Sena wara l-oħra, fi żmien u l-baġit u anke barra minnu, nikkonfermaw kif l-ekonomija tagħna qed iżżid fid-doża ta’ servizzi li tipprovdi bħala l-ħidma ewlenija tagħha. Sparixxew kważi għal kollox il-miri ssettjati fi snin imbiegħda biex l-industrija tingħata sostenn qawwi ħalli tiffjorixxi.

Illum il-piż relattiv u assolut tagħha baqa’ jiċkien.

Din hi konsegwenza oħra – li ma tantx tissemma – tad-dħul ta’ Malta fl-Unjoni Ewropea. Pajjiżi ċkejkna bħal tagħna jistgħu jsibu l-vantaġġ kompetittiv tagħhom – speċjalment jekk jinsabu fil-periferija tal-Ewropa – l-aktar fis-servizzi.

Tajba jew ħażina dil-ħaġa? Kulħadd bil-fehma tiegħu. Se jkunu l-ġenerazzjonijiet ta’ warajna li jkunu jistgħu jikkonkludu dwar hekk: mill-esperjenza.

Li hemm kurjuż – anzi inkwetanti sa minn issa, hu l-fatt li hemm kurrenti politiċi qawwija fi ħdan l-Unjoni Ewropea li jqisu servizzi bħal dawk li nipprovdu aħna, bħala dubbjużi għall-aħħar. U jridu jrażżnuhom, biex ma ngħidx jikinsuhom għal kollox ’il-barra.

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IL-MEJTIN TAL-GWERER

Il-kommemorazzjonijiet taż-Żewġ Gwerer Dinjin baqgħu jsiru imma ma jingħatawx xi attenzjoni speċjali. Għandu raġun min jgħid li f’pajjiżna, huma l-festi popolari li l-aktar jiġbdu l-folol – fejn issib il-baned u l-murtali u l-briju u l-birra u l-hot dogs…

Din mhijiex raġuni biex kommemorazzjonijiet bħal tal-Gwerer inwarrbuhom. L-aktar u l-aktar fejn jingħata ġieħ lil dawk li mietu fihom. Veru li sħabhom li skansaw mill-mewt ukoll tnaqqew qatigħ matul is-snin li għaddew. Kienu huma li l-aktar saħqu bir-raġun fuq il-ħtieġa li sħabhom il-maqtula tal-gwerra ma jintesewx.

Anke meta dawk li salvaw mil-qerda jkunu għebu għal kollox, tibqa’ l-ħtieġa li l-maqtula u l-mutilati jibqgħu jiġu kommemorati b’ġieħ u sogħba.

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GEORGE GATT

Nibqa’ niftakru bħala wieħed li ta pariri siewja u ġenwini. Prudenti u kawt f’imġibtu minkejja leħnu pjuttost għoli, kont narah jinkwieta żżejjed u meta ngħidlu hekk kien jaqbel, waqt li jispjega kif hekk kien magħġun.

Kont nieħu gost nisimgħu jirrakkonta tfulitu li qatta f’razzett kbir f’nofs l-għelieqi lejn Burmarrad; jew kif beda n-negozju tiegħu meta ġie lura mill-Kanada. Politikament dejjem kien ċar fi ħsibijietu, dejjem kont inkun naf fejn qiegħed miegħu – ħaġa li maż-żmien tapprezza dejjem aktar.

Ammirajt fih ukoll l-imħabba lejn familtu. Ħafna mill-inkwiet tiegħu kien ikun imnebbaħ mill-ħsieb li jista’ jistinka aktar għaliha.

B’mewtu tlifna ieħor minn ġenerazzjoni ta’ politiċi Laburisti li kkontrbwew bil-kbir biex pajjiżna ma jkunx biss indipendenti imma wkoll ħieles. Hi kontribuzzjoni li ħabtet tintesa fl-aħħar żminijiet għalkemm ħadd ma jista’ jħassarha mill-istorja ta’ pajjiżna.

Kondoljanzi profondi lill-familja kollha ta’ George Gatt.

English Version – A Service economy

Year in year out, at budget time and beyond, we can only confirm how our economy is increasing the volume of services it provides. The aims that used to be set in long past years for industry to be given full backing in order to expand have long disappeared, almost completely.

As of now, industry’s relative and absolute share in the economic pie have continued to shrink.

This is another consequence – which rarely gets a mention – of Malta’s joining the EU. Small countries like ours find that their best competitive advantages lie in services, especially if they are situated in the European periphery.

Is this good or bad? We all have our own opinion. It will be the generations following ours which will be in a position to decide the matter: on the basis of experience.

What is curious – indeed disquieting as of today, is the fact that strong political currents in the EU consider that services like the ones we provide are most suspicious. They want to rein them in, not to say eliminate them altogether.

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THE WAR DEAD

Commemorations of the two World wars continue to be held but the general public’s interest in them is muted. People hit the nail on the head who say that in this country, crowds mostly congregate for popular festas – where one finds plenty of bands and fireworks and noisy fun, beer and hot dogs…

This is no reason to phase out War commemorations, even less so those which honour the war dead. True, many of their comrades who managed to survive have left as time went on. It was they who rightly emphasized the need to keep alive the memory of their friends killed duting the wars.

Even when the survivors have all disappeared, the need will remain to commemorate in sadness and to honour the dead and the maimed, all victims of the Wars.

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GEORGE GATT

I will remember him as one who gave valid and genuine advice. Prudent and cautious in his behaviour though his voice could be quite loud, I saw how prone he was to worry excessively. When I would tell him so, he would agree and explain that his character was like that.

I enjoyed listening to his stories about the childhood he spent in a big farm lost in the fertile fields close tothe Burmarrad valley; or about how he started his business on coming back from Canada. Politically he was quite clear in the positions he took and one knew exactly where he stood – something that I got to increasingly appreciate over the years.

I admired too his love of family. Most of his worries were triggered by the feeling that he could have worked yet more strenuously than he actually did for his family.

With his death, we have lost another of that generation of Labour politicians who greatly contributed to the objective of making this country not just independent but also free. It is a contribution that in recent years has been allowed to fade in people’s memory, but no one will be able to erase it from the island’s history.

My profound condolences to all George Gatt’s family.