• Team Owen Bonnici

Resilience is our trademark 

 


If there is one feature which stands outs clearly and markedly in the Maltese

population, that is resilience.   We are a nation of people who know what it

means to work hard and know that the greater the test, the greater the need to

get stronger and more persistent. 


As they say, enthusiasm is common but endurance is rare.  And we, as a

Maltese nation, pride ourselves that even when we find ourselves in new

realities which might pose a challenge we give our 100% to put together

something that is good.


During the past twelve months which have been characterised by the COVID-

19 pandemic, we have, as a nation, shown our trademark resilience. The

Government acted swiftly and decisively: it introduced measures, based on

scientific advice, to shield society from the virus as much as possible, thus also

protecting the health care service in the process.  It also went on the attack

against the malady by swiftly procuring the vaccine and embarking on a nation-

wide inoculation campaign at impressive speed.


The Opposition Leader and his party of perpetual doubters, doomsters and

gloomsters (forgive me there, Boris), eager to try and score cheap, quick

political points, have been caught in glaring contradictions time and time again.

One day they shout at the top of their voices that we should incentivise people

so that they go and dine in restaurants, the next they hit against the Government

for closing restaurants a moment too late.  One day they tell us that we should

take our decisions based on science (which we do) and the next they form a

COVID-19 action team wholly made up of politicians.  And the list goes on and

on.


Before going on to appeal to the Opposition to stop acting like this and

understand that in this moment it is crucial that the national interest is put first

and foremost, I would like to make a point.  I am aware the Leader of the

Opposition is being bullied morning, evening and night by the extremist section

of the Nationalist Party.


This extremist section believes that arrogance is bliss and that hatred should be

the number one currency.  It attracts very little respect on the ground, but

seemingly has an ability to create echo chambers inside the Nationalist Party

and come up with a lot of noise within the confines of that chamber.


And while some politically myopic people seem to be impressed at the dull

sound of the drumming cacophony created in the echo-chamber of the arrogant

bullies, the rest of the population is walking by and living its life.

I sincerely hope, for the good of the country, that the Leader of the

Opposition has enough courage to show this extremist section of his own party

the proverbial door.  It is evident that if he keeps being the something in

between as he is trying to be now, the one to be shown the door would be the

Leader of the Opposition himself.


Our country cannot be caught in the cross fire between the diverse factions of

the Nationalist Party.  We need a mature Opposition which has only one

consideration in its view – the paramount interest of our beloved country and

not the frantic appeasement of extremists.


But back to the pandemic and the enormous efforts which are currently being

undertaken in order to vaccinate people in a steady, expedite and efficient

manner.  We take enormous pride in the fact that Malta is in number one

position in terms of the number of vaccinations per capita within the whole of

the European Union.  


The efforts are enormous.  To date not less than 40 vaccination centres have

been opened and the number will keep increasing.


The Government has also acted swiftly and efficiently in order to save jobs.

For the COVID Wage Supplement alone, during the last year, the Government

has invested €373,217,000 and this measure has saved around 100,000 jobs.

This has been one – albeit the largest one in terms of expenditure – of a number

measures introduced by the Government to tackle the economic impact of the

COVID-19 pandemic.


In all, the measures administered by the Government as a whole so far came

with an investment of EUR 814 million.


In terms of economic growth, the figures speak for themselves.  Even in the

midst of a pandemic, in the last quarter of 2020, Malta experienced the most

positive result in the Eurozone and the second best result in the whole of the

European Union.  


In January, we registered the second lowest unemployment rate in the

EuroZone.  During 2020 we had the largest increase of employment in the

whole of the European Union.  I can keep going on.


The outlook for the future is also positive.  According to the European

Commission Malta will register the largest growth rate in the European Union

next year.

This is all the result of hard work and resilience. Malta should be proud of its

achievements, as should be the Prime Minister who managed to steer Malta

forward through one of the gravest calamities which occurred in the last

generations.

 

 *   *

 

I enjoyed watching Dr Alfred Sant, the former Prime Minister and sitting MEP,

being interviewed by Reno Bugeja on the maltatoday portal.


I always have time to listen to what Dr Sant has to say and admire his unique

way of saying what he believes in, while being completely genuine and

transparent about it. The overview about the period from 1975 to 1992 was very

interesting to follow.


The way he says things might come across as robotic sometimes but, from

experience, it is more the result of his brilliant mind producing more words than

he is able to physically utter than the case of someone who rehearses the

answers beforehand and repeats them mechanically.


His analysis of the historic period on which he has written about in his second

part of “Confessions of a European Maltese – the Middle Years” is clinical,

clean and sincere.  I admire his ability to write so much in so little time – his

proficiency is nothing less than extraordinary.  


It is always a pleasure to listen to your views, Dr Sant!

I urge the readers of the Malta Independent to buy his latest book … it will

certainly be a good read.

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