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frank_psaila
Frank Psaila

Change or be damned

Simon Busuttil has what it takes to implement radical changes within the PN – but he has to make sure that all his MPs and party officials are on the same page. Short of that, Busuttil has no alternative but to show them the door.

frank_psaila
Frank Psaila
16 July 2014, 7:28am
The PN had enough time in government to change Malta’s draconian drug laws, and although it did legislate to that effect, they were half-baked measures and only now is the PN proposing radical changes to our drug laws.

In 2012 the PN government had suggested that first-time users of any drug be handed a warning and possible community work rather than a prison sentence – proposed changes which never came into force.

Finally, Simon Busuttil’s PN took the initiative and instead of waiting for government proposals on this matter came up with its own proposals: a stand in favour of a more humane way of dealing with drug users.

The government followed suit two days later with a White Paper on drug decriminalisation. It seems that the Nationalist Party is, finally, attempting, and to a certain degree managing to set the agenda.

Radical changes needed

The MEP election result left the PN with no choice but to radically change the way it does politics. The PN’s stand on drug decriminalisation, preceded a few days earlier by Simon Busuttil’s call for a common front between the government and the Opposition on migration is, hopefully, the start of much needed change within the PN. However, more needs to be done. The PN would do well to conduct a study of Maltese society, and the changes taking place within it.

It’s about time too that the PN  revisits  the Fehmiet Bazici -  approved in 1986 and which has served as the PN’s ideological guidebook ever since - which, although updated in 2011, L-għeruq tagħna (Our Roots), needs further update necessitated by the big upheavals in Maltese society. The Nationalist Party has, blindly, ventured into a cul-de-sac on issues that matter, namely on divorce and civil unions.

It needs to convince people that it is still a forward looking party – and it has a lot of convincing to do. Simon Busuttil has what it takes to implement radical changes within the PN – but he has to make sure that all his MPs and party officials are on the same page. Short of that, Busuttil has no alternative but to show them the door. It’s really the case of change or be damned for the PN.

The consequences of perpetual indecision

A fortnight ago, [Malta Today, Sunday, 29th June] I wondered whether it’s time for Pope Francis to take stock of the situation at the Maltese Curia and pave the way for fresh blood, and strong leadership at the head of the Maltese Catholic Church. I was inundated with feedback, especially from priests who, on a personal level, have utmost respect for Archbishop Cremona, but are, genuinely, worried about the lack of leadership within the Church.

Archbishop Cremona has been, at least publicly, out of action for a very long time. Priests complain of lack of leadership and direction from the Archbishop’s Curia. There seems to be a huge fear of being wrong when it comes to decision making and taking a stand on issues of a controversial nature.

The consequences of perpetual indecision are wreaking havoc within the Church. I’m convinced that the Maltese Catholic Church needs fresh blood and, probably, a clean sweep within the Archbishops Curia. I’m sure that Archbishop Cremona would be happy to let go – if only he is allowed to do so.

Dalligate

This week, lawyers traded barbs at the European Court of Justice. Former EU Commissioner John Dalli [turned a Labour government advisor, accused of being aware that a bribe was being solicited from the tobacco industry] and outgoing European Commission President Josè Manuel Barroso faced each other over claims by Dalli that his former boss pressured him to resign and that his fundamental right for a fair hearing was violated.

Earlier on in the week, OLAF’s Giovanni Kessler alleged that he had received a message from the former EU Commissioner that if he came to Malta, he may be arrested. This is a very serious statement which, if true, begs the question:  Did the government agree that its advisor has this authority?

Kessler also alleged that former police commissioner Peter Paul Zammit had not cooperated with OLAF in a new investigation about John Dalli. Zammit has now resigned, and the government, unashamedly, refuses to explain the reason behind this resignation. Questions on why the police had not cooperated after three requests by OLAF remain unanswered by the time of writing this article.

Dalli is now seeking to clear his name, maintains that the OLAF report is a fraud and that OLAF was submissive to the tobacco industry. Unfortunately, this case, and whatever the outcome, has already caused untold harm to Malta’s reputation, and it will take time and effort to restore it.

Doing business with China

Muscat met his Chinese counterpart for the second time in 10 months in what is a clear indication that Muscat’s government is turning to China for business. There is no denying that China’s vibrant economy is a good enough reason for any government to do business with China.

According to media reports, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, “expressed pleasure at the speed with which the negotiations of the MoU [with China] were finalised”. Is it, however a win-win situation? Why is the Chinese government ‘enthusiastic’ in doing business with Malta? What’s in it for them and what’s in it for us?  Muscat needs to put the people’s mind at rest about these business dealings which are, at times, shrouded in mystery.

Time is running out, Joe

Time is running out for Infrastructure Minister Joe Mizzi. This week an oil company abandoned an exploratory well it had been drilling south of Malta. Back in November 2006, when Labour was in Opposition, Mizzi stated that there was undeniable proof of the presence of oil in Maltese territorial waters, and that he would resign if no oil were found under a Labour government. Mizzi had better pull up his socks and ask oil companies to drill in the right places. Time is running out, Joe.

frank_psaila
Frank Psaila, a lawyer by profession, anchors Iswed fuq l-Abjad on Net TV. He was formerly...
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