Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (36) A Green New Deal

green new deal

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 10 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

Alternattiva Demokratika – the Green party – shares the vision of the Green New Deal. As a party which prioritises sustainable development, we aim for a responsible synthesis of social, ecological and economic aspects of development. Hence, AD does not resort to cheap promises that can lead to fiscal indiscipline and unsustainable practices.

Studies indicate that five million green jobs can be generated within the European Union through the Green New Deal in sectors such as manufacturing, tourism, services, IT, research, alternative energy, transport, agriculture, community work and waste management.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 10 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

Il-politika ekonomika tal-AD tirrikonoxxi dawn it-realtajiet permezz ta’ Green New Deal li tippromwovi l-iżvilupp ekonomiku filwaqt li tnaqqas prattiċi insostenibbli, bil-għan li żżid il-ġustizzja soċjali u l-kwalità tal-ħajja tal-poplu, billi, fost oħrajn, tiġġenera opportunitajiet ta’ xogħol.

Alternattiva Demokratika tappoġġja l-viżjoni tal-Green New Deal. Bħala partit li jagħti prijorità lill-iżvilupp sostenibbli, l-għan tagħna huwa li jkun hemm sinteżi bejn l-aspetti sożjali, ekoloġiċi u ekonomiċi tal-iżvilupp. Għalhekk, AD ma tagħmilx wegħdiet fiergħha li jistgħu jwasslu għal nuqqas ta’ dixxiplina fiskali u prattiċi insostenibbli.

Studji jindikaw li 5 miljun impjieg jistgħu jiġu ġġenerati fl-Unjoni Ewropea permezz tal-Green New Deal, f’setturi bħall-manifattura, it-turiżmu, is-servizzi, l-informatika, ir-riċerka, l-enerġija alternattiva, it-trasport, l-agrikoltura, ix-xogħol fil-komunità u l-immaniġġjar tal-iskart.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (35) The Disability Pension

disabled_logo

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 9 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

The current disability pension, which amounts to 55 per cent of the minimum wage, does not suffice to meet the needs of persons with disability. This should be reviewed so as to permit a decent quality of life.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 9 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

Il-pensjoni tad-diżabilita’ preżenti, li tammonta għal 55 fil-mija tal-paga minima, mhix biżżejjed biex taqdi l-bżonnijiet ta’ persuni b’diżabilità. Din għandha tiġi reveduta biex tkun tista’ tippermetti kwalità ta’ ħajja diċenti.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (34) The Maltese Language

maltese

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 8 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

Good use of Maltese in the media should be encouraged.Public broadcasting has the obligation to promote good use of the Maltese language.

There should be programmes addressed to Maltese persons living in other countries so as to keep the Maltese language alive in such communities.

Maltese should remain the language of instruction in schools. At the same time, there should be strong emphasis on English and other languages within the educational system, as this connects Malta to the world.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 8 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

L-uzu tal-Malti tajjeb fuq il-mezzi tax-xandir għandu jkun inkoraġġit. Ix-xandir pubbliku għandu l-obbligu jippromwovi l-użu tajjeb tal-Malti.

Għandu jkun hemm programmi indirizzati lejn il-Maltin li jgħixu f’pajjiżi oħra biex il-lingwa Maltija tinżamm ħajja f’dawn il-komunitajiet.

Il-Malti għandu jibqa’ l-lingwa tat-tagħlim fl-iskejjel. Fl-istess, ħin, l-enfasi fuq l-Ingliż u lingwi ohra fis-sistema edukattiva għandha tkun waħda qawwija għax tiftaħ tieqa fuq id-dinja.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (33) Consumer rights: appointment of authority

MCCA_1

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 7 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

The Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority should be an autonomous entity, independent from the Government, with its Board Of Directors appointed by a Parliamentary Committee, after a public call for applications..The MCCAA should put an end to monopolistic practices and Cartels, which often result in inferior products and services.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 7 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

L-Awtorità dwar il-Kompetizzjoni u l-Affarijiet tal-Konsumatur għandha tkun awtonoma mill-gvern, u l-bord tad-Diretturi għandu jkun maħtur minn kumitat parlamentari, wara smigħ pubbliku. Għandha twaqqaf prattiċi monopolistiċi u ‘cartels’, li kemm-il darba jwasslu għal prodotti u servizzi inferjuri.

Eko-Skola: kelmet iż-Żgħażagħ dwar l-Ambjent

eko-skola.250213.02

Ħadt sehem fit-tieni Summit ta’ Eko-Skola dwar l-Ambjent li sar dal-għodu fi Xrobb l-Għaġin Marsaxlokk.

Flimkien ma Mario de Marco u Joseph Muscat indirizzajt lill-istudenti u lill-għalliema tagħhom.

Iż-żgħażagħ tagħna fehmu l-ħtieġa li jeħtieġ li jkunu huma li jieħdu ħsieb il-futur tagħhom. Dan hu rifless b’mod qawwi fid-dikjarazzjoni tagħhom li approvaw dal-għodu fi tmiem is-summit.

