M’għandekx għalfejn tagħżel bejniethom

 

 

Meta tiġi biex tivvota, nhar is-Sibt, mgħandekx għalfejn tagħżel bejniethom.

Mhux importanti min hu l-iżjed jew l-inqas korrott.

Mhux importanti min hu l-iżjed jew l-inqas inkompetenti.

Mhux importanti min hu imċappas l-iktar jew l-inqas.

Mhux importanti min kellu jirreżenja, imma ma rreżenjax fuq iżżewġ naħat.

 

Il-każ tal-Panama Papers u l-kumpaniji ta Konrad Mizzi u Keith Schembri hu wieħed ta gravitá kbira. Daqskemm huma gravi l-allegazzjonijiet dwar is-sid ta Egrant Inc. u l-flus li waslu mingħand il-familja ta Aliyev fil-kontijiet fil-Bank Pilatus.

Mhux gravi ħafna ukoll il-fatt li Claudio Grech, l-Onorevoli tal-Partit Nazzjonalista nesa jekk qattx iltaqa ma George Farrugia, dak tal-iskandlu tażżejt?

Mhux gravi ukoll kif Beppe Fenech Adami spiċċa Direttur tal-Capital One Investment Limited u ma kien jaf xejn dwar it-taħwid li qed jirriżulta dwar din l-istess kumpanija?

U xi ngħidu għar-rapporti tal-Awditur Ġenerali dwar il-qaddis miexi fl-art Jason Azzopardi?

U l-villa ODZ li Toni Bezzina ried jibni fl-istess ħin li kien qed jikteb il-politika ambjentali tal-PN?

It-tnejn jgħidu kif għandhom qalbhom ġunġliena għall-ambjent.

Imma t-tnejn iridu l-mina bejn Malta u Għawdex.

It-tnejn iridu l-korsa tat-tlielaq tal-karozzi.

It-tnejn jilgħaqu l-kaċċaturi u n-nassaba.

It-tnejn jappoġġaw il-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa (Armier, Little Armier u Torri l-Abjad).

Xhemm xtagħżel bejniethom?

Wara kollox mgħandekx għalfejn tagħżel bejniethom!

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Il-Partit Nazzjonalista u l-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa

Armier ittra

 

Il-partiti politiċi fil-Parlament ħafna drabi ma jieħdux pjaċir jiftakru jew tfakkarhom fil-passat tagħhom. Jgħidulna biex il-passat inħalluh għax huma jridu jħarsu l-quddiem.

Hu obbligu tagħna li niftakru il-passat ukoll. Mhux biss għax il-passat hu l-mera tal-futur, imma, iktar minn hekk għax min il-bieraħ xejn ma ddejjaq jarmi l-prinċipji l-baħar, xejn m’hu ser jerġa’ jaħsibha biex għada (jekk ikollu l-opportunità) jerġa’ jagħmel l-istess.

Nhar il-Ġimgħa li għaddiet Simon Busuttil, il-Kap tal-Opposizzjoni, waqt id-diskussjoni organizzata mill-Kummissjoni Ambjent tal-Knisja offra l-kooperazzjoni tal-Partit Nazzjonalista lill-Gvern biex jitneħħew l-irregolaritajiet tal-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa.

Dam jaħsibha 25 sena l-Partit Nazzjonalista. Kellu iċ-ċans kollu tad-dinja biex mhux biss jitkellem kontra l-irregolaritajiet tal-bini, imma seta ukoll ineħħihom. Imma sfortunatament fis-siegħa tal-prova il-PN beża’ milli jimxi sewwa. Fis-siegħa tal-prova, l-PN l-prinċipji rmiehom il-baħar, għax beża’ li jitlef il-voti.

Tista’ allura teħodhom bis-serjetà meta jitkellmu b’dan il-mod? Donnhom għadhom jaħsbu li jistgħu jibqgħu jgħaddu n-nies biż-żmien.

