Stick a red pepper up their ass

The word out there is that the government has lost the plot. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing

Some of them need to stick a red pepper up their ass and get going
Some of them need to stick a red pepper up their ass and get going

It is natural to avoid thinking of the day the clock stops ticking and we cease to live. It certainly becomes more of a subject when you experience friends and family who pass away at a young age.   

Yet we are a resilient bunch; we get on with it and continue as if there is no tomorrow. I think the one thing that we ask ourselves is if we made a difference, or whether the things that were so special and important to us did in fact get better or improve.

When I heard about Fr Joe Inguanez’s demise, I could not forget his passion and amour propre for the Island he lived in. He was a social warrior but he was also a crusader against the greed and rampant decimation of our countryside and our country.

In one of his last opinions penned this year he said:

“There are few – poets and historians – among us who, every now and then, suggest that certain expressions in our national anthem should be removed. The tragedy is that, now, we have several fat cats who, with impunity, shamelessly and without any qualms of conscience do not give a damn about the opening verse of this anthem, ‘Lil din l-art ħelwa, l-Omm li tatna isimha’ (to this sweet land, the mother that gave us her name).

Instead of respecting this mother of ours, they have raped her. Worse than heinous pimps, they have betrayed and prostituted her for the proverbial ‘30 pieces of silver’.”

Joe was a positive man with a great sense of humour, but was probably saddened by the fact that at the venerable age of 80 nothing had changed. Malta’s assault on the countryside had tripled and the greed had not diminished but sprouted everywhere.

Joe Inguanez’s words in his January 2023 opinion could have been published in 1966, 1974, 1981, 1987 or 2005 and would have resonated anyway with how we treated our heritage over the decades.

The mentality has always been that we should put the construction industry first and preserve it because it generates money and profit. Not everything that generates money and profit makes long term sense.

The lobby which today transformed itself into a well rooted association known as the MDA has influence beyond what we can imagine. The MDA representing some of the most unsavoury and greedy characters in Malta can manipulate political decisions, more so when both political parties have fragile and short term policies towards preserving our country.

As Joe Inguanez said in one in one of his last writings, Robert Abela and Bernard Grech should find the courage to change the policies and give more protection to our heritage and countryside… perhaps the courage that Joe had!

Joe Inguanez was an open person with a big heart who would relish a good conversation. But he was also a keen swimmer who would take a swim in the sea every day.

On one occasion in the distant past he joined Dom Mintoff on a swim. The sea at St Peter’s Pool was rough but the fearless Perit still chose to dive in. Joe Inguanez looked on, hesitant to follow. Mintoff called out: “What are you scared of Joe?  You have God in your pocket!”   Joe smiled and jumped in.

I guess from the perspective of an agnostic and an atheist that explains why Joe never gave up and continued believing that change is possible... right until the clock stopped ticking.

*   *   *

This week, the talk of town was Richard Bilocca’s suggestion that people should freeze their organic waste to avoid the odours.  He was answering my question on Xtra screened on a Monday on TVM.  Bilocca was taken to the cleaners and ridiculed.

His minister stood by him. And I am sure that next week Bilocca and the frozen organic bag will be past tense.

Yet, I feel I have to state something. In journalism or reportage, the statements that stick out are those that are unexpected, non-conformist or simply shocking.  Bilocca did not deserve the bad publicity, but they were his words. His work as CEO of Wastserve of course went unnoticed. He is an efficient, focused manager and I am not saying this to make up for his ridiculous comment, but to underline that Bilocca’s thirst to get things right in waste separation far outweigh his ill-timed and wrong choice of suggestions and words. There are not many CEOs on the island with his drive and desire to see Malta get it right.

It also came at a moment when the collection system - not under Bilocca’s management - is in shambles and if there is anyone to blame here it is first and foremost the government.

We can go down the chain and blame the local councils and the enforcement agencies but really and truly as the Maltese saying goes ‘il-ħuta minn rasha tinten’.

Our ministers are complacent. Some of them need to stick a red pepper up their ass and get going. Residents who have to live months on end with bags of sprawling waste behind their doorstep are livid. They deserve to see a solution.

The direction has to start from the very top.

The word out there is that the government has lost the plot. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.

And if this is apparent with the waste problem, it gets worse with road maintenance and roadworks. It is, in all fairness a fucking disgrace. Roadworks that are given out to contractors who do not have the capacity to get the job done and who are dependent on other agencies to complete their works.

One can only imagine the traffic situation when the schools reopen at the end of September.

Bilocca’s freezing bag episode was just the thing people did not want to hear. It may not sound a serious episode but it is what will spark a reaction from the public who have to experience everything from melting electricity wires, overflowing drainage, 24x7 jackhammers, cranes, dust, traffic and now uncollected trash.

Beyond the wind turbines out at sea or a strategy for Gozo or setting up a new agency, normal folk want some normality. They deserve it and the politicians should at least try their best to see it through.

*   *   *

A parting shot with four observations:

• This week students sitting for their A-levels at Higher secondary Naxxar were accompanied by jackhammers just outside the school throughout their three-hour exam. Invigilators closed the windows to reduce the noise levels, but the rooms got too stuffy and hot so they opened them up again. Well, the entity who issues permits for such works needs to consider these situations.

• Last week, I talked about the price hike in postal items sanctioned by the MCA, did anyone care to discuss the matter.  The answer to that is of course NO!

• Last week, I mentioned that the Broadcasting Authority does not care if the surveys it publishes are incorrect and seriously flawed.  Are they going to change tack? NO!

• And finally, when are we going to understand that, after the gunning down of a flamingo, it is clear hunters will break the law willingly and the only solution to a bunch of gun toting macho egoists is to remove their privilege to own a gun and kill wildlife.