My beautiful country

We have been turned into barbarians willing to sell our country to enrich ourselves, until we change the face of this country forever and transform it like any other place in the ugly world

I remember visiting Baħrija as a little boy with my family. My face glued to the car window at the back of the metallic-blue Hillman Hunter, it was a treat back then leaving the confines of the Birkirkara urban sprawl. 

We drove slowly up past the Aqueduct in Mrieħel, then surrounded by wheat fields, past the crooked, eerie-looking Aleppo Pines up to Saqqajja in Rabat, then past the Roman Villa to the Poplar trees of Landrijiet, near the big, rusting antennae dug into the garigue of bursting Maltese pyramidal orchids. 

Baħrija was then a small hamlet with a small primary school. To me that village meant more than the endemic and endangered freshwater crab that hid concealed in the water course of the valley below or the spectacular view over Fomm ir-Riħ. It meant a lot because my mother had started her teaching experience there at the age of 16. 

I have recollections of her stories, of the mischievous boys who would scare her with the Pipistrelle bats they hid in their pockets. “Kemm kienu tan-nelħ,” she would say, instead of using the word “tan-nejk” which was of course too rude for her to use. 

There was also a small run-down village bar that cooked Maltese rabbit apart from the usual home-made wine that tasted more like vinegar but was simply marvellous when mixed with cold 7UP. To this curious boy from Birkirkara, Baħrija was the best example of a forgotten corner of a small island. It was simply sublime and beautiful. 

Yet already 25 years ago, Baħrija became the focal point for developers, where by some unexplained inspiration it was ripped apart thanks to new planning policy changes that allowed land not open for development, to be sold for development.  

You only need to see the big developers in the area to understand how this happened. And who put pressure on whom. Baħrija has now changed into a horrid example of Maltese suburbia. The gem that it was once is no longer. 

I have not visited Baħrija for years. To preserve my memory of the place I refuse to even look down at Baħrija when the airplane lifts off from Gudja and whisks past over the Baħrija plateau. 

Yet Baħrija is no exception but an example of how this island, with its impressive coastline, spectacular limestone valleys and outcrops of rocky karst, hundreds of different plant species, and small terraced fields with lines of carob trees, was ravaged – it is the story of this nation, a political class that intentionally fed a greedy class of businessmen to rape this country and take its soul away in return for gratification, cash and support for their electoral campaigns. 

Malta has now seen more land grabs and shocking urbanisation in the last 40 years than its 2,000 years of existence. Not only are we overpopulated and own too many cars or have too many roads, but above all we are greedy and have understood that the easiest way in making money or investing money is in property. 

We have been turned into barbarians willing to sell our country to enrich ourselves, until we change the face of this country forever and transform it like any other place in the ugly world. 

To enable us to achieve this goal we have political masters who have facilitated planning laws, bended rules, opened up new opportunities for voracious speculators, whose cultural deficiency and immoral standing has no limit. 

I cannot bear hearing politicians talking about the environment without going into the micro. Without wanting to be too brusque about Miriam Dalli, if we are going to talk about climate change we also need to get our act together and rush to save our land, our country first. What is the use of talking about the climate emergency if the country we live in is given scant importance when it comes to over-development and steroidical growth? 

Sure, we do need to talk about the present climate emergency. But we need to address our planning laws and their bias towards developers. Otherwise Malta is simply destined to be an island overtaken by a malignant growth of cranes, cement and asphalt. Without a soul of its own, there is no nation to make this place a real country that everyone loves. We need to act now. 


The court arraignments of two weeks ago did not only shock the public, but it also startled the many businessmen in the property and construction market, who are renowned for tax evasion on a gigantic scale. Their undeclared monies amount to millions, and the taxman knows this. 

There is little doubt in my mind that while the justification for the arraignments are rather clear, the FCID’s radar on this matter may be accused to have been particular choosey in a nation where serious tax evasion and avoidance could be widespread. 

If they had to take the first 100 individuals involved in quarries, land buying, road building and followed by those involved in home contracting, they would have to open the courts on Sunday. Of that I am sure. 

For tax evasion and money laundering is not the malaise of the few: it is a national pastime. The obvious reaction is to pretend that there are few sinners. Corradino would be more suited for harbouring the virginal few than the real culprits. 


Earlier this week, Council of Europe data on prisons found Malta had the highest suicide rate per 10,000 inmates (top for nations with populations above 500,000; second after Iceland, with an abnormally high rate of 61). 

Malta had a suicide rate of 25.2 per 10,000 inmates. Malta also has the highest growth rate in incarceration between 2019 and 2020 (15.2% increase), followed by Cyprus (13.1%), Iceland (11.7%) and Croatia (10.3%).  

And as tradition goes, the communications arm of the Home Affairs ministry did what they are very good at doing. Saying nothing. In another country there would have been an outcry, a discussion or a debate. 

Even Dlam għad-Dawl have lost their voice. Not a word, not a whisper. 

I guess it has to do with the fact that the inmates have no votes, are not a constituency and have no real value. We are, what we are. We are judged by what we say. Or better still, for what we never say.