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Malta

Malta Political Accountability

It is getting rather sickening, seeing PN and PL fighting each other to death like a pair of gladiators in a Political Coliseum. I have seen the PN Political spot on TV, which practically says that the PL are working against the interest of Malta and the Maltese. I will never believe that ever, and people with some gray matter for brains can never believe that the PL and PN are actively seeking against Malta and the Maltese. I rather believe that both the PN and PL don’t like to take long term views and actions beyond their five year term in office, which means that their priorities for Malta and the Maltese is somewhere down the line in their priority list. Their first priority is getting or retaining power at all costs. Second on their list is definitely to please those that matter (EU, NGO’s, Financial Party Supporters, and The Media).Thirdly what personal financial gain they are going to get from Politics, then maybe it’s Malta and the Maltese.

What irks me most in Maltese Politics is the lack of accountability of retaining the status quo, in other words limiting our representation to PL or the PN. Let’s face it, everybody seems to know that a few months before any election (General, Local Counsel and MEP), they both start to listen to the public, not to address them, just to address their election campaign accordingly. Everybody also knows that mostly it is based on lies, deceit, or omitting anything of relevance. It is also almost predictable that if the electorate wants to arrive at some sort of true picture of PL and PN intentions, the direct opposite of what they say is almost spot on of what will actually happen.

Accountability is so frustrating, that it begs the question of how truly democratic Malta is. I had visited the website transparency.org (see report 2008) to see how Malta ranks on the corruption perception index for 2008 and was worried for the fact that we rank as number 36 with two other Countries Botswana and Puerto Rico with an index of 5.8 (10 being non corrupt and 0 being corrupt).What is even more worrying is the fact that in 2007 we ranked at number 33 albeit still 5.8 on the scale index (report 2007) . Then I started thinking and realized how rampant our Political system is in corruption. First let us take the last general election, everybody knows that Enemalta belongs to the Maltese Government, He is also the appointee of its directors, everybody also knows that the bills in that election year where delayed by months. Everybody also knows that just after the election all electric bills started coming out of enemalta like hot cakes with hefty bills. I would classify that as corruption to the tune of buying votes by not issuing the bills at their appropriate time for political gain, throwing a lot of the public under financial stress for the sake of PN’s political gain. Same when the PN says that Malta gained a lot financially from the EU in the tune of over a billion Euros. Where the hell did they spend them? Roads – definitely NO as they are in a worse state as when the British left, they might say the Airport to Ghajn Tuffieha road – er NO that was done under the Italian Protocol agreement, where the new Mater Dei Hospital – NO that was under our own budget, the Airport- NO, Power Station-NO, the half baked Cirkewwa sea terminal-NO, where the hell did they go? Can anybody please enlighten me as to the Billion+ euros whereabouts? All I know is that political party’s finances (both PL and PN) are well hidden from the public scrutiny, to such an extent that now there is the VAT department being investigated of fraud by some of its employees that made off with what is described as millions that were lost in public revenue, with businesses and businessmen helping in the police investigation. Accountability – None. Same goes for NGO and Charity groups, I could not  find one that has an audited published account that I could see on their websites. One has one for 2007 but when you look into it there is hardly anything that gets it anywhere near that can be classified as a financial audited report – some of them are getting public grants and exempted from taxation- So should I as a tax payer expect at least as a minimum, an audited published account as to how these groups that benefitted from these grants, donations and tax relief initiatives have spent these benefits, a real break down on how money was spent and from were it was received- that will never happen in Malta. Corruption comes under many different shades and definitions, including not legislating in favor of a whistle blowers act that protects person/s  reporting abuse, it also means taking immediate action when the ombudsman clearly stipulates an abuse has been committed, it also means that when the EU sends a reasoned opinion and threaten to take Malta to ECJ (European Court of Justice) the Government does not wait till 11th hour to take action just for the sake of financial gain like in cases of departure tax and car vat registration and others.

