Letters: 20th April 2014

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil (Photo: Ray Attard)
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil (Photo: Ray Attard)

Opposition by worst case scenario

Are you thinking of going on a cruise this summer for your holiday?  Well think again. Have you not heard about Concordia or the Titanic? Do you realize that if there is a fire on board you will be burnt to cinders? Are you aware that if a virus, like Ebola, gets on board the ship within a couple of days you will be as dead as a dodo? Have you considered collisions and piracy?  

This is an example of a worst-case scenario, a disease that is afflicting the Hon. Dr. Simon Busittil and his honourable nationalist friends in a big way at the moment.  No sooner does the government announce some scheme than the opposition digs up all the things that could possibly go wrong with that scheme. This has become a habit as predictable as the rising of the sun each morning.

According to these worst-case scenarists, our street lighting and the electricity in our homes and industries will soon depend on the whims of a few nasty Chinese ogres.  Our beloved island will be used as a prostitute by some very shady mafia types who will bring with them untold miseries - on Campus FM radio I even heard one of those analysts of the daily press announce that one of these new citizens could even kill the Prime Minister. Unbelievable but true.

Now it’s the tanker. The scenarios of poisonous clouds, devastating explosions and a power station in ruins are paraded in front of us with nauseating regularity. One is reminded of Hitler’s dictum that if a lie is repeated thirty times it will be believed.

The truth is that, fortunately, most of us do not allow our lives to be ruled by worst-case scenarios. If we did, we would all go crazy. Rather, most sensible people turn to probability when they weigh up the pros and cons of the various events in their lives. 

Even those with only a vague notion of mathematical probability resort to common sense in their choices. So, for example, in spite of very well-publicized crashes, most people still use the airplane to travel because they know that the chances of a crash are very remote. In fact, the odds are 11 million to one that you will die in an air crash.

In life there are only two things that are absolutely certain, death and taxes. For the rest, we have only probability to guide us in our actions.  If the people of Marsaxlokk allow the worst-case scenarios to rule their lives, according to what is presented to them by the fear mongers, then they should seriously consider moving to Rabat, for the chances of their low lying land being inundated by a tsunami are greater than they think. 

Personally I think that the sensible way for all of us to deal with the tanker problem is to examine the statistics published by independent experts and not by those with a political agenda. We should consider carefully whether the general good is being sabotaged for the political benefit of the few. When, in a democracy, opposition becomes obstructionism then there is cause for concern.  

Albert Ellul, via email

Another beach in danger

Summer is approaching once more. The deckchair-beach saga and the injustice that was being done to hundreds of families during the summer season will hopefully not be repeated, thanks to your consistent reports over the years. After many years, we hope that many families will start enjoying the popular sandy beaches again without having to pay anything.

Be that as it may, there are many beaches all over Malta that are abused in some form or other. And as much as entrepreneurs abuse of them, so too can the individual abuse of public places.

Now, there is a place in St Paul’s Bay, known as Ta’ L-Ghazzinin, which is neither rocky nor sandy. To get access to this beach, one would have to walk down a hill that leads to an open cemented area, supposedly for children to play in and for adults to relax and enjoy. This area, I have been told, was used in the past for sports activities. And, in the corner, not seen from above, there is a small family run restaurant that caters for a number of people who come from all over the island.

Unfortunately, on the second Sunday of its opening, the area reserved for swimmers and children was occupied by some 20 odd cars by 4pm and the families were, little by little, pushed back toward the restaurant. There was nonstop car activity, which was a threat to all those present. Instead of watching the beautiful little island just opposite, the sea and waves roll toward us, we were watching cars go past whilst having to inhale their exhaust fumes.  The car owners didn’t seem to mind posing a threat to all those present, including the children, as long as they could keep their cars close by and hop in and out when the need arose.

These people are disregarding all the signs present, disrespecting all those people and children present on the beach, risking the lives of others, indirectly inviting all other car owners to bring their car down thereby increasing the pollution and disrupting the peace and tranquility of all those present in the supposedly fresh air, aside from posing a safety threat to children.

Now, in the past, no cars were allowed except for the restaurant owner to bring his/her goods down. However, this has changed over the years. We Maltese are renowned for being lazy and this is one perfect example. The barricade that was once there has been destroyed and the local council never repaired it. Occasionally, when a complaint is made, the council sends its wardens first thing in the morning when only a few cars are present. This whole affair is a mockery to all those who would like to enjoy some peace, tranquility, fresh air and respite from today’s hectic life style. We do not enjoy seeing drivers park their cars indiscriminately and irresponsibly. Thus I invite the local media, the police and the local council to look into this issue and follow it with actions.  

Leonard Schembri, Gzira