/13

AD’s Executive Committee  approved by the Annual General Meeting  for the year 2012/13 is made up of the following officials:

Chairman                             : Michael Briguglio

Deputy Chairperson          : Carmel Cacopardo

Secretary General               : Ralph Cassar

Deputy Secretary General : Henrik Piski

Treasurer                              : Simon Galea

International Secretary     : Arnold Cassola

Public Relations Officer    : Andre’ Vella

members : Angele Deguara, Mark Scerri, Richard Schranz and Nighat Urpani.

Barely scratching the surface

The Noise White Paper, just published for public consultation, identifies the need to coordinate the existing fragmented administrative structures as its first target. This is being done in the belief that it will eventually lead to a smoothening out of administrative inconsistencies. Better coordination could also ensure that, in the long term, issues in respect of which the authorities have, to date, been reluctant to act upon can be addressed in an appropriate manner. Hopefully.

The White Paper deals with the abatement of neighbourhood noise. Its reach should have been much wider. It postpones dealing with the noise generated by fireworks and village feasts to some future date. Cultural aspects and tradition are reasons used to justify this postponement. In reality, the government at this time cannot withstand the anticipated reaction of the fireworks lobby, which has yet to come to terms with restrictions based on safety as is evidenced by reactions to the findings and recommendations of the November 2011 inquiry report on accidents in fireworks factories. Clearly, the government considers that now is not the time to regulate excessive fireworks noise. On the eve of a general election, votes are considered to be a more important consideration.

We have been informed (correctly) that the EU Environmental Noise Directive is not applicable to our airport because the traffic it handles is below the established threshold.

The White Paper does not address the issue of noise generated by aircraft approaching or taking off from Malta’s only airport when flying over residential areas. In particular, the impact of approaching aircraft on Birżebbuġa’s residential area at all times of the day (including during the night) comes to mind.

Now, to be fair, one must state that the airport cannot be transferred to any other site. The flight paths leading to the airport are fixed and their use is determined by the prevalent winds. Malta needs its only airport to be operational. Yet, its operation must be such that it does not cause unnecessary hardship to residential areas along the approaches to and around the airport.

This leaves only one option: regulating the airport’s operating times to restrict aircraft movements during the silent hours as is done at Heathrow, Brussels and Fiumicinio, to mention three airports with which readers are familiar.

The airport authorities need to encourage the use of less noisy aircraft through the determination of differentiated aircraft landing charges dependent on the noise generated by the aircraft. It is about time that the airport authorities start respecting the surrounding communities. This is a missing but essential element of the airport’s sustainable development strategy.

The Noise White Paper draws up a list of those authorities that are empowered to regulate some aspect of noise control. One would expect that the police, the Malta Tourism Authority, the health authorities and the Malta Environment and Planning Authority coordinated by the Noise Control Board to now be in a better position to ensure that commercial outlets (particularly those in a mixed use area) are no longer a nuisance to residents in the vicinity.

It should also be less problematic to deal with nuisance caused by air conditioners fixed in the most awkward places.

But noise does not only impact the health of human beings. It also has a health impact on flora and fauna. This is partly regulated through the Habitats Directive of the EU, which is an integral part of Maltese law.

It is positive that the Noise White Paper recognises this and emphasises the need to ensure its implementation. This should now place more onus on Mepa to ascertain that open-air activities generating excessive noise are immediately brought to order. Examples that come to mind are open air discos at Buskett, Paradise Bay and Ta’ Qali. The first two impact biodiversity in Natura 2000 sites and the last is too close to residential areas, particularly Attard. The aborted Mistra “Spin Valley Disco”, which the Nationalist Party and its stooges at Mepa defended before the 2008 election, would also fall foul of these provisions as it was sited right in the middle of a special area of conservation.

Excessive noise also has a damaging impact on the welfare of animals, both farm animals and pets. The impact of noise on farms and agriculture is completely ignored by the White Paper.

Fireworks regulations, for example, are only concerned with residential areas and the distances to be observed from areas that serve as a residence for more than 100 humans.

Excessive noise in agricultural areas severely impacts agricultural production (like milk, poultry, eggs, rabbits…) and can have a considerable economic impact.

