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evarist_bartolo
Evarist Bartolo

Therapy programmes for disabled at risk

By the beginning of August, Inspire had still not received any payment for April, May, June and July.

evarist_bartolo
Evarist Bartolo
2 October 2012, 12:00am
Parents of disabled persons receiving therapies provided by Inspire in a programme government had agreed (after two years of negotiations) to part-finance six months ago, are worried that these therapies cannot be guaranteed in the new scholastic year that has just started as government has failed to sign the formal agreement with Inspire.

Government has also failed to deliver on its promises to issue monthly payments to Inspire for this programme. By the beginning of August, Inspire had still not received any payment for April, May, June and July. This has created a huge problem for Inspire as they pay their salaries on time every month.

Extension

Companies involved in the oil trade in Malta are angry that government is planning to extend the lease of the San Lucian Terminal to Falzon Group of Companies before the coming election and without issuing any tender. The present lease agreement runs out in March 2013 and Falzon Group of Companies would like to have it renewed as it is very profitable.

Other companies would like to tender to acquire these facilities which are the largest storage terminals that can hold up to 45,000 cubic metres of a wide range of fuel oil located at Qajjenza near the Malta Freeport.

From the San Lucian Terminal Falzon Group of Companies operate four bunker barges to supply the various petroleum products required by vessels crossing the Mediterranean.

Falzon Group of Companies has been trying for at least two years to have the lease agreement renewed. Falzon is very close to Finance Minister Tonio Fenech.

Numbers

In his speech on 20 September 2012, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said that the number of pensioners that have chosen, or are constrained to work to make ends meet, amounts to some 8,000 persons.

Last April, Parliamentary Secretary Mario Galea claimed that these amounted to 10,000.

Does it mean that between April and September 2,000 pensioners who used to work have now lost their job?

Eurostat statistics contradict the claims of the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary Galea. The latest available Eurostat data for April - June 2012 puts the number of those in employment over the age of 60 at 6,500. This is 20% less than Gonzi's claim and 35% less than Galea's claim.

Blaming victims

In the first six months of this year the number of cases of domestic violence reported to the police in Malta reached 486. Since 2005, the number of domestic violence cases reported to the police in Malta has quadrupled, 848 cases being reported in 2011.

Probably there are still a considerable number of women who do not report cases of physical or psychological abuse to the police. As someone who visits hundreds of families every year I come in teach with women who endure violence in silence and prefer not to speak out. It is not the first time that they decide to break their silence but then reconsider their position as they wrongly believe that denouncing the perpetrator makes the situation worse.

Blaming victims for the violence they suffer is totally unacceptable.

I agree with what human rights NGO Aditus said: that blaming domestic violence victims for provoking the violence used against them helps to spread a culture of violence. Aditus is right to urge "a definitive zero tolerance to all forms of domestic violence, whether physical or psychological, and whether perpetrated against men, women or children. Anything short of a zero tolerance approach could detract from the responsibility the perpetrators of this violence should rightly be made to face".

Against equality

The Maltese government is supporting Britain in its efforts to block a proposal by EU Commission to impose a 40% female quota on listed company boards across the 27 country bloc.

Nine countries, including the Netherlands, Malta, and six central and eastern European countries, sent a strongly worded letter to the commission's president, José Manuel Barroso, and his deputy, Viviane Reding, who is the primary sponsor of the proposal, in an effort to dissuade the EU from going ahead with the proposal altogether.

The joint effort may force Brussels to drop the legislation, as the nine countries opposed to the proposal now have sufficient votes to block the plan under the EU's complex majority voting process.

Reding argues that despite the fact that around 60% of university graduates are female, women still represent only 14% of board members in Europe's biggest listed companies and only 3% of board presidents.

Malta, being the worst among EU Member States in this regard, stands at the bottom of the ladder despite the fact that women have achieved up to 60% of all University graduates for nearly a decade. Malta's largest 19 companies trading on the stock exchange are all chaired by men, while only three out of a hundred directors are women.

Evarist Bartolo is shadow minister for education