Labour : ensuring a smooth transition

Franco Debono has made many a statement during the past 12 months. He abstained when a vote of no confidence was submitted against Minister Austin Gatt. He explained that he did so as he wanted to give the man and his party another chance!

He has been stating for days now, that he will not vote in favour of the budget  because he considers that Austin Gatt should have resigned months ago due to his political failures. Whether  Franco Debono will keep his word is anybody’s guess. But if he does the budget will not be approved. We will have to keep guessing what comes next for some more days.

With this in mind the budget’s relevance is limited.

But we need not panic as Labour will come to the rescue. Labour, we are told, will deliver.

Progressive Labour will deliver income tax revised rates which will ignore low wage earners and reduce tax payable to those who are already reasonably well off. No tax deductions can be guaranteed for low wage earners by Labour.

Progressive Labour, like conservative PN, does not agree with the need to revise the minimum wage. It is not in the interest of employers to do so. And it is their vote which progressive Labour is after.  The employers’ vote, that is!

Why should progressive Labour accept the GWU’s proposal to have the cost of living adjustment paid in two installments?  There is consensus between the PN and Labour that the GWU’s proposals should be ignored. It is only Alternattiva Demokratika which has offered support for a progressive incomes policy as proposed by the GWU.

Labour, the progressive party, has opted for a conservative approach: the PN’s approach. It is the only way forward as in this way it ensures a smooth transition,  continuity and stability!

…………… and they looked from pig to man and from man to pig again and could not tell which was which.  The more things change, the more they remain the same.

published at di-ve.com  on Friday 30 November 2012

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Joseph (il-progressiv) delivers

Joseph Muscat jaqbel mal-budget tal-bieraħ. Tant li qiegħed jgħid li l-Partit Laburista biss huwa l-unika garanzija li dan il-budget jista’ jitwettaq. Joseph delivers.

Jiġifieri Joseph Muscat jaqbel li min jaqla’ mhux ħażin titnaqqaslu it-taxxa minn 35% għal 25%. Fl-istess waqt min hu bil-paga minima jħallas it-taxxa fuq id-dħul. Ovvjament min kien qed jaħseb li Joseph hu favur il-batut aħjar jerġa’ jaħsibha sewwa għax il-voti (jaħseb Joseph) mhux min hemm iridu jiġu.

L-aqwa li jgħid li hu progressiv. Imma fl-istess ħin hu kontra li tiżdied il-paga minima. Fl-istess ħin ma jaqbilx mal-proposta tal-GWU li biex min jaqlagħha u jiekolha jbati inqas, iż-żieda għall-għoli tal-ħajja tingħata kull sitt xhur mhux kull sena kif tingħata issa. Joseph il-progressiv ma jaqbilx ma dan.

Thirty-eight nations draft principles on anticorruption

Antigraft bodies from 38 countries are jointly drafting principles on anticorruption during a two-day conference, organized by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in Jakarta.

The antigraft body representatives from Asia, Africa, America and Europe shared their experiences and knowledge on Monday. The discussions and studies will be used as a basis for drafting the principles, which will be declared on Tuesday.

KPK chairman Abraham Samad said he hoped that the principles would help to safeguard the independence and effectiveness of antigraft bodies, as mandated in the 2003 United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

“Besides stipulating the formation of anticorruption bodies, the UNCAC mandates that the bodies should have sufficient independence to effectively perform their mandates and free from any intervention,” he said during the opening ceremony.

Abraham pointed out that support from each government was pivotal to improve the performance of their respective antigraft bodies.

He applauded the governments of Singapore and Hong Kong for giving full support to their antigraft bodies. On the contrary, pressure and interference continue to hinder the performance of antigraft bodies in Nigeria, Mongolia and Afghanistan.

Beate Trankmann, UNDP country director in Indonesia, said that Indonesia’s broad experience in eradicating corruption prompted the UN body to choose it as the host country.

“We have well-rounded experience here in Indonesia with the KPK having been established in 2003. It is generally regarded as a well-functioning anticorruption commission. There is important experience to be learned from Indonesia on how these challenges are being overcome,” she told journalists during a press conference.