Iddiskutew bosta suġġetti pero fuq quddiem kien hemm l-ilma, l-enerġija l-iskart u l-baħar ta’ madwarna.

Id-diskussjoni li kellhom dal-għodu tawgura tajjeb ħafna għal futur għax ifisser li tiela ġenerazzjoni b’sensittivita ikbar għal dak kollu li qiegħed jiġri madwarha. Huwa awgurju tajjeb ukoll għall-għalliema u l-familji ta’ dawn iż-żgħażagħ. Għax iżjed minn xi ħaġa li tgħallmu dak li smajt dal-għodu hu prova ta’ dak li jħossu, ta’ dak li jippruvaw jgħixu kemm huma kif ukoll dawk ta’ madwarhom.

Prosit mill-ġdid liż-żgħażagħ tagħna li permezz ta’ eko-skola qed juru kemm li tinvesti fil-ġenerazzjonijiet futuri hu l-iktar pass għaqli.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (32) Constitutional reform

George Borg Olivier + Constitution

 

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 6 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

Any discussions on wide-ranging changes to the constitution should be conducted in maximum transparency and openness and debated both by parliament (which should become a professional institution with full-time parliamentarians) and by a representative forum which includes representatives of civil society organisations, political parties and local councils. All proceedings and discussions should be accessible on-line and suggestions by ordinary citizens should also be discussed. Changes should be approved through a referendum.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 6 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

Kull diskussjoni dwar bidliet profondi fil-Kostituzzjoni għandha titmexxa bl-akbar ftuħ u trasparenza u tiġi diskussa kemm fil-Parlament, (li għandu jsir istituzzjoni professjonali b’parlamentari full-time), kif ukoll f’forum rappreżentattiv li jkun jinkludi rappreżentanti tal-organizzazzjonijiet tas-soċjetà ċivili, il-partiti politiċi kollha u l-kunsilli lokali. Il-proċeduri u d-diskussjonijiet għandhom ikunu aċċessibbli online u s-suġġerimenti taċ-ċittadini għandhom jiġu diskussi wkoll. Il-bidliet għandhom jiġu approvati b’referendum.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (31) Marriage Annulment procedures and Church-State relations

divorce 1

 

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 5 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

The provisions of the Church State agreement relative to annulment proceedings before the Ecclesiastical Tribunals should be amended. This should be carried out in order that such proceedings do not take precedence over proceedings for annulment before the civil courts.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 5 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

Il-provvedimenti fil-ftehim bejn il-Knisja u l-Istat dwar il-proċeduri ta’ annullament taż-żwieġ quddiem it-Tribunali Ekkleżjastiċi għandhom ikunu emendati. Dan sabiex dawn il-proċeduri ma jiħdux preċedenza fuq proċeduri ta’ annullament quddiem il-Qrati Ċivili.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (30) Protecting performing animals

circus_animal_elephants

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 4 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

Animals which are utilised for entertainment purposes should be protected from cruelty. Thus, authorities should not issue permits for circuses with performing animals. These animals endure suffering due to transportation, whilst being impelled to perform acts which go against their nature. This also applies to the use of animals in other forms of entertainment, such as dolphinariums and feasts such as that of St. Peter and St. Paul (lmnarja).

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 4 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

L-annimali li jintużaw għal skop ta’ divertiment għandhom jiġu mħarsa mill-moħqrija. Għalhekk l-awtoritajiet m’għandhomx joħorġu permessi għal ċirku bl-annimali. Dawn l-annimali jsofru kemm minħabba t-trasport, kif ukoll minħabba li jiġu sfurzati jagħmlu affarijiet kontra n-natura tagħhom. Dan jgħodd ukoll għall-użu ta’ annimali f’forom oħra ta’ divertiment, bħal dolfinarji u waqt festi bħall-Imnarja.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (29) Drugs: decriminalisation

Recreational cannabis use could be legal after the votes

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 3 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

Personal use of drugs should be decriminalised. The victims of drug addiction and dependency are to be considered as persons in need of help and not as criminals. At the same time, decriminalisation also ensures that recreational drug users, including those who cultivate soft drugs for personal use, are not criminalised for their lifestyle.

The decriminalisation of the use of drugs means that whoever is caught with an amount of drugs for personal use should not be considered to be a criminal, and a victim of drug addiction and dependency should be considered as a person in need of help and not as a person that has to be punished. This means that the victims of drugs need professional help and not punishment. One must stress that persons that are today sent to jail because of drugs for personal use, can easily end up as compulsive heavy drug users or be introduced to circles of callous criminal rings when they mix with convicts that either make use of or actually traffic drugs in prison.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 3 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

L-użu personali tad-drogi għandu jigi dekriminalizzat. Vittmi tad-droga għandhom jitqiesu bħala nies li jeħtieġu għajnuna, u mhux bħala kriminali. Fl-istess ħin, dekriminalizzazzjoni tiżgura wkoll li dawk li jużaw id-drogi ghal skop rikreattiv, inkluż dawk li jikkultivaw id-drogi ħfief għall-użu personali, ma jigux kriminalizzati minħabba l-mod ta’ għixien tagħhom.

