Fabian Demicoli

Solution to Current Parliamentary Stalemate Vince Farrugia, GRTU DG Comments

 Tourists who had planned to come to Malta are not bothering as the local political scene does not even effect them slightly. Foreign buyers of Maltese goods and services are likewise not affected. It's the same with transshipment, harbour operations, financial services, e-gaming, ship registration and all other economic activities which together form the greatest chunk of Malta's GDP.

 

What is effected is local private consumption as consumers hate these political shocks and tend to steer away from spending. Again this is a situation which will be attuned, as the situation drags on, as people have a habit of accepting things, even strange happenings, as this one, as pretty well normal. The negative impact is more on decisions effecting the short to medium term future investment decisions, as investors might prefer to review as change always puts people on a cautious mode. A potential change of Government does cause people to rethink or postpone.

I think it is almost hilarious that our political masters could not manage this problem. In my view the issue could have been settled by the introduction of more Private Members` Days in Parliament where backbenchers, Franco Debono and the others, could have given their positive contributions by advancing Private Member Bills for the benefit of the Community. Franco Debono could easily have produced four or five Private Members' Bills on all the issues he has raised over the last weeks. It would have only taken the Prime Minister and the PN the time to redraw the parliamentary programme of their last year in Government to include also the Franco Debono reform programme. This programme could have been either approved by Cabinet and followed by a three line whip or else by allowing MPs on the Government side a free vote in Parliament on the Debono reforms.

The same could apply for any other backbencher wishing to promote reforms beyond the Government programme. The whole issue is really a PN Parliamentary Group management problem. The business community should have never been involved. People in business really do not understand why this issue was allowed to reach the dramatic proportions we have witnessed this week. Even the Divorce issue should have been tackled in this manner without all the fuss and expense we had to go through.

I think it is still  possible for such a solution as Franco Debono has no mandate from no one to cause all this mess. Other senior democracies have fixed government terms as in the USA and even the coalition government in the UK is moving towards a five year fixed term. In modern politics, especially for members of the EU who are linked to multi-annual financial straight-jackets decided at EU level, it is very difficult for Governments to perform within a planned strategy if they are subjected to the rocking of the boat by an erratic backbencher. This does not mean that backbenchers should not have the liberty to act and even propose new legislation that differs and departs from approved majority platforms, but threatening a country's political and economic stability should not be subjected to the whims of any one backbencher. The price of instability is paid by manyin business, owners and workers and the country as a whole, and no elected representative has the right to impose pain on others just  to enjoy his intellectual freedom.

Judgement as to what is important and essential in this country should not be dependent on the judgement of one backbencher. This is not a question of someone wanting to hold onto power, all this is silly talk really, but it is a question of managing a country according to a planned legislative and administrative programme. There is no economic and social crisis in the country as IMF has just reported and we, as a nation, should not be made to look  naive at a time when other nations, much bigger than us, are managing with difficulties that are real and not imagined.  I am one of those who travel to Brussels practically every week and I find it so embarrassing to explain to informed foreigners what the instability in Malta is all about. People with an average sense find it hard to understand.

It is damaging to us as Maltese really. We are so lucky to be in the European Union. Malta is only the size of an average European town that may have a simple normal municipal authority depending on two, three or four other layers of democratic administrative structures. Our Prime Minister and our representatives today sit at par and at the same level with the leaders and representatives of countries as large as the UK, Germany, France and Italy. We must all learn to grow up and behave to the level of the league we are participating in.

Malta is small but it is a proud nation. We are doing extremely well in Europe thanks to the work and the abilities of so many people. There were so many prophets of doom that frightened us all before we joined the EU that all this great advancement was not possible. Yet it is a reality. The pain more than anything is to our excellent name  in Europe. To our pride as a nation. We cannot, and we should not, appear to be unable to resolve issues that should have never been even brought outside the PN Parliamentary group discussion forum. The stability of a Government of a Member State of the European Union is perceived now to be in jeopardy. Whoever is responsible must seriously rethink and reconsider. The Maltese will pay the price. But we should not have been made to pay it. The issues on the agenda do not make it worthwhile.

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