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

Monday, May 30, 2016

Notes from a Traffic Jam


If we ever needed reminding on the chaotic traffic situation in Malta, a car crash a few days ago hammered the point home. A bus and a car crashed on Tower Road, and a major congestion followed. News outlets reported the crash and drivers were alerted to avoid the area.
Anyone driving through Sliema knows that traffic congestion is steadily increasing. And as things are developing, Sliema will not be the only locality in this situation. Amid this suffocation, good governance becomes increasingly in demand.
Will the Planning Authority consider the massive traffic impacts resulting from mega-projects? Will it adopt a holistic approach when considering development proposals, or will it simply consider each proposal in isolation? Will developers continue to deceive us by understating the negative impacts of mega projects? This was the case when architects’ recent plans for development proposals in Tignè did not show other proposed developments in the area.
Developers are expanding their tentacles with new high-rise tower blocks. There are at least two such projects being proposed in Sliema – Townsquare and Fort Cambridge. The Ministry for Transport knows that consequently, thousands of extra cars will likely bring about the mother of all gridlocks, yet is it speaking up for the common good?
Will the Planning Authority adopt a holistic approach when considering development proposals, or will it simply consider each proposal in isolation?
Judging by the behaviour of the same ministry on other matters, I doubt whether the common good is high on its priorities.
For example, take public carparks. Before the 2013 general elections, Labour was vociferous against their ‘privatisation’, yet it curiously didn’t dare speak against certain parkers who were and still are making lots of money from them.
Indeed, such carparks have become a rent-seekers’ paradise. Were the common good really a priority, such carparks would be devolved to local councils and revenue from parking would be usedfor public purposes, and not to enrich some individuals.
Which takes us to residents’ parking. The recent constitutional court’s decision in favour of residents’ should bring some order provided that government does not ignore the ruling. As far as Sliema goes, the Ministry for Transport decided to discriminate against residents when it removed the residents’ parking scheme while retaining other schemes in other localities.
What will Minister Joe Mizzi do once Transport Malta decides to evaluate the 17 pending applications from local councils for resident parking schemes?
I personally believe that non-resident parking in commercial zones should be charged. This happens in many cities abroad and it can also help encourage a modal shift from private cars to public transport, walking and other alternatives. In the process, it can also help spare residents and workers from some car pollution.
The increase in traffic jams around Malta should also alert authorities ofthe rights of pedestrians and cyclists. Apart from the sorry state of many pavements, one has to keep in mind that there are various roads which are actually a hazard for pedestrians in view of lack of pavements, various obstacles and ongoing works.
Cyclists – on the other hand – face many dangers on the road, as witnessed by many accidents, including some fatal ones. Perhaps the Ministry for Transport should consider amending legislation which prohibits adult bicycle users from cycling along promenades, and instead introduce bicycle lanes to enable this.
The traffic debacle in Malta shows that there is a need for good governance and serious planning. It is true that private transport provides opportunities in terms of freedom and mobility, but at the same time it causes considerable harm in terms of pollution, accidents, gridlock and other unintended consequences.
At the moment is seems that not enough weight is given to such harm, with the consequences which are so evident for all to see.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Zonqor Conflict features in the 2015 Social Conflict Yearbook



My article 'The Zonqor Conflict in Malta' features in the 2015 Social Conflict Yearbook, published by the Observatory of Social Conflict at the University of Barcelona.

This article deals with the conflict on the ‘American University of Malta’. This was characterised by the creation of a new environmental movement, Malta’s biggest ever environmental protest, and by revisions by the Government in its original development plans. Consequently, the conflict had a variety of impacts.

The article, which is in English, can be downloaded from this link (also includes a summary in Spanish): http://revistes.ub.edu/index.php/ACS/article/view/16007

Reference: Briguglio, M. (2016). The Zonqor Conflict in Malta, in M. Trinidad Bretones, C. Andrés Charry, J. Pastor, J. Quesada (Eds). ‘2015:  Social Conflict Yearbook, pp. 210-219. Observatori del Conflicto Social: Universitat de Barcelona.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Why school food is an issue


