Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (28) Neutrality

kmb

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

The neutrality provision in the Constitution which makes reference to the two superpowers of the cold war era should be revisited such that as amended it is of relevance in today’s geopolitical realities and Malta’s commitment in favour of human rights.

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Id-dispożizzjoni tan-newtralità li fil-Kostituzzjoni tagħmel referenza għaż-żewġ superpotenzi ta’ żmien il-Gwerra l-Bierda għandha tiġi rriveduta b’tali mod li tkun rilevanti għar-realtajiet ġeopolitiċi tal-lum u għall-impenn ta’ Malta lejn id-drittijiet tal-bniedem.

Appreciating Tonio Fenech, and the Ministers’ Code of Ethics

Arlogg tal lira 2

We have been told by the Hon Tonio Fenech that a certain Mrs Farrugia, wife of Raymond and sister-in-law to George Farrugia of Trafigura fame so admired him (Tonio Fenech) that she wanted to give hima token of appreciation. The token, consisting of an artisanal clock (arloġġ tal-lira).
The value of this artisanal clock is disputed but it seems that the trafigura agent is putting it at €5,000.
Now this is very interesting as Ministers are bound by a Code of Ethics which in paragraph 58 thereof states :
“58. No Minister should accept gifts or services such as might be deemed to create an obligation, real or imaginary. The same rule applies to the spouse of a Minister and to his minor children. The same rules that apply to gifts from representatives of other Governments are applicable in these cases as well.”

When the Hon Minister Tonio Fenech had accepted a free flight to watch an Arsenal game he realised sometime after that he had made a mistake and apologised (instead of resigning).
What now?

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (27) Education (general)

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The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 11 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

Education is an endeavour which should be intimately tied with the all-round development of persons including the academic, physical, social, ethical, emotional and vocational aspects. Education should also develop a sense of respect towards the environment of which we are a part. It should also help the development of a creative attitude and a critical conscience within the framework of communities. This is deemed important given the current situation of precariousness in employment and an underlying neo-liberal hegemony which gradually unravel collective responsibility and solidarity.

Education should be the means that develops democratic citizenship. Rather than perpetuating social inequalities, education should be the vehicle for their removal. In a changing world, education should be a continuous, dynamic, critical and transformative endeavour which is life-long. AD had officially endorsed the reform in education launched four years ago on the premise that the reform was sorely needed. At the same time, AD feels that it should stimulate discussion and critical debate so that the process and the ultimate aims of the reform, in particular the issue of social justice are upheld.

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L-edukazzjoni għandha tkun marbuta mal-iżvilupp sħiħ tal-bniedem li jinkludi l-aspetti akkademiċi, fiżiċi, soċjali, spiritwali, etiċi, emozzjonali, u vokazzjonali. Għandha trawwem ukoll rispett lejn id-dinja u l-ambjent li sawwarna u li ngħixu fih. L-edukazzjoni għandha tgħin lill-individwi jiżviluppaw attitudni kreattiva u kuxjenza kritika f’kuntest komunitarju. Dan partikolarment fi sfond soċjali kurrenti ta’ prekarjetà u xejriet neo-liberali li jnaqqru mis-sens ta’ responsabbiltà kollettiva u solidarjetà.

L-edukazzjoni għandha tkun il-mezz li bih il-persuni jiżviluppaw bħala ċittadini f’soċjetà demokratika. L-edukazzjoni m’għandhiex tipperpetwa l-inugwaljanzi soċjali iżda għandha tgħin biex dawn jixxejnu. F’dinja li l-ħin kollu qed tinbidel, l-edukazzjoni trid tkun proċess kontinwu u dinamiku kif ukoll kritiku u trasformattiv li jissokta tul il-ħajja. L-AD kienet uffiċjalment ħaddnet u approvat ir-riforma fl-edukazzjoni varata erba’ snin ilu għax emmnet fil-bżonn tagħha. Fl-istess waqt, tħoss li għandha tistimola diskussjoni u ħsieb kritiku biex il-proċess u l-għan aħħari tar-riforma partikolarment dak ta’ ġustizzja soċjali jintlaħaq.

Public appointments and Parliament’s responsibilities

Il-Parlament Malti

Two press conferences yesterday evening placed more information relative to the oil commissions scandal in the public domain, just a few hours after two other businessmen were arraigned in Court.

With four men in court on charges of corruption, bribery and money laundering the two press conferences resulted in various other declarations which would result in a queue of resignations in any civilised country.

There seems to be anticipated delight in the pot calling the kettle black.

In this scenario, a number of omissions by those elected to Parliament over the years assume additional significance.

