Should we be surprised that young people want to leave?

The EY Generate Youth Survey found that nearly 60 per cent of young people in Malta would rather live and work in another country – a 12 percentage point jump over last year – with the majority worried about the environment and overdevelopment.

Even many who have immigrated to Malta because of our year-round sun and job opportunities have come to realise that those elements that enhance one’s quality of life are lacking. Having myself emigrated to Australia for a decade, I can sympathise with these views… but does it have to be this way and, more importantly, what can we do about it?

The empty promises made by the powers-that-be when it comes to maintain a healthy environment tops the concern of those surveyed. As a country, we have been paying for too long just lip service to the environment: even though – certainly aided by the campaigns of Alternattiva Demokratika and eNGOs in the 1980s and 1990s – it has become fashionable to say one is Green, in reality money rules above everything else.

In another area also spearheaded by the founding of AD in 1989, it is positive that the civil liberties proposed then were taken up through legislation in favour of LGBTIQ and minorities. But has that brought about a change in mentality?

The never-ending construction spree has left its toll on our quality of life. Who would want to live in a country where we have been told by a major developer, who consults regularly with the PLPN echelons, that we should expect another 100 years of this?

Why is it taking so long to set up officially a lobby register – as ADPD has proposed – so that we would know what strings are being pulled by those who are behind some of the outrageous developments being proposed?

Although we live in a small country where it should be easy to cross from one side to the other in a few minutes, we keep on promoting the increasing use of private cars, which has simply led to our roads being all clogged up. As had been predicted, the flyovers and widening of roads to the detriment of many acres of fields and hundreds of trees have not improved the situation one iota as is clearly evident during any rush hour.

In countries larger than ours, one would be able to drive for an hour or two and ‘get away from it all’… but even what for many Maltese used to be the idyllic destination of Gozo is being destroyed beyond recognition to the detriment of both the holidaymaker and those who earn their living on our sister island through such internal tourism. Definitely the case of killing the goose that was laying the golden egg!

As ADPD has insisted all along, the Planning Authority needs to assist our country to remain liveable. It should not be its role to rigidly follow the rules when they favour the developer but makes it almost impossible for the common citizen to make his/her voice heard and preserve what is their right. How many have been those who received government grants to set up solar panels on their roof, only for these to be shadowed by construction of higher floors next to them soon after?

One other area that successive governments have failed to address is that of education reform. Old trades are being discarded with policies that simply put off those who might be interested in taking up agriculture or fisheries, for example, while limited new opportunities are created.

Even the much-vaunted gaming industry (and not everybody was happy to work in a sector that makes profit out of many people’s misery) has now received a direct hit through the FATF greylisting… and who knows what’s going to be left of it before we are taken off that list! We also know now that the blockchain proposals were just a pipe dream…

Only ADPD representatives in parliament will highlight what matters most to our youth so that they will be proud to call Malta home and be willing to remain and contribute to the sustainable development of this country.

Brian Decelis
ADPD Communications Officer
Published in The Times of Malta – Sunday 21 November 2021