Wanted: a progressive incomes policy

The budget to be presented next Wednesday should revisit Malta’s incomes policy such that the difficulties faced by low income households is addressed.

The minimum wage should be increased in line with the findings of the Caritas Report published in March this year. This report entitled “A Minimum budget for a decent living” had focused on three low income household categories and concluded that it is necessary to uplift the statutory minimum wage from €158.11 to €180 per week of 40 hours. It is unfortunate that both the PN and Labour are deadset against this proposal.

Alternattiva Demokratika  realises the importance of such a proposal in assisting those having a low income to make ends meet and has repeatedly encouraged its implementation.

Another proposal on incomes policy is on the table. The General Workers’ Union has proposed that Cost of Living wage adjustments should be made every 6 months. Implementing this proposal would provide a realistic and timely compensation to those at the lower end of the social ladder.

Its about time that these proposals are seriously considered by government in its budget proposals.

originally published in di-ve.com, Friday 23rd November 2012

Il-pontijiet ta’ Tonio Borg

 

Il-proċess li bih il-Parlament Ewropew eżamina n-nomina ta’ Tonio Borg kienet opportunita li tikkuntrasta l-politika ta’ gonzipn ma dik Ewropeja.

Il-politika ta’ gonzipn hi wahda ta’ konfront. Dik Ewropeja hi waħda ibbazata fuq il-kunsens.

Gonzipn jippretendi li hu jiddeċiedi u ħaddieħor ibaxxi rasu u jappoġġah. Meta jiddeċiedi jiġi jaqa’ u jqum x’jaħseb ħaddieħor.

Meta sar ir-referendum dwar id-dħul ta’ Malta fl-Unjoni Ewropeja il-PN ġustament stenna li l-Labour ibaxxi rasu għall-verdett popolari. Il-Labour dan m’għamlux u l-PN baqa’ jfakkru f’dan id-deficit demokratiku repetutament. U għamel sewwa.

Imma l-PN mhux veru jemmen dak li qal għax meta ġie r-referendum dwar id-divorzju kien diffiċli għalih li jaċċetta r-riżultat. Ma riedx ibaxxi rasu għall-volonta’ popolari.

Tonio Borg kien wieħed mill-Membri Parlamentari li minkejja r-riżultat popolari baqa’ sa l-aħħar jisfida l-verdett popolari. Kif jista’ għalhekk jitwemmen meta jgħid u jiddikjara li ma jħallix it-twemmin tiegħu ixekklu fil-qadi ta’ dmirijietu bħala Kummissarju?   Fil-każ tad-divorzju hekk għamel: mexxa skond dak li jemmen u mhux skond ir-rieda popolari.

Issa qed iwiegħed bil-maqlub.

Meta tqis kemm domna nisimgħu prietki dwar kif kellu l-obbligu li jimxi skond il-kuxjenza u mhux skond dak li iddeċieda r-referendum bil-fors jidħlu dubji serji dwar kif ser jaġixxi bħala Kummissarju.

Għalhekk il-Parlament Ewropew talab dik id-dikjarazzjoni umiljanti, għax dak li qal xorta ħalla d-dubji. Il-kliem meqjus fi tlett siegħat hearing ma ħassrux l-impatt ta’ snin ta’ ħidma politika.

Fid-dawl ta’ dan forsi issa huwa ċar iktar minn qabel li kien ikun ħafna aħjar li l-kandidat Malti għal Kummissarju Ewropew kien wieħed li dwaru kien hemm kunsens bejn il-forzi politiċi kollha. Il-fatt li intagħżel kandidat li dwaru ma kienx hemm kunsens wassal għal trattament umiljanti li seta kien evitat b’kandidat idoneju.

Issa li ġie approvat minkejja vot qawwi kontra tiegħu Tonio Borg għandu l-obbligu li jassigura li l-ħidma tiegħu tkun waħda li tħares il-valuri Ewropej u in partikolari d-drittijiet tal-minoranzi.

Id-dikjarazzjoni li Tonio Borg għamel wara l-elezzjoni li fi ħsiebu jibni l-pontijiet ma dawk li vvutaw kontra tiegħu hu sinjal pożittiv. Nittama li jirnexxilu.

