Tonio Fenech u l-froġa tal-2006

Tonio Fenech, ex-Ministru tal-Finanzi, reġa’ tfaċċa, f’attività politika li saret fil-Palazz Verdala biex  jgħidilna kif jaħsibha. Qalilna li bl-ambjent ma tirbaħx elezzjonijiet. Imma huwa bil-permessi (tal-bini), żied jgħid, tirbaħ il-voti!   Bil-qdusija artifiċjali tas-soltu jimplika li l-ħsara ambjentali kienet essenzjali biex jintrebħu l-elezzjonijiet! Għax għal Tonio Fenech kull sagrifiċċju jgħodd sakemm iwassal biex tirbaħ l-elezzjonijiet.

Dan mhu xejn ġdid. Il-problema hi li l-kejl sfortunatament hu biss mil-lum għal għada. S’issa ma konniex kapaċi nħarsu fit-tul, biex inqiesu sewwa l-impatt li d-deċiżjonijiet tal-lum għandhom fuq għada u l-ġenerazzjonijiet ta’ warajna. Sfortunatament il-politika f’pajjiż tirraġuna: għada min raħ?

Wara li (flimkien ma oħrajn) Tonio Fenech kien responsabbli mhux biss għall-pjani lokali, imma ukoll għall-eżerċizzju ta’ razzjonalizzazzjoni li bih żdiedet sew l-art għall-iżvilupp, issa qed jipprova jimpressjona li qed jindem!   Il-proposta tiegħu li jorbot il-pjani lokali fil-Kostituzzjoni toħloq iktar problemi milli diġa inħolqu!

Il-pjani lokali u strumenti oħra li bihom nippjanaw l-użu tal-art neċessarjament ikunu ta’ wieħed minn żewġ tipi. Jistgħu jkunu ċari u preċiżi, bil-konsegwenza li għax rigidi jkun jeħtieġilhom tibdil regolari biex jirriflettu realtajiet u żviluppi ġodda.  Inkella jkunu ġeneriċi u jkun jiddependi mill-interpretazzjoni tagħhom u l-integrità ta’ min iħaddem il-proċess kollu.

Kull possibilità hi dipendenti fuq l-integrità u l-viżjoni ta’ dawk involuti fil-fażijiet differenti li jwasslu sad-deċiżjonijiet.  Ma hemmx spjegazzjoni oħra: qegħdin f’nofs din il-froġa minħabba li Tonio Fenech u sħabu kienu bla viżjoni.  Inżid ngħid li b’mod konxju inkarigaw bil-proċess deċiżjonali numru ta’ persuni li ma kellhomx idea tal-impatt fit-tul ta’ dak li kienu qed jagħmlu. Kien jinteresshom biss mill-impatti immedjati: il-voti u l-elezzjonijiet kienu l-miri ewlenin tagħhom. Ġew jaqgħu u jqumu mill-ġid komuni.

F’dan kollu nifhem li l-integrità tfisser li tkun onest, b’subgħajk dritt, ta’ prinċipju. Kwalitajiet li huma nieqsa mill-pjani lokali.

L-ippjanar dwar l-użu tal-art huwa aspett importanti minn dak meħtieġ għall-ħarsien ambjentali: dan mhux konċernat biss mir-realtajiet tal-lum.  Jagħti sura lill-futur u jfassal il-qafas li fih jiżviluppaw il-ġenerazzjonijiet futuri. F’dan il-kuntest Il-korruzzjoni tal-ambjent biex jintrebħu l-elezzjonijiet billi jitqassmu l-permessi tal-iżvilupp bħall-pastizzi hi l-agħar azzjoni possibli, nieqsa minn kwalunkwe ħjiel ta’ integrità.  Dan hu l-kontribut sinifikanti tat-tim tal-2006 fil-politika Maltija lill-kwalità tal-ħajja tal-ġenerazzjonijiet preżenti u futuri.  Għaddew ħmistax-il sena minn meta Tonio Fenech u ta’ madwaru fl-2006 ħolqu din il-froġa ambjentali. L-impatti illum tad-deċiżjonijiet ta’ ħmistax-il sena ilu huma enormi. Sfortunatament ma hemm ħadd fil-Parlament illum li għandu l-kuraġġ li jibda it-tiswija u t-tindifa bis-serjetà tal-ħsara li ilha takkumula għal 15-il sena.

