Bejn RCC u Olaf Terribile

RCC

 

Tiftakru meta l-Partit Laburista fil-Parlament ressaq mozzjoni ta’ ċensura kontra Richard Cachia Caruana? Il-mozzjoni dakinnhar kienet ġiet approvata għax Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando kien ivvota mal-Opposizzjoni u Jesmond Mugliette kien astjena.

Dakinhar fuq dan il-blog jiena kont ktibt li r-raġunijiet li kienu inġiebu mill-Opposizzjoni Laburista biex jiġi ċċensurat RCC kienu imġebbda. Għax dak li ntqal dakinnhar, kieku kien minnu, ma kienx jiġġustifika ċ-ċensura ta’ RCC imma tal-Gvern!

Li għamel il-grupp Parlamentari Laburista tlett snin ilu kien li ħa posizzjoni illi l-ħatriet fil-korp diplomatiku kellhom ikunu mgħarbla mil-Parlament. Tista’ taqbel jew ma taqbilx mat-tiġbid tal-argumenti imma naħseb li kien pass il-quddiem li f’Ġunju 2012 il-Parlament Malti iddiskuta l-ħidma tal-Ambaxxatur Richard Cachia Caruana.

F’dawn il-ġranet huwa imminenti li l-Gvern iħabbar il-ħatra ta’ ambaxxatur ġdid ta’ Malta għar-Republika tal-Poplu taċ-Ċina. Xniegħat persistenti jindikaw li ser jinħatar Olaf Terribile bħala ambaxxatur. Probabbilment li din il-ħatra tiegħu tidħol fis-seħħ fl-istess jiem meta hu mistenni li jirriżenja t-Tabib George Vella minn Ministru għall-Affarijiet Barranin minħabba raġunijiet ta’ saħħa.

Olaf Terribile għandu passat ikkulurit ħafna fis-servizz pubbliku. Kien Segretarju Privat tal-ex-President George Abela li kien neħħieh għax tilef il-fiduċja fih.

Ikun interessanti kieku l-Kumitat Parlamentari dwar l-Affarijiet Barranin jitħajjar jgħarbel il-ħatra tal-Ambaxxatur il-ġdid Olaf Terribile. Hu xieraq li jkun assigurat li Terribile għandu l-kompetenza biex jirrappreżenta lill-pajjiż li ma jmurx jirreżenja wara ftit inkella jitneħħa kif qed jingħad li ser jiġri dalwaqt lill-ambaxxatriċi preżenti ta’ Malta f’Washington.

Ikun għaqli kieku l-Parlament jibda jgħarbel dawn il-ħatriet tal-ambaxxaturi Maltin. Forsi l-ħatriet li jsiru (kemm dawk politiċi kif ukoll dawk li m’humiex) jibdew ikunu ftit iktar bis-sens.

Reflections from Carthage

Tunisia-Med

 

At the University of Carthage in Tunisia between Thursday and today the international community has been engaging with Tunisian civil society. The Fifth Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy – Decentralisation by Participation exchanged views and experiences with all sectors of Tunisian civil society: young people, women and trade unionists were at the forefront, with very passionate views on the Tunisian roadmap to democracy.

Why has the Arab Spring in Tunisia provided different results from those reaped in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria?

Yahd Ben Anchour, lawyer, former Chairman of the High Commission for the Preservation of the Revolution, and charged with overseeing  constitutional reform in a post Ben Ali Tunisia, emphasised the fact that the roots of this more successful outcome can be traced to a number of policy decisions in the late 1950s. The then Tunisian strongman Habib Bourguiba had championed free access to education, including higher education. He had, moreover, championed gender equality right from the first days of independence.  Tackling these issues made Bourguiba an exception in the Arab world.

From outside Tunisia, Bourguiba’s personality cult, the large scale clientelism over the years as well as the leadership of a one party-state naturally overshadowed his otherwise significant  social achievements, which are considered by many as the essential building blocks of today’s Tunisia civil society.

Even though a number of Tunisian women are still shackled by tradition, the number of them active in public life is impressive. It is this exceptionalism which has given the Arab Spring in Tunisia the edge over neighbouring countries and consequently the reasonable chance of success.