Tonio Borg : lejlet il-vot

Il-Parlament Ewropew għada jivvota dwar jekk in-nomina mill-Gvern Malti ta’ Tonio Borg bħala Kummissarju Ewropew hiex waħda aċċettabbli.

Bl-appoġġ tal-Partit Popolari, l-Konservattivi, l-partiti tal-lemin (inkluż dawk ta’ Bossi u Le Pen) u numru mdaqqas mill-grupp soċjalista probabilment li jkun approvat b’mod partikolari wara d-dikjarazzjoni li iffirma. L-opposizzjoni ġejja mill-Liberali, mill-Ħodor, minn parti mis-Soċjalisti (fuq quddiem MEPs nisa u LGBT) u l-bqija tax-xellug.

Intqal ħafna dwar il-kandidatura ta’ Tonio Borg. Kull min ikkritikah għamel dan mill-ottika tiegħu.

Da parti ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika ikkritikajna n-nomina tiegħu bħala waħda li m’hiex addattata u dan in vista tal-posizzjonijiet politiċi li ħa matul il-karriera politika tiegħu. Hemm politiċi oħra li huma inqas kontroversjali u li ma ħadux posizzjoni ta’ konfront kontra l-gays u kontra d-divorzju . Il-posizzjoni ta’ Tonio Borg favur politika inumana dwar l-immigrazzjoni ġiet manifestat bl-appoġg da parti tiegħu għall-ftehim ta’ Berlusconi ma Gaddafi li bih bagħat l-immigranti lura fil-Libya għas-swat u t-tortura. Ġiet manifestata ukoll meta bagħat lura l-immigranti mill-Eritrea li spiċċaw sparixxew jew ġew ittorturati u dan kif ikkonkludew l-Amnesty International u l-UNHCR.

Filwaqt li hu floku li jingħad li matul il-hearing ta’ tlett siegħat li kellu fil-Parlament Ewropew Tonio Borg wera li kellu konoxxenza tajba tad-dikasteru  assenjat lilu naħseb li jkun għaqli li jkun emfasizzat li fi tlett siegħat ma tistax tħassar dak li tkun għamilt matul karriera politika sħiħa. Tista’ tipprova tispjega imma trid tkun konsistenti. Jekk ma tkunx ma tistax tikkonvinċi.

Matul it-tlett siegħat tal-hearing Tonio Borg impressjona li kien teknikament kompetenti. Iżda diversi li kellhom dubji dwar kemm il-passat hu mera tal-futur baqgħu bid-dubji. Għalhekk talbuh jagħmel dikjarazzjoni.

Id-dikjarazzjoni li Tonio Borg iffirma tiftaħ beraħ l-issue tal-abort. Il-PN tkaża meta MEPs mill-PL ivvutaw favur riżoluzzjoni fil-Parlament Ewropew li kellha referenzi mill-iktar indiretti għall-abort u dan fil-kuntest ta’ għajnuna lill-pajjiżi li qed jiżviluppaw. Kienu l-akkolti ta’ Tonio Borg fil-kampanja ta’ emendi kostituzzjonali dwar l-abort li fetħu l-kanuni. Issa naraw kemm huma lesti li jitkellmu fil-pubbliku dwar id-dikjarazzjoni ta’ Tonio Borg u kemm din tfisser appoġġ inkondizzjonat għall-abort fejn l-Unjoni Ewropea tista’ tagħmel dan.

Bid-dikjarazzjoni li iffirma Tonio Borg issa intrabat pubblikament li jpoġġi l-kuxjenza tiegħu fil-ġemb u jimplimenta dawk ir-rizoluzzjonijiet li ivvutaw favur tagħhom tal-Labour!

Dikjarazzjoni bħal din mhux kulħadd jagħtiha l-istess piz. Għax daqqa ta’ pinna ma tħassarx dak li temmen.

Ngħidu prosit?

