X’aktarx li għandhom raġun dawk li jsostnu li l-aġenziji regulatorji mhumiex jaħdmu tajjeb biżżejjed. L-awtorità dwar il-konsumaturi, dik dwar is-servizzi finanzjarji, l-oħra dwar l-ippjanar, fost oħrajn, sfaw il-mira ta’ kritika li għaliha taw tweġibiet xejn effettivi. L-ilmenti li jitqanqlu dwar l-operat tal-aġenziji mhumiex motivati kollha minn pika partiġġjana; nisma’ wkoll ilmenti mingħand sostenituri ferventi tal-gvern.

Il-problemi ma faqqsux u ma ħarġux fid-deher issa. Ilhom jinħassu sa mill-bidu tat-twaqqif tal-aġenziji. Suppost li dawn iservu biex jiżguraw li l-liġijiet u r-regolamenti fl-oqsma tagħhom jitħaddmu b’mod korrett u biex irażżnu l-abbużi. F’qagħda fejn il-forzi tas-suq baqgħu jitqawwew u ta’ spiss waqgħu taħt il-kontroll ta’ interessi dojoq, l-aġenziji kellhom joperaw b’mod “indipendenti”, mhux l-anqas mill-gvern tal-ġurnata.

Mentri l-perċezzjoni tagħhom saret li huma bla saħħa u/jew iservu ta’ paraventu għall-gvern u għal interessi li suppost qiegħdin iħarsuna minnhom. Il-fatt li l-gvern innifsu ta’ spiss jinjorahom f’ħidmietu jkompli jdgħajjifhom.

Hemm bżonn ta’ riflessjoni qawwija dwar x’irridu tassew niksbu bħala soċjetà mill-operat tal-aġenziji regulatorji.

PROPORZJON

Xi wħud ipprovaw ipinġu l-problemi li nqalgħu dwar il-bank Pilatus bħala daqqa kbira għas-servizzi finanzjarji f’pajjiżna. Dan wara li kienu uħud mill-istess uħud li raw kif jagħmlu biex ikabbru l-biċċa fil-medja u fil-fora internazzjonali.

Il-problema maħluqa mill-Pilatus kienet serja, mela le, u ħteġilha tissewwa. Biss dwarha, wieħed irid iżomm sens ta’ proporzjon. Il-bank kien wieħed relattivament ċkejken, kif ukoll kienu hekk f’termini ta’ flus, l-iskorrettezzi li nstab ħati tagħhom. Ix-xiljiet li saru fl-Istati Uniti lill-kap tal-Bank jirrigwardaw sanzjonijiet tal-liġi Amerikana, mhux tal-liġi internazzjonali.

Fl-istess żmien li kienet għaddejja l-istorja tal-Pilatus faqqgħu skandli kbar ta’ ħasil tal-flus u aktar f’banek Ewropej magħrufa stabbiliti fil-Latvja, fl-Olanda u fil-Ġermanja. Involuti kien hemm biljuni kbar ta’ ewro u dollari.

ĦAMIEM

Min jgħix Tas-Sliema ilu s-snin jissaporti dwejjaq dejjem jiżdiedu. L-agħar li baqgħet tikkarga hi dik tal-iżviluppaturi u kuntratturi li bl-inġenji u x-xogħlijiet tagħhom għandhom kontroll sħiħ fit-toroq u l-pjazzez tal-post.

Dan l-aħħar, dwejjaq ġdid qed jiġi kkawżat miż-żieda ta’ ħamiem “selvaġġ” li kkolonizza partijiet mill-belt. Il-ħmieġ li qed iħalli fuq il-bankini u fil-btieħi bilkemm jitwemmen.

Id-difensuri tad-drittijiet tal-annimali xejn ma jieħdu gost bl-unika soluzzjoni li teżisti għal dil-problema. Meta ġiet ipprovata fil-Kottonera qam rebus u t-tneħħija tal-ħamiem li nfestaw dik iż-żona kellu jitwaqqaf.

Dnub li dal-ħamiem qiegħed joħloq dwejjaq biss fost min jgħix u jżur Tas-Sliema u mhux fost il-kuntratturi tal-bini li joperaw hemm. Kieku malajr tinstab soluzzjoni u addio ħamiem!

English Version – Regulatory agencies

Those who maintain that regulatory agencies are not functioning well enough are probably correct. The consumers’ authority, that regulating financial services, as well as the planning agency among others, have been at the receiving end of criticism to which they then made ineffective responses. Complaints about the way these agencies operate are not all motivated by partisan pique; I get to hear such complaints from fervent supporters of the government.

Problems have not hatched and become public just now. They have been felt right from the start, when agencies were first launched. Supposedly these serve to ensure that laws and regulations are correctly implemented and to check abuses. In a situation where market forces were becoming more powerful and frequently responded to the controls run by narrow sectoral interests, the agencies were meant to operate “independently”, not least from the government of the day.

However the perception there is today is that they are powerless and/or serve as screens for the government or the very same interests that they’re meant to protect us from. The fact that the government itself often ignores them in its initiatives weakens them even further.

There is a need for deep reflection about what we, as a society, wish to attain from the endeavours of regulatory agencies which do their work as it should be done.

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Sense of proportion

Some people have tried to portray the problems that have arisen with regard to Pilatus Bank as a huge blow to the financial services sector in Malta. This was after some of these same people did their best to puff up the issue internationally in the media and other fora.

The problem triggered by Pilatus Bank was a serious one, naturally, and needed to be solved. Even so, one should keep a sense of proportion in its regard. The bank was a relatively small one, as were, in financial terms, the infringements attached to its operations. The accusations made in the US against the bank’s chairman related to sanctions imposed under US not international law.

While the Pilatus story was developing, huge money laundering and associated scandals emerged about wellknown European banks in Latvia, Holland and Germany. They involved many many billions of euros and dollars.

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Pigeons

Sliema residents have for long years had to bear ever increasing discomforts in their everyday lives. The worst part of this, and it continued to become more unpleasant, has been the total control that developers and building contractors enjoy over the streets and squares of the town, with their cranes and works in progress.

Recently, new discomforts have come on line with the multiplication of “wild” pigeons that have colonised districts. The amount of excrement they’re depositing on pavements and in courtyards is incredible.

Defenders of animal rights will surely dislike the only solution that exists for such a problem. When it was tried in the Cottonera district, the controversy was acute and the culling of the pigeons that had invaded the area was stopped.

It is really a pity that the pigeons are creating discomfort only for Sliema residents and visitors, and not among the contractors erecting new buildings there. Otherwise a solution would soon have been found, and then, goodbye pigeons!