Kellna ex-Ministru li xi snin ilu kiteb fil-gazzetti li hu (fil-bidu tas-snin 90) kien ressaq quddiem il-Kabinett proposta biex il-boathouses illegali fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa jitneħħew. Imma l-Kabinett dakinnhar ma qabilx.

Huwa konvenjenti għall-PN li issa jitkellem kontra l-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa. Meta seta mhux biss jitkellem imma seta ukoll jieħu passi wasal għal ftehim magħhom bħalma għamel lejlet l-elezzjoni tal-2003. Dakinnhar għall-PN il-voti kienu iktar importanti mill-prinċipju li jimxi sewwa.

Minkejja dan kollu huwa ta’ sodisfazzjoni għal Alternattiva Demokratika li wara li ilha snin twal tikkampanja kontra l-bini illegali tal-boathouses fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa (Ramlet il-Qortin, l-Armier, Little Armier u t-Torri l-Abjad) issa anke l-Partit Nazzjonalista qed jgħid li kkonvinċa ruħu li ma jistax u m’ghandux jibqa’ jappoġġa dawn il-ħniżrijiet.

Ikun tajjeb, kieku l-Kap tal-Opposizzjoni Simon Busuttil jiddisassoċja ruħu mill-ftehim li kien għamel il-Partit Nazzjonalista qabel l-elezzjoni tal-2003 ma dawk li qegħdin fil-boathouses. Dak il-ftehim, tajjeb li niftakru, kien jipprovdi biex 26 ettaru (260,000 m2) ta’ art tal-Gvern fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa jgħaddu għand il-kumpanija Armier Developments Limited għal 65 sena (bi ħlas ta’ €366,000 fis-sena) biex ikunu żviluppati boathouses ġodda.

Hi ħasra li l-PN dam 25 sena biex fetaħ għajnjejh u ra d-dawl. Li fetaħom ftit snin ilu kien jagħmel ftit ġid. Issa sfortunatament il-ħsara laħaq għamilha.

Hu għalhekk li din il-konverżjoni ambjentali tal-Partit Nazzjonalista ma tikkonvinċi lil ħadd. Għax hi biss għal konvenjenza.

Kummentarju li xxandar fuq l-RTK it-Tnejn 7 ta’ Diċembru 2015

L-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa: tagħna lkoll?

 

 

Id-diskussjoni ta’ hawn fuq saret qabel l-elezzjoni tal-2013.

Il-bieraħ waqt id-diskussjoni li ġiet organizzata mill-Kummissjoni Ambjent tal-Knisja dwar l-enċiklika tal-Papa Franġisku Laudato Si Simon Busuttil ammetta li l-PN fil-Gvern għamel l-iżbalji dwar il-boathouses tal-Armier. Offra l-kooperazzjoni tal-Opposizzjoni lill-Gvern biex dawn l-illegalitajiet jitneħħew.

Joseph Muscat qal li ma jridx jibda mill-Armier. Iżda minn każijiet ferm iktar gravi.

Bdew jiċċaqalqu t-tnejn li huma. Forsi l-ewwel pass għaqli jkun li kemm il-PN kif ukoll il-PL iħassru kull ftehim li għandhom ma’ dawk li bnew il-boathouses.

Anke l-Knisja hemm bżonn li tieħu posizzjoni. S’issa l-illegalitajiet ġew imbierka mill-Knisja li torganizza attivitajiet reliġjużi fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa.

L-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa jixraqlu jkun tagħna lkoll.

 

Premju għal min abbuża

temporary electricity supply

L-Enemalta qed tilqa’ applikazzjonijiet biex ikun regolarizzat is-servizz tal-elettriku fil-boathouses diversi f’Malta u Għawdex.

L-Enemalta qed tgħid li s-serq tal-elettriku jonqos drastikament jekk jingħata dan is-servizz. Iridu jsiru ħlasijiet diversi minn min japplika.

