Fabian Demicoli

Valletta Business met Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi

 Owners of business establishment were
the guest's on Business Breakfast
– The business representative members
of GRTU raised a number of issues for the business community, the major concern
remains that the traffic management and parking facility are in a poor
condition. Most businesses are also at pain to understand how the exceptional investment
done on the new road surfacing there is no effort is being done to properly
maintain and keep clean this extensive investment the major issue remain
parking.

The business community still can't understand that under the new
Valletta refurbishing plans no specific attention has been given top the need
to create practical parking facility within the city The main guard project was
abandoned for no specific logical reason, the old Valletta Freedom Square
parking project was abandoned and all attempt by private investors to  create new parking facilities in the city
have been turned down for one excuse and in a city which is built of soft stone
that ought to provided no particular difficulty for parking facilities to be
created underground.

GRTU contends the future of the city
is one where the beautifully paved surface road are reserved for pedestrians
and pen air restaurant and entertainment activities while parking at a fee is
done underground. No practical alternative exists even though impractical solutions
like park and ride facilities and out of town parking are welcome.

The city has tremendous commercial
and touristic potential but this potential will never be at an optimum level
for all enterprises operating from Valletta unless internal city parking is
available. The problems further augmented as a result of the silly policy of
giving the right to resident to own parking places for free on the road
surfaces. This is a policy unheard-of anywhere else in the world. City streets
belong to all the Maltese and not to the Residence of Valletta. Residence o
Valletta could have been provided with special underground parking or parking
in the dices with specific security arrangements but the streets of Valletta
the capital city or Malta and the pride of all he Maltese should have never
been allotted to those that happen to have a vote registered under a Valletta
address.

GRTU continues to strive for a fail
deal with all businessmen who have invested million to make the Capital City
the joy and pride of all Maltese and to give back the right to all Maltese to
enter Valletta and be able to park and enjoy the beauty of our capital city
without excessive hassle and cost. Till government satisfies this need,
government continues to fail.

Rent laws

Another important issue for GRTU
which remains an open bleeding wound is the issue related to the
"reformed" rent laws. The government of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi
with the full support of the Labour Party Opposition took a very false step in
negating the rights of most Valletta shop operators who are in their vast
majority tenants and not owners of the property they operate as commercial
establishment. Government researched very badly this issue and failed to
understand that most of the rent contracts have been placed on an indefinite
basis not as a result of the existing old rent laws but due to bi-partite
negotiations, involving in most cases, hefty sums of money paid by tenants to
acquire the indefinite status entrenched in their rent contract. The legislator
was not justified and was completely incorrect in imposing a legal abrogation
of all private commercial rent contracts freely agreed to between two
independent parties.

Most Valletta tenants and other
commercial tenants in many other parts of Malta who had a contract which was
originally indefinite and which has now been translated to a maximum 20 year
period as unjustly imposed by the new "Reformed" rent law has been legally and
institutionally robbed. This is why GRTU refers to this issue as a bleeding
wound.

"Government and the Labour Opposition
should have the honesty to understand the pain they have caused to so many
tenants and find acceptable remedial action before the next election. Tenants
who previously had a valuable asset, for which they paid handsomely, now have
only a block of ice in the sun melting away year after year with nothing to
leave at the end of the 20 year period. This is legalised highway robbery" says
Vincent Farrugia

This not withstand GRTU is grateful
for the excellent work done in Valletta of the refurbishment of so many
beautiful historical building in Valletta and the extensive paving of so many
streets. In spite of the hick up of all the construction works, Valletta is
rapidly gaining its own status as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe,
and it will be even so once the Valletta entrance project and the new
parliament is completed.

resolve provided there is a will and
there are no hidden agendas. Gas distributors have since 1992 served the
country well carting on their back gas cylinders on a door to door basis for a
pittance as a service charge. The cost of a cylinder of gas which has
quadrupled since the gas distribution has been privatised represent s primarily
the cost of the gas itself. the cost of transport and distribution to the door
step irrespective or whether one live in a house in the periphery of the
island, in narrow lanes, in stepped streets as in Cottonera and Valleta or in
high rise buildings is at the expense of the self employed gas distributor who
can not according to contract charge a different price according to cost of
distribution his fee is a fee per cylinder irrespective of distance and expense
of delivery the gas distributor is obliged by contract to sell the cylinders of
all competing firms. The local community is served without the hassle of
competing fleets of trucks in the narrow streets of our small towns and
villages this is a service that has served Malta well.

All Maltese governments labour or
nationalists have respected the contracted signed in 1992 by GRTU on behalf of
the gas distributors and Enemalta the then monopoly gas provider and also the
Energy licensing authority. Instigated by Liquigas know as the successors of
Enemalta as the dominant gas cylinders providers government is now determined
to change all this. This is the Bus tragedy all over again. They never learn,
they changed the old bus system to give us a new that serves the community in
no clear advantageous way. Now they want to do it again with gas distribution,
they want to smash the old distribution system just to have a new monopoly lead
by foreigners to dominate and dictate the way we buy gas in Malta.

GRTU has told the prim minister load
and clear that this is not acceptable there is no evidence what so ever that
the consumers want change form the KNOWN to the unknown. It is Arriva all over
again. GRTU has given notice to government that if they want to proceed with
their incredible design to smash the old distribution system and pauperise the
old gas distributors who have served the public well for 20years they will find
the resistance not only of GRTU but of all those who have had enough of this
silly privatisation exercises which have delivered nothing but pain to the
community .

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