PL has nothing to be proud of either as people had asked for change in their leadership years ago, but the corrupt elements that held the PL hostage for personal gain is a well known fact. The cost was that there was no political alternative to PN to the detriment of Malta’s democracy. The PN’s cunningness to betray the voters at all cost at the last general election is manifested with the JPO case. They have both betrayed the public by not allowing Political competition, they manipulate the media, they both have their deceitful propaganda machine that excludes other political views from making headway, they have secret agreements between PN and PL as was the case on illegal immigration and was recently declared by the PN as gloves are off now that PL has abandoned the agreement. The ‘Independent’ Malta Broadcasting Authority is made up of PL and PN agreed officials, ex-members of parliament that where voted out by the electorate is rewarded by either high profile positions and given a golden handshake from taxpayers money (no different from rewarding failed banks CEO’s in Europe and America). Superficial restructuring like what happened in the transport system, where liberalizing for competition means hefty tariffs on those entering the market to protect the status quo. And much more, it is a political circus more than a free market economy based on democracy. One day we will learn that it is for the common good of our Country and to the Maltese benefit to ‘liberalize’ the political system as the power will only then be handed down to the people and hold those employed by the taxpayer to account.
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Jenny Mackenzie: Harsh truth is that aid hurts rather than helps

Published Date: 19 May 2009

By Jenny Mackenzie

DIG deeper into your empty purse, the letter said. A chief of one big charity urged us, in a letter to this newspaper, to keep up all of our international aid programmes, despite the dark days.

“We must continue to help Africa”, the writer remonstrated, in case you were thinking of cutting back. But let’s just consider that for a minute. Another eloquent writer, African, internationally educated, with a CV to die for, has just shocked the World with a claim, backed up with pages of facts, that international aid isn’t working. She says that charity, and lots of it, is actually killing her country of birth, Zambia, and most of the whole continent of Africa.

Dambisa Moyo’s book, Dead Aid, is provocative, shocking, brutally honest, and brandishes some very harsh facts indeed. It’s not the first time these things have been said, but this time it’s an African who is saying it. Perhaps it’s time to sit up and listen.

“Aid has actually worsened poverty,” says Dambisa. The most aid-dependent countries, she says, have exhibited an average annual growth rate of -0.2 per cent. She notes that when aid flows to Africa were at their peak, for the last 30 years of the 20th century, the poverty rate actually rose from 11 per cent to a staggering 66 per cent.

“Transferring large amounts of money from one government to another encourages corruption, creates aid dependency, kills off exports and disenfranchises Africans,” says Dambisa. Underpinning all of this is a much more serious problem. “Many Africans,” says Dambisa “are now addicted to aid.”

Please stay calm. It’s an emotive subject for sure. We appear to live on the wealthier side of the world. It’s hard to bear that there are others starving and suffering in countries much poorer than our own. Many of us give, generously, sometimes in compassion, sometimes to address our guilt. But have we really thought this through? Just who is that helping?

Musician and trained counsellor Sylvain Ayite was born in Senegal. Now father of a son and a daughter, Sylvain lives in Edinburgh. He would like us to stop seeing the African continent and Africans as separate from ourselves, the problems as being “over there” rather than “over here”.

“We need to focus on education, not aid,” he says. That education should be as much of ourselves, as anyone outside our own borders, says Sylvain.

“We need to reflect on what we really mean by ‘helping’. Who are you helping by being the ‘helper’? What is your authority? If we are not reflective, one just becomes the person with power, a gratifying position for the giver. But there should not be two sides that remain the same, those who give and those who receive. This will never lead to change, to a transformation where there is health and empowerment on both sides.”

Celebrity giving – it’s a touchy subject too, but actually “irrelevant, adding only very negative PR” to the main debate, says Dambisa.

Bono and Sir Bob Geldof have brought a glamour to giving that rocks the emotions. When G8 came to Scotland, it was soul-searching for all of us. Waves of well-wishers poured off the trains with bicycles and backpacks. They cared, it was moving and it created a tide of euphoria that has carried us all along ever since. We can do this thing. We can slash the debt, we can even the inequalities, we can kick poverty’s ass. We can make poverty history.

But that’s not how it has happened. On the contrary, things are not getting better, but worse, and more people are questioning our rationale. Bono lectured one audience about Africa. He slow hand clapped. “Every time I clap” he said piously, “A child dies”.