Donna li l-Enemalta ma tafx li s-serq tal-elettriku jonqos b’rata iktar drastika jekk jitwaqqgħu l-boathouses illegali.

Għax li qed jiġri issa hu li min seraq l-art biex fuqha għandu l-boathouse, bħal dawk tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa, qed jitħalla jgawdi dak li seraq, bil-kundizzjoni li jħallas tal-elettriku. Ikun ħafna aħjar jekk isir il-ħlas tal-elettriku misruq u tittieħed lura mill-Gvern l-art misruqa.

Is-serq hu kollu kundannabbli. Mhux biss is-serq tal-elettriku. Anke s-serq tal-art.

 

Il-kumpens ta’ Chris Said

Chris Said et

 

Is-Segretarju Ġenerali tal-PN Chris Said qalilna li l-PN irid kumpens għall-każini politiċi propjeta’ tal-Gvern li l-Labour għandu iktar mill-PN. Iħoss li l-PN ġie diskriminat.

Ġdida din! Waħda isbaħ mill-oħra!

Liċċittadin li jħallas it-taxxi, Chris Said is-Segretarju Ġenerali tal-PN, irid jagħtih daqqa doppja. L-ewwel daqqa billi ittieħdet propjeta’ pubblika għall-każini meta dan ma kellux isir. Issa jrid illi jsir bilanċ tal-abbuż!

Dan jaf x’inhu jgħid jew?

Naħseb li kien ikun aħjar kieku Chris Said u l-PN jgħiduna x’kumpens ser iħallsu huma lill-poplu Malti talli għal 25 sena sħaħ il-PN baqa’ iċċassata quddiem il-boathouses (li qatt ma raw dgħajjes) ġol-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa.

Għal 25 sena sħaħ il-Partit Nazzjonalista kien kompliċi ma dawk li ħadu l-art u bnew bla permess bil-konsegwenza li ċaħħdu lill-eluf ta’ Maltin kull sena milli jgawdu parti mill-kosta.

Dan hu l-kumpens li Chris Said is-Segretarju Ġenerali tal-PN messu jitkellem dwaru!

Fir-Repubblika tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa

Armier shanty town

 

Fir-Repubblika ta’ l-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa s’issa ingħata l-messaġġ li hemm liġijiet differenti mill-bqija ta’ Malta.

Filwaqt li f’Malta ma tistax tapplika għal meter tal-elettriku (jew tal-ilma) jekk il-bini fejn tkun trid tistalla l-meter ikollu xi illegalita, dan ma japplikax fir-Repubblika tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa. Sa issa min abbuża fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa ġie ippremjat. Gvern immexxi mill-PN li kontinwament fittex l-iskużi ħalli jiġġustifika li ma jagħmel xejn.

Fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa il-parti l-kbira tal-art hi tal-Gvern u għaldaqstant m’huwiex aċċettabbli li l-awtoritajiet għamlu 25 sena jħarsu ċċassati lejn min abbuża fid-dawl tax-xemx.

Kull ftehim li jista’ jasal għalih il-Gvern ma dawk il-persuni li bnew jew qed jokkupaw il-kmamar illegali fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa ikun premju lil min abbuża u jwassal il-messaġġ li l-liġi f’dan il-pajjiż mhiex l-istess għal kulħadd. Mhux aċċettabbli li jingħata l-messaġġ li fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa għandhom Repubblika għalihom fejn is-saltna tad-dritt (rule of law) dabet u sparixxiet.

L-art pubblika fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa li hi okkupata mill-kmamar illegali u li jsejħu boathouses (bla dgħajjes) għandha tirritorna lura f’idejn l-istat biex titgawda minn kulħadd. Għax id-dritt tal-aċċess għall-kosta hu ta’ kulħadd u m’għandux ikun limitat għal dawk li kkapparraw l-art.

Fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa għandhom bżonn jifhmu ukoll li min jikser il-liġi għandu jbaxxi rasu u jsofri l-konsegwenzi ta’ egħmilu. Flok l-iSmart meters il-Gvern għandu jibgħat il-gafef biex ikaxkar u jwarrab l-illegalitajiet. Jekk dan ma jsirx mingħajr iktar dewmien ħadd m’għandu jippretendi li f’setturi oħra u f’lokalitajiet oħra ma jkunx hemm min jippretendi li hu ukoll jagħmel li jrid.

F’Malta, Repubblika waħda fejn il-liġi hi l-istess għal kulħadd, hi biżżejjed.

 

ippubblikat fuq iNews illum l-Erbgħa 29 t’Ottubru 2014

Garanzija biex min seraq, igawdi dak li seraq

Bajja 2.2003 GPullicino jiltaqa' mal-Assocjazzjoni

Fir-ritratt ta’ hawn fuq li hu meħud minn Il-Bajja No.2 ta’ April 2003 jidher George Pullicino, dakinnhar Segretarju Parlamentari, jippoża mal-kumitat inkarigat mill-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa wara waħda mil-laqgħat fejn min seraq l-art pubblika fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa ingħata l-appoġġ mill-politiċi li huma eletti fil-Parlament.

Id-dibattitu fil-pajjiż dwar il-kmamar tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa kif ukoll (ftit inqas) dwar dawk fil-Bajja ta’ San Tumas ilu għaddej. Min hu kontra, min hu favur u min jiġi jaqa’ u jqum.

Il-każ huwa wieħed li jattakka s-soċjeta demokratika fl-egħruq tagħha. Għax il-messaġġ ċar li ilu jidwi hu li quddiem il-liġi m’aħniex kollha xorta. Fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa (L-Armier, Little Armier, it-Torri l-Abjad) u fil-Bajja ta’ San Tumas il-prinċipju tas-Saltna tad-Dritt (r-Rule of Law) idub u jisparixxi.

Min seraq l-art, bniha bla permess u anke seraq l-elettriku ser ikun ippremjat.

Alternattiva Demokratika biss tkellmet ċar kontra dan l-abbuż. Ftehemu kemm mal-Partit Laburista kif ukoll mal-Partit Nazzjonalista. Fil-Gvern għal 25 sena l-Partit Nazzjonalista ma rnexxilux jerfa’ subgħajh biex iġib sens ta’ ordni. Ipprova darba l-Perit Michael Falzon meta kien Ministru tal-Ippjanar u l-Kabinett bagħtu jixxejjer! Falzon riċentement kiteb fil-gazzetti li dakinnhar tgħallem li l-voti huma iktar importanti mill-prinċipji!

Waqt li l-Perit Michael Falzon ried iwaqqa’ dak li kien illegali, Ministri oħrajn ftehmu ma min b’mod sfaċċat u fid-dawl tax-xemx sfida l-liġi. Dawn dejjem irraġunaw li bl-appoġġ tal-PN u l-PL ħadd ma jista’ għalihom! Fl-aħħar jidher li ser jirnexxilhom.

Il-PN irnexxilu jipproteġihom għal 25 sena sħaħ. Fil-futur qarib il-Labour fil-Gvern jidher li ser jissiġilla din l-sfida kbira għall-liġi u l-ordni fil-pajjiż.

Messaġġ ċar li l-Labour Party ta’ Malta qed jagħti (bl-appoġġ tal-PN). Il-Labour fil-Gvern jiggarantilek li tgawdi dak li sraqt.

Il-lejla fuq Times Talk niddiskuti dan is-suġġett mal-preżentaturi Mark Micallef u Herman Grech u mistednin mill-partiti politiċi l-oħra.

lokalitajiet minn fejn joriginaw dawk li ghandhom il-boathouses f'idejhom 2010

Il-lista ta’ hawn fuq hi estratt minn Il-Bajja Nru 30 ta’ April 2010 u turi l-lokalitajiet fejn joqgħodu dawk li għandhom il-boathouses f’idejhom.