Li l-użu tad-drogi jkun dekriminalizzat ifisser li min jinqabad bid-droga għall-uzu personali ma jkunx ikkunsidrat bħala kriminali, u li min ikun vittma tad-droga, ikun ikkunsidrat bħala persuna li għandha bzonn l-għajnuna u mhux bħala persuna li teħtieġ tkun ikkastigata. Dan ifisser li l-vittmi tad-droga jeħtieġu għajnuna professjonali, u mhux kastig. Għandu jkun enfasizzat li persuni li illum qed jintbagħtu l-ħabs minħabba l-użu personali ta’drogi, jistgħu faċilment jispiċċaw jieħdu drogi aktar qawwija jew jidħlu fi ċrieki kriminali meta jitħalltu ma’ nies li jieħdu jew imexxu id-drogi fil-ħabs stess.

Environmental Governance

construction_site_img_9716

Having over 70,000 vacant residential properties is a very serious matter which both the Nationalist and the Labour parties have ignored in their electoral manifestos. Rather than being ignored this fact ought to serve as the launching pad for a different way of looking at land use planning issues.

The Housing Authority in the past months has opted not to build new social housing units but instead decided to tap the stock of vacant dwellings held by the private sector. It was a very positive decision pushed forward by Minister Chris Said on taking up his Ministerial responsibilities early in 2012.

In its electoral manifesto Alternattiva Demokratika has listed a number of specific proposals which would go a long way to address the land use planning chaos which will be inherited by the government that takes office after the 9 March general elections.

As a first step Malta requires a moratorium on large scale residential development. The building industry cannot keep constructing flats and maisonettes in hundreds, adding to the stock of vacant dwellings. The number of vacant residential properties is equivalent to 9 times the size of the residential parts of B’Kara.

While the Malta Environment and Planning Authority has issued development permits, the State has, through our taxes, been paying up for the development of the infrastructure (roads, public sewer, water and electricity distribution networks………) which is underutilised. These funds could have been put to better use than to service vacant dwellings.

The boundaries of the development zone have to be rolled back. Those lands which, in August 2006, were included as land suitable for development as part of the so-called rationalisation exercise and have not yet been committed to development should return forthwith outside the development zone where they belong.

The construction industry, aided by a myopic MEPA, has made a havoc of our towns and villages through encouraging overdevelopment. In 2006, when the final decisions on most of the Local Plans were being considered,  the Government had access to the 2005 census results which determined the existence of 53,136 vacant dwellings. This was a substantial increase over the 17,413 vacant dwellings identified 10 years earlier as part of the 1995 census.

Publication of the 2011 census results on property is long overdue, but it is expected that the numbers this time will exceed the 70,000 mark substantially.

Faced with these numbers, a responsible government would never have proposed extending the development zones. The 2005 census result provided the evidence for their curtailment not for their extension. In addition to extending the development zones, the PN-led government increased the permissible building heights practically all over Malta, the end result being a further substantial increase in the number of vacant dwellings.

In addition, the height relaxation policy put in place in 2006 had another serious impact. It placed a number of dwellings in the shade of new buildings surrounding them, these being built in line with the new permissible heights. As a result, the residents in these dwellings cannot make use of solar energy. Not only the use of photovoltaic panels is out of the question but also their solar water heaters are in most cases no longer of any use!

Faced with this situation, it is political madness to propose considering the construction industry as an important and fundamental component of the economy, as the PL is proposing. The construction industry must shrink rather than expand. It must be assisted to manage its essential and unavoidable restructuring.

The construction industry can be directed towards three specific areas of activity: rehabilitation of old properties, road construction/maintenance and marine construction works. Each of these three areas of activity requires training in construction skills. Rehabilitation works require old building trades on the verge of disappearance. Roadworks, though improving in quality, still require a more skilled labourforce. We also need to take stock of our marine infrastructure which requires substantial improvement as well as regular maintenance.

The Government can assist the construction industry to change through providing training facilties for its labour force, thereby reducing the social impacts of change. Funds from the European Social Fund are available to assist in this exercise.

Land use planning should be subject to environmental governance rules. It is for this reason that AD considers it essential that rather then splitting up MEPA, the Government should go for a defragmentation, consolidating all environmental functions in one authority through the amalgamation of MEPA with the Resources Authority.

In such a consolidated authority, environmental considerations should be overriding and, in particular, land use planning should be put in its proper place: under the continuous supervision of a properly staffed Environment Directorate.

This is the basic change required in environmental governance. Placing the land use planning and the construction industry in their proper place and ensuring that environmental governance is defragmented.

published in The Times, Saturday 23rd February 2013