“So stop clapping!” quipped one audience member. He had heard enough.

These are hard things to hear. It’s not very nice, but there can be sharp lessons to learn. “Gimme the money”. It can get that crude. “What do you mean – how do I plan to use it?” It can get that arrogant.

For every negative tale of cynicism, there could well be ten of successful empowerment and mutual respect. More important though, as Sylvain Ayite adds, we need to think again.

“There is a better way than aid,” says Dambisa. “Of course there is a moral imperative to respond to humanitarian need, but the non-aid models, the emerging market economies, like South Africa and Botswana, are working. Developing macro-finance projects, regulating free trade, actually setting a date for the day that aid to that economy – and dependency – will cease, this is the way for the future.”

Eminent economist and historian Niall Ferguson, among other things a professor at Harvard business school, prefaces Dambisa’s book, naming her “hard- headed and big-hearted”, urging us to listen and asking us to review our own behaviour.

I think I go with his last remark. “This reader was left wanting” he says “A lot more Moyo, and a lot less Bono

Dambisa Moyo Discusses ‘Dead Aid’ at the Cato Institute

FOX Business – Dambisa Moyo says Aid to Africa isn’t working

May 19, 2009 Posted by | Enemalta, Gonzi, Illegal Immigration, Malta, Malta corruption, Malta Government, Malta Labour Party, Malta Nationalist Party, Malta Newspapers, Malta NGO's, Malta Prime Minister, Maltese, MLP, NGO groups, NGO's, PN | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Malta and European Democracy

Democracy is a funny thing. With Europe boasting that it is the cradle of democracy, the crème de la crème when it comes to respecting freedom for European citizens. A role model for world Countries to respect mankind.

On paper and legislation, the EU and its member states they look honorable and a good cause to work and aim for, but what is the reality.

Unaccountability in EU institutions is a well known fact. The extravagance and the expensive operational conduct in doing EU business in Brussels and Strasbourg is financially irresponsible and waste of tax payers money, as is MEP behavior when it comes to the financial package an MEP receives for his services, which is another unaccountable exercise, instead of leading by example they illustrate that tax money can be used at their free will with no accountability, then they claim that the financial crisis with the massive bail outs from States and Countries was due to Financial Institutions Fat Cats. Who are they kidding? They are just as irresponsible. The EU boast itself as being the single highest contributor to poor Countries, I can assure everyone that with the amount of money the EU poured out to poor Countries, each citizen of those poor Countries should be at least a millioner by now. So what happened, why for example are African Countries still in the bad old shape as they were in the middle ages? Again EU Beurocracy and unaccountability is breeding ground for corruption and the want for more free aide. Even in recognition of NGO’s that do actually work for noble causes, and actually receive EU monetary contributions for their input, in my opinion they will never make headway, unless all aide for lifting people out of poverty is coupled by those Countries wanting aide become fully subscribed participants’ to UN charters and conventions. One cannot de-couple politics from humanitarian agencies; otherwise you are only creating temporary relief but permanent grief to those in need. The way the whole aid agencies and NGO’s sharad is going in this world is creating unorganized resources in both human and financial going to waste. Groups working for the same cause should merge and not compete in this sphere, there goes tax and charity money down the drain again, just for the sake of the glory not the cause.

The same democracy that the EU states are proud of is suffocating the freedom of speech and expression. I say this because instead of our Politicians coming out with their honest vision for the EU vis a vis the future of the EU, they keep feeding us their promise of Confederation of European States, while in reality their aim is Federal States of Europe. The reason why I am convinced of this is because the whole of EU in Brussels and European leaders did not trust their citizens with a referendum for the adaptation of an EU constitution, and the ones that where entrusted with a referendum and voted against (France and Netherland and Ireland) where ridiculed and either bypassed (French and Dutch citizens), while the Irish will be forced into another referendum with the only changes being cosmetic, namely from a constitution into a binding treaty with hardly any changes in the text of both. Other Countries where even more degrading towards their citizens, that they did not even discuss the implications or hold a referendum with their citizens to at least involve EU citizens in being participants’ and feeling part of the European Union project. This is democracy in Europe today, year 2009. In the good old days it used to be called treason, but today even the media EU puppets have a lot to lose by informing the public about the implications let alone investigating the subject.
Talking about the media and democracy is even a more weird marriage of two very different species. In Malta freedom of speech seems to be only granted if the two main parties agree to let it happen. While both the Labour Party and the Nationalist Party have their own media (printed and audio visual), paid by their own undisclosed funding, other competing parties do not have this privilege, not even on state TV. Their exposure to the public is very limited, often in interrupted group talk shows, but that is democracy as interpreted by the PL and PN. The AD ,AN and other minority parties have an uphill struggle with all sorts of obstacles in expressing their policies to the public just because the Government says they don’t have enough support. Well , when these situations happen in Countries outside the EU we call them police States, Undemocratic Counties and all kinds of unfavorable description that one can find in a political dictionary , but not if it happens in an EU County.