Mohammed Bouazizi’s  self immolation and subsequent death on the 4 January 2011 brought together all those dissatisfied with the Tunisian regime, leading to its downfall and laying the foundations for the first democratic state in the Arabic family of nations.

The debate in the Global Forum focused on the discontinuity of the electoral process in contrast to the permanence of political dialogue and participation. In a society which has rediscovered its hold over its own destiny, it is emphasised that political participation bridges the gaps of political time and goes beyond political monoplies. All Tunisian participants emphasised the fact that direct democracy reinforces – and is complimentary to – representative democracy.

Power originates from the people, who ultimately remain its sole arbitror. This can be done through referenda, not just to delete legislation but also to propose measures which the elected representatives did not consider necessary.

It is an ongoing debate that sees young people, women and trade unionists together with a new generation  of political activists debating the next steps to be taken by a democratic Tunisia.

It is in Malta’s interest to nurture this democratic development on our southern borders. We are not accustomed to having this type of neighbour!   During a recent meeting with Tunisian Premier Habib Essid, Malta’s Foreign Minister George Vella stated that Malta was willing to support Tunisia’s democratic process.  Back in 2012, in the first months after the revolution, Michael Frendo, then Speaker of Malta’s House of Representatives,  had also been in Tunisia, offering Malta’s  hand of friendship and cooperation to our neighbours.

Some positive developments for a change to our south.

Published in The Independent on Sunday : 17 May 2015

Waqt li Joseph jilgħab bis-silġ …………….

 

joseph_muscat_konrad_mizzi_ice_bucket_challenge

Waqt li f’Malta l-Prim Ministru u l-Kabinett tiegħu flimkien ma diversi personalitajiet oħra qed jilgħabu bis-silġ,  fil-Libja, wara biebna hawn ħuġġieġa.

George Vella f’intervista l-ġimgħa l-oħra fisser kemm din il-ħuġġieġa fil-Libja hi ta’ theddida għal Malta. In-newtralita’ ta’ Malta, qal George Vella, kif inhi dikjarata fil-Kostituzzjoni ma tiswiex il-karta li hi miktuba fuqha.

Għandna bżonn naħsbuha sewwa dwar x’ser nagħmlu dwar id-difiża tagħna u dan għax aħna vulnerabbli.

Sa issa kellna skiet komplet dwar l-intervista ta’ George Vella.

“Wasal iż-żmien” qal Vella, “li nirrevedu dak li iddeċidejna dwar id-difiża ta’ Malta. Dak li kien jgħodd fis-snin 80 m’għadux jgħodd illum.”

Ikun ferm aħjar kieku flok mal-Prim Ministru jibqa’ jilgħab bis-silġ jipprova jindirizza din il-materja.

Il-Ministru tal-Affarijiet Barranin qed jgħid lil Muscat li Malta m’għandha l-ebda difiża sura. Imma Muscat jippreferi li joqgħod jilgħab bis-silġ.

Natanyahu b’karrotti għal Joseph Muscat

1kg_carrot.Israel

 

F’Ottubru li għadda il-Prim Ministru Joseph Muscat mexxa delegazzjoni Maltija fl-Iżrael. Kien hemm diversi Ministri u tkellmu dwar diversi affarijijiet. Kollha affarijiet important.

Bla dubju tkellmu ukoll dwar l-appoġġ li Malta ilha snin twal tagħti lill-kawża Palestinjana. Appoġġ li ingħata minn diversi Gvernijiet.

Fl-istqarrija li l-Prim Ministru kien għamel fil-Parlament nhar il-21 t’Ottubru 2013 jissemmew ħafna affarijiet interessanti u utli li dwarhom id-delegazzjoni Maltija tkellmet mad-diversi politiċi li ltaqgħet magħhom.

Ma tissemmiex ħaġa waħda: appoġġ politiku lill-istat tal-Iżrael.

Ftit ftit minn Ottbru 2013 lil hawn ħerġin biċċiet ta’ informazzjoni li jindikaw illi għaddej taqlib kbir fil-politika Maltija fil-konfront tal-Iżrael.

Il-Malta Today ippubblikat artiklu minn Jürgen Balzan dwar dan.  Jidher li għaddej argument bejn George Vella  Ministru tal-Affarijiet Barranin li jsostni appoġġ lill-kawża palestinjana u dawk fil-Kabinett li huma iktar prammatiċi u allura jitkellmu b’mod li jidhru bilanċjati, jiġifieri kritiċi nofs kedda  favur tal-qagħda attwali fil-Lvant Nofsani.

