Distractions and compensations

The compensation being offered to Corinthia is absolutely shameful. It will encourage others to turn to government to enter this consideration for compensation with their already existent properties

Breaking with tradition and giving a prime site for real estate will be a major mistake: it will mean that others will be knocking on the government’s door for a change in the title of their land properties
Breaking with tradition and giving a prime site for real estate will be a major mistake: it will mean that others will be knocking on the government’s door for a change in the title of their land properties

A few weeks have passed since I called for Adrian Delia to resign. I did not call for his resignation because of any of his alleged misdemeanours. I made it clear that my line of thinking was based on the premise that a leader of the Opposition should not be distracted with his personal issues and be instead focused on getting on with his job.

It is a messy affair, with mobile phone videos and private phone messages leaked by members of his family and then disseminated onto social media.

I am sure many of us will understand that the shouting and expletives that are recorded in the videos being leaked are not unique to one family, and many families experience some colourful moments of matrimonial discord which would do well not to being recorded. When such intimate moments get filmed and leaked, is when relationships go wrong.

Only last Sunday, Delia found it necessary to dedicate his short interview on NET Radio to deal with his matrimonial problems. He said that he would hold the villains behind the dissemination of such personal aspects of his life responsible.

Once again, he is not being given the right advice or if he is, he is not taking it. If he wants to stay on and that seems to be his plan, the less he says about his personal problems the better – even though it is probably true that every time he expresses his opinion on a political matter, his audience will only play the repeats of those videos and messages in their head over and over again.

It is a sad state for the PN, and the only reason that no one has come in to claim the throne is because either they are either waiting for some king to fall from the sky and deliver then from this valley of tears, or because those putting the spokes in the wheel simply do not have the stamina or resolve to take over.

The compensation being offered to Corinthia is absolutely shameful. It will encourage others to turn to government to enter this consideration for compensation with their already existent properties

Delia’s fate is not a nice one. His only chance of survival is dependent on whether there will be more slips and scandals on the side of Labour. In my mind there can be no other possibility. And if it is to be, then it has to be a watertight scandal that leaves no room for interpretation and that catches the culprit red-handed. Only then will Delia have a reprieve and a jump in his popularity.

Just before Christmas he had a chance to place politics before familial matters. It was the government’s decision to change the right of use of the promontory at St George’s Bay. But Christmas cut that short. Fanning the flames of Delia’s family discord, was the usual anti-Delia posse, with dissident MPs attempting to destabilise Delia.

Added to this hilarious episode was a front-page story on PN organ Il-Mument by their ‘award-winning’ report Joe Mikallef, about plans being hatched inside Castille to legalise abortion – also in agreement, Mikallef claimed, were the anti-Delia/Muscatians Occupy Justice, as if to conjure up the spectre of dangerous feminists influencing the ‘l-aqwa zmien’ agenda. The OJs said this was absolute hogwash, and that the fake story was intended at deviating attention from Delia’s personal problems.

Of course Occupy was not around when other politicians passed through their own personal matrimonial politics of turmoil. I am referring to Simon Busuttil here. There was no gnashing of teeth back then. No recriminations about children being separated from each other, one living with either parent. Nobody dared write a line about the way either spouse had been treated. Even Busuttil was left untouched by the association with his former brother-in-law, whose family was directly served by Adrian Delia when it came to their offshore business accounts. Sounds almost ideal that Busuttil’s partner Kristina Chetcuti happens to be an Occupy activist.

So back to December, when Delia had made it clear that he was adamantly against the deal that would change the use of a prime site from a tourist to a residential zone by the Corinthia group. He took umbrage at the fact that Corinthia had been chaperoned to the party HQ by former PN leadership candidate Alex Perici Calascione.

Perici Calascione had stated in the campaign for the leadership in 2017 that allegations accusing him of a conflict of interest because of his connections with the Corinthia hotel chain were baseless, having no connection whatsoever with the group: Perici Calascione is married into the Pisani family, shareholders of the Corinthia Group.

That seems to have changed, having been the one to introduce the Corinthia group to the Nationalist party and lobbied for their noble cause. What is more surprising is that the battle on the change of use of Malta’s most well-known touristic promontory will leave the Corinthia with effectively a billion euro figure in eventual revenues. Nonetheless this has led to no visible or audible reaction from the usual suspects.

The NGOs so far are silent, which leaves me baffled. I do hope there is no political motive in their former stance.

Delia is adamant to uphold the tradition of opposing projects which have questionable valuations on the cost of public land and one would expect Simon Busuttil, Karol Aquilina and Jason Azzopardi to be effectively side by side with Delia. On the contrary, they are conspicuously absent.

And of course, in all this we have seemingly forgotten Joseph Muscat. I get the impression that he is watching all the theatrics as they unfold, enjoying every moment.

Before we get lost in translation, he should be reminded that the Corinthia deal will open a Pandora’s box that will also change two major goalposts. The first is that public land was always given out for a pittance on the premise that it would be used for touristic purposes which has a recurrent revenue. Breaking with tradition and giving a prime site for real estate will be a major mistake: it will mean that others will be knocking on the government’s door for a change in the title of their land properties.

The second is that compensation being offered to Corinthia – a 57% cut on the value of the land – for the purchase of Radisson amongst others, is absolutely shameful. It will encourage others to turn to government to enter this consideration for compensation with their already existent properties.

If this is not a mess, then really what is?

What I do know, is that some people have lost their tongues, others have lost their common sense and others have simply given up. I am sure this must be a great way to start 2019.

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