What the EU needs is not less participation, but more. The European public is much, much more intelligent than the MEP’s combined give them credit for. In today’s electronic age there is no excuse why the EU public cannot participate more in deciding for Europe, internet access has made communication and polling an everyday thing, but only if Politicians have the will, albeit exposing their true zest for power. Not because it is not possible, its because they want to keep a stronghold and control the public. They only have to make their efforts and lame excuses once every five years and then go into hibernation till the next election.

EU democracy, preach it to the birds, you might learn a thing or two.

Some eye catching and true information I managed to get from :
http://www.openeurope.org.uk/research/europeanparliament2009.pdf

May 8, 2009 Posted by | Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Malta Government, Malta Nationalist Party, Malta Newspapers, Malta NGO's, Malta Prime Minister, Malta Public Broadcasting Service, Maltese, MLP, NGO's, PBS, PN, Spain, UN Agencies, United Kingdom, United Nations | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PBS Malta Public Broadcasting Services

The National Broadcasting Service in Malta has come a long way, since its formation. The content on the radio service is varied with optimal coverage on multiple subjects; the TV station run by PBS also gives the viewership a choice of programs that are enjoyed by offering various subjects. The presenters on all programs working for PBS are very capable and with vast experience, their Newsroom and news casters do a professional job, with the most credible news coverage and interviews. If only they are left alone in continuing to do more investigative reporting without any political influence, they will be second to none. This issue is not through the news room’s fault but the onus falls on PBS management and the Political forces that want to cover up the truth, and keeping the public not full informed of any information that might embarrass the Government or any of the Political Parties. Overall they are the best in the Country.

Having said that, I am sure that there is a long way to go in being a truly National Service, with service provided for all the taxpayers. So I am tempted to point out some constructive points that might improve or National Service. These are:

  • Their website is a disgrace, and does not do justice to a National Broadcaster. Their website should be interactive and a continuation/extension to both their TV and radio Stations where viewer/ listeners can contribute/participate/inform/debate on programs directly. Broadcasters of today that tend not to keep up with new media technology and innovation tend to fade away.
  • The Internet can become another source of advertising income which is not as irritating as the visual advertising on TV.
  • Although the PBS newsroom is fair play and tries it’s hardest to be unbiased, it cannot be said it’s true for other programs, although they are good in their content they are a far cry from being unbiased……..No matter what the presenters say, you must be seen by the viewers as independent.
  • Some programs have long tedious advertising breaks that collectively time wise are longer than the program content itself. Thank God for the TV remote. But after a day’s work and settling down to relax in front of the TV, no one expects for his time to be wasted by watching indiscriminate advertising.
  • PBS is underfunded for what it is expected to do and the service that it is expected to provide.
  • It should be detached from the Government and become totally independent. The Government should sell its shares to the Public in an IPO floated on the Malta Stock Exchange, to eliminate any mismanagement, and let it being run professionally by professionals. Ending the Political influence and turning it to a cash positive entity.

All in all, it’s a promising entity that with a little bit of will and effort, it can turn into what the Public expect from our Media.   

Link:

http://www.bbcworld.com/

http://www.skynews.co.uk/

compare with:

http://www.pbs.com.mt/

June 6, 2008 Posted by | Malta, Malta Public Broadcasting Service, PBS | , , | Leave a comment