Some days ago I was talking to someone who made a remark that really struck me. He said that he was not surprised that Malta has such high obesity rates among children, when school breaks are so short, compared to how they were in the past.
Indeed, school breaks of around 15 and 30 minutes respectively, are hardly enough to enable physical activity, which is so important for children’s health. The actual time for such activity is shorter, as the school breaks also include time reserved for eating.
Almost inevitably, school breaks can become characterised by races against time: a race against time to play, and another one against time to eat. Unwittingly, what is supposed to be recreational time can end up being another example of anxiety-building.
When I was a kid, I remember much longer school breaks, where playing and interacting with others enabled, for example, proper sports leagues and tournaments, but even a proper rest from erstwhile important lessons and activities.
The Ministry of Education has retained positive initiatives introduced by the previous administration, and has also added some others, such as the Breakfast Club and guidelines for children’s food content. I believe that the time has come to take another step along this path.
For example, the Ministry of Education can look into the possibility of having food served at school. This happens in many countries around the world, and it has certain advantages.
Without become food fascists, schools can help ensure that children are eating healthy food.
Kids can be introduced to food which they otherwise wouldn’t have tried elsewhere. Equitable policy could also ensure that children’s dietary differences are respected. If the school break is longer, children can learn to appreciate further the importance of eating.
Today we hear a lot about the value of slow food, of eating as a social ritual, which can help foster inclusion and the sense of community.
If the school break is longer, children can learn to appreciate further the importance of eating
Children who, for some reason or another, would otherwise be labelled or stigmatised, even if unintentionally, for not following school recommendations on what and how much food to get to school, would avoid this trauma as they would be eating the same food as others.
Apart from the nutritional, community and social justice aspects of in-house food provision, there are other factors which can be taken into consideration.
For example, some basic food and vegetables can be grown on the school premises, even if in low quantities, and can be used for educational purposes in areas such as science, environment, geography, languages and social studies. The school can become a permacultural experience on its own right.
In turn, children can be encouraged to appreciate the importance of food, and to think reflexively on the various aspects which characterise it.
Therefore, a policy change in food provision at schools can result in a wide range of direct and indirect learningoutcomes. Obesity, anxiety, labelling, inclusion, community building, appreciation, and sustainability become issues which pupils and students can learn about in a direct way, and not simply through abstractions.
Above all, through longer breaks, children can have real recreations. Play, eating, integration and rest can all act as positive social functions for children’s educational experiences.
Yet, every policy change can have its own challenges. For example, schools might not have the infrastructural or architectural prerequisites for suchoperations. There might be resistance from different quarters to this culture change. And there might be difficult operational issues regarding food provision and distribution.
Another challenge could concern school hours. But school days needn’t be longer.
The Finnish educational model – one of the most successful in the world – shows that breaks can be longer without jeopardising educational outcomes.
I acknowledge that such policies can introduce various challenges, but I hope that Malta’s Minister for Education considers such possibilities, especially when his ministry is one of the best performers of the current administration.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

KEA: A new expression of radical environmentalism in Malta

he following article originally appears on Social Movements - Malta and Beyond, and provides my reading of the Kamp Emergenza Ambjent.


“We will stay here until we feel that our message has been heard and understood”.

This was the gist of the activists who formed the Kamp Emergenza Ambjent (Environment Emergency Camp - KEA), last weekend in a 36-hour activity spearheaded by Moviment Graffitti with the participation of other activists.  20 tents were set up, and around 30 activists were active in a colourful and lively atmosphere.

The activity was organized at Castille Square, right in front of the Prime Minister’s Office. Just like the new parliament building down the road, the newly-embellished square is already having its fair share of political activities and actions.  In its older format, Castille Square had also been subject to a 6-day hunger strike on the Portomaso development back in 1997 (Briguglio, 1998).

When the activity started on Saturday morning, KEA called on the government to scrap plans for the private university campus on land outside the development zone at Żonqor Point, to desist from building a fuel depot in Ħas-Saptan, to withdraw a legal notice that regularises illegal constructions and to abandon the initiative for a race track on Outside Development Zone land (Times of Malta, 2016).  Maybe one can now assume that KEA will be organising direct action on these particular issues.

Did KEA’s action last weekend have any impacts? This is a mixed bag.