Il-Kap tal-Verifika Interna tal-Gvern (Internal Audit and Investigations) qed tiġi investigata fuq allegazzjonijiet ippubblikati mill-gazzetta Malta Today li ħadmet bħala konsulenta u tat pariri lil ditta barranija dwar il-possibilita’ ta’ xiri tal-Casino di Venezia. Il-Kap taċ-Ċivil kellu jagħmel investigazzjoni!

Fiex waslet din l-investigazzjoni ma nafx. Nistennew u naraw xi skużi ser jinġiebu!

Issa ħarġet waħda aħjar! Fil-Parlament intqal li l-Ombudsman (il-Prim Imħallef Emeritus Dr Joseph Said Pullicino) filwaqt li hemm l-obbligu li ma jagħmel l-ebda xogħol barrani kien qed jagħmel xogħol ta’ arbitraġġ fiċ-Ċentru ta’ Arbitraġġ.

L-Ombudsman meta mistoqsi dwar dan ikkonferma u qal li dak li kien qed jagħmel seta jagħmlu.

Dan kollu irriżulta minn mistoqsija Parlamentari ta’ Helena Dalli lill-Ispeaker li ġiet imwieġba nhar is-6 ta’ Novembru 2012. Mid-dokumenti li  gew ippubblikati mill-Ispeaker liema dokumenti jikkonsistu f’ittri mktuba mill-Ombudsman, l-Ispeaker u l-Avukat tal-Ispeaker jirrizulta ħafna logħob bil-kliem jekk il-kliem preċiż tal-liġi tal-Ombudsman huwiex ċar li din il-ħidma (ta’ arbitraġġ) tal-Ombudsman ma tistax issir.

L-Ombudsman il-Prim Imħallef Emeritus Dr Joseph Said Pullicino jgħid li dak li għamel seta jagħmlu. L-avukat tal-Ispeaker jaqbel miegħu u jgħid li l-liġi tagħti lok għal interpretazzjonijiet varji.

In vista ta’ dan kollu u wara li nxteħet dubju li seta kien hemm konflitt mal-kariga li jokkupa l-Ombudsman iddeċieda li ma jaċcettax iktar inkarigi li jagħmilha ta’ arbitru. L-Ispeaker nhar is-6 ta’ Novembru 2012 informa lill-Ombudsman bil-miktub u qallu hekk:

“Jiena tal-fehma li fl-aħjar interess tal-uffiċċju tal-Ombudsman u tal-fiduċja pubblika f’tali uffiċċju, sabiex ikun evitat kull ekwivoku jkun għaqli li l-Ombudsman u l-Kummissarji nominati taħt l-Att dwar l-Ombudsman m’għandhom jagħmlu l-ebda ħidma oħra għall-qliegħ jew rikompens iehor, anki jekk din il-ħidma ssir b’mod okkazjonali.”

Qegħdin tajjeb. Dawk li ġew maħtur biex jgħassu għandhom bżonn ikunu mgħassa huma!  L-ewwel l-awditur intern tal-Gvern u issa l-Ombudsman.

Naħseb li la l-Prim Imħallef Emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino u l-anqas is-Segretarju Permanenti fl-Uffiċċju tal-Prim Ministru inkarigata mill-Verifika Interna m’huma ser jirreżenjaw. Bil-kemm ma jistennewx li ngħidulhom prosit.

Qiesu ma ġara xejn! Dawn huma l-valuri godda tal-pajjiz.

Ras il-Ħuta

Il-Malta Today illum kompliet bl-istorja dwar is-Segretarju Permanenti fiċ-Ċivil inkarigata mill-Verifika Interna tal-Gvern (Internal Audit and Investigations Department).

L-istorja issa ilha għaddejja u mhux aċċettabbli li l-Prim Ministru jwaħhal f’denbu (l-Kap taċ-Ċivil) billi jgħid li dan għandu jinvestiga.

L-allegazzjonijiet li saru u li issa huma iktar dettaljati b’ismijiet u dati jagħtu stampa ċara ta’ sitwazzjoni li min hu inkarigat biex jissorvelja l-operat taċ-Ċivil hu stess hu involut f’attivita’ mhux permissibli.

