Sociologist from Malta

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Feedback to Public Consultation: Mercury House Highrise

With reference to the public consultation process for concerning the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Mercury House highrise proposal, I have submitted the following to ERA and the PA:


To:  eia.malta@era.org.mt, customercare@pa.org.mt
Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning
(
Environment & Resources Authority; Planning Authority)
Re; (i)  PA/1892/19 – To demolish the Go-Exchange building and excavate site to accommodate an entertainment arena, an extension to the existing car park and back of house facilities approved in PA 6955/17, and to construct a 9 storey (29m) residential block with retail (class 4B) facilities on the lower floors and a swimming pool at roof level. The redesign of the podium to include a 19- storey hotel (Class 3B), as an extension to the approved hotel. To restore and refurbish the underground vaults housing the Hotel Spa. To reorganise the uses in the approved main residential tower to incorporate the addition of a residential floor at level 31, an amenity floor at level 32 and receded roof structure capping the building. The resulting overall height is 121.66m above street level.
Site at, Mercury House Site and Go-Exchange Building, Triq San Gorg, Triq Sant Andrija, Triq Elija Zammit, Triq Gdida fi, Triq Sant'Andrija, San Giljan
(ii) PA/0055/17 - To demolish the Go-Exchange Building and excavate the site as part of the phase 1 works forming part of the Mercury Towers Project.
Site at, Go-Exchange Building, Triq San Gorg, San Giljan, Malta
Reference is made to above. 
I note that the EIA does not comprise a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) process. I therefore appeal for the inclusion of this, in accordance with international standards for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment, which is accessible from this link:


In this regard, please refer to public consultation regarding SIAs dated 17 May 2019. Link: https://meae.gov.mt/en/Public_Consultations/MTI/Pages/Consultations/PAproposestointroduceSocialImpactAssessmentProcedures.aspx

My correspondence dated 31 May 2019 to the PA regarding refers in link below. To date, I have not been informed of any policy update in this regard. 

Dr Michael Briguglio
Sociologist




Monday, July 13, 2020

Feedback to Public Consultation: Review of the Rural Policy Design Guidance (Phase 2)

With reference to the public consultation process for the review of the Rural Policy Design Guidance (Phase 2), I have submitted the following to the Government of Malta. 


To: rural.policy@pa.org.mt
(Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning)
Re: Title: Review of the Rural Policy Design Guidance (Phase 2)


With reference to above, I hereby propose that the policy process employs a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) process, which is in accordance with international standards for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment, which is accessible from this link:

In this regard, please refer to my correspondence dated 31 May 2019 to the PA regarding SIAs. To date, I have not been informed of any policy update in this regard.

A copy of my correspondence can be obtained from this link: 

Dr Michael Briguglio
Sociologist


Ħsibijiet (56)

Il-verdett tal-President ta' Malta, bħala l-gwardjan tal-kostituzzjoni, f'dak li għandu x'jaqsam mar-rwol tal-Kap ta' l-Oppożizzjoni u d-demokrazija fil-pajjiż, għandu jiġi rispettat.  Dan huwa ta' importanza nazzjonali għall-pajjiż.  

Il-proċess tad-demokrazija interna tal-PN għat-tmexxija tal-partit għandu jiġu rispettatt. Dan huwa ta' importanza għal min hu parti mill-Partit.  

Nemmen li gvern alternattiv jista' jinħoloq permezz ta' għaqda bejn il-fazzjonijiet tal-PN u koalizzjonijiet esterni fis-soċjeta' iktar wiesgħa. 

Friday, July 03, 2020

Ħsibijiet (55): Il-Vitals ħa l-isptarijiet pubbliċi mingħajr due diligence, u aħna t-taxpayers inħallsu

In-Nexia BT, magħrufa għall-involviment tagħha f'numru ta' skandli taħt il-Gvern ta' Joseph Muscat, m'għamlet l-ebda due diligence fuq il-Vitals meta l-Gvern ta' Muscat ta tliet sptarijiet pubbliċi lil din il-kumpanija. Fi kliem sempliċi, l-konsulenti tal-Gvern ma vverifikawx jekk il-Vitals għandhiex il-kapaċita' u l-meżżi biex tmexxi dawn l-isptarijiet.

Vitals, li ingħata l-isptarijiet f’Malta u Għawdex kellha kapital ta’ elf ewro biss. Il-Bank of India, li kellu x’jaqsam mal-kumpanija Vitals, ma ta l-ebda garanziji. Il-Gvern Malti kellu jagħmel garanzija fuq l-isptarijiet mal-Bank of Valletta ta’ 350 miljun ewro, għax ħadd ma kellu s-saħħa finanzjarja.