Is-skiet tal-PN dwar l-Armier

Armier shanty town

Wara d-deċiżjoni tal-Imħallef Ellul fuq l-abbużi fl-Armier il-PN għadu sieket.

Tajjeb li nfakkru li l-abbużi tollerati minn Gvern immexxi mill-PN m’humiex biss dawk li jitkellem fuqhom l-imħallef Ellul fis-sentenza tiegħu. Hemm ħafna iżjed.

L-ex Ministru Falzon kien spjega f’artiklu miktub minnu fil-Malta Today li hu kien resssaq proposta għat-twaqqiegħ tal-bini illegali fl-Armier iżda l-Kabinett ma appoġġaħx.

Sadanittant il-PN jibqa’ sieket, konxju li hu responsabbli għall-istat attwali tal-irregolaritajiet fl-Armier.

L-inqas li nistennew hi apoloġija. Minflok għandna skiet li jtarrax. Il-politika ġdida ta’ Simon Busuttil.

Fuq dan il-blog, dwar l-istess suġġett,  ara ukoll dawn il-posts :

24 ta’ Ġunju 2008 : Il-boathouses fl-Armier.

21 ta’ Jannar 2012 : Parties in Cahoots with squatters.

17 t’Awwissu 2012 : Armier cowboys should not be rewarded.

23 t’Ottubru 2012 : Pajjiż tal-cowboys : israq u tkun ippremjat.

24 t’Ottubru 2012: Il-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa : meta l-Ministru riedhom jaqgħu

2 ta’ Frar 2013 : Armier illegalities and amnesties.

Armier illegalities and amnesties

Armier shanty town

In its electoral manifesto, the Nationalist Party is proposing an amnesty relative to land use planning irregularities. It is the second amnesty in six months because, in August 2012, the Government published the rules for another amnesty: relaxed rules in respect of properties that did not follow sanitary regulations.

Existing sanitary regulations already provide the health authorities with discretionary authority when there are minor variations in the sanitary requirements of buildings. The August 2012 amnesty sought to address the gross violations of the law by addressing primarily cases where the dimensions of backyards varied by up to 33 per cent from the permissible dimensions. Now the size of backyards in properties is a requirement based on two considerations: the need for ventilation and access to natural light.

The reasons brought forward to justify this sanitary amnesty were that owners/developers were encountering difficulties to sell properties that do not conform to legal requirements.

The PN in government applied an ‘innovative’ solution: when facing difficulties, lower standards. Rules and standards are considered by the PN to be red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy, which could be dispensed with. Instead of ensuring the rule of law on such basic and elementary matters, the PN in government rewarded those who ignored the basic rules.

The PN proposal for a 2013 amnesty on land use planning irregularities is carefully worded. It says a lot and says nothing at the same time. It speaks of pre-Mepa reform (2010) and states that this amnesty will apply to irregularities in place before that date.

At the time of writing, Labour has announced its proposals on Mepa. Labour too wants an amnesty to consider the sanctioning of building irregularities.

What the PN manifesto does not say is that the Nationalist government is being consistent as it never had the political will to enforce planning regulations. The fact that pending enforcement actions have accumulated to thousands, a number pre-dating 1992, is clear testimony to this. Available data is scarce but in 2009, in reply to parliamentary question 10,537, the Prime Minister had stated that there were 7,373 pending enforcement actions. The number has since increased.

This accumulated backlog of enforcement action is proof of the incompetence of those whom the PN in government entrusted with the implementation of land use planning policy. It also spells out the achievements of a number of ministers responsible for Mepa in the past years, Lawrence Gonzi included.

Mepa needs adequate resources and a clear policy direction, which the PN in government has failed to identify and which the PL, being in cahoots with developers, is incapable of ensuring.

The Greens’ manifesto outlines a number of measures that need to be taken to bring environmental governance back on track.

