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Ralph Cassar

I know nothing

Alternattiva Demokratika does not base its campaigns on pet hates and jump on bandwagons at the drop of a hat.

Ralph Cassar
15 May 2017, 7:51am
Overdevelopment is such a powerful religion that we have PL and PN promising: the subsidisation of more building
Overdevelopment is such a powerful religion that we have PL and PN promising: the subsidisation of more building
At a protest in Valletta around a year ago, regarding the development of the Żonqor land for the real estate project with a ‘university’ added on, Nationalist supporters took exception to a poster held by a young Graffitti activist equating the antics of the present and previous government – Different Government, Same Sh**. They tend to go ballistic and get over sensitive over such statements.

Poor souls. The fact is that these same people were nowhere to be seen when two million square metres of land were given over to development unnecessarily. The effects of this Nationalist decision are being felt today, with the land being developed as we speak. Make no mistake, Labour has continued and increased the damage and overdevelopment is its religious creed.

Overdevelopment is such a powerful religion that we have PL and PN promising: the subsidisation of more building in Gozo through 10,000 euro payments by a PN government, the destruction of the Ta’ Qali open spaces by Labour, with the PN preferring to dump a racing circuit next to Safi, Kirkop and Zurrieq, the promises of airports in Gozo and crazy undersea tunnels – meaning more roads, more cars, more traffic jams and more pollution. The list goes on and on.

Weak institutions and conflicts of interest

What about the country’s institutions? The huge conflicts of interest are self-evident. Parliament is a good example. It is an emasculated institution. A system designed with an all powerful Prime Minister, and a toothless parliament. Both PL and PN like it that way. Parliament is weak, designed to be so over the years. 

Labour parliamentarians have closed their eyes in the case of Konrad Mizzi. The minister continued to enjoy the confidence of Parliament despite opening secret companies in a tax haven. Panama is associated with money laundering and a place to hide big money coming from illicit activity. Nor did Parliament call for the removal of the PM’s Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri. Never mind the Police, who failed to act.

Gonzi’s government invented parliamentary assistants to keep his backbenchers happy. Joseph Muscat appointed Labour backbenchers as chairmen of public authorities and bodies, giving them allowances or salaries on top of their parliamentary honoraria of tens of thousands of euros. These manoeuvres undermine the independence of Parliament and make puppets of MPs, who are supposed to scrutinise government. 

The conflicts of interest in the PN opposition are also astounding. Simon Busuttil apparently does not see anything wrong in his MPs acting as advisers to the db Group, for example. Are there other examples of MPs in the pay of big business? Who knows?

Can Simon Busuttil let us know if there are PN MPs and candidates receiving commissions from the obscene IIP passport scheme? And what about MPs and PL and PN candidates acting as directors of fiduciary companies, set up to evade taxes and open to abuse due to a certain degree of secrecy?  Can Beppe Fenech Adami let us know why he did not check things well before taking on the directorship of Capital One, a fiduciary company investigated on money laundering from drug trafficking? Or are we to take his statements that he knew nothing (reminds me of Fawlty Tower’s Manuel – “I know nothing!”), as testament to the weakness of our financial system and the nature of fiduciary companies as magnets for people with criminal intent?

It is clear that the PL and the PN over the years have not shown interest in strengthening institutions. They believe in the mantra, ‘Il-gvern taghna, naghmlu li rridu’. To provide checks and balances in politics a political party, independent of PN and PL, is needed. We have proved ourselves as a serious party over and over again. We do not base our campaigns on pet hates and jump on bandwagons at the drop of a hat. Only AD can serve this function. A vote for AD is a clear message: we do not trust PN or PL any more, our message is in our vote. Vote Green, Vote Clean.

Ralph Cassar is a Green Local councillor who will be standing as a candidate on the seventh and 11th districts

Ralph Cassar is secretary-general of Alternattiva Demokratika and Attard local councillor
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