U issa? Sakemm jibqgħu jiġu eletti l-istess tip ta’ nies fil-Parlament ma hu ser jiġri xejn. Għad għandna bosta  li jiġu jaqgħu u jqumu mill-ħsara ambjentali, sakemm din tasal wara l-bieb tagħhom.  Huwa biss meta lkoll nirrealizzaw li l-vantaġġi immedjati għall-ftit ifissru tbatija fit-tul għal kulħadd li nkunu nistgħu nagħmlu l-ewwel passi fit-triq tal-fejqan.

Irridu nkunu kapaċi nifhmu kif dak li nagħmlu illum għandu effett fuq is-7 ġenerazzjonijiet li jiġu warajna. Dan nistgħu nagħmluh billi nqisu sewwa d-deċiżjonijiet u l-imġieba kollha tagħna. Ma jista’ jkun hemm l-ebda eċċezzjoni.  

ippubblikat fuq Illum: il-Ħadd 13 ta’ Ġunju 2021

Tonio Fenech’s class of 2006

Tonio Fenech, former Finance Minister, has been resurrected onto a political platform to share his views in a recent political activity held at Verdala Palace.

The environment, he said, does not win elections. Development permits, on the other hand, win votes, Tonio Fenech emphasised! Tonio Fenech, sanctimoniously as ever, implies that it was essential to systematically ruin the environment, in order to win elections! Sort of, winning elections is an objective in respect of which no sacrifice is to be spared, in his opinion!

We have been there more than once before. Realistically speaking, the problem, in my view is entrenched short-termism and this is applicable not just to environmental politics but rather to a whole spectrum of issues of varying importance. We need to take the long-term view in our decision-making process at all levels and in all matters.

Having been responsible, together with others, for the approval not just of the Local Plans but also for the rationalisation (land use planning) exercise as a result of which extensive land was given up for development, it seems that Tonio Fenech is in atonement mode. However, his proposal of resolving the matter by enshrining Local Plans in the Constitution would create worse problems than those already inflicted upon Maltese society!

Local plans, and other land use planning instruments, necessarily need be one of two types. They could be either very clear and precise, in which case they would require periodic revision to reflect developments and new realities. Alternatively, local plans could be generic in which case much would depend on their interpretation and the integrity of those handling the process.

In each option much is dependent on the integrity and vision of those handling all the different stages of the decision-making process. There are no two ways about it: we are in the present mess due to the lack of vision of Tonio Fenech and his colleagues. I would also add that they consciously entrusted the decision-making process to various persons who had no idea of the long-term impact of what they embarked upon. They had their sights focused on short-term gains: winning votes and elections being among their primary objectives. Consciously they set aside the common good.

In my book integrity means the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, being morally upright. Qualities which are definitely missing in the local plans.

Land use planning is an important aspect of environmental stewardship, and it does not deal exclusively with present day realities. It also shapes the future and determines the parameters within which future generations can act. In this respect using a corrupted environment to consciously win elections through dishing out development permits is in my view the worst possible political declaration, devoid of any integrity. This is the significant contribution of the class of 2006 in Maltese politics to the quality of life of present and future generations. It has been fifteen years since Tonio Fenech and his class of 2006 created this environmental mess. The impacts today are enormous. It is unfortunate that no one in parliament has the courage to initiate the process to reverse this 15-year damage.

