Today, our country is no longer independent.
Our society is controlled by developers, lobby groups such as the FKNK, certain corrupt businessmen and those PL + PN politicians, who are controlled by them.
Of course, if I am elected to parliament I cannot guarantee any immediate miraculous change. However, in parliament you can be sure that I will not keep my mouth shut.
As I have always done throughout my life, I will work hard for legislation and resources to push forward three issues of crucial importance for the future of our country.
As a country, we deserve better.
Our natural environment is what gives us life. The greed that has gripped a section of the population has led us to pollute our air, destroy the countryside and land we walk on while clouding the water we drink from. It is our duty to act as custodians of nature, on behalf of future Maltese generations, since the sustainable environment we are entitled to is also a guarantee for a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle.
The natural beauty of our country, open public spaces and our historic buildings are continuously being lost. They are being buried and hidden under monstrous buildings of 20-30 floors, which are being built without an overall national plan, without any sustainable criteria and without any serious geological studies being undertaken beforehand. We are duty bound to preserve our cultural heritage for future Maltese generations and for humanity, as a whole. We need a two year moratorium on high-rises, in order to reflect on the mistakes of the past and to plan wisely for the future.
Maltese agricultural land is disappearing at a phenomenal rate and being replaced by tarmac and concrete. This destruction of agricultural land must stop and incentives must be provided both in the field of education and through fiscal measures for young Maltese to engage in this much needed activity in today's fast paced life. Agricultural activity not only conserves our natural landscape and environment but also provides sustainable green jobs for young entrepreneurs in Malta.
Biodiversity in the sea around us has long been eradicated due to aggressive fishing methods, which do not respect the natural life cycle of marine flora and fauna. Strict enforcement needs to be put in place to limit fishing to traditional methods, giving biodiversity a chance to recover from the present situation. At the same time, our sea needs protection from further pollution.
The public domain law should no longer be a "dead letter", which is not worth the paper on which it is written. Every corner of the Maltese coast must remain accessible to the public, always and everywhere.
The ecological transition that the industrialized world is going through has hardly touched Malta. Our country needs to immediately adopt a serious environmental policy that favours research and investment in the fields of renewable energy.
For free public transport to perform the necessary function of drastically reducing the number of private cars on the road, it is necessary to double the number of buses which would operate at least 20 hours a day and which leave the main terminus every five minutes during rush hours. Only in this way can we ensure a functioning, regular and punctual public transport.
The public pathways of our country are an important heritage and give access to the open countryside to thousands of Maltese and Gozitans. These paths should be protected by having them mapped out by a competent Authority to ensure their continued free access.
The positive development of the introduction of a fast ferry service should be continued by exploring the possibility of a service from Gozo to Xemxija - Sliema - Valletta, with connections to Smart City - Xgħajra - Marsascala - Marsaxlokk and back..
The devastation that is taking place in Gozo, through a rampant building spree without any intelligent planning must stop immediately. We must nurture the natural heritage and beauty of Gozo not only for aesthetic reasons, but also because this is the pivot around which the island's economy revolves.
Institutions safeguarding good governance in the country, in particular the Office of the Auditor General and the Ombudsman, should be strengthened. The new procedures introduced in the public service, through which most of the recruitment in the service has been centralized around the Office of the Prime Minister, with serious suspicions of political interference in appointments, should be removed.
The culture of clientelism and favouritism has created an unjust society and intolerable inequalities. Equal opportunities, a “level playing field” and meritocracy should constitute the moral compass that guides us.
Over the years, the Anti-Corruption Commission has been shown to be a toothless instrument in the fight against corruption. At the same time, the facts of recent years show how corruption is a scourge that has gripped the country. Therefore, the Commission should be equipped with adequate structures in order to be able to work incisively and vigorously.
The Commissioner for Standards in Public Life has created a credible office that is holding the country’s elected politicians accountable for their actions. This work should be strengthened by removing all prescriptions regarding the conduct of public officials.
In order to enhance transparency, any magisterial inquiry should be published as a normal part of the procedure of such inquiries. At the same time, the rights of all parties involved in the inquiry should be safeguarded.
All dubious and shady government contracts or agreements that emanate a strong shadow of abuse and corruption (such as the many signed under the tenure of former Labour Minister Konrad Mizzi) are to be published and duly investigated.
The Planning Authority has lost all credibility with the citizens of the country and is being seen as a tool against the environment and in favour of developers and speculators. We need a fundamental change whereby the members of the Authority are real experts, who are totally independent from the construction industry and free from any possible conflict of interest. The Authority has to be refounded in order to really get it back to what it should be, an important tool that protects the limited land resources we have in our country.
While the macroeconomic aspect should always be kept in mind in economic planning, the central aspect should be focused on the basic requirements of the normal resident struggling to make ends meet.
The current minimum wage is not enough for a single person to live a decent life, let alone for a family. A national minimum basic wage should be drawn up which allows for a dignified living for each person.
Pensioners deserve support and backing after a lifetime of work. Retirees are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the cost of living. A subsidy on electricity, water, telephone and internet bills for pensioners would be a visible sign of support for them.
Further financial investment in community services offered to persons with a disability is required. Human resources should allow for an expansion in community services that are needed to continue enhancing community inclusion and reducing institutionalisation. Education, health and disability services aimed at persons from a variety of impairment groups need to be based on a person centered approach and be more family oriented by being more flexible and reducing the current bureaucracy.
Investment in sports facilities and programmes should be increased in order to further strengthen a positive culture in favour of sport, not only at a competitive level, but also to promote a healthier lifestyle for all.
Malta only invests 1% of its GDP on R&D, while the European average is about 3%. We should strive to reach the current European average.
The Covid crisis has further highlighted the need for human beings to engage in cultural and artistic activities. Funds promoting artistic/cultural activities and supporting creative people engaged in such activities should be greatly increased. This will not only help to preserve and create new jobs but also to stimulate creativity and critical analysis, which are an essential component of a pluralistic and democratic society.
Whilst important progress has been registered in the field of animal welfare, the many cases of animal maltreatment that come to light prove that there is still a lot to be done in this field. Educational campaigns in schools, which start from the basic principle that animals, like humans, are sentient beings, should continue to be supported.