If one looks at external impacts of social movements (Giugni, 1995), one can say that KEA did not manage to achieve neither substantive impacts (none of their demands have so far been met, and it is highly doubtful that such actions will stop the development projects they referred to); nor procedural and structural impacts (Malta’s environmental governance has not been effected by the action, and I have good reason to believe that Police were instructed to ignore the action). On the other hand, KEA had news coverage and thus managed to have some form of sensitizing impact, though there were plural interpretations of the action. Some welcomed it as a badly needed breath of fresh air amid political erosion, others said that despite the good intentions, the timing was out of context, whilst others considered it to be a stunt from the usual radicals.

Perhaps the strongest form of impact achieved so far by KEA, assuming that it will continue with its activism, are internal impacts (Giugni, 1995), which are very important for movement building and culture. These have to do with movement identity and organization. My reading of the initiative is that KEA managed to strengthen networking among certain activists who opt for the more radical  direct-action type of identity. Though this is not likely to have substantive, structural or procedural impacts, it is likely to give a strong sense of belonging to radical environmentalists who are dissatisfied with more moderate environmentalism. Such environmentalism can give a spectacular sense of visibility to environmental issues.

Indeed, KEA’s facebook page quotes one of last weekend’s activists, whose testimonial sums this up very neatly. In the activist’s words:

"I am so happy and so proud to have been part of this small project. We have been dreaming, meeting, thinking, arguing and organizing for long months for an activity that lasted 2 days. Since our first meeting when someone recalled his dream of the action, we have come a long a way – the results will not show right now – but I believe that we have started to sow some seeds that will hopefully grow into something bigger. Up till a few hours ago, we thought it impossible to occupy Castille square without suffering legal consequences, the hassles of going to court etc. Now, it seems we have pushed the limits of possibility a little bit further – we have experienced it, and we have shown that it can be done, and that when we come together the impossible becomes possible. We have started to cultivate a small culture of resistance.
From my involvement in helping organizing Rock Ambjent to the actual camping over the weekend, we have met people who can relate to the cause we believe in. Bands have played for free, people donated equipment, drove miles to fetch missing guitar cables, designers from abroad designed logos over skype, lawyers gave their advice for free, video editors edited videos, people contributed food to the camp, hundreds of people came to show their support, and sign our petition and a million other small but very important things. Let's not take these experiences lightly. A lot of people have come forward without anyone trying to convince them to contribute. I think it's a big achievement, considering the depressing state of general apathy in Malta. Let's nurture and widen these new connections that we have made. They build on the trust that we have between each other. They are the things that can make things happen.
Let's continue to make connections with other organisations and individuals who are fighting the same fight. In Malta everyone seems to be doing his own thing. We seem to think that the thing we are involved in is the most important one. In reality, all of them are important. We might not agree with the different agendas of organisations/individuals out there, but still there is a lot of important work being done. Front Harsien ODZ, Friends of the Earth, FAA, etc are doing very important work – we need to find each other, to unite and foster trust and connection, and keep on building on it.
Another important aspect of the camp and the process of organizing that interests me is the fact that there were no people taking over the whole process. Everyone gave his/her bit, and there was space for everyone to make his voice heard and act accordingly. It is only natural that people look up to more experienced activists for guidance etc, but still, space was created where everyone involved could do his/her own thing. We made sure that different people read press releases, and that there was no one face who represented the whole activity. We lived a few hours of utopia, with everyone contributing in his/her own way – a state where for some time everything seemed possible. It was real democracy in action. We laughed, we argued and fought, we contributed or took a step back when we felt like it – but no one felt left out – everyone did what they wanted to do on his/her own terms. We should make an effort to keep it that way.
Many thanks to everyone for this great experience. Will they listen to what we have to say? Will the natural beauty of Zonqor be destroyed forever? As the great Joe Strummer said, the future is unwritten. But even if we lose Zonqor, and the many other open spaces awaiting their fate, even if we lose all the battles we are fighting...we would still have a beautiful story of love and resistance to tell to to each other and to our children. Dare to join us in this adventure."

Back to my reading of KEA’s camp. I think that KEA can also be interpreted as forming part of the radical wing of the environmental movement, which has been spearheaded by Moviment Graffitti since the mid-1990s. At times, Malta’s moderate and radical environmentalists worked together and were successful (such as the Front Kontra l-Golf Kors between 1999 and 2004 (Galea, 2011)), and at times the two wings parted ways. Yet, these two wings have a symbiotic relationship which results in an ongoing ‘creative tension’ (Carter, 2007) between them. 

