Fabian Demicoli

Leo Brincat’s outburst against Green MT – What a lot of humbug

 Malta Today‘s story on Green MT published last Sunday is sheer fabrication. It has not an iota of fact hanging to it. It's a bucket of bile and nothing else. Leo Brincat made a terrible misjudgment highlighting it. If Green MT has a problem, it is one of excess supply of recyclable material collected far beyond what Green MT members (and not Green MT itself) need to be able to qualify for an Eco-contribution refund. Why should a Scheme which is over supplied have to inflate the supply figures?

 

 

 

It even escapes logic. And why should a Scheme which is not-for-profit and is not owned by any private shareholders and is committed to distribute any positive balance back to participating members and to the community, be even remotely interested in committing any wrong-doing or participate in any malfeasance let alone "fraud" as Leo Brincat cheekily states?

The Directors of Green MT do not own the company. They hold their tenure of Office as nominees of the GRTU National Executive. Why should these gentlemen on a temporary lease as directors act in any way unethically when all is on record and subject to scrutiny. This is what Leo Brincat misses completely. He had an easy task if he was genuine and had any queries. He only had to call the Chairman or the CEO of Green MT and he would have been shown all the invoices, reports, minutes, audits and certificates to prove that all that was being insinuated is absolutely false.

Indeed it is strange that some Mayors said what they said as a basis for the Malta Today story as at that time so many discussions were going on involving also the Association of Local Council that it is inconceivable that any mayor did not know that there was a cut-off date from which the Local Government Department did not pay their contractor and that Green MT was taking over the payments in 22 Localities. This was not a GRTU issue but an issue of the Local Councils and the Department. Green MT did not go out with its own contractor but used the contractor paid by the Local Council for the traditional waste collection service. How is it possible that the Mayors knew that the new grey bag collection service was being done and that they themselves and the Department were not paying for it and that no one else was paying for it? They know very well that contractors are not the type that loves working for free. And there was no one else really ready to pay except Green MT as Green Pak come in on this kind of service only later and begrudgingly after it was forced upon them by a change of the law instigated by Green MT. What interest did Green MT have of working in districts that were being instigated not to contract Green MT when Green MT was inundated with requests from the majority of Councils?

The story from head to tail is one cheap journalistic lollypop ready for a born yesterday politician to lick. That is why GRTU was honestly shocked when they saw the Leo Brincat parade. What nonsense!

Leo Brincat always had excellent relationships with GRTU. Why ruin it all by blasting incredulous inventions and putting himself in serious legal proceedings situation. The question is really "who's behind it all". GRTU knows Malta Today and know the vitriol Saviour Balzan and Roger Degorgio have for GRTU, unexplainable, but its there, and like many others in Malta the GRTU leadership learned to live with it as the people of Xaghjra learned for years to live with the stench next door. But Leo Brincat is normally well behaved. So the question GRTU asks is "Who will profit if Green MT decides to withdraw and leave it all to others. It is GRTU's choice after all. GRTU does not profit from the tremendous work involved in managing Malta's largest waste-management scheme. In organizing this Scheme on a not-for-profit basis GRTU has effectively reduced the charges to the 1200 members (last count, as it keeps growing every week) and is committed to give a lot of free services to the community, but all this could have gone to fatten the pockets of private entrepreneurs, why not, who would have gone in it for a profit if GRTU did not decide to create this one big collective effort on behalf of the business community. GRTU is in no doubt that there are people out there who will do anything to kill "not-for-profit" initiatives, when so much profit could be made. "This is the whole point." Joe Attard CEO of Green MT says. Normally projects like this are operated by co-operatives or voluntary organizations of people poorly versed in business and therefore the records show that many not-for-profit schemes fail so there is little enthusiasm for them. Indeed that's what even our colleagues from Chamber of Commerce and from the then FOI believed when GRTU came up with the idea to organize a Scheme with all three business chambers joining forces. The three bodies had already created UNIGREEN a joint-chamber effort to do exactly what Green MT is doing today. Our colleagues however literally had cold feet seeing the dimension the Scheme had to grow to really meet the terrible void that existed on the waste-management scene in Malta and how stringent and tight the rules were and how difficult it would all be to balance the accounts given the tremendous bureaucratic hurdles that the Scheme would have to go through to be founded on strong grounds.

This is the story. GRTU and Green MT through sheer determination and incredible amount of work and effort made a success of a Scheme that many believed was a non-starter. And for those with a stomach full of bile, success is a dirty word. There are people out there who are green with jealousy seeing that a business organization like GRTU can go all out to organize and manage professionally a National Scheme that provides a low cost service to the business community and respond to the nation's call for action on the environment front and make a success of it. GRTU is a true best practice exercise that GRTU and all those that work in and with Green MT are proud of. The hurdles are still tremendous and the attacks will remain but the Green MT is one positive story to tell.

Leo Brincat's miserable performance could have been avoided. The Labour Party is completely misinformed on what Green MT does and the way it operates. It is incredible that Labour's approach to Waste Management is based on such poor knowledge of the realities and practicalities of running Schemes and ensuring that the community is served. Rather than encouraging collective business community efforts like Green MT the Labour Party seems to be going out to smash rather than to support. GRTU says this with regret as for so many years the relationships with the front bench of Labour has always been excellent and till today so many of the leading Labour spokesmen approach GRTU for information and explanation. This is how it should be and how Leo Brincat ought to have behaved. An investigation without even the flimsiest of evidence that can at least appear as grounds for any investigation?

GRTU honestly hopes that Mario Demarco has been misquoted as we cannot believe that anybody in Government is now doubting the integrity of all the people that have worked so hard to get the tax exemption and refund mechanism going and those who have successfully worked so hard to get the national waste management and compliance scheme going. But we say it load and clear: Green MT and GRTU are not afraid of any investigation. Indeed the sooner the better so all would know what stomach one needs to invent such stories. GRTU and Green MT's records, invoices, payments records, independent auditors reports, audit trails and written instructions from the authorities, correspondence with Local Councils, contracts and all relevant licenses to operate are all in order and there is nothing to hide.

But there's a sinister and sad message here. The message the people behind the new politics who are running the show, using people like Leo Brincat, is loud and clear: dealing with the elected government of this country puts your enterprise in the limelight, it's bad for your business, and you become a target.

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