Dan ħareġ fil-kawża li qed jagħmel il-Kap tal-Oppożizzjoni Adrian Delia biex il-poplu Malti jieħu lura l-isptarijiet tiegħu, wara li l-Gvern b’daqqa ta’ pinna tahom lil Vitals u dak li ġie imwiegħed ma seħx.

Kieku mhux għall-ħidma ta' l-Oppożizzjoni Nazzjonalista fil-Parlament u fil-Qrati, il-Gvern Laburista kien jibqa' għaddej bħal gaffa fil-kwistjoni tal-bejgħ ta' sptarijiet pubbliċi lil Vitals u Steward, u l-poplu kien jibqa' mingħajr informazzjoni essenzjali. Kieku ma kienitx il-media li ukoll investigat din il-kwistjoni, il-kwistjoni kienet tisparixxi mill-aħbarijiet. 


Hawnhekk qed nitkellmu fuq assi pubbliċi fis-settur tas-saħħa, fuq wirt tal-Gvern immexxi minn Joseph Muscat. Qed nitkellmu fuq bejgħ, li minn fuq, qed inħallsu għalih mit-taxxi tagħna. Il-poplu s'issa diġa ħallas €260 miljun għal servizz li ma onorax l-obbligi tiegħu.

Il-Gvern immexxi minn Robert Abela kellu opportunita' li jħares l-interess nazzjonali u soċjali u jappoġġja l-mozzjoni parlamentari ta' l-Oppożizzjoni sabiex it-taxpayers ma jħallsux €100 miljun lil min qiegħed japproffita mill-poplu Malti korteżija ta' kuntratt li jobbliga lit-taxpayers ikopru d-djun ta' Steward. 

Iżda l-Gvern ta' Robert Abela għażel li ma jappoġġjax il-mozzjoni ta' l-Oppożizzjoni. 

Huwa veru li Konrad Mizzi tneħħa mill-grupp Parlamentari Laburista, iżda Joseph Muscat hemm għadu, u saħansitra ġie ingaġġat bħala konsulent ta' Robert Abela. Il-poplu Malti twikka bil-wirt ta' politika korrotta.

Il-Gvern għandu jħassar il-kuntratt ta' privatizazzjonijiet tat-tlett sptarijiet u li jippubblika l-informazzjoni kollha li ġiet moħbija mill-Gvern ta' Muscat, Mizzi u Schembri.

Quddiem skandlu bħal dan, jeħtieġ li l-ġid komuni jiġi qabel interessi settarji. 

Malta is not for sale. Be the change you want to see. 

Kun il-bidla li tixtieq tara. 


Tista' taqra iktar f'dan il-link:



Thursday, June 25, 2020

Feedback to public consultation - Maltese Gas Price Methodology

With reference to the following public consultation, https://meae.gov.mt/en/Public_Consultations/MEW/Pages/Consultations/MalteseGasTransmissionSystemReferencePriceMethodologyinaccordancewithCommissionRegulationEU2017460of16March2017.aspx

I sent the following to the Ministry for Energy and Water Management (Melita TransGas Company Ltd.)

--

With reference to the initiative above, I am hereby appealing to the Ministry for Energy and Water Management (Melita TransGas Company Ltd) to employ a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) process, which is in accordance with international standards for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment, which is accessible from this link:

A social impact assessment reviews the social effects of development and social change, both intended and not.

The International Association for Impact Assessment defines an SIA as the process of analysing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences, both positive and negative, of planned interventions and any social change processes invoked by those interventions.

Such changes may range from natural disasters to population growth and from policy interventions to singular development projects. Consequently, SIAs investigate the effects on people’s everyday lives in terms of culture, politics, community, health, well-being, aspirations, needs, rights and responsibilities, to name a few.  They provide data for policymaking, which is based on evidence.

Social impacts under assessment should include all those things relevant to people’s everyday life. This may include one’s culture, community, political context, environment, health, well-being, personal and property rights as well as fears and aspirations.

Social impact assessments can help verify the consequences and impacts of policy proposals in relation to the communities involved. Hence, a basic starting point for such assessments should be the compilation of a community profile. A social impact assessment that does not understand the society in question is practically worthless.

Various methods, both quantitative and qualitative could be used within social impact assessments. The former refers to generalisable data especially through numbers, while the latter produce in-depth data on matters.

Research methods in SIAs may therefore include surveys of concerned populations who are asked questions on their perceptions of the change in question. Ethnographic methods may involve a deeper look into everyday practices of people, while elite interviews may verify the advice, concerns and interpretations of persons who are experts or who have experience in the respective field under analysis.

