Sociologist, Local Councillor, Politician from Malta
MEP Candidate - Partit Nazzjonalista (EPP).

Monday, October 15, 2018

Daphne, a year later - Michael Briguglio


Times of Malta, 15 October 2018

On October 16, 2017, I was giving a lecture in environmental sociology at the University of Malta. As is the case with my two-hour lectures, I gave my students a 15-minute break halfway through it.
I duly scrolled though my smartphone during the break, and I read the news headline. Daphne Caruana Galizia had been killed in a car explosion. I froze. Contacted loved ones. Had to go back to give my lecture. Told my students.
A surreal hour followed. Some students had to leave the classroom out of shock. I had to go on giving my lecture, but was obviously not concentrating. Then I walked through the University campus. It had become a ghost town. A solitary student came up to me, exclaiming that we must do something.
That same evening I joined hundreds in a vigil along the Sliema promenade, and was overwhelmed to see that very week Malta’s biggest ever civil society protest, a 15,000-strong demonstration in Valletta, urgently organised by the civil society network. As a network we were all shaken but at the same time violently moved into action to gather fellow shocked citizens in a series of mass demonstrations, sit-ins and vigils. The demonstrations led to the formation of other activist groups such as Occupy Justice, Kenniesa and Awturi.
Like many others, I remained in a state of shock for many weeks. How could it be that Daphne, Malta’s most widely read journalist and blogger, had been blown up?
This was not the time to nitpick on what Daphne had been all about. This was about the brutal murder of a mother, a journalist, a human being. We had to demand justice. We organised sit-ins, appealed for the protection of whistleblowers and spoke to journalists and politicians from around the world.
A year later, we still do not know who ordered Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder. The government seems to be doing its best to bury her memory and to make us forget that the investigation is stalling.
What is there left for us to do in the dark shadow of this unsolved murder, when everything seems to have failed? I endorse the call for an independent judicial public inquiry, led by both Maltese and international judges. This can be carried out within the remit of the European Convention on Human Rights. The legal framework for such an inquiry is already there – the Inquiries Act.
Such an inquiry can help exclude that the State could have avoided Daphne’s death but failed to do so. It can help exclude the State’s complicity and help avoid a similar assassination in the future. The Attorney General showed consideration of the possibility of a public inquiry in his letter of October 5, which is a departure from the Prime Minister’s position on BBC’s Today programme.
As 24 international free-speech and media organisations have insisted, the government has nothing to fear from such an inquiry but the truth.
We cannot permit that journalists act in fear of retribution for their investigations. Let us remember that Daphne was systematically dehumanised, insulted and threatened over many years, even by people in power, even after her death.
Let us not allow this to happen again. Neither to her family, nor to journalists who are doing their job. And let us remember that last week we heard of another assassination of a journalist in the EU: Viktoria Marinova.
In the face of a political climate that has become increasingly hateful, in the midst of a democracy that has been shaken, our voice needs to stay decent and steadfast so that justice is done, and so that no journalist is murdered like this ever again.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Proposti għall-baġit 2 - Michael Briguglio



Il-ġimgħa li għaddiet ippreżentajt għadd ta' proposti għall-Baġit li jmiss. Fil-biċċa l-kbira tagħhom dawn kienu marbutin mal-isfidi relatati mal-inflazzjoni li qed iħabbtu wiċċhom magħhom persuni li qegħdin f'riskju ta' faqar kif ukoll relatati mal-pensjonijiet u l-proprjetà mikrija rispettivament.



Għaldaqstant, semmejt it-talba tal-għaqdiet tal-ħaddiema għal mekkaniżmu tal-COLA (aġġustament għall-għoli tal-ħajja) rivedut u realistiku. L-argument tiegħi kien li ħwejjeġ bażiċi bħall-ikel għandhom jingħataw aktar importanza fil-ġabra ta' prodotti għax jammontaw għal perċentwal akbar min-nefqa ta' persuni bi dħul baxx. Enfasizzajt ukoll il-bżonn li jitħallsu lura l-eluf ta' persuni li qed jaslulhom kontijiet tad-dawl u l-ilma ogħla minħabba mekkaniżmu illegali.



Fl-artiklu tiegħi semmejt ukoll il-ħtieġa għal żidiet deċenti fil-pensjonijiet u l-bżonn ta' dibattitu nazzjonali xieraq dwar pensjonijiet sostenibbli.



Fl-aħħar nett, sħaqt dwar il-ħtieġa li tiġi inkluża assistenza xierqa għal persuni li bħalissa jikru proprjetà jew li biħsiebhom jikru u li ma jistgħux ilaħħqu mal-prezzijiet tal-kera, mingħajr ma ssir distorsjoni tas-suq. Din il-proposta hi saħansitra aktar urġenti milli kienet is-sena l-oħra.



Tabilħaqq, fl-analiżi tiegħi tal-Baġit tas-sena l-oħra fit-Times of Malta (16 ta' Ottubru 2017), kont osservajt li ż-żieda fil-ħaddiema barranin kienet qed twassal għal domanda akbar għal proprjetà mikrija u b'hekk kienet qed tgħolli l-prezzijiet tal-kiri, u bħal ħafna oħrajn kont ħerqan għall-pubblikazzjoni ta' white paper dwar il-kera. Sena wara, dan il-white paper għadha ma dehritx.