Fin-nofs jidher li hemm l-appoġġ għall-kandidatura tal-Iżrael għall-Kunsill tas-Sigurta’ tal-Ġnus Magħquda. Il-Gvern Malti jidher li qed jikkunsidra li jappoġġa din il-kandidatura.

Nistennew il-karrotti ta’ Natanyahu.

Is-sigriet tal-Ministru George Vella

George Vella

 

Segwejt il-parti l-kbira tad-dibattitu dwar is-sitwazzjoni fil-Libja fil-Parlament il-bieraħ.

Il-Gvern qed jiġi ikkritikat mill-Opposizzjoni u minn parti mill-media li żamm il-ħtif tal-Malti Martin Galea mistur.

Għamel sewwa jew għamel ħażin?

B’mod ġenerali l-Gvern għandu jkun trasparenti. Għandu jinforma mhux jaħbi. Iżda anke għal dan, f’soċjeta’ demorkatika hemm l-eċċezzjonijiet.

Hawn għandna każ ta’ ħtif minn grupp terroristiku. X’gwadann kien ser ikun hemm kieku l-Gvern, ġimgħa ilu ħareġ l-aħbar li Malti ġie maħtuf? Xejn, assolutament xejn ħlief pubbliċita’ lil att ta’ terroriżmu.

Imma kien ikun għaqli kieku l-Ministru ta’ l-Affarijiet Barranin George Vella  informa b’mod kunfidenzjali lill-Opposizzjoni dwar dan. Dan jidher li ma sarx.

L-iżball tal-Ministru George Vella

George Vella 5

George Vella hu persuna valida. Għandu l-ideat tiegħu. Ħadem favur tagħhom biex jara politika aħjar. L-affarijiet mhux dejjem ġew kif xtaq. Għandi kull rispett lejh. Diġa ktibt dwaru xi drabi oħra fuq dan il-blog.

Fl-intervista riċenti li kellu fuq is-CNN, George Vella bħala Ministru tal-Affarijiet Barranin qabad il-problema tal-immigrazzjoni irregolari minn sieqha.

Il-kundizzjonijiet fil-kampijiet tal-immigranti huma fatt. Ir-rewwixti f’dawn il-kampijiet huma fatt ukoll. Pero’ dawn m’humiex il-problema.

Il-problema hi waħda: sempliċi u ikkumplikata fl-istess ħin.

Ir-regoli interni tal-EU magħrufa komunement bħala l-Konvenzjoni ta’ Dublin, jew Dublin II wara xi emendi żgħar li kienu sarulha, ma jippermettux illi refuġjat jiċċaqlaq mill-pajjiż tal-EU li fih ikun niżel l-ewwel darba. Biex dawn ir-regolamenti jinbidlu jeħtieġu l-approvazzjoni tal-Gvernijiet membri tal-EU.

Biex jitnaqqas il-piż minn fuq Malta, Lampedusa (u l-Italja), kif ukoll minn fuq pajjiżi oħra li jkunu effettwati minn żmien għal żmien jeħtieġ li dawn ir-regoli ta’ Dublin jinbidlu.

Il-Ħodor Ewropej (European Greens), wara diskussjoni interna li fiha Alternattiva Demorkatika tat kontribut kbir jaqblu li dawn ir-regoli għandhom jinbidlu u dan biex tkun iffaċilitata l-qsim tar-responsabbilta’ (responsibility sharing) bejn il-pajjiżi kollha membri tal-Unjoni Ewropeja.

Martin Schultz, il-Kandidat Soċjalista għall-Presidenza tal-Kummissjoni Ewropeja iddikjara diġa li jaqbel ma dan.

Imma l-Gvernijiet Ewropej għadhom ma qablux.

X’għamel George Vella biex ta’ l-inqas jikkonvinċi lill-Gvernijiet immexxija mis-Soċjalisti?

Din hi l-probelma reali Dr Vella. Mhux aħjar tmidd għonqok għax-xogħol?

Naf li iebsa ħafna. Imma hi l-unika triq. Dejjem aħjar mill-paroli vojt u bla sens.

