Maltawinds interviews the second leadership contestant, Dr Alex Perici Calascione on several issues including the reorganisation of the PN, the financial situation of the party and moral questions.
What made you contest the leadership election in this difficult time for the PN?
I have always believed that people are needed to step forward most in times of difficulty. Success will always have many fathers and failure is often an orphan. This is perhaps no truer than in politics. This is exactly why I have stepped forward.
I have the Party at heart and huge belief ion its values and principles and in its people. I have however bene around long enough to know that heart and belief are not enough. One needs a clear and focused mind; a strong determination to do whatever is necessary; the ability to lead and sufficient wisdom and self-confidence to be surrounded by people who ideally know more and who, loyally, will tell you in plain terms what you need to hear rather than what you would wish to hear.
I contest with full appreciation of who we are; with full awareness of where we are and with clear conviction of where we want to be.
Do you believe your lack of hands on experience in politics will hamper your chances in the contest?
I have over the past years been directly involved in the administration of the Party in a sector which has presented huge challenges and where we have registered huge strides forward. This placed me in direct contact with all sectors and with all realities within the Party structures, from top to bottom. At the same time I have maintained a political involvement and have considered and agreed on some measures and disagreed on others.
This added to over thirty one years; experience of working directly with people at all levels and often in the most difficult of circumstances has prepared me well.
We mark our political involvement solely by the good that can derive form it to the lives of the people we serve. Having come directly from the realities that people from all backgrounds and from all walks of life, actually live and face every day, has given me that experience which I fully intend to reflect in politics.
What are you proposing for the party if you are elected as leader?
I intend to bring this Party back to where it belongs in the strong belief that every time it was there, the benefit for the country was indeed defining and determining.
We need to have the wisdom to keep the good; the intelligence to make better that which is not running to its full potential and the irrevocable determination to weed out the bad.
Change indeed wherever needed – but with wisdom and intelligence.
At the same time, we ned to see that our structures – sectional committees; branches and organs of the Party function fully as they were originally intended – in the formation of political thought and policy.
You have experience as treasurer of the PN? What is your view of the financial state of affairs of the party?
The financial state of the Party remains by all counts a daily challenge but I can honestly state that things are in a much better state today than when we set off over four years ago. We have reorganised the financial structures within the Party, with a hard-working Finance PN Team; a Financial Restructuring Team and a Bord ta’ Revizuri functioning as an Audit Committee. We have enchanced systems and introduced additional measures of control. Most importantly we have finalised a fifteen-year action plan on the overall financial restructuring of the Party which is now in its second year of implementation and which charts our course out of these unhappy waters. Throughout tis time we also embarked and concluded on a process of full alignment to the requirements of the Party Financing Act such that, with all difficulties, we were the first of the two large parties to be registered officially in terms of this Law. We have also managed to cover all the expenses of the past General Election in full, thus leaving no further burden on the party finances.
What is your position on matters of moral conscience when it comes to certain issues such as the Morning After Pill, gay marriage, euthanasia, IVF and embryo freezing amongst others?
The Nationalist Party’s core values and principles find their inspiration in Christian values and principles. These are perfectly applicable to the workings of a political party because they are essentially of universal application, irrespective of race, religion or orientation.
Our core values and principles are challenging and of their nature bring about debate, which is to be encouraged. At the same, they themselves set the framework for convergence.
In matters of moral conscience, there has to be first and foremost an open, frank, inclusive and informed discussion process within the relative Party structures. Following this, each Member of Parliament should be given the right to a free vote if he so requests it.
What are your views on the current Labour government and what are the biggest challenges being faced by the country today?
The Labour Government has achieved a lot in the lessening of unnecessary bureaucracy which hindered everything and everyone from the topmost developer to the everyday citizen. Indeed it might have well gone to the other extreme, but that is another matter. It is on the other hand clear that we have yet to fully face the consequences of todays’ lack of good governance and of accountability where this fails even dramatically.
What is your view on environmental issues and how would you tackle the current building boom?
We have to once again discover the real meaning of the term sustainable, which is probably one of today’s most used and abused terms. Environmental issued and considerations have clearly taken a tumble since 2013. Extremes are bad either way and, although in many ways it may be quote late in the day, unless we strike a balance, we will face otherwise avoidable consequences in terms of quality of life and the county we leave to those behind us.
The building boom is certainly seeking to create a supply for the existing demand. We need to examine the full impact of this from a much wider aspect. Developers themselves are presumed to be the first to be concerned, as businessmen, about medium and long-term sustainability.
Whether by political design or otherwise, in matters of developers and environmentalists, it has often unfortunately somehow always been an “us and them” scenario. IF we are to really serve our country well, it is this mentality that we need to grapple with first.
A final comment on the race and your competitors.
A clear and unequivocal call for all to have courage. We have the ideas; we have the goodwill of so many people; we have the energy; we have the experience and we have the heart. We’ve got what it takes to bring this Party back to a position in which it will once again give the best for this country of ours. All of us need to rally together guided by a leadership which works towards unity; inclusivity and a full awareness of where our society stands today. All of us need to rally together guided by a leadership which has the wisdom to keep the good; the sensibility to push what can be better and the clear determination to remove the bad.