Not compromising with illegalities and the political will to act heads the list. The clearest example being the commitment to demolish the shanty town at Armier. Both the PN and the PL are committed to assist the squatters at Armier who have taken over public land and illegally built over 900 boathouses on the Mellieħa peninsula.

Way back in 2003, on the eve of another election, the PN-led government had agreed to transfer to Armier Developments Limited, the squatters’ holding company, 26 hectares of public property. The agreement between the Government and the squatters’ holding company indicates a lease for 65 years against payment of €366,000 per annum.

The newsletter Mill-Bajja, published by the squatters, in October 2007 had referred to a meeting with the then Leader of the Opposition, Alfred Sant. It said that he had promised to honour an earlier agreement with the squatters, which was entered into way back in 2002. Labour’s spokesmen have, time and again, emphasised that they are in sympathy with the squatters

It is clear that both the PN and the PL openly and unashamedly support the illegalities at Armier.

The PN in government had the opportunity to tackle the issue during the past 25 years. When faced with a proposal to act, it refused. Former Minister Michael Falzon is on record (MaltaToday, February 15, 2009) as stating that he had submitted a proposal, to pull down the Armier shanty town, for Cabinet’s endorsement in the early 1990s. It was shot down.

The only way that we can get some sense in land use planning in Malta is through the election of Green MPs. The others have repeatedly proven that their quest for votes surpasses their commitments to act in the public interest.

It is indeed no coincidence that AD chairman Michael Briguglio was threatened by means of an anonymous letter received earlier this week. The threats were directly linked to AD’s commitment to act and sweep away the Armier illegalities. The status quo is under threat.

The basic message is getting through: with AD you know where we stand.

published in The Times, February 2, 2013

Il-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa : meta l-Ministru riedhom jaqgħu’

 

 Michael Falzon.PN2

Fil-bidu tas-snin 90, Michael Falzon, dakinnhar Ministru responsabli għall-Awtorita’ tal-Ippjanar kien wasal għall-konklużjoni li l-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa kellhom jiġu mwaqqa’. M’huwiex magħruf kif wasal għal din il-konklużjoni. Jekk hux minn rajh inkella fuq parir ta’ terzi.

Jibqa’ l-fatt li kien wasal għal din il-konklużjoni. Mar il-Kabinett. Iżda ma qabel miegħu ħadd. Il-Kabinett irrifjuta li japprova l-proposta tal-Ministru Michael Falzon.

Għal madwar 19-il sena Michael Falzon baqa’ sieket sakemm iddeċieda li jinfurmana x’ġara permezz ta’ artiklu fil-Malta Today nhar il-Ħadd 15 ta’ Frar 2009.

L-artiklu intitolat They never heard of Jason Azzopardi! Hu dan :

 

 

They never heard of Jason Azzopardi!

While on a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip in Indochina and thereabouts, Parliamentary Secretary Jason Azzopardi keeps, incredibly, coming up to my mind!
Seeing the hustle and the bustle of the thousands of people in Bangkok and Hanoi who do everything ‘al fresco’ on the city pavements, I can only conclude that they have never heard of the guy.

In these parts of the world, people not only place tables on the pavements when they have a shop nearby. They even set up their stand-alone barber stalls; knife-sharpening workshops; grocery and hardware stores; and open air restaurants complete with kitchens leaving the streets and pavements stained with the cooking oil that goes to prepare so many hot snacks. The reek of oriental frying is unmistakeable.

I am sure that Jason would have not liked it one bit and had he been in charge, he would certainly order his army of ‘anti-alfresco’ reservists to swoop down on all this activity, checking whether everything is in order and whether the size of the stall, the number of pots, kilograms of all kinds of meats and all kinds of vegetables being sold – let alone the chairs and tables and the canopies – are all according to permit.

The mayor of Bangkok would make a killing if hires Jason to do this job for him. On the other hand he might not… seeing that he wants to be re-elected when the next election is due. The mayor of Hanoi would probably be in a similar position, except that elections might not bother him so much, and the task might be easier for him.