Social Movement research has also shown that the ‘radical flank’ at times helps to give more legitimacy to the more moderate and mainstream wing of a movement, by making it appear more ‘reasonable’ for dialogue with authorities (Goodwin and Jasper, 2015).

It would be interesting to see whether KEA will work with other organizations, and vice-versa, and how. For example, Front Harsien ODZ – itself formed in 2015 – has so far managed to reconcile different environmental wings, despite contradictions and challenges. It has also dialogued with political parties, something, which judging by KEA’s initial statement, the latter does not seem very keen to do. Still, if one looks at successful environmental campaigns in Malta, cooperation between civil society organizations and political parties has been very important (Briguglio 2013, 2016), amid a context of strong bipartisanship (Boissevain 1993; Baldacchino & Wain, 2013)

As Chantal Mouffe  (2013) puts it,  though extra-parliamentary struggles are valuable for enriching democracy, they cannot provide a substitute for representative institutions. It is therefore necessary to provide a synergy between different forms of intervention. In Mouffe’s words

‘Instead of opposing extra-parliamentary to parliamentary struggle, thereby eschewing the possibility of common action, the objective should be to jointly launch a counter-hegemonic offensive against neo-liberalism’ (127).

KEA’s action adds another colour to the rainbow within Malta’s environmental movement - rich with opportunities, challenges, risks and contradictions. This fabric is what makes the movement so lively and vivid.

References:


Baldacchino, J. & Wain, K. (2013). Democracy Without Confession. Philosophical Conversations on the Maltese Political Imaginary. Malta: Allied Publications.

Boissevain, J. (1993): Saints and Fireworks – Religion and Politics in Rural Malta. Malta: Progress Press.
Briguglio, M. (1998): State/Power: Hiltonopoly (Unpublished dissertation).Malta: University of Malta.

Briguglio, M. (2015). ‘Ten Years of Malta’s EU Membership - The Impact on Maltese Environmental NGOs.’ Reflections of a Decade of EU Membership: Expectations, Achievements, Disappointments and the Future Occasional Papers, No. 7, Institute for European Studies (Malta).

Briguglio, M. (2015). ‘Ten Years of Malta’s EU Membership - The Impact on Maltese Environmental NGOs.’ Reflections of a Decade of EU Membership: Expectations, Achievements, Disappointments and the Future Occasional Papers, No. 7, Institute for European Studies (Malta).

Briguglio, M. (2016):  Strengths of Civil Society, Times of Malta.http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160516/opinion/Strengths-of-civil-society.612205

Carter, N. (2007): The Politics of the Environment – Ideas, Activism, Policy. 2nd Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Galea, P. (2011): Collective Action Frames and Social Movements: The case of the ‘Front Kontra l-Golf Kors’. (Unpublished dissertation). Malta: University of Malta.

Giugni M. (1995): ‘Outcomes of New Social Movements’, in Kriesi, H., Koopmans, R., Dvendak, J. And Giugni, M. (1995): New Social Movements in Western Europe, pp.207-237. London: UCL Press.

Goodwin, J. and Jasper, J.M. (eds.) (2015): The Social Movements Reader – Cases and Concepts. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.
Kamp Emergenza Ambjent: https://www.facebook.com/kampemergenzaambjent/

Mouffe, C (2013): Agonistics: Thinking the World Politically. London: Verso

Times of Malta (2016); http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160514/local/environmentalists-plan-to-camp-outside-castille.612028

