17 – 23 January 2001

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Imposing the neutrality clause at MDD The recipe for a sane economy

The good news is that the Malta Drydocks will be getting more work, the latest being the US navy auxiliary vessel, the La Salle.
The bad news is that the issue of infringing our constitutional neutrality clause is being brought into question by the General Workers' Union and the solitary voice of George Vella.
At this point one should plead to the union to be reasonable. The Drydocks' staff are in dire need of work and the yard needs to take measures to redress its budgetary deficit.
The neutrality clause that we are citing is not only outdated, it is banal.
The superpowers are gone, the iron curtain is no more and the likes of George Vella and Tony Coleiro are caught in a time warp.
It appears that the two characters - one a deputy leader of the Labour party and the other the dockyard representative at the union - have not realised the peril facing the dockyard.
Military vessels could provide lucrative jobs for the yards, times are changing, and we must change with them.
Dr Sant has been more than moderate on this issue and has clearly steered away from controversy.
The same argument applies to Tony Zarb who has also refused to tackle the issue head on.
Hopefully, common sense will prevail.

Sunday shopping farce

The Sunday shopping farce is not over. There are many arguments against Sunday shopping but there are some in favour too.
There is one aspect which cannot be denied: Bay Street has treated the law as an ass and taken advantage of a loophole, while others have had to sacrifice their revenue trends because of police harassment.
Chris Grech has argued that we must give the consumer what he wants. But in all fairness, the consumer takes what is given to him. If we package cow dung in wonderful packed gift wrappers we could all con the consumer.
If the consumer is led to believe that he or she has to live with a mobile phone, so be it, even though we are only living minutes away from each other.
When the police arrived smiling at Bay Street on a Sunday, the outcome was a farce. The police said they could not enforce the closure of the shops.
Our answer to that is hogwash. Since when does the executive not enforce its powers? The answer to that is simple; when it suits them.
We are in favour of Sunday shopping for the long term but the agenda must be set by the government and not by a shopping complex that has flouted the law.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt