Fabian Demicoli

It’s about enterprise not smoking


Anyone that tries to depict GRTU as a lobby in favour of smoking or
passive smoking is very, very wrong, not to say dishonest. We have made this
clear enough in our interventions in the media. And Vince Farrugia is not
disloyal to anyone but true to the thousands of smaller entrepreneurs
represented by GRTU when he states that politicians that messed up with trading
licences did not enjoy their power too long. It is not a threat. It's a true
fact of Maltese political history. He who does not take this seriously does so
at his peril.


And it is absolutely silly to depict Mr Farrugia as a
smoker who has a personal axe to grind. Mr Farrugia is not a smoker and anyone
who has been to his office knows of his objection to passive smoking.

The
point GRTU is making, however, is not so difficult to be understood by those who
want to listen.

Smoking is a social habit. It is not a criminal act.
Employers and owners of enterprises cannot be made responsible under heavy
penalties of up to Lm500 and up to Lm50 a day and extended to prison sentences
of up to three months and suspension of working place operating licences simply
because smoking takes place in their establishment. This is an affront to
private investment in Malta and whoever drafted and approved those regulations
should have the grace to admit a grave mistake and to rethink and re-draw the
regulations without much more fuss.

Achieving agreed aims to reduce
smoking is one thing but castigating employers and enterprise is something else.
We will not have it and we will fight it because it is unjust. Only stubbornness
on the part of the minister will be to blame if the issue is allowed to
escalate.

 

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