Methods may also involve the analysis of discourse on the subject in question, for example by looking at what is being pronounced in the public sphere, whether by the public, civil society, political actors, the media and the like.

SIAs should involve the participation of different stakeholders, ideally through mixed research methods.

Some other factors which should be included in social impact assessments include the consideration of reasonable alternatives to development proposals as well as comparative analysis of similar development proposals and related good or bad practices.

Analytic indicators should be provided and the entire process should be subject to peer review by independent experts in the field.

Social impact assessments should not be one-off exercises which are rubber-stamped by authorities without any sense of critical engagement. To the contrary, they should be ongoing processes which engage with various stakeholders and which report back so as to ensure effective policy processes. They should also use complementary research methods so as to ensure reliable and valid data.

Recommendations and mitigation measures could therefore be in place, and these would be based on social-scientific evidence.

It is also important that SIAs are peer-reviewed. This means that if a study is being carried out by a team of social scientists, this should be scrutinised by other independent social scientists. This could help identify shortcomings, conflicts and possible improvements to the same SIA.

Dr Michael Briguglio
Sociologist


Feedback to Public Consultation regarding Light Pollution


I sent the following to the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning (Environment & Resources Authority and Planning Authority)

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Public Consultation: Guidelines for the Reduction of Light Pollution in the Maltese Islands

With reference to the commendable initiative above, I am hereby appealing to the Environment & Resources Authority and the  Planning Authority to employ a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) process, which is in accordance with international standards for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment, which is accessible from this link:

In this regard, please refer to my correspondence dated 31 May 2019 to the PA regarding SIAs. To date, I have not been informed of any policy update in this regard.

A copy of my correspondence can be obtained from this link: 


Dr Michael Briguglio
Sociologist


Feedback to Public Consultation - Jerma Palace Hotel in Marsascala


I have submitted the following to the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning:

--

Public Consultation - Comprehensive Plan to Regenerate Derelict Site of Former Jerma Palace Hotel in Marsascala

With reference to the initiative above, I am hereby appealing to the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning to employ a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) process, which is in accordance with international standards for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment, which is accessible from this link:

In this regard, please refer to public consultation regarding SIAs dated 17 May 2019. Link: https://meae.gov.mt/en/Public_Consultations/MTI/Pages/Consultations/PAproposestointroduceSocialImpactAssessmentProcedures.aspx

My correspondence dated 31 May 2019 to the PA regarding refers in link below. To date, I have not been informed of any policy update in this regard. 


Dr Michael Briguglio
Sociologist


Firefighting or uniting - Michael Briguglio

My op-ed in today's Malta Independent discusses the political ramifications related to the investigations of Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder.

You can read the article from the following link:



Friday, June 19, 2020

A brief look at Montenegro - One of the Malta Labour Government's energy partners

A joint investigation by Reuters and Times of Malta reveals evidence that  Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech secretly made a €4.6 million “profit” via his secret company 17 Black off Enemalta’s decision to buy a wind farm in Montenegro. 

In reaction, the opposition Partit Nazzjonalista stated that the Police should interrogate those involved in the Enemalta deal, adding that Joseph Muscat (Ex-Prime Minister and current consultant of Prime Minister Robert Abela), Keith Schembri  (ex-Chief of Staff of Joseph Muscat and Panama Papers protagonist) and Konrad Mizzi (ex-Minister and Panama Papers protagonist) had taken personal interest in the project.

In the meantime it is pertinent to note how Montenegro is rated according to three top global democracy indexes:

Freedom House considers Montenegro to be 'partly free' (worse than 'free' but better than 'not free'), and within it 'corruption is a serious issue'.

Varieties of Democracy dubs Montenegro an 'electoral autocracy +'  (Liberal Democracies are ranked highest, followed by Electoral Democracies; Electoral Autocracies and Closed Autocracies respectively).

The Economist Democracy Index rates Montenegro in the 84th place out of 167 countries. It is dubbed a 'hybrid regime' (worse than 'full democracies' and 'flawed democracies' but better than 'authoritarian regimes). 

In their seminal work 'Democracy in Small States', scholars Jack Corbett and Wouter Veenendaal state that Montenegro 'has applied to join the EU and has met many of the necessary criteria, but organized crime and freedom of speech remain stumbling blocks to accession.... The political system is dominated by a single party - the Democratic Party of Socialists - the origins of which can be traced back to the old communist party within the federation of Yugoslavia'.

In the meantime, Maltese tax payers and energy consumers keep being robbed on a daily basis due to the privatization and selling of public energy assets by the Joseph Muscat government. Robert Abela's government has retained the same energy policy. 

Links: