Skantajt nisma’ x’riżorsi għandhom għad-dispożizzjoni tagħhom l-ambaxxaturi ta’ Malta li ma jkunux residenti fil-kapitali fejn huma akkreditati.

Meta jżuru l-kapitali “tagħhom”, jitħallsulhom il-vjaġġ u l-alloġġ – għal numru limitat ta’ jiem. Baġit biex imexxu l-ħidma tagħhom, prattikament ma jeżistix. Effettivament biex jagħmlu xi impatt, iridu jġibu ruħhom qishom kienu membri attivi ta’ xi għaqda tal-volontarjat. Dan japplika wkoll għal ambaxxaturi mhux residenti f’pajjiżi membri tal-Unjoni Ewropea.

Nifhem kif matul is-snin, ambaxxaturi mhux residenti għażlu li jibqgħu d-dar minflok jagħmlu preżenza fejn huma akkreditati.

Skantajt għax fl-istess żmien, nisimgħu dwar ħlasijiet favolużi lbieraħ u llum għal karigi li dwarhom it-trombi daqqew qawwija, imma li għalihom l-impenn, it-talent, il-ħidma u r-riżultati kienu miżerabbli.

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“Nagħmlu li rridu”

Il-Parlament jagħmel li jrid, u aħna nagħmlu li rridu – hekk, skont il-midja, stqarr l-Arċisqof Scicluna. Wieħed jifhem u japprezza l-prudenza li ntweriet quddiem din l-istqarrija straordinarja. Ċittadin komuni bħali m’għandux għalfejn juriha.

F’demokrazija parlamentari, Parlament qiegħed hemm mhux biex jagħmel li jrid, imma biex f’isem il-poplu, skont ir-riżultat ta’ elezzjonijiet demokratiċi, jilleġiżla. Jekk jagħmel xi ħaġa kontra l-Kostituzzjoni, jeżistu proċeduri biex joffru rimedju.

Nippreżumi li l-“aħna” li qed jirreferi għalih l-Arċisqof hi l-istituzzjoni tal-Knisja Kattolika f’Malta. Żgur li ma setax jirreferi għall-maġġoranza tal-poplu. Fl-aħħar okkażjoni demokratika fejn il-poplu wera fehmtu dwar kwistjoni partikolari – ir-referendum dwar divorzju – sfiduċja bil-kbir il-pożizzjoni tal-Knisja.

Din ma tistax tagħmel “li trid” f’pajjiżna, l-istess bħal kull ċittadin u istituzzjoni oħra. Trid tirrispetta l-liġijiet li jgħaddi l-Parlament.

Kulħadd jista’ jaħseb li jrid dwar il-proposta li l-vilifikazzjoni tar-reliġjon titneħħa minn reat kriminali (jien wieħed minn dawk li ninsab dubjuż dwarha).

Imma bla riżerva ta’ xejn, hu kundannabbli li l-Arċisqof u l-istituzzjoni li jmexxi jużawha bħala pretest biex jiddikjaraw li huma jistgħu “jagħmlu li jridu”.

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Tmiem il-festi

Tmiem il-festi tas-sajf jimmarka bidla fil-konsum u fin-nefqa tal-pajjiż. Barra mix-xiri ta’ xorb u ikel li jirranka matul is-sajf tal-festi, il-fasla li jieħu t-traffiku, il-problemi akuti ta’ parkeġġ, il-flejjes minfuqa fuq tiżjin, briju u logħob tan-nar, kollha jservu biex iressqu l-attività ekonomika lejn ċerta direzzjoni.

Imrikkba fuq ir-romblu tat-turiżmu, li dis-sena kien fl-aqwa forma, il-festi jagħtu spinta qawwija lill-konsum intern. Ma nafx jekk iniex sejjer żball, madankollu dis-sena deherli li naqset il-parteċipazzjoni organizzata tat-turisti fil-festi – konsegwenza tal-fatt li persentaġġ dejjem aqwa ta’ vaganzi qed jiġu reġistrati bl-internet.

Issa, in-nefqa tal-poplu se ddur lejn il-bżonnijiet tal-“ħarifa”, bħax-xiri ta’ materjal edukattiv għat-tfal tal-iskejjel.

 

English Version – Non-resident

I was surprised to learn about the resources available to non-resident ambassadors in capital cities where they are accredited.

When they visit “their” capitals, travel and accomodation expenses are paid by the government for a limited number of days. To organize their activities, they have access to practically no budget. Effectively to make some impact, they must behave like active members of an NGO. This also holds for non-resident ambassadors to EU members states.

One comprehends why over the years, non-resident ambassadors preferred to stay at home, rather than make themselves seen in the countries to which they were accredited.

All this is curious because meanwhile we have been learning about the fabulous payments allocated yesterday and today to posts whose importance was trumpeted high and low, but for which the commitment, talent, effort and results were just miserable.

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“We’ll do what we want”

Archbishop Scicluna as quoted by the media: “Parliament can do what it wants and we too will do what we want…”

One understands and appreciates the prudence maintained since this extraordinary statement was made. An ordinary citizen like me does not have to show it.

In a parliamentary democracy, Parliament does not function in order to do what it wants, but to legislate in the name of the people, in line with the results secured in democratically held elections. If it acts in breach of the Constitution, procedures exist to provide remedies.

One presumes that the “we” referred to by the Archbishop is the Catholic Church in Malta, as an institution. He certainly could not have referred to the majority of the population. In the last democratic occasion when the Maltese people expressed their view on a particular issue – the divorce referendum – the Church’s stand received a strong vote of no-confidence.

The Church cannot do “what it wants” in this country, just like any other citizen or institution. It must respect laws passed by Parliament.

Everyone is entitled to his/her views about the proposal not to consider anymore the vilification of religion as a criminal act (I happen to be one of those who have doubts about it).

But there can be no reservations about the following: that Archbishop Scicluna and the institution he leads use this as a pretext to declare that they “can do what they want” deserves full condemnation.

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The party’s over

The end of summer marks a change in the country’s consumption and expenditure patterns. Beyond food and drinks sales which accelerate as the festa season develops, traffic patterns, acute parking problems, monies spent on decorations, partying and fireworks, all help to steer economic activity in a certain direction.

Surfing on the wash of tourism, which this year struck top form, festas give a strong boost to domestic consumption. Still, I may be mistaken, but was there this year a decline in the collective trips to festas organized for tourists? – a consequence perhaps of the fact that a growing percentage of holidays are now being booked through the internet?

In short time, popular expenditures will become defined by the needs of “autumn”, such as the purchase of educational material for schoolchildren.