18 - 24 April 2001

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The fault rests with government

It is unusual for a business newspaper to comment over issues which concern the state of our National Heritage.

Yet the events as they unfolded at the Neolithic temples of Mnajdra last Good Friday are symptoms of an illness that has infected the government.

A malaise that is manifested by the governmentís ineptitude in acting or only doing so when it is too late.

The outcry over the Mnajdra temples is justified, as is justified the call for some form of accountability from the individuals who were responsible for the security of the area.

The Minister of Culture is in no way absolved from this role.

No amount of press conferences on site or solemn declarations should absolve Dr Louis Galea from the disaster at Mnajdra.

And perhaps it is now and only now that we are coming to terms with the economic value of our unique temple culture.

But, unfortunately it is very late.

The Hypogeum took nine solid years to turn itself into a museum. When it did, it was a place worth visiting.

In the meantime the Mnajdra and Hagar Qim temples continued to face the pillages of time. They suffered more than in their previous 5,000 years of existence.

What happened at Mnajdra is the fault of politicians, there is no else to blame. And we cannot blame the NGOs either.

Way back in 1988, ëZghazagh ghall-Ambjentí the new face of the environmental movement had organised a Hagar Qim and Mnajdra national seminar with concrete solutions and proposals which included the concept of erecting an environmentally friendly perimeter wall that would encompass the Misqa reservoir, the 16th Century Tower and the Congreve monument.

What came out of this was the usual stuff, a half-baked reaction that led to the erection of flimsy wiring around the temples.

But this only happened after vandalism, fuelled by controversy over the new hunting laws, led to severe damage to the Mnajdra temples after a very small, but vociferous group of individuals caused damage in the area.

What took place at Mnajdra happened because security measures at Mnajdra were absent when they should not have been.

It was absolute complacency and inactivity that led to no security at the temples.

And with such a bloated public sector, it surprises one that no resources have been found.

At the end of the day, this country does not need words or wasted promises, but accountable individuals.

And in this case it should either be the curator of the museum or his immediate superior - the minister himself.

Didier: tone down or leave please

Mr Didier Destremau has gone far too far.

He was interviewed in the daily Times and said: "The privatisation drive in Malta is far too slow."

Where is it too slow, at the Kordin terminal, at MIA or at the Freeport?

Not only does this ambassador shed all his vestiges of diplomacy, but he is grossly incorrect. He is also manifestly rude about Malta.

Maltaís privatisation drive is on the right track and way advanced compared to the privatisation drive of Lionel Jospin who has just succumbed to more external pressure and postponed the privatisation of yet another of Franceís monopolies: the national gas company, Gaz de France.

Mr Destremau is in no position to pass comments on privatisation, as long as the nation he represents is one of those EU nations which continues to promulgate a government which is contrary to reducing the public sector, or shedding from airlines to electricity, to one hundred and one other companies.

Mr Destremau is way out of line and someone in Paris should tell the soldier turned ëdiplomatí to tone down or leave town.



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