10 OCTOBER 2001

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Cartoon this week: Do you know anything about the future?

No reason to be smug

There is no reason to be joyous about the bombardments in Afghanistan, unless we consider the long term gains for the armaments industry. We can understand the anger the vile acts in New York have caused and we can comprehend why this has also left a scar in business confidence.

On Monday evening the Maltese parliament debated a motion on terrorism, as newspaper commentators stated: it was a rare expression of consensus.

All the presentations were focused and useful. We are quietly in agreement with Dr Alfred Sant’s contribution.

We believe that Malta’s role in a future confrontational West versus East scenario should be considerate and precise.

More so if Malta does indeed become a member of the European Union. Malta’s role within the context of a country serving as a hub in the West-East divide, has to be seen in the social and political context.

If Arab nations are to trust Malta they must view her as friendly small nation that is receptive to their sensitivities.

If all they see is a nation that goes out of its way to replicate tantrums of support for the bombing, they will be sceptical and concerned.

If we should entrust ourselves with any role it should be to fight terrorism and additionally to conceive ways of understanding why terrorism evolves in the primary stages. But it should not be over the top. We have nothing to gain from this. If we were 250 miles away from the US coastline, then it would be a different matter. But we are 250 miles away from Moslem Africa.

We feel strongly that economic development should be linked to social and political

stability in the area. Bombing will bring smiles to the vengeful but it will do little else.

We have a part to play.

The security forces in Malta

The aftermath to the Bondicini security programme was one of incredulity. This however was directed not at the lapses in security but more so at the intrepid producers who ‘dared’ look into the subject.

The reaction to this programme was short lived and if anyone is expecting any changes then we are very wrong.

The attitude to any justified criticism is beyond belief. The AFM and police have argued that they are not here to enforce a police state.

But with that kind of reaction, one should look at the facts:

There are over 3,200 people in the security services in Malta, nearly one for every hundred people. Or better still, 100 square metres for every security personnel. That is if we consider all the urban areas, the airfields and we forget about all the other private security arrangements.

Every year we fork out around Lm20 million in salaries for these folk.

And yes they are not managed well and they do not have the right equipment.

We grant them this.

But the rest is history and having said this we say that it is a great shame that the Bondicini programme could have got this far.

This country is a desecration of common decency.

We do not need such a large number of police and AFM personnel, what we need is a small, qualified, dedicated group of men and women led by experienced, motivated and competent men and women.

Enemalta’s customer service

Today, we will be parochial, but in being so, we will echo the concerns of many. Yesterday, as on other occasions, EneMalta decided to cut the electrical supply in San Gwann. There was no pre-warning. This is not the first time.

San Gwann is not situated on an inaccessible cliff edge with difficult terrain and some geographical restrictions.

San Gwann is a budding business centre and residential area.

EneMalta is a mockery to customer service, its management inconsiderate and its strategy for solving technical problems a good example of incompetence.

San Gwann is not the only area to suffer such experiences.

The EneMalta management believe they are above it all. They are not, and one should start considered taking them to task.

In the European Union such situations only occur in cases of natural catastrophes and terrorist attacks.

For a corporation that depends wholly on our taxes to service its subventions, EneMalta should start considering customer service as a prerequisite to operating its services.



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