It is up to the minister in question to decide whether to prefer the fireworks at the expense of negative impacts on animal husbandry. He may not worry unnecessarily as animals do not vote!

While the White Paper on Noise Prevention is welcome, it barely scratches the surface. We need to go deeper and tackle areas ignored by the White Paper because noise pollution is an issue that has been neglected for far too long.

 

This article was published in The Times of Malta , April 14, 2012

 

on the same subject on this blog :

7th February 2009 : The value of silence

7th November 2009 : When pigs are able to vote

Joseph Muscat u l-ilma tal-Coca Cola

Il-Kap tal-Opposizzjoni illum żar il-fabbrika tal-Coca Cola fil-Marsa.  Fabbrika li minnha l-kumpanija General Soft Drinks Co Limited tipproduċi diversi minerali.

Skond kif rappurtat fit-Times online Joseph Muscat ma qal xejn interessanti ħlief li l-Kumpanija hi immexxija minn mara u li l-Kumpanija għandha ideat interessanti fuq il-konservazzjoni tal-ilma!  It-Times ma tgħidx li dawn l-ideat interessanti huma l-użu tal-boreholes!

Il-Malta Today online min-naħa l-oħra tagħtina iktar informazzjoni dwar x’ġara waqt iż-żjara ta’ Joseph Muscat.

L-uffiċjali tal-Kumpanija jidher li qed jilmentaw fuq il-metering tal-boreholes. Muscat irid jikkuntenthom għax qallhom li “dik m’hiex l-unika soluzzjoni”.

Jidher li Muscat għadu ma fehem xejn dwar l-ilma. Ejja ngħiduha bi kliem sempliċi : l-ilma tal-pjan spiċċa. Ftit baqa’ u l-ftit li baqa’ jeħtieġ li jkun użat għall-ħtiġijiet tax-xorb tal-Maltin u mhux għall-business.

Tajba din. Aħna nħallsu kontijiet tal-ilma m’għola s-sema u kumpaniji bħall-General Soft Drinks Co. Limited itellgħu l-ilma tal-pjan bla ħlas jew bi ftit ħlas. Mela l-Coca f’Malta hi sussidjata mill-kontijiet tal-ilma li jħallsu l-Maltin!

Ħasra li għad m’hawnx liġi li tirregola l-finanzjament tal-Partiti Politiċi għax kieku konna nkunu nafu min jagħti donazzjonijiet!

Meta imbagħad naraw il-laxkezza f’oqsma bħall-ilma forsi nkunu nistgħu nifhmu l-affarijiet ħafna  aħjar.

 

ara ukoll fuq dan il-blog il-post tas-16 ta’ Settembru 2011 intitolat : L-Ilma tal-Coca Cola.

Should we thank Dom ?

Yana Mintoff Bland has demanded that her father Dom be shown the respect which she claims he deserves.

The Times in its comments quoted Yana Mintoff Bland as objecting to her father  Dom Mintoff being  “shown as being partisan and interested only in his supporters.”

It was only last week that The Sunday Times reporting an interview with Albert Mizzi former Chairman of Air Malta quoted Mr Mizzi as saying the following about her father  :

“I remember one time when someone mentioned something to him about corruption. He turned to me and said, is it true? I replied: ‘That what’s people are saying’. His response was: ‘What can I do if that person has helped me to build up the party? Can I take action against him?’ You see, this is small Malta.”

Being a Mintoff supporter in those days paid huge dividends.

I have already in the past put on record my own stories about pressures exerted by Dom Mintoff through a PN politician as well as through an army official for me to withdraw a human rights case in Malta’s Constitutional Court against one of his Cabinet Ministers. I did not budge but the pressure kept mounting. And on top of all that I even had my professional warrant as an architect withheld for 4 years after graduating. A fact also confirmed by the Injustces Commission which investigated my claims.

My experiences are just one of the many which those who disagreed with or criticised Dom’s government and methods suffered repeatedly.

A few did not survive to recount their ordeal as they paid with their lives. It that sense I may be lucky, but that is nothing to thank Dom about.