One undoubtedly queries the lack of a Whistleblowers Act which if enacted in accordance with electoral commitments would have established long ago clear parameters to be followed by those divulging information on economic crime (corruption, bribery and money laundering). In its absence we are still dependent of the elected politicians’ use of the instrument of “state evidence” on the basis of ad hoc criteria.

Alternattiva Demokratika yesterday focused on another important point: the manner in which appointments to public office are made. To date the powers of Parliament  have been usurped and transferred to Cabinet such that it is the Prime Minister or his Minsters who appoint  members of Boards or Authorities.

Parliament should reclaim its responsibilities as it should be Parliament that should decide on the appointment of Boards and Authorities of a national importance. Nominated members  of Boards of Public Authorities as well as the senior officials of such Authorities should be scrutinised by Parliament either directly or through its committees in order to ascertain that those nominated can truely serve the country and not the political interests of the political party in government.

Parliament should moreover be in a position to monitor the functions of Boards and Authorities on a continuous basis and should seek explanations from the Boards of Public Authorities and their Senior Executives on their method of operation. Parliament should ensure that whenever the operations of any public authority are scutinised by the Ombudsman his recommendations and their implementation should be discussed by Parliament.

Parliament should reclaim back from government its role of overseeer of the governance of public institutions. Unfortunately over the years a two-party Parliament has siphoned off Parliament’s responsibilities and assigned them to a government made out of just one political party.

AD in Parliament will ensure that Parliament reclaims back its functions and holds government to account continuously.

Originally published in di-ve.com on 22nd February 2013

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (26) Appointment of the Judiciary

Law Courts Malta

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

Judges and magistrates should no longer be appointed by the Government but by the President of the Republic and subject to confirmation by Parliament. This would ensure checks and balances between the executive power (exercised in this case by the President of the Republic) and the legislature.

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L-imħallfin u l-maġistrati m’għandhomx jibqgħu jinħatru mill-gvern iżda mill-President tar-Repubblika u soġġetti għal konferma mill-Parlament. Dan jiżgura sistema ta’ checks and balances bejn is-setgħa eżekuttiva (eżerċitata f’dan il-każ mill-President tar-Repubblika) u l-leġiżlatura.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (25) Nuclear issues and radioactivity

Radon

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 14 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

Nuclear Issues and Radioactivity.

As no Maltese Government has ever pronounced itself directly in favour of nuclear energy the nuclear issues which we must face are imported ones.

First on the list would be radioactive waste which is not much in quantity and being primarily generated by sites providing services using nuclear medicine such as X-Rays and radioactive treatment plants used in treating cancer patients. This is an aspect normally considered within the context of waste management policy and in view of the small quantities of waste involved this is normally exported.

The main nuclear problem which Malta must face and address is related to nuclear plants in other countries. The Mediterranean will in the near future face a proliferation of nuclear plants with Malta being transformed into a nuclear sandwich in the centre of the Mediterranean.

Following the Fukushima disaster in Japan the whole world is much more sensitive and conscious as to the negative impacts of nuclear plants. This has led our Italian neighbours to renounce nuclear energy for the second time in 25 years through a referendum. However we will now have to face the problem in our southern flank where various countries are planning to import nuclear technology from France an EU member state. It is imperative that Malta within the European Union structures emphasises that when the export of nuclear technology is carried out this has to be accompanied by a sense of responsibility and regulation through treaties as a result of which the countries receiving this technology bind themselves to the same rules applicable within the European Union.

As in other countries there is in Malta a presence of the radioactive gas radon. This is an issue which the Department of Environmental Health supervises but in respect of which little if any information is made public. Alternattiva Demokratika will endeavour to give more importance to this matter.

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Issues Nukleari u ta’ Radjuattivita’.

Billi s’issa l-ebda Gvern Malti ma ppronunzja ruħu direttament favur l-enerġija nukleari l-issues nukleari li rridu niffaċċjaw huma dawk importati.

Fuq quddiem nett hemm l-iskart radjuattiv (mhux ħafna fil-kwantità) u li huwa prinċipalment iġġenerat minn impjanti ta’ mediċina nukleari bħall-X-Rays u magni tar-raġġi radjuattivi użati fit-trattament tal-kanċer. Dan l-aspett huwa normalment ikkunsidrat fil-kuntest tal-politika dwar l-iskart u minħabba l-kwantità żgħira ta’ skart ġġenerata tkun teħtieġ l-esportazzjoni.

Il-problema prinċipali nukleari li trid tiffaċċja Malta hi konnessa ma’ impjanti nukleari f’pajiżi oħra. Fil-Mediterran fi ftit snin ser ikun hawn proliferazzjoni ta’ impjanti b’Malta issir qiesha sandwich nukleari f’nofs il-Mediterran.