Dan waħdu hu biżżejjed biex iqajjem diversi mistoqsijiet dwar kif inhu possibli li min jaħdem b’dan il-mod jista’ qatt inissel sens ta’ imġieba etika f’ta’ madwaru. Għax jekk is-Segretarju Permanenti fl-OPM responsabbli mill-Verifika Interna m’għandiex skrupli li tagħmilha ta’ konsulent għas-settur privat (waqt li tibqa’ tokkupa kariga pubblika) kif qatt tista’ tieħu passi effettivi fuq każi ta’ gravita’ simili li minn żmien għal żmien jixħtu dell tqil fuq l-integrita’ tas-settur pubbliku?

B’dan il-każ nistgħu nifhmu iktar għalfejn dwar diversi materji qatt ma jsir xejn.

Meta min suppost jissorvelja m’għandux sens ta’ etika, kif nistgħu qatt nippretendu li ħaddieħor iktar l-isfel fl-istruttura tas-settur pubbliku jagħti każ?

Kif ngħidu:  l-ħuta minn rasha tinten.

Fuq l-istess suġġett ara ukoll fuq dan il-blog : Fuq nett fiċ-Ċivil …….. fejn jaħraq ħafna. 5 ta’ Novembru 2012

Qajjenza time-bomb defused

Earlier this week the Gasco gas plant at Bengħajsa was inaugurated. It marked the first phase of a project which will eventually lead to the dismantling of the Enemalta gas plant at Qajjenza.

The Qajjenza gas plant was surrounded by a residential area built primarily as a result of the issuing of building permits in the late 1970s and early 1980s by an administration which was insensitive to the safety of residents. There were also various allegations of corruption as to the development permits issued  at Qajjenza. Being in the vicinity of the gas plant land at Qajjenza was slightly cheaper to purchase and hence eventual permits rendered substantially higher profits.

This is the reason why an area which should have been retained as undeveloped was in fact developed with residential units.

The transfer of the gas plant from Qajjenza to Bengħajsa solves this problem. It was a time bomb which fortunately never exploded.

The commencement of the second phase will lead to the dismantling of the equipment on site at Qajjenza gas plant as well as a decontamination of the site if this proves necessary.

This is progress even if it has taken a considerable time to achieve.

 originally published at di-ve.com on November 16, 2012 

Gonzi u l-gass

Kont preżenti għall-inawgurazzjoni tal-impjant tal-gas f’Bengħajsa li ser jieħu post l-impjant tal-Qajjenza f’Birżebbuġa.

Fid-diskors tiegħu Lawrence Gonzi qal li l-power station ta’ Delimara  tkun konvertita għall-gass meta jiġu l-fondi mill-Unjoni Ewropea. Jiġifieri irridu nistennew id-deċiżjoni dwar il-budget tal-EU għall-perjodu 2014-2020.

Fil-waqt li l-Kummissjoni Ewropea jidher li qablet mal-Gvern fuq l-utilita għall-Malta u l-politika tagħna tal-enerġija li dan il-proġett iseħħ, min-naħa l-oħra għadu m’huwiex ċar x’ser jigri mill-budget Ewropew. Id-diskussjonijiet ma tantx jidher li mexjin il-quddiem.

Kif irrappurtat il-Financial Times, nafu li in-negozjati dwar il-budget tal-EU waqfu (EU budget talks collapse). Ir-Renju Unit,  l-Olanda u l-Iżvezja jridu tnaqqis fil-budget tal-EU. M’humiex jaqblu mal-proposta tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea li jkun hemm żieda u dan għal raġuni ovvja: huma fost il-pajjiżi li jħallsu iktar milli jirċievu u għandhom pressjoni  politika li bħalma sar tnaqqis fin-nefqa domestika għandu jkun hemm ukoll tnaqqis fil-kontribuzzjoni tagħhom fl-EU.

Dwar dan messu tkellem Lawrence Gonzi.   Dwar il-preokkupazzjoni li l-opposizzjoni tar-Renju Unit, l-Olanda u l-Iżvezja għall-budget propost mill-Kummissjoni Ewropea tista’ toħloq diversi diffikultajiet għal dan il-proġett essenzjali għal Malta.