Letters: 15 June 2015

Need for clarity on rental law

An item appearing this week on MaltaToday.com.mt reported justice minister Owen Bonnici saying that rental laws will have to be revised yet again if a just balance is to be reached between landlords and tenants who pay old rents.

Since the constitutional court recently confirmed that the 1979 law converting temporary leases into permanent rental contacts was unconstitutional, the trepidation of such tenants over the recent court decision is an understandable one.

Suffice it to say, that in my limited knowledge of the law, tenants should also know that the landlords taking court action against the government are seeking reparations for the unconstitutionality of the 1979 law – and not for the eviction of the tenants, who remain to this day protected by the law from arbitrary eviction.

Bonnici has hinted that his government favours increasing rental rates for those whose temporary leases became rental contracts. I can understand that this is the minimum landlords can expect after having spent the last 40 years receiving meagre rents.

But the Labour administration should be wary of caving in to the unreasonable demands of landlords to demand market rates for the rents. Many of the people who acquired a lease in the 1970s may be pensioners today, and it is not a given that they would have the necessary capital resources to pay market rental rates.

Landlords have been encouraged to act on their constitutional rights, but is it fair that an ageing generation is placed under this kind of pressure? Surely the government should reassure tenants that they remain protected by the State as the law stands.

Landlords should also apply some judiciousness in their bid, albeit justified, to retake their properties. This generation of tenants is in its twilight years, and they are certainly not able to bequeath their leases to their heirs. As these tenants grow old and pass away, a new stock of private housing will return to the owners. They can wait until then to take full control.

Aldo Ciantar, Marsaskala

Religious sideshows


On May 14, a local newspaper published an advertisement with the heading “Don Bosco Amongst Us” – which was nothing more than a display of an urn!

The “official programme” included “worship by the faithful at St Patrick’s, Sliema”, a “carcade to Ta’ Pinu”, an “aux flambeaux procession from Dingli Circus” as well as “the patronage” of the President of a supposedly secular state. 

A month ago, the same newspaper advertised the “worship of the relic of St Faustina”. Last summer, it was the worship of the “arm bone” of St George and of “the blood” of St Lawrence. On other occasions, it was the “worship” of some funerary fetish of Dun Gorg.

“What would Jerome say,” wrote Erasmus, “could he see the Virgin’s milk exhibited for money; the miraculous oils; and the portions of the true cross, enough, if collected, to freight a large ship?”

For some Catholics, the teachings of Jesus are not enough. They need sideshows to uphold their faith.

“If religious teachings were simple and clear,” wrote a French parish priest in his testament to his parishioners, “they would have fewer attractions for the ignorant. They need obscurity, mysteries, fables, miracles, and incredible things.”

John Guillaumier, St Julian’s

Simon Busuttil's march on Zonqor

Just when horrific details have emerged about the quality of concrete found throughout Mater Dei Hospital, which had cost Maltese taxpayers anything from €600 to €700 million, Simon Busuttil and his motley crew had a brainchild!

Why not deviate attention from the Mater Dei “State-of-the-art” scandal by calling on the many thousands of PN foot-soldiers to descend on Zonqor in order to defend this God-forsaken area – which a PN government had once considered for the possible location of a rubbish-dump, in polite terms “a landfill”, as well as a possible site for a reverse-osmosis plant – from a government which wants to turn a small part of it into the new American University of Malta campus, which would inject €70 million a year into Malta’s economy, particularly that of Marsaskala and the South of Malta, and create 400 jobs and a lot more ?

And so, to encourage his foot-soldiers to turn up in huge numbers, Simon Busuttil succeeded in convincing MP Marlene Farrugia, who I now, more than ever, consider as more of an “independent” MP than a PL one, to attend at Zonqor and also to address the multitude who were expected to descend on Zonqor. Transport for the PN army was provided from around the island. Nothing was left to chance in order to force the prime minister to concede defeat and give up his plans to bring so much-needed economic  progress to the Marsaskala area and the South of Malta

Alas, Simon Busuttil’s dream of using Marlene Farrugia as bait to attract huge numbers of PN supporters to Zonqor, came to an abrupt end when he saw just around 500 PN diehards turning up, though the PN has at least 900 councillors, besides many more members in section committees alone!

And yet, Simon Busuttil believes he can stop the AUM project from being realised in any part of Zonqor. No wonder I keep repeating that this man is not fit for purpose.

Eddy Privitera, Mosta