Monday, May 16, 2016

Strengths of civil society

In the past days, some columnists in different newspapers suggested that civil society in Malta is very weak. I disagree. My premise is simple: in Malta, civil society is effective when it has clear party political support. Civil society exists in a society characterised by a very high percentage of voters, almost all of whom vote for the two big parties.
Besides, in a small island State where people tend to have plural identities and wear many hats, it is quite common to have civil society activists who are themselves directly or indirectly involved in some form of party politics.
Activists have their own social networks and acquaintances, in a web of solidarity, communication, influence, loyalties, grudges and persuasion.
Some organisations have strong affiliations to certain parties, but there are also various shades of grey. For example, whereas the General Workers’ Union has a clear affiliation – even if informal – with the Labour Party, the Malta Union of Teachers is more ambivalent and autonomous.
Others, such as the Malta Gay Rights Movement, have helped influence political parties to become more progressive on LGBTIQ issues. Labour’s support of the movement has enabled Malta to become Europe’s top performer in this area.
This relative – but not absolute – autonomy, is what gives civil society organisations leverage and influence in politics. They can directly or indirectly help sway votes from one side to another. And as things stand, this is also the power of small parties – most notably the Green Party – whose share of the vote can have a bigger impact on the result of elections than what percentages suggest.
Within such a context, my reading of various successful civil society campaigns is that they usually are successful precisely because of the involvement of political parties, and not the contrary.
The recent environmental victory concerning ODZ development in Wied Għomor is a clear example. Residents organised themselves and collected around 4,000 signatures against the development. They had the active support of some Nationalist Party members of Parliament and PN-led local councils in Swieqi and San Ġwann, of Front Ħarsien ODZ, environmental NGOs and Greens. This may explain why the Planning Authority consequently shot down the proposal.
The relative – but not absolute – autonomy, is what gives civil society organisations leverage and influence in politics
Under previous Nationalist governments there were similar situations. For example, when the Front Against the Golf Course, comprising NGOs, Greens, a Labour-led Rabat local council, a Nationalist MP and others, successfully campaigned against the development. Or when Qui-si-sana residents in Sliema had the support of Greens, NGOs and a Nationalist MP from the locality against the commercialisation of the public garden.
The three referenda held in recent years also show this trend. For example, the pro-EU membership campaign was spearheaded by the Nationalist Party, but the Greens and many civil society organisations ranging from trade unions to employers were vital in the mobilisation of the ‘Yes’ vote.
The divorce referendum was not formally depicted as a ‘political party’ referendum. But surely, the influence of political parties, politicians and the socio-political context of the time had a huge impact on the result.
And the legally-binding hunting referendum also clearly showed the influence of party politics, while confirming that civil society is a rising force, amid strategic strengths and weaknesses.
If one had to measure the impact of civil society through participation in protests, one should also consider the influence of party politics.
General Workers’ Union protests under PN governments always have the indirect support of the Labour Party, and UĦM protests tend to follow this trend in opposite situations.
One can also look beyond mainstream protests. Specifically, why did Front Ħarsien ODZ attract 4,000 people for its Żonqor protest in Valletta last year?
Apart from internal factors and the unity of environmentalists and other activists, the Front clearly incorporated spokespersons and local councillors from all political parties, and in the run-up to the protest, political parties and leading figures from different parties were visibly supporting it.
This strategy adopted for the recent civil society protest, conversely, was much less direct. This can help explain the attendance of around 400 people – which is actually quite high when compared to similar protests.
The death of civil society? Far from it. Through effective strategy, civil society can have huge influence in politics and governance.

