Fabian Demicoli

No way to Govern

1. Earlier this year the Cabinet of Ministers decided that Malta will not impose
a total smoking ban. The Ministry of Health now publishes regulations that in
effect impose a total smoking ban. This has been done after the Ministry used
the Malta Standards Authority as its lapdog.

2. In April 2004, GRTU
reached an agreement with the Ministry of Health on how the Smoking Regulations
are to be implemented so that the least damage is suffered by small businesses.
The Ministry of health now issues regulations in complete disregard of this

3. Malta joins the European Union and accepts to abide by EU
Rules and norms based on consultation, social dialogue and agreement with the
social partners. The Ministry of Health imposes regulations without any dialogue
with the stake -holders and with the recognised social partners and imposes
regulations which infringe on the rights of owners of establishments in complete
disregard of their rights as investors.

4. Government signs and promises
to adhere to the European Charter for Small Enterprises and commits itself to
help and promote the interests of small businesses. Now the Ministry of Health
imposes on owners of establishments unworkable and unacceptable regulations
without any assistance to owners whatsoever.

5. Government is expected to
shoulder all the responsibility bestowed upon it. The Ministry of Health issues
regulations that effectively transfer its responsibility for health safeguards
on owners of establishments and transfers its authority to the Police as if the
Police Department has no other serious business to conduct but chasing smokers
out of places of leisure.

6. GRTU as an employers association and as a
national organisation representing retail and commercial establishments
constantly supports government in its efforts to introduce better health and
safety conditions at work and in public places and whenever GRTU was treated as
a social partner. GRTU constantly gave its maximum to ensure things are done
effectively and prudently. The Ministry of Health’s handling of the Smoking
Regulations is sheer imposition, a disregard of EU norms and standards and an
insult to decent and acceptable public governance. It represents Ministerial
incompetence at the very best.


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