3 OCTOBER 2001
By Kurt Sansone
One week after the embarrassing break ins into the Armed Forces barracks, the airport control tower and the Presidents Office at the Palace in Valletta by the Bondicini television crew silence continues to surround the investigation underway by the AFM.
On Monday the Prime Minister reaffirmed in Parliament that the AFM was investigating the incidents, but no further explanation was given.
With the Armed Forces costing this country more than Lm12 million a year The Malta Financial and Business Times believes that the public has the right to know what action is and will be taken to rectify the serious shortcomings in Maltas security.
When trouble brewed at the Drydocks government was fast to pounce on the subsidy issue saying that the country could not afford the burden. The Malta Financial and Business Times believes that the same resolve to curb abuse should be applied to the Armed Forces as well.
The financial estimates published with last years budget outline the AFMs main objectives for 2001, which include the provision of security and protection of sensitive locations.
This was clearly lacking when Lou Bondi entered the AFM barracks and the control tower unnoticed and with immense ease. Furthermore, nobody stopped or asked questions about the actions of a TV crew member who wondered into the Presidents Office at the Palace in Valletta with a hidden camera. The three areas are considered to be very sensitive and the AFM is responsible for their security and protection.
The AFM has a recurrent expenditure of Lm12,261,000 of which Lm10,675,000 are for wages. In addition the AFM has Lm400,000 allocated as capital expenditure. The military corps has a compliment of almost 2,000 people divided into three regiments.
The AFMs primary objective is to maintain control over the territorial,
maritime and airspace at all times. The force also provides search and
rescue services. In addition, the AFM provides assistance to the police
force in the fight against crime.