Chinks and fissures in Castille

After independence, notwithstanding the diminishing of Malta’s geographic, along with its military, importance, the island has gone from strength to strength. The going has sometimes been tough but on the whole we have had it fine. We have shed our colonial shackles and managed to become noted, even acclaimed, in diverse fields.

We advanced from depending on the superpowers to pay us for basing their missions here, and for ship repair, to offering cheap but quality manufacturing. Our manufacturing—especially its cheapness—was lauded in foreign lands.

Another change happened when we sprinted from manufacturing to the services industry and, once again, our services were acclaimed as being second to none. I-Gaming, the financial services industry and others including pharmaceuticals have grown extensively.

While all this was happening tourism flourished and for the last seven consecutive years we have registered growth in numbers, in quality and in revenue.

All this has given, and is giving, us a good return and has established a robust economy. Economic growth is unprecedented; unlike most of our neighbours Malta has almost full employment and the prospects, certainly at first glance, are good. As the government likes to declare—our future is bright.

The above is not a press release cobbled together by some government functionary. It is the full and honest truth—but, as with everything in life, there are chinks in the armour. Our robust economy is not immune to all attacks and assaults.

And the more the Government spokesmen and women, ministers and the Prime Minister himself, attack anyone who dares say that we need to solve problems the worse this chink is going to get. Siege mentalities never do any good and this is what we are now facing—a mentality that even mentions axe-wielding.

The trouble with Panama and the people involved in it is not our only problem. The Panama Papers have made us forget that the government of the day was given a mandate to solve our problem with governance, while pledging its full support to business.

But where is this support? And, more pertinently, where is good governance?

The scandals and the pussyfooting of the Prime Minister in taking action where action was and is necessary are adding to the negative feel in the country. The scandals that have dogged the Labour Movement/Party since taking the reins of power are its own doing. Attacking the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues for doing their constitutional duty, and practically accusing them of causing the uncertainty is totally irrational.

The longer it takes to solve problems the worse it is not only for the Labour Party’s chances of another resounding success at the polls but for this country and its economy. I for one do not care who is running the country as long as it is run properly and where good governance is not only present but seen to be present.

To make our armour even less indestructible we have had another spat, instigated by the Minister of Education. Evarist Bartolo speaking publicly—on social media of all places—has attacked the MFSA chairman and said he should go.

The minister should have kept his mouth shut publicly and told his own chief, the prime minister or the finance minister, to grab the bull by the horns and fire the MFSA chairman. Otherwise all he is doing is instigate even more trouble for our precocious but so precious financial services sector.

If Bartolo feels that the persons who should heed his advice are not doing so then he should resign himself. Then he can spout his thoughts and chat as frivolously as he wishes on Facebook.

The economy is doing well; all is fine except that there is a growing chink in Castille and around the ministries. Someone should tell them that chinks easily grow to fissures. Then our bright future might get very dim indeed.