Monday, May 09, 2016

The logic of numbers

Times of Malta 9th May 2016 
Political parties and social movements rely on numbers for influence and support. The most obvious example of this is through votes in elections. When the Nationalist Party won a majority of votes in the 1981 general election, it did not win the largest number of seats and remained in Opposition. But the perfectly legal Labour victory had an aura of illegitimate governance around it.
Conversely, Labour’s massive general election victory in 2013 might be giving the party a sense of overconfidence in its decision-making process.
The logic of numbers goes beyond such examples, though. In the past years, numbers have also been used in public demonstrations as a show of force.
For example, the General Workers’ Union Issa Daqshekk campaign initially attracted thousands in protest against the previous Nationalist government. Front Ħarsien ODZ organised the biggest environmental protest ever a year ago against development at Żonqor.
The Labour Party showed that it is capable of attracting bigger crowds than the Nationalist Party and civil society in its recent May Day meeting. Of course, Labour used its power of incumbency for example to accommodate shiploads of people making their way to Valletta. But, nevertheless, the show of support was there.
Yet, the logic of numbers is not always so clear-cut and straightforward. Sometimes, small numbers may have considerable social and political impact.
Think of Greenpeace’s global activism against whale hunting and oil drilling. A small number of on-the-ground activists consistently make it to the global news headlines. Dramatic and sensational social movement repertoires sometimes remain ingrained in the collective imagination.
A big crowd of loyal hardcore voters might be less effective than a smaller crowd of floaters
The impact of ‘small’ numbers can also be evident in elections. For example, a not-so big amount of numbers may serve as a political ‘threat’. In Malta, the relative strength of the Green party, to date, has been expressed in its possibility of winning votes that could otherwise have gone to the bigger parties. Narrow election results could thus be very much influenced by the influence of small parties. Hence, the strategy of bigger parties to ‘usurp’ small party issues, particularly during election time.
In an age of social media and information technology, there are also other ways how the logic of numbers is expressed.
Media outlets and political parties regularly rely on opinion surveys to gauge political support and sentiments. Political events and demonstrations are also shared through the global media, as was the case with protests from Egypt to Iceland and from Turkey to Hong Kong in recent years and months.
Facebook, Twitter, blogs and You Tube are increasingly being used in conjunction with global media outlets raging from BBC to Al Jazeera. In the process, power elites are finding it increasingly difficult to cover-up or hide stories that can dent their support.
The Panama Papers are a current case in point. Counter narratives from all parts of the globe are constantly questioning the ‘official stories’ of politicians, meaning that, in many societies, one-way top-down propaganda is simply no longer possible.
The social media also enables people to participate in the politics or social movement activism of their choice at the click of a button. Indeed, organisations such as Amnesty International rely on online donations, sharing of news and online petitions to get their message across.
The logic of numbers may also carried out by ‘silent majorities’ of people who are not formally active in political parties or social movements but who follow the myriad of news through their smartphones or laptops. Such people might not attend protests but they still may have strong opinions.
They might not be diehard voters who will always vote for the same party and their political reflexivity might result in a change of voting preferences from one election to another.
If this is to be transposed to the current governance controversy facing Maltese society one might not necessarily take part in street protests but may still be angered by the seemingly untouchable status of oligarchs.
Besides, a big crowd of loyal hardcore voters might be less effective than a smaller crowd of floaters as the latter have an increasingly bigger impact in elections.
Party strategists know the significance of floating voters who stand up to be counted. And standing up to be counted can also take place from the silence of one’s home and translated in one’s vote.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Civil Protest Aftermath


A big thanks to all those who attended the civil society protest calling for the resignations of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri from their respective Governmental posts in view of their direct involvement in the #Panamapapers scandal.


Around 400 people attended. Judging by previous protests which were not organised by major political parties or trade unions, the crowd was sizable, though probably smaller than what most people, including myself, expected. Still, the courageous people present can say, hand on heart, "I was there", "I stood up to be counted", "I believe in the common good". 

Was this number significant? In my upcoming article in Times of Malta on Monday 9th May  -which I wrote before the protest- my views on the logic of numbers of protests and other  forms of activism will be explained. 


Still, something which needs further analysis and debate, and for which I myself do not have an answer, is to what extent different voices sharing a common opinion can be reconciled. 


The Wied Ghomor victory last Thursday was a case in point of what it means to have a victorious common front - as was the case for example, with other campaigns such as Front Kontra l-Golf Kors (1999-2004), LGBTIQ campaigns, the EU and divorce referenda, and others. 

In this week's Wied Ghomor case, all those involved, from residents to local councils, from Front Harsien ODZ to environmental NGOs, and from the different parties, worked together for the common good, rather than resorting to sectarianism. To be fair, though, the issue was not as controversial and charged as #Panamapapers.

Civil Society Network, which I co-founded with James Debono, Monique Agius and Karl Camilleri, did our best to act as a nodal point in today's civil protest. We did our best so that different voices - which nevertheless agreed on the severity of #Panamapapers - could be in the same protest, characterised by free speech and no power of incumbency or stage-managed machinery. We knew that this has contradictions and limits, but we also know that unity is strength. 


I remain to be convinced that an insular and exclusive agenda is more effective than a tidal wave against an adversary. 

