More police needed in fight against poaching

Poachers don’t just shoot at protected birds, but they also gleefully shoot warning shots to ward off ramblers from their hunting spots

Illegal trappers wearing masks to avoid being identified. Photo: Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)
Illegal trappers wearing masks to avoid being identified. Photo: Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)

Spring is a great season to experience, especially in the temperate climate that Malta offers. After the cold of the dark winter, the warm weather and the Maltese light that bursts over the limestone walls of our housing and onto our countryside, regales us with a resting calm, the colours of nature and blossoming flowers, and the beauty that is nature’s bird migration season.

And yet, this beautiful passage of birds remains under constant threat of poachers and illegal trappers, whose activities fly in the face of our right to enjoy the countryside, us ramblers, bikers, campers, walkers, runners, birdwatchers and dog walkers, compromising the sanity this natural feast offers us.

Poachers don’t just shoot at protected birds, but they also gleefully shoot warning shots to ward off ramblers from their hunting spots. They employ verbal abuse to scare off the fainthearted.

Today we know that Malta has only narrowly voted in favour of retaining hunting in the spring, thanks to the efforts of a government-backed campaign, for we know the Prime Minister was not eager to see spring hunting banned under his administration. He’d rather see the European Commission making it impossible for the Labour government to open an illegal season, than compromising the political support of hunters.

We can only respect the democratic decision of the hunting referendum.

But we can demand that the government beefs up its Administrative Law Enforcement unit, providing support to the officers who have to hunt down poachers, by providing more manpower to patrol the countryside. This protection of ramblers and common folk enjoying the countryside would be a visible tangible that shows that the government would be at least protecting ramblers’ rights.

“No humane being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will wantonly kill any creature which holds its life by the same tenure that he does” – wrote Henry David Thoreau, one of many writers who has pleaded for the humane treatment of animals. I hope this may one day become a maxim imparted upon everybody in Maltese society, that we may one day witness the end of poaching in spring and illegal trapping.

Myra Bunting, Mellieha

A divine shyness and two cracks

“God seems too shy, too hidden, too different. We easily talk of mystery but it is painful most of the time. God’s presence is beyond our usual radar. And that word (omnipotent) is dangerous. It can suggest a power that intervenes, arbitrary and even moody. But God stands at the door and knocks, asking permission to enter (Rev. 3.15) Christ in some places could not work miracles because of lack of faith. Etty Hillesum voices a surprising truth: ‘God, you cannot help us, but we must help you’. I am frighteningly free to hurt the divine shyness. Without our yes, God’s Yes remains impotent.” – Michael Paul Gallagher SJ

This mystic divine shyness, which cannot be adequately described is found in Heaven, but it is also present amongst us, scattered wherever there are Catholic Churches, where there is a tabernacle. In this holy presence, God is adored and in the Sacrament of His love, the mystery of the Eucharist.

This awesome perennial blissful stance, present in heaven and earth was only shattered twice, 2000 years ago.

First when Christ was transfigured and “His face shone as the sun and his garments became white as snow.” In this hypostatic union, the glory which the body of Christ received was a result of the beatific vision. A magnificent glorious sight indeed!

And second when Christ rose from the dead, the greatest of all his miracles and the proof of his divine mission. This brief but glorious moment metamorphosed and transcended the resumption of Christ’s body in splendour and triumph.

This will happen again at the end of time. We have been warned not to wonder at Christ’s power to render judgement, “For the hour is coming for all who are in the tombs shall hear the voice of the Son of God. And they who have done good shall come forth unto resurrection of life; but they who have done evil unto resurrection of judgement” (John 5:28,29).

I suppose the scenario will reveal the majesty and radiant face of God once again.

John Azzopardi, Zabbar

Clarifications on the PN-PD coalition list

If ‘PD’ candidates contest the election on the PN list, will the PD be considered as taking part in the election?  If the answer is ‘Yes’, then if a PD candidate is elected, will this be considered as then having three political parties represented in parliament and not just two?

In which case, the party winning the majority of seats – which will govern – and not the party which gets 50% + 1 vote but less seats, as happens when only two parties are represented in parliament.

Will the Electoral Commission be clarifying this important point?

Secondly, if the Electoral Commission does not consider the PD as taking part in the election, if PD candidates contest on the PN list, then it follows that the Broadcasting Authority should not allow the PD to take part in the election debates on TVM organised by the BA, as otherwise this would be putting at a disadvantage not only the PL but other small parties as well.

I hope that the Broadcasting Authority takes note of this important point and make public its decision once the PD and PN sign the expected agreement.

Eddy Privitera, Mosta