Wara d-diżastru ta’ Fukushima fil-Ġappun, id-dinja saret iżjed sensittiva u konxja tal-impatti negattivi ta’ impjanti nukleari. Dan wassal biex il-ġirien tagħna fl-Italja permezz ta’ referendum ċaħdu l-enerġija nukleari għat-tieni darba f’25 sena. Imma issa rridu niffaċċjaw problema oħra fin-nofsinhar fejn hemm pajjiżi li qed jippjanaw l-importazzjoni tat-teknoloġija nukleari minn Franza, pajjiż membru tal-Unjoni Ewropea. Huwa importanti li Malta fl-Unjoni Ewropea tieħu posizzjoni li twassal biex mal-esportazzjoni tat-teknoloġija nukleari, meta din issir, tkun esportata ukoll ir-responsabbiltà u regolamentazzjoni fil-forma ta’ trattati li permezz tagħhom il-pajjiżi li jirċievu t-teknoġija nukleari jintrabtu mal-istess regoli applikabbli fl-Unjoni Ewropea.

Bħal diversi pajjiżi oħra Malta hawn ukoll il-preżenza tal-gass radjuattiv radon. Materja li hi sorveljata mid-Dipartiment tas-Saħħa Ambjentali imma li dwarha ftit hawn informazzjoni pubbblika. Alternattiva Demokratika timpenja ruħha li din il-materja tingħata iktar attenzjoni.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (24) Access to renewable energy

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The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 13 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

All buildings should have enough space to include renewable energy apparatus such as solar panels.

Every building needs to conform to energy efficiency regulations with full use of double glazing. Water heaters should be obligatory, including in existing buildings where there is space on the roof.

A scheme should be put into place enabling everyone (unlike the present were there are limited funds) through subsidies to those medium and lower incomes to purchase and use solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels. State housing estates and social housing projects should be subsidized as well as those having lower and medium incomes.

The installation of photovoltaic systems that generate electricity through the sun should be encouraged by making low interest loans available to the general public. These loans could be paid back over a long period of time. The feed in tariff should be to the advantage of the consumer. Payment for loans may be in the form of extra energy the consumer produces.

Liberalized height restrictions introduced in the Local Plan of 2006 has meant that many properties now lack access to roofs to make use of solar energy sources. A revision of these height restrictions should guarantee that dwellers have access to sunlight.

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Kull bini ġdid għandu jkun żviluppat b’mod li jkun hemm spazju fuq il-bejt għal panelli fotovoltajiċi u solar water heaters. Kull bini għandu jikkonforma ma’ liġijiet dwar l-effiċjenza fl-enerġija b’użu sħiħ ta’ insulazzjoni u double glazing. L-installazzjoni ta’ solar water heaters għandha tkun obbligatorja, inkluż f’ bini eżistenti fejn hemm spazju fuq il-bjut.

Għandu jkun hemm skema miftuħa għal kulħadd (u mhux kif jiġri bħalissa fejn l-iskema hi limitata għal min japplika l-ewwel) ta’ sussidju li tgħin lil dawk bi dħul baxx u medju biex jinvestu f’solar water heaters u panelli fotovoltajiċi. F’housing estates u social housing il-gvern għandu jagħmel tajjeb għall-ispiża.

L-installazjoni ta’ sistemi fotovoltajiċi li jiġġeneraw l-elettriku mix-xemx, jistgħu jiġu inċentivati permezz ta’ self b’interessi baxxi li jitħallas lura fuq numru ta’ snin. Il-feed-in tariff għandha tkun kemm jista’ jkun vantaġġjuża għall-konsumatur. Ħlas lura ta’ self jista’ jsir permezz tal-enerġija żejda li jipproduċi l-konsumatur.

It-tibdil fil-għoli permissibli tal-bini introdott bil-Pjani Lokali fl-2006 wassal biex ħafna propjetajiet tilfu l-aċċess għall-enerġija solari. Kull reviżjoni tal-pjani lokali għandha tassigura li ma tnaqqasx l-aċċess għad-dawl tax-xemx.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (23) Environmental NGOs and Civil Society

mother-earth

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 14 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

Environmental NGOs and Civil Society.
Environmental NGOs and civil society in general have a very important role in the process through which the public becomes more aware how their environmental impacts affects everybody’s quality of life.

It is necessary, in particular in the environmental field, that those organisations which have a democratic structure, as well as civil society in general, are assisted such that they can have access to specialised professional advice which is essential in their activities. Such assistence should be forthcoming in a transparent manner and without any particular organisation being preferred.

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Għaqdiet Ambjentali mhux Governattivi u s-Soċjeta Ċivili.