I also want to thank the signatories of the civil society statement which emphasized that "We are simply demanding what is normal and obvious in a democratic society: politicians and politically exposed persons should not be associated with tax havens and dubious financial dealings, as this can result in conflict of interest. This can also have long-term political and social repercussions such as distrust in politics and normalization of corrupt practices"

The signatories are myself Michael Briguglio, Monique Agius, James Debono, Karl Camilleri, Angele Deguara, Mark Anthony Sammut, Michael Grech, Alfred Mangion, Reuben Zammit, Daniel Desira, Marie Lucia Briguglio, Martin Abela, Paul Portelli, Joseph Pace Asciak. Jurgen Balzan, Robert Louis Fenech, Andre' Callus, Salvu Mallia, Antoine Cassar, Charlot Cassar.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Michael Briguglio intervistat minn John Bundy

"Il-PM ttratta lin-nies bħallikieku ma jaħsbux"
Beppe Galea  - 
L-eks-Ċermen ta' Alternattiva Demokratika Michael Briguglio qal li jiddispjaċih li l-Prim Ministru qed jittratta lin-nies bħallikieku ma jaħsbux.
Fil-programm Ma’ Bundy fuq RTK Dr Michael Briguglio qal li bir-reshuffle li għamel il-Ħamis li għadda, il-Prim Ministru qed jagħti l-impressjoni li kulħadd jista’ jagħmel li jrid u ma jiġri xejn.
Qal li d-deċiżjoni tal-Prim Ministru li jżomm lill-Ministru Konrad Mizzi u jżommu f’Kastilja fejn qal li “aktarx se jkollu aktar saħħa”.
Filwaqt li rrikonoxxa li ekonomikament pajjiżna sejjer tajjeb il-PM qed jagħti l-impressjoni li kulħadd jista’ jagħmel li jrid u ma jiġri xejn sostna li “pajjiżna jistħoqlu ħafna aħjar.”
Fil-programm, Briguglio tkellem ukoll dwar in-netwerk tas-soċjetà ċivili li nhar is-Sibt se jorganizza protesta fil-Belt.
“Meta tiftaħ kontijiet fil-Panama jibdew jixegħlu l-bozoz il-ħomor”
Il-membri tan-netwerk tas-soċjetà ċivili qed jitolbu r-riżenja tal-Ministru Konrad Mizzi u taċ-Chief of Staff tal-PM Keith Schembri għaliex huma esposti fil-każ tal-Panama Papers.
Għal diversi drabi Dr Briguglio qabbel is-sitwazzjoni ta’ dawn il-politiċi Maltin ma’ politiċi minn pajjiżi oħrajn fosthom il-Prim Ministru tal-Iżlanda u l-Ministru Spanjol li t-tnejn kellhom jirreżenjaw.
Fakkar kif fil-każ ta’ Swiss Leaks, il-Prim Ministru qal li dawn l-affarijiet huma “inaċċettabbli u li kieku l-Prim Ministru mexa bl-istess riga kien ikeċċi lill-Ministru Mizzi”, tenna Briguglio.
"Il-ħidma ta' Konrad Mizzi mmtappna b'nuqqas ta' trasparenza"
Mistoqsi dwar il-ħidma tal-Ministru Konrad Mizzi, Michael Briguglio qal li sa issa, il-wiegħda tal-power station ma twettqitx u hi mtappna b’nuqqas kbir ta’ trasparenza minħabba li l-kuntratti għadhom ma ġewx ippubblikati. Sostna li t-tnaqqis fil-kontijiet tad-dawl u l-ilma seta’ ġie anke minħabba l-prezzijiet irħas tal-enerġija mill-interconnector.
Qal li ma jaqbilx mal-mozzjoni ta’ sfiduċja fil-Gvern li ressqet l-Oppożizzjoni għax qal li permezz ta’ din il-mozzjoni saħħet il-Gvern għax hemm Ministri li qed jaħdmu sewwa.
"In-netwerk tas-soċjetà ċivili m'għandux irbit politiku"
Fisser li n-netwerk huwa ffurmat minn nies li ġejjin minn partiti politiċi differenti u li jemmnu li Malta jixirqilha governanza tajba.
Qal li f’Malta reġa’ hawn il-biża’ u bħala bniedem liberu li jitkellem kif irid iħossu fid-dmir li jirrappreżenta lil ħaddieħor li mhux daqshekk liberu li jitkellem.
Temm jgħid li "fis-soċjetà ċivili inħasset il-ħtieġa li jkun hemm vuċi ħielsa li tirrappreżenta lil Maltin u mhix estensjoni tal-ebda partit."