L-ambaxxaturi : min jitwieled tond ma jsirx kwadru

Foreign Ministry Malta

Fil-Parlament il-bieraħ ġew diskussi l-estimi tal-Ministeru tal-Affarijiet Barranin.

Reġgħu issemmew il-ħatriet politiċi. Carm Mifsud Bonnici kelliemi tal-Opposizzjoni għall-Affarijiet Barranin qal li l-ħatriet politiċi fis-servizz diplomatiku żdiedu b’mod li illum għandna 66% tal-ħatriet diplomatiċi li marru għand persuni li m’humiex tas-servizz. Żieda sostanzjali miċ-ċifra ta’ 42%, kif kienet is-sitwazzjoni fil-leġislatura l-oħra.

Il-ħatriet fis-servizz diplomatiku huma importanti ħafna għax il-persuni hekk maħtura jirrappreżentaw lill-pajjiż. Huma l-ewwel linja ta’ kuntatt ma pajjiżi oħra.

Ambaxxatur tajjeb jiswa mitqlu deheb, kemm għall-pajjiż kif ukoll għall-Gvern.

Kull pajjiż jagħmel ħatriet politiċi fis-servizz diplomatiku. Malti la hi eċċezzjoni u l-anqas ma qiegħed nipproponi li għandha tkun eċċezzjoni. Imma hu neċessarju ukoll li nivvalorizzaw is-servizz diplomatiku, dak jiġifieri li hu magħmul minn career diplomats.

Fil-leġislatura l-oħra l-Parlament iddiskuta u approva mozzjoni dwar wieħed mill-ambaxxaturi Maltin li kellhom ħatra politika. Il-Parlament għamel dan biex jgħarbel il-ħidma ta’ dan l-ambaxxatur u eventwalment iddeċieda li jiċċensurah.

F’pajjiż żgħir bħal tagħna jkun utli kieku l-Parlament jgħarbel il-ħatriet ta’ ambaxxaturi qabel ma jsiru dawn il-ħatriet u mhux wara. Ikun għaqli li jkun assigurat li minbarra l-lealta’ tagħhom lejn il-Gvern, l-ambaxxaturi għandhom ukoll il-kapaċitajiet, il-kompetenza u t-taħriġ neċessarju biex jaqdu d-doveri tagħhom.

M’għandi l-ebda dubju illi kieku l-ħatriet diplomatiċi jeħtieġu l-approvazzjoni tal-Parlament uħud mill-persuni li inħatru ambaxxaturi riċentement anke l-Gvern kien jaħsibha darbtejn dwar il-ħatra tagħhom. Għax fil-waqt li kif qal il-Ministru George Vella hu neċessarju li wieħed jagħtihom ċans jaħdmu qabel ma jiġġudikom, min hu tond mhux ser isir kwadru, anke jekk taghtih ċans.

The Foreign Minister & the Ministerial Code of Ethics

George Vella

Dr George Vella, Foreign Minister, in reply to Ivan Camilleri on today’s Times of Malta makes a valid point as to why, after being appointed a Cabinet Minister, he needs a transition period relative to the practicing of his profession as a medical doctor.

Ivan Camilleri describes Dr Vella as being “angry” at what he perceived as a “witch-hunt” in respect of members of the Cabinet still practising their profession.

Dr Vella has in fact repeated what former Health Minister Dr Joseph Cassar stated last week that in respect of patients who have been under his care for a number of years it would be extremely insensitive for him to withdraw abruptly from caring for them until they have had adequate time for them to identify an alternative professional who could take over their care.

This could easily have been solved by an immediate amendment to the Ministerial Code of Ethics through considering the possibility of utilising a suitable and reasonable transition period at the end of which medical doctors who are also members of Cabinet would be expected to cease practicing their profession altogether.

Establishment of such a transition period and subject to the medical doctor not being remunerated would have been a very reasonable  solution to the current impasse.

It however leaves unaddressed the general problem of Members of Parliament who still consider their parliamentary duties as being of a part-time nature. AD considers that it is high time that this issue is also addressed.