The trouble is that if they had to carry out a Jason Azzopardi-style exercise in Bangkok, it would not remain Bangkok. It would become a ‘Malta in Southeast Asia’!

All countries and peoples have their own ways of doing things – their traditions and their culture. I realised this so many years ago when on another trip I found myself outside the Stazione Termine in Rome and, as I always do in any European train station in winter, I decided to buy some freshly roasted chestnuts from the one of the portable stalls plying food outside the station. As soon as I made my wish clear, the Italian hawker, produced a paper bag that holds the number of chestnuts that he was to supply for the indicated price and then added another two – just out of ‘respect’ to his customers of course. The fact that more than two chestnuts were later found to be rotten did not reduce the munificence of the act in any way!
Later on in the same trip, I found myself outside Zurich train station. And what did I do? I went for that bag of freshly roasted chestnuts, of course! The Swiss hawker put the paper bag he produced on the certified scales that was on his stall and filled it with chestnuts. On perceiving that he had somewhat given me some fraction of a milligram more that I had bargained for, he simply removed a large chestnut from the bag and replaced it with a smaller one! I haven’t stopped hating Swiss precision since that traumatic incident.

Whether we like it or not, Bangkok culture, Swiss culture and Maltese culture are what they are. Forcing the Maltese to behave like the Swiss will never produce the desired results, whatever the ‘carrot and stick’ methods that are employed. We will always keep acting like the Mediterranean people that we are, even more akin to Neapolitans than to Romans. Membership of the EU has not metamorphosed the Swedes into Greeks or vice-versa. Not allowing some space for the culture that pervades the mentality of the Maltese people is a silly mistake on Jason’s part, albeit one that might have long term consequences.

Acting in a way that is obviously ‘strong with the weak’ and ‘weak with the strong’ makes it even worse. How can he justify his petty persecution of canopies on public pavements while he closes both eyes to the situation in the zone of Little Armier, where people have for years broken the law with impunity by using public land to build their summer shacks, with some making a business out of the whole shenanigan. I know what I am saying as when I tried to do something about it, I was left alone to burn my fingers alone, nay my palms, arms and body. The lack of support from my then Cabinet colleagues – let alone the then backbench – was overwhelming. I could almost hear them chant: ‘Burn, Michael, burn!’

Launching a ‘hotline’, whereby people may anonymously report others for ‘illegally occupying’ public spaces, is the very culmination in Jason’s stubborn insistence to ignore our culture. As a lawyer and an MP for so many years, he should have by now realised that people in Malta ‘report’ their neighbours of wrongdoing not because of some public spiritedness but because of spite and jealousy. It is a convenient way how one ‘gets even’ with one’s neighbour. ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’ is, perhaps, the Christian tenet that has failed most spectacularly in Malta Cattolicissima!

Jason’s report-thy-neighbour-anonymously system has probably been a runaway success. The problem is that Jason might be fooling himself by thinking that he is on a sure winner. He is in for a surprise.
A surprise so big that, I am sure, it will keep on haunting him for the rest of his life. At the last PN meeting before the general election last March, while moving around in the crowd, a middle-aged lady approached me and asked me whether I recognised her. My answer was negative. She then went on to ‘remind me’ that as Minister of Education, over 12 years earlier, I had refused to authorise leave with pay that her husband had requested. I probably had a good reason for doing so – a thought that I confirmed when I saw the look of disdain on her face. People might forget that you helped them but they never forget that you refused to do something they wanted – however correct your decision might have been.

This country refuses to be a humdrum place where everywhere runs by clockwork, whatever Jason Azzopardi says and does. Over 30 years of communist rule have not persuaded Saigon (sorry, Ho Chi Minh City) to behave like Hanoi. Five years of Jason Azzopardi will leave Malta exactly where it was.
It will never be a Switzerland in the Mediterranean!