Where do we go from here? Realistically speaking we cannot go anywhere if the same type keeps making it to Parliament. We have had more than enough of those who ignore environmental blasphemy until it arrives at their doorstep or their street! The moment we realise that short-term gains for the few signify long-term pains for all, we may start registering some progress. We need to realise that the way forward is to be good ancestors to at least the next seven generations: ensuring that we take the long-term view in all our decisions. There is no room for any exception.

published in the Malta Independent on Sunday : 13 June 2021

Il-Partit Laburista, l-Australia Hall u propjeta’ oħra

Australia Hall interiorAustralia Hall

Is-Segretarju Ġenerali tal-PN Chris Said, il-bieraħ, tkellem dwar il-partiti politiċi (fil-Parlament) u kif tul is-snin dawn użaw u abbużaw mir-riżorsi tal-istat. Bħala wieħed mill-eżempji Chris Said isemmi l-Australia Hall f’Pembroke.

Issa huwa faċli u komdu tgħid li l-Australia Hall jiswa’ €10 miljuni. Imma irid jingħad ukoll li l-Australia Hall ġiet għand il-Partit Laburista fl-1979 bħala parti minn kumpens għall-Headquarters li l-Partit Laburista kellu l-Marsa fejn illum hemm il-Marsa Shipbuilding u li fil-futur qrib jista’ jkun żviluppat f’hub ta’ servizzi marittimi.

Issa meta l-Partit Laburista akkwista l-Australia Hall fl-1979 ma naħsibx li ħa ħafna ġost bih. Fil-fatt għal snin kbar ħadd ma sema’ bih. Probabbilment li kieku l-Partit Laburista kellu għażla ma kienx jaċċetta l-Australia Hall u kien jipprova jinnegozja kumpens differenti. Imma dak il-kumpens kien ġie impost fuq il-Partit Laburista mill-Perit Mintoff fi żmien meta jitkellem Mintoff il-Partit kien jigdem xufftejħ u jagħlaq ħalqu.

Fl-2009 beda argument legali bejn il-Gvern immexxi mill-Partit Nazzjonalista u l-Partit Laburista dwar in-nuqqas ta’ żamma f’kundizzjoni tajba ta’ manutenzjoni tal-Australia Hall. Infetħu żewġ kawżi, l-Gvern ried l-Australia Hall lura u l-Partit Laburista b’risposta ried il-Marsa Shipbuilding lura. Wara l-elezzjoni tal-2013 b’id waħda l-Partit Laburista irtira l-kawża tal-Gvern u bl-oħra irtira l-kawża tal-Partit. B’hekk ġieb fi tmiem ftit tejatrin li kien beda 4 snin qabel. Ir-realta hi li l-Partit Laburista kellu l-obbligu li jikkura l-Australia Hall, liema obbligu ma onorax. Imma min-naħa l-oħra kien ikun inġust li jittieħed lura l-Australia Hall meta dan kien parti minn kumpens għat-teħid tal-HQ  li l-PL kellu l-Marsa. Din kienet waħda mill-gimmicks ta’ Jason Azzopardi. Kieku mexa bl-istess mod ma’ tal-boathouses tal-Armier il-problema ilha snin li spiċċat!

Sadanittant il-Partit Laburista biegħ l-Australia Hall skond konvenju li qal li kellu ta’ ħafna snin qabel.

 

Dan hu wieħed mill-eżempji ta’ kif il-Partit Laburista amministra propjeta’ pubblika. Ma dan trid iżżid il-propjeta’ b’requisition order mill-Housing li spiċċat każini tal-Partit Laburista, bħall-Każin ta’ Santa Venera. Inkella uffiċini ta’ Dipartimenti tal-Gvern li spiċċaw każini tal-Partit Laburista, bħall-Każin tar-Rabat Għawdex li kien l-uffiċċju tad-Dipartiment tal Agrikultura f’Għawdex.

Chris Said qed jgħid li l-PN jrid jirristawra l-bilanċ mal-Partit Laburista billi anke hu (il-PN) jbill subgħajh.

Tajba din. Naħseb li kien ikun aktar kredibbli kieku Chris Said qal li l-Partit Laburista għandu jirritorna l-propjeta li ħa f’idejh b’mod abbużiv. Il-każini tar-Rabat Għawdex u Santa Venera  huma żewġ eżempji.

Dan mhux il-mod li tiżviluppa diskussjoni serja dwar il-finanzjament tal-partiti politiċi.