L-Għaqdiet Ambjentali mhux Governattivi u s-Soċjetà Ċivili in ġenerali għandhom rwol importanti ħafna fil-proċess li permezz tiegħu l-pubbliku qed isir iżjed konxju kif l-impatti ambjentali tiegħu u ta’ oħrajn jeffettwa l-kwalità tal-ħajja ta’ kulħadd.

Hemm ħtieġa partikolarment fil-qasam ambjentali li dawk l-għaqdiet li għandhom struttura demokratika kif ukoll għaqdiet oħra mis-soċjetà ċivili jkollhom l-ikbar għajnuna possibli biex ikunu jistgħu ikollhom l-għajnuna speċjalizzata u professjonali tant meħtieġa għall-ħidma tagħhom. Għajnuna ta’ din ix-xorta trid tingħata b’mod trasparenti u mingħajr ma jkunu ppreferuti għaqdiet partikolari.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (22) Sign Language

sign language

The following extracts are taken verbatim from Chapter 9 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

Every public broadcasting station also has obligations towards persons with disability. In this regard, every Maltese station should respect persons with disability in the way it speaks about them and to represent them according to a code of ethics on the subject. Every station should transmit programmes such as news broadcasts using sign language. Where possible, films and documentaries should be shown using sub-titles.

Maltese sign language should be recognised by Government as an official language. Sign language interpreters should increase. The state should ensure that sign language interpretation is main streamed in the public sector. Public procurement should always include a disability dimension.

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Kull stazzjon ta’ xandir pubbliku għandu wkoll obbligi lejn persuni b’diżabilità. Għaldaqstant kull stazzjon Malti għandu jirrispetta l-persuni b’ diżabiltà bil-mod kif jitkellem dwarhom u jirrappreżentahom permezz ta’ kodici ta’ etika dwar dan is-suġġett. Kull stazzjon għandu wkoll jittrażmetti programmi bħall-aħbarijiet permezz tal-lingwa tas-sinjali. Fejn hu possibbli, films u dokumentarji għandhom jintwerew bis-sottotitli wkoll.

Il-lingwa tas-sinjali bil-Malti għandha tiġi rikonoxxuta mill-Gvern bħala lingwa ufficjali. Għandhom jiżdiedu l-interpreti tal-lingwa tas-sinjali. L-istat għandu jiżgura li l-interpretazzjoni tal-lingwa tas-sinjali tiġi inkluża bis-sħiħ fis-settur pubbliku. L-akkwist pubbliku irid dejjem ikollu dimensjoni ta’ diżabilità.

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (21) Biodiversity

buskett.02

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 14 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

Biodiversity.

Biodiversity is not exclusively concerned with bird protection but on our interaction with the eco-system.

Alternattiva Demokratika shall focus on the need for the complete cessation of spring hunting as well as in ensuring that Malta’s EU accession commitments on the halting of bird trapping are honoured.

It is necessary that zones identified for protection under the provisions of the EU Habitats Directive are well managed. In particular it is necessary that Il-Buskett is no longer considered and utilised as a garden. The status of Il-Buskett as a Special Area of Conservation should be respected, something which is currently ignored.

Valley protection is also necessary. This has to be done within the context of a clear and holistic plan to rehabilitate valleys in such a manner that their resident biodiversity is respected and invasive species introduced throughout the years are removed.

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Bijodiversità.

Il-bijodiversità mhix kif inħarsu lejn l-għasafar u l-ħarsien tagħhom biss iżda dwar l-interazzjoni tagħna mal-ekosistema.

Alternattiva Demokratika taħdem biex tkun eliminata darba għal dejjem il-kaċċa tal-għasafar fir-rebbiegħa kif ukoll biex l-obbligi li Malta assumiet bis-sħubija fl-Unjoni Ewropea li l-insib spiċċa darba għal dejjem ikun onorat.

Huwa neċessarju li jkun mħarsa sewwa iż-żoni li Malta identifikat għall-protezzjoni taħt il-provedimenti tad-Direttiva tal UE dwar il-habitats. Fost oħrajn wasal iż-żmien li l-Buskett ma jibqax meqjus bħal ġnien u ma jibqax ikun sfruttat bħala tali. L-istatus tal-Buskett ta’ Żona Speċjali ta’ Konservazzjoni huwa meħtieġ illi jiġi osservat, ħaġa li fil-preżentement mhix issir.

Huwa neċessarju ukoll illi l-widien ikunu mħarsa. Dan għandu jsir billi fil-kuntest ta’ pjan ċar u olistiku jkunu riabilitati l-widien b’mod li tkun rispettata l-bijodiversità ta’ ġo fihom u jkunu ukoll eliminati l-ispeċi invażivi li ġew introdotti tul is-snin.