Was it yesterday that “The president of the Malta Developers Association Sandro Chetcuti called for a steering committee of experts to be set up in order to establish regulations on sites where buildings with common walls are to be demolished and replaced.”?
As was to be expected, nothing much was done, or even seen to have been done, since that day. Excavations dot – or rather, blemish – the Islands, sometimes to the point where they fill up with sludge and weeds before any further work is done on them. There are half-finished buildings (I would stick my neck out and say that “insufficient funds” is not the only reason for them) here and there, too.
Mechanical dinosaurs gnaw at the land, even when this would have been people’s livelihood, because of bees in bonnets of those who have the power to make it happen.
Minister Ian Borg has gone on record as saying that Miriam’s death is a tragedy. He forgot to include the words “wanton” and “obscene”.
He gave a perfunctory nod to Miriam’s family, and, literally seconds later, aimed his virtual cannon toward all those of us who “sought to profit from this tragedy for personal gain”, not least to “garner a vote or two” (liberal translation).
Believe me, Dr Borg, it is not an also-ran moment to lose a parent because of someone’s rash decisions. Having lost both parents and my only sibling in such circumstances, I know perfectly well what I am saying… it is not bandwagon tactics that make the majority of us speak.
Dr Borg says that the “current priority” (il-priorità bħalissa) is the victim’s family. So, the question begs itself – what about the families of other victims who have had health and belongings and livelihood and homes snatched from them because of avarice and insatiable greed? Are these people to be left begging for a roof over their heads, and a place to bathe and rest and eat, without having to resort to the charity of family, neighbours, and friends?
The State should put its money where its mouth is – these people, who are victims of voracious businessmen who serve at Mammon’s altar, deserve to be put up in guesthouses, all expenses paid, and no question about it. Whether the money – and a new residence – eventually come from the people who are directly responsible for this catastrophe, is a moot point.
It is a cynical expression of many that “something” will be done – about a dangerous crossroads, about invisible white lines of a zebra crossing, about condemned buildings, about long hospital waiting lists – “only when someone dies”.
Miriam was not just “a person who died”. She is the embodiment of how regulations and laws have fallen to wrack and ruin because of cowboy tactics and the hot air of politicians and businessmen who are allowed to ride roughshod over common mortals for myriad reasons.
I remember how the slogan “f’darek bla biża’” was bandied around after there had been a spate of thefts. O tempora, o mores. Nowadays, we do not only fear the person who comes for our grandma’s barbazzal, to flog it for drugs, but also the conglomerate that buys all the block adjacent to our houses, to tear it down in order to construct a “village” of apartments for the elderly and infirm or whatever… any excuse will do.
Pots calling kettles black will not cut ice. Fine words butter no parsnips. Fake handshakes and crocodile tears will not impress us.
They never did.