Illum huwa ċar daqs il-kristall li persuni li qed jgħixu fil-faqar, kif ukoll pensjonanti li mhumiex sidien ta' proprjetà u ħaddiema żgħażagħ għaddejjin minn diffikultajiet kbar biex jixtru jew jikru proprjetà.



Fil-fehma tiegħi, il-gvern għandu jipprova jfassal assistenza lil persuni bħal dawn b'modi li ma jinkoraġġixxux inflazzjoni fil-prezzijiet tal-proprjetà. Għandu jibda jsir tfassil ta' politika msejjes fuq l-evidenza, u nistenna li l-gvern jikkonsulta partijiet ikkonċernati esperti dwar dan. Il-gvern għandu wkoll jgħin indirettament lil persuni li jikru li għandhom dħul baxx billi jappoġġa żidiet fil-pagi u billi jippermetti għamliet iżgħar ta' żvilupp li jħarsu r-regoli u l-istandards tal-ippjanar. Għandhom jiġu infurzati regolamenti sabiex jiġu ddikjarati kirjiet fuq perjodi qosra lil turisti, biex b'hekk, minflok, jiġu inkoraġġiti indirettament kirjiet fit-tul lil residenti regolari.



Barra minn hekk, il-gvern jista' jintroduċi mudelli ta' ftehimiet tal-kiri biex iħeġġeġ prattika tajba, indiċi tal-prezzjiet tal-NSO li juri l-prezzijiet tal-kiri, u mekkaniżmi oħrajn proposti minn esperti tal-politika sabiex għajnuniet lill-inkwilini ma jwasslux għal kirjiet iktar għoljin. Għandhom jiġu introdotti ukoll faċilitajiet sempliċi biex persuni li jikru jkunu jistgħu jikkalkulaw il-kontijiet tad-dawl u l-ilma tagħhom biex jiġi evitat li jkollhom iħallsu żżejjed, u d-djar soċjali għandhom finalment isiru prijorità nazzjonali.



Il-Baġit għandu wkoll jindirizza tassew il-problemi ambjentali kbar ta' Malta: l-istħarriġ juri li n-nies jaqblu ma' multi ogħla għall-abbużi, u l-gvern għandu d-dmir morali li jiżgura li titħares il-kwalità tal-ħajja tan-nies.



B'rabta ma' dan, huwa importanti li niftakru li filwaqt li jeżistu xi regolamenti ta' infurzar ambjentali f'Malta, dawn jew qatt ma jiġu infurzati jew inkella jistipulaw multi ridikoli, b'tali mod li xi drabi jkun jaqbel lil min iwettaq abbuż li jħallas il-multa u jibqa' jagħmel l-abbuż, bi ħsara għall-ambjent u għall-kwalità tal-ħajja ta' persuni oħra.



Għalhekk, wasal iż-żmien li naraw li Malta jkollha multi xierqa u effettivi li jiġu infurzati għal abbużi ambjentali f'oqsma bħall-kostruzzjoni, l-istorbju, it-tniġġis tal-baħar u s-serq tal-ilma. Il-gvern għandu wkoll jippremja prattika ambjentali tajba bħat-tisbiħ u t-tħawwil ta' siġar u għandu jagħti aktar setgħa lill-kunsilli lokali biex jieħdu ħsieb l-art pubblika.



Il-kwalità tal-ħajja tan-nies tista' titjieb ukoll jekk il-gvern jiddikjara strateġija nazzjonali ta' investiment f'bankini aċċessibbli fi sħubija mal-kunsilli lokali, kif ukoll jekk jiżgura li l-investiment relattivament għoli fit-trasport pubbliku (madwar €30 miljun kull sena, tliet darbiet daqs l-ammont li kien jitħallas lill-Arriva) jiġi rifless f'servizz aħjar, u mhux f'karozzi tal-linja ffullati u vjaġġi li ma tistax toqgħod fuqhom.



Persuni bi dħul baxx jistgħu jiġu megħjuna wkoll billi titneħħa t-taxxa fuq l-overtime, u negozji ta' persuni li jaħdmu għal rashom għandhom igawdu minn rati ta' taxxa aktar baxxi fid-dawl tal-kompetizzjoni sikwit impossibbli ma' kumpaniji akbar li spiss joqogħdu fuq pagi baxxi għall-ħaddiema tagħhom.



Fl-aħħar nett, il-baġit għandu joffri viżjoni ekonomika lil hinn mid-dipendenza dejjem tiżdied ta' Malta fuq il-bejgħ tal-passaporti, fuq kostruzzjoni bla waqfien u fuq strateġiji oħrajn li jistgħu jaħdmu biss għal żmien qasir.



Huma ferm meħtieġa, u mixtieqa, id-diversifikazzjoni, swieq niċċa u investiment akbar fir-riċerka, l-edukazzjoni, it-taħriġ, u t-taħriġ mill-ġdid tal-ħaddiema.

Dan l-artiklu deher fil-Mument, 14 ta' Ottubru 2018