Insults, car bombs and ISIS

Car bombs endanger Malta’s reputation as a safe and secure country

John Camilleri, 67, was killed by a car bomb in Bugibba
John Camilleri, 67, was killed by a car bomb in Bugibba

Trading Insults

Idiot, moron, parasite have all been heard uttered by politicians post budget 2017. Maybe someone should start a Society for the Promotion of Political Invective. I’m sure it would find fertile ground amongst our political class. The sad truth is that this political discourse impoverishes the political debate.

Mosul, Iraq

Mosul is a classical example of the failed aftermath of the US-led invasion of Iraq. The consequence of the US-led war to bring Saddam Hussein down was actually to produce Islamic terrorism in Iraq. Mosul, an ethnically divided city in northern Iraq, was once hailed as a model for effective US-led reconstruction.

ISIS fighters poured into Mosul on June 6, 2014. Fifteen hundred men defeated an Iraqi force that on paper numbered 25,000. By June 10, the jihadists took control of the Mosul airport and emptied the cash reserves of the city’s banks. On July 4, 2014 Ali Bakr al-Baghdadi entered Mosul’s Great Mosque of al-Nuri and officially declared a ‘caliphate’. At the time of writing, Iraqi Special Forces have begun an assault on the Iraqi city of Mosul to drive the Islamic State from the country’s second city. It promises to be a long and difficult battle.

‘A dangerous precedent’

Lawyer Robert Abela is right in stating that a dangerous precedent could be set if outstanding company tax bills are settled through a property transfer to the government. The statement by the Social Solidarity Ministry that the process had taken its time to ensure good governance is unconvincing to say the least. To quote Dr Abela, “If it (the construction company) refuses to sell the property, why does the Tax Commissioner not execute the executive title he probably has against the company and force the sales of the property to collect his and our dues.” Enough said.

Car bombs

The Bugibba car bomb is the third such incident this year. Malta has experienced nine bomb attacks since 2010. As yet, no one has been arraigned. The police have not been able to solve any of the car bomb attacks in Malta. People are asking whether the Malta police force is well-trained to deal with this kind of crime.

It seems that more resources and expertise are needed to fight organised crime. These mafia style murders point to a network of organized crime which endangers Malta’s reputation as a safe and secure country. This organized crime network thrives in the smuggling of diesel, drugs and usury.

Bank accounts

According to Justice Minister Owen Bonnici the Individual Investor Programme has generated €310,300,500 for Malta. He assured Parliament that ‘this money will be enjoyed by all and not just a few’. Admittedly, the IIP Scheme has been beneficial to the property sector, generating strong demand for high and not so high-end property.

However, important questions go unanswered, primarily who are the people who are being granted residency and in which bank account or fund the money is being held. When asked about it by Reno Bugeja on TVM last week, the Prime Minister said “in bank accounts...”

Minimum wage

Poverty campaigners have called for an increase in the minimum wage. Increasing the minimum wage would have a multiplier effect by increasing spending. It is also argued that without an increase in the minimum wage, there will be a disincentive for people on welfare to seek employment. Given Malta’s positive economic performance, the economy can sustain a 10% to 12% increase in the minimum wage. However, it would have catastrophic effects on our economy if it is embroiled in political controversy. Rushing the proposal through won’t help.

The email saga

It is unlikely that Hillary Clinton will lose the election because of the FBI email investigation. However, as election day looms Clinton is losing support just as Republican nominee Donald Trump is experiencing an undeserved resurgence. It is very difficult for the Democratic nominee to re-establish her innocence with less than a week to go until the election.

A few days ago the attention was on Trump and his scandals over alleged inappropriate behaviour towards women and taxes. Now, the attention is on Clinton. It is unlikely for the FBI investigation to change minds at this late stage of the campaign, but it may affect turnout. That would only serve Trump’s purpose.

Frank Psaila, a lawyer by profession, anchors Iswed fuq l-Abjad on Net TV


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