Kull gvern għandu t-tajjeb tiegħu u għandu d-difetti. Dan jgħodd ukoll bla dubju għall-gvern Laburista mmexxi minn Joseph Muscat. U trid bħal f’kull każ ieħor, tagħmel il-bilanċ bejn it-tajjeb u d-difetti.
Fl-oqsma tal-ekonomija u tal-progress soċjali l-ħidma kienet eċċellenti. Il-front soċjali filfatt ma rax biss progress f’riformi liberali favur il-minoranzi, imma wkoll fil-ħidma favur li l-ġid maħluq jiġi distribwit b’mod aktar ġust. Ilna snin twal ma nġarrbu ċaqliqa daqshekk qawwija ’l quddiem bħala pajjiż.
Id-difetti li dehru u nħassu kienu fl-oqsma tal-ambjent u aktar, tal-governanza. Jekk ma jissewewx matul it-tieni mandat Laburista, jiġġeneraw problemi mhux żgħar.
Kollox ma’ kollox, m’hemmx dubju li l-vot għandu jmur għal-Labour. It-tajjeb li sar jegħleb bil-kbir id-difetti. Fuq kollox, it-tim Laburista qed juri li għandu l-ideat, ir-rieda u l-ħila biex ikompli jibni fuq it-tajjeb li sar, waqt li jħalli spazju sħiħ għall-innovazzjoni u għall-immodernizzar tal-pajjiż.

B’LUĊIDITÀ
Wara l-elezzjoni, se jkun meħtieġ analiżi profond ta’ kif l-ekonomija Maltija tista’ tkompli ssaħħaħ l-għeruq tal-ħidma li diġà qabdet fostna matul l-aħħar deċennji, waqt li tara kif se tiddiversifika. Dan l-eżami jrid isir b’luċidità.
Veru li pajjiżna dejjem sab kif jidħol f’ħidmiet differenti meta linja li jkun telaq tajjeb fiha tibda tirrokka. Imma xejn ma nara li għamilna tajjeb li ħallejna t-tarznari jegħrqu, u l-biedja u l-industrija jiċkienu daqskemm għamlu. Ukoll nibża’ li ħallejna s-servizzi finanzjarji jikbru wisq… u dwarhom għal li ġej, se jqumu t-tempesti.
Irridu nistaqsu kif u għaliex ċerti proġetti twieldu fl-aħħar snin, biex minnhom nitgħallmu x’għandu jsir ħalli nattiraw oħrajn “bħalhom” għalkemm mhux bilfors tal-istess tip. Proġetti bħal ta’ Crane fl-istampar tal-flus jew bħall-manutenzjoni tal-ajruplani…
Fuq kollox, ma jaqblilniex nispiċċaw dipendenti żżejjed fuq settur wieħed jew tnejn.

L-AĦJAR NIES
Xejn ma jimpressjonawni l-argumenti ta’ dawk li jsostnu li l-gvern Laburista fl-aħħar snin ra kif jinfilza n-nies tiegħu fl-amministrazzjoni tal-pajjiż minflok mexa mija fil-mija skont il-“meritokrazija”.
Il-verità hi li għal ħamsa u għaxrin sena l-amministrazzjoni tal-pajjiż tħalliet fil-biċċa l-kbira f’idejn nies, kapaċi jew le, li kienu ta’ fibra Nazzjonalista. Madwarhom rawmu u nkoraġġew nies tal-istess tip. Mhux minnu li l-lealtajiet fil-każi kollha baqgħu jmorru lejn il-gvern tal-ġurnata.
Nafha mill-esperjenza personali. Bejn l-1996 u l-1998, ħallejna ħafna uffiċjali fil-karigi fejn sibnihom. Sal-lum għadhom jasluli rapporti dwar l-iżlealtajiet li twettqu minn nies li nżammu u ntwerew kull fiduċja.
Il-“meritokrazija” ma tistax tinbena sew jekk tinjora l-effetti – partiġjani, mela le – tal-passat fuq is-sistema amministrattiva publika.

English Version – A vote for Labour

All governments come and go with their share of merits and defects. This certainly also holds for the Labour administration led by Joseph Muscat. And one needs as in all such instances, to establish what balance has been achieved between the positives and the negatives.

On the two fronts of economic mangement and social progress, the results have been excellent. Indeed on social policy, progress has not been limited to liberal reforms in favour of minorities. Measures were also introduced to ensure that the wealth that is being created gets distributed more fairly. For long years, there had not been such a great step forward.

The defects that were seen and felt related to the environment and more importantly, to governance. If they are not corrected during a second Labour mandate, they could end up triggering serious difficulties.

All in all, there can be no doubt that one’s vote should go to Labour. The good results that have been obtained largely override the deficiencies. Moreover, the Labour team has demonstrated that it has the ideas, the will and the ability to continue building on what has been done right, while allowing enough energy for further innovation and for the modernisation of the country as a whole.

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Lucid

Post the election, what will be needed is a profound analysis of how the Maltese economy can continue to deepen the foundations of sectors that have grown here during past decades, while seeking further diversification. The exercise needs to be carried out with lucidity.

Clearly our country has always managed to take up new lines of activity when a sector that had been giving good results started to decline. Still, I disagree that we did well to let the drydocks collapse, or let agriculture and industry shrink to the extent that they have. I am afraid too that we have allowed financial services to expand disproportionately. About them in the future, expect storms to descend.

We should ask ourselves how and why certain projects have successfully taken root in recent years, so that on the basis of the lessons we can learn from them, we try to attract other projects that will be “like” them, though not necessarily of the same stamp. Projects such as the Crane printing press or aeroplane maintenance…

Above all, it is not in our interest to end up too dependent on just one or two sectors.

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The best people

I am less than impressed by the arguments of those who claim that in past years, the Labour administration sought to parachute “its” people in the public management system, rather than run the show at hundred per cent on the basis of “meritocracy”.

The truth is that for twenty five years or so, the island’s administration was left in the hands of people who in their majority, whether able or not, leaned towards the PN. They mentored and promoted people of the same stripe. It is certainly untrue that all of them continued to show loyalty to the government of the day.

I know this through personal experience. Between 1996 and 1998, we left many many officials in the functions where we found them. To this day, I still get reports about the disloyal actions carried out by administrators who were left in their jobs and shown confidence.

“Meritocracy” cannot be developed effectively if one ignores the impact – partisan, there’s no other word for it – of past decisions on the administrative system.