18 July 2001


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Dockyard 'catch'

The duck and the golden egg

Hoteliers and tour operators know very well that Malta has its limitations. But after having been close to destroying the duck that lays the golden egg, the people who have made it their mission to make a quick buck are now coming to terms with the fact that the country is a mess and are now crying wolf.

Like the uglier parts of the southern coast of France, the south west coast of Spain or Athen’s sprawling suburbs, Malta has little or nothing to offer when it comes to sea and shore.

Hoteliers complain of sewage outflows but ignore the fact that most of the excrement flowing into the seas originates from many of the hotel establishments scattered across the Island.
If there ever was a case of recycling, then this is it.

Worse still, they talk of limited places to swim, but they somehow neglect to mention the fact that beaches and shorelines are swallowed up by the irregular lidos complimenting ugly concrete hotels.

Now that the bulk of tourists are young low budget students everyone is grumble mode. Middle-aged, high budget tourists prefer the Canary Islands, the Tunisian coast or secluded Greek Islands.

At every interval in our brief history the government has always come up for some flak. Disorganised, visionless, and non-committal are the typical terms used to describe the authorities.

However, the sad reality is that the private sector is not very far off when it comes to lacking vision, organisation and commitment.

What has the hotel industry concretely contributed to the problem of the shoreline and the sea, in terms of pounds, shillings and pence.

The only term that appears to be commonly upheld by one and all is Greed.

Over the ages we have seen the quality of our surroundings deteriorate and slip further. In doing so, we have taken the visitors to our islands for granted.

What do they see before their eyes? They see a shoddy countryside, buildings everywhere, rubble, litter, traffic galore, pollution at sea and in the air.

If anyone had to come here with the misconception of visiting an idyllic island, their mistake becomes blatant after the first thirty minutes.

As we discuss golf courses, incineration and other thorny subjects, we tend to forget about other more demanding issues.

Such as the general state of our environment, a blemish that is contributing in no small way to scaring away the right tourists with the right budgets.

The Mintoffian module

The demise of the Price Club is the government’s fault, at least that is the impression we have when we read what Marie Louise Coleiro and Dr Karl Chircop had to say yesterday.
Ms Coleiro has obviously not moved out of the Mintoffian mould that sees everything in terms of state control.

The downfall of the Price Club came about through banking procedures that prevent companies from borrowing and borrowing endlessly.

Ms Coleiro, whose respect for the concept of non-state intervention in the private sector is shady to say the least, also went so far as to mention the Daewoo case - forgetting in the process that the previous Daewoo owners had obtained certain banking facilities under a Labour appointed chairman and a Labour government. Politicians such as Ms Coleiro and Dr Karl Chircop should accept that the government has no future role in intervening in the private sector. Unfortunately, their thinking is spun by the sages at Mile End who control the thinking processes they (Coleiro & Chircop) express in lengthy fax messages.



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