Taking people for a ride – Ralph Cassar


During a meeting with the Minister for Gozo, the ‘Front Favur il-Mina’, who are telling us to spend some €1 billion so that 3,000 cars and probably more (the more the cars the more the income for tunnel operators) can get stuck in traffic every day on the roads leading from Cirkewwa towards the centre of Malta, the Minister said that a passenger fast-ferry service will be introduced between Gozo and Malta, presumably to somewhere central. He had already made the same announcement on the 22 January 2014. I hope he gets on with it.

This is the kind of thing that government should work on – providing a fast service towards the centre of Malta and relieving the roads of traffic and pollution, while serving Gozo residents who work in Malta, and doing them a favour of avoiding the one hour or so journey in crawling traffic towards their offices, schools, hospital and commercial centres. Let’s say it clearly – the ‘Front Favur il-Mina’ is led by PN and PL lackeys who are showing their skills in sucking up to their masters.

What they do not tell us that undersea tunnels costs billions, they usually connect whole countries with millions of inhabitants. The proposed Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel, for example, is specifically for a rail link, and will cost between 9 billion and 13 billion Euros (http://news.sky.com/story/1617576/helsinki-tallinn-tunnel-could-link-cities). Proportionally, and ignoring the specific geological conditions in the tiny Malta-Gozo channel connecting tiny islands, the cost would be above €1 billion. Franco Mercieca’s and Chris Said’s so called ‘front’ should stop taking everyone for a ride.

Saintly healers and cannabis smokers

Għarb Local Council is going bananas. The Nationalist Party, whose principles most of the Għarb councillors subscribe to should pull their ears for making it look silly.

It is a pity that some councillors taint the good work others do voluntarily for their locality – against all odds and a tight-fisted government which believes in central command and control and extreme micro-management. It is also a pity that the quaint village of Għarb and its friendly, hardworking people are ridiculed by their council’s antics.

The council says it will take legal action after the mother of a prisoner made a heartfelt appeal for mercy and said that even folk healer and revered Catholic Frenc tal-Għarb used cannabis as part of his arsenal of medicinal plants. Whatever you think about the Holmes case, most people would let such a comment pass – but not Mayor David Apap. He pulls in popular religious devotions – Frenc promoted the devotion towards the Madonna ta’ Pinu so he couldn’t have given his ‘patients’ cannabis tea could he? He may and he may have not, how would I know? It is irrelevant. Apap and the councillors supporting his proposal are just being petty, silly and downright insensitive – I hope any silly ‘case’ is thrown out as vexatious and a waste of the court’s time.

Healthcare PPPs

The Nationalist Party and the Labour Party are at it again. A silly ridiculous tit-for-tat about Saint Luke’s Hospital and Albert Fenech’s new role as head of this privatised hospital.

The real issues are as usual avoided. What will the Maltese National Health Service gain from the St Luke’s deal? Will government (that is the tax payer) have to pay through its nose for health services being given from a public building used by a private company? Has the government learnt anything from the stories of exorbitant costs the previous administration paid for services at private hospitals? Who will get priority National Health Service patients or fee-paying patients from the House of Saud? Incidentally, can we be told what exactly was agreed?

As regards Albert Fenech and the Nationalist Party. It just goes to show how ‘star’ candidates who are used to mop up votes, do not give a hoot about working as part of a team and standing up for a set of principles – which are extremely flexible and disposable anyway. Their first loyalty is to themselves.


Ralph Cassar is AD Secretary General and local councillor in Ħ’Attard.

(first published online on www.maltatoday.com.mt)