Parliament, AD states in its March 2013 electoral manifesto, should become a professional institution made up of full-time parliamentarians. This would assist MPs in fullfilling their Parliamentary duties much better than they are at present and could also possibly lead to Parliament functioning in a more family-friendly manner. [a very valid point made recently by new Labour MP Deborah Schembri]

An added benefit of a Parliament made up of full-time Members of Parliament would mean that by the time an MP (who is also a professional) is appointed as a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary he would have been weaned off his private practice. He/she would be used to it and so would his/her patients.

Future Generations must be heard

 

The politics of sustainable development links present and future generations. The 1987 report of the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland report) emphasised that development is sustainable if the choices we make today do not restrict tomorrow’s generations from making their own independent choices.

Future generations, to date, have no political or financial power and cannot challenge decisions taken by present generations. They have no voice. They are not represented at the negotiating table where present-day decisions are made.

Politics is dominated by the requirement to satisfy today’s wants, irrespective of the costs, as witnessed by spiralling financial, environmental and social deficits.

During the preparatory meetings for the Rio 1992 earth summit, delegations discussed the impacts of development on various vulnerable groups.

In a four-page document (A/CONF.151/PC/WG./L.8/Rev.1/Add.2), dated February 21, 1992, Malta submitted a proposal to the working group of the preparatory committee of the UN Rio conference, which met in New York in early March 1992.

After underlining the international community’s recognition of the rights of future generations as another vulnerable group, the Maltese government rightly emphasised that it is not sufficient to simply recognise the principle of future generation rights.

Words must be transformed into action. In paragraph 17 of its document, Malta proposed to go beyond rhetoric through the inclusion in the 1992 Rio declaration on the environment of the following: “We declare that each generation has, in particular, the responsibility to ensure that in any national or international forum where it is likely that a decision is taken affecting the interests of future generations access be given to an authorised person appointed as ‘Guardian’ of future generations to appear and make submissions on their behalf, so that account be taken of the responsibilities stated in this declaration and the obligations created thereby.”

Malta’s proposal was presented by the Foreign Ministry led by Guido de Marco.

The proposal had been developed by the International Environment Institute of the University of Malta within the framework of its Future Generations Programme led by Fr Emanuel Agius. Malta’s proposal was not taken up in the Rio declaration on the environment.

Do we need a guardian of future generations in Malta? I believe that we do and I think that the issue should be addressed when Parliament discusses legislation on sustainable development shortly.

The reasons justifying the domestic implementation of Malta’s 1992 proposal to the UN Rio preparatory committee are crystallised in paragraph 7 of Malta’s proposal that focuses on responsibility and foresight. Malta emphasised that present generations are in duty bound to foresee possible risks and uncertainties that present economic, political and technological policies have on future generations.

Responsibility, stated Malta in 1992, demands foresight. Hence, one should anticipate effective measures to, at least, prevent foreseeable risks and uncertainties.

The guardian of future generations would be the voice of those still unborn to defend their right to make their own choices, independently of the choices of present and past generations.

S/he would be the conscience of present generations nudging them towards behaviour and decisions that are compatible with their responsibilities.

In particular, s/he would be in a position to speak up on behalf of future generations when current or contemplated policies give rise to long-term risks that are not adequately addressed. S/he would emphasise that it is unethical for present generations to reap benefits and then shift the consequence of their actions on future generations.

Future generations need a voice to be able to communicate their concerns.

The appointment of a guardian to protect their interests would be such a voice. Such an appointment would also be implementing the President’s declaration during the inaugural session of the present Parliament on May 10, 2008 when he emphasised that the government’s plans and actions are to be underpinned by the notion of sustainable development. He had further stated that “when making decisions today, serious consideration will be given to the generations of tomorrow”.

Hungary has already given the lead. In 2007, the Hungarian Parliament appointed Sándor Fülöp as Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations. Among other things, he is entrusted to act as a policy advocate for sustainability issues across all relevant fields of legislation and public policy.

International NGOs, such as the World Future Council, have actively brought up the issue of future generations requiring a present-day voice during the second preparatory committee of the UN Rio+20 sustainability conference held in March this year in New York.

The Maltese Greens consider that it is time for the government to accept that the principled action it took on an international level in 1992 is equally applicable on a national level.

Malta too has the responsibility of foresight. It has the responsibility to ensure that the future can speak up such that we can listen and consider the impacts of our actions.

The time is ripe to act. We owe an ear to future generations. They deserve it.

 

published in The Times – Saturday August 27, 2011