Anyone interested in my hit-list?

Fireworks, and especially the use of petards and uncontrolled noise at untimely hours, are a problem that is still highly unregulated and goes on with little or no respect to residents 

Can we start thinking of car free areas in the countryside, especially on a Sunday?
Can we start thinking of car free areas in the countryside, especially on a Sunday?

As we descend into the torridness of the Maltese summer, the World Cup is a welcome distraction and reprieve from the otherwise unbearable summer. This time around we also had a blessing in disguise since, with the Italians out of the competition, we do not have to suffer a noisy carcade every two days.

Those who have to work in summer will understand what I am talking about, while anyone fortunate enough to have a three-month break or the luxury of taking a long holiday will fail to appreciate.

Before we take off for these seven weeks of heat, sweat and dust, let me bother you with the sixteen most pressing reflections on my mind at present.

School holidays are far too long

Why should school holidays start off at the end of June and continue until the third week or last week of September? And why should children be given ‘study days’ and asked to stay home unsupervised in June?

Summer hours too early

Government departments and some agencies work half days as from June 15. Consecutive governments have failed to address this problem for fear of votes. Why should government workers have half-days?

Littering

Littering is still a major problem and most people do not really care if they leave their waste on the beach or in the countryside.  Money talks and perhaps we need to bring some extreme Singaporean enforcement into action.

Sex industry

A recent US report describes Malta’s sex industry and dependence on young foreign women. Clamping on illegal brothels treating women as sex slaves has nothing to do with not being liberal.

Regulating noise

Fireworks and especially the use of petards and uncontrolled noise at untimely hours are a problem that is still highly unregulated and goes on with little or no respect to residents.

Waste at sea

The dumping of waste by boats, sailing and power yachts in bays and next to the shoreline goes on unabated. There are few services available for emptying bilge and holding tanks in bays.

Safety at sea

As if it is not enough to have fast cars driven by mad youngsters, the sea coast has its unfair share of jet skis. Some bays should ban jet skis outright since it is next to impossible to control errant jet ski drivers.

Parking meters

We badly need parking meters in city centres and this hang up that a parking meter is equivalent to a tax is grossly incorrect. We also need to protect our historical centres and create more green spaces within towns and city centres.

Reducing car licences

If we want more people to get off the road and use public transport or taxis, why not introduce a scheme whereby those who renounce their car licence are given a cash gift of €2,000 and cannot apply for a licence until another four years. If 20,000 persons avail themselves of this scheme it would cost €40 million but the return would be priceless.

Car-free areas

Can we start thinking of car-free areas in the countryside, especially on a Sunday? Just imagine if the roads around Mtaħleb were car-free: children could ride, joggers could jog and walkers walk without having to worry about the traffic and the occasional horse rider chance a ride.

Access to shoreline

The need to reinforce the requirement that all shorelines and passages in the countryside are open to the public.  A principle that exists in so many western countries.

Working in Malta

The basic requirement that foreign workers who are handed a working permit, attend a day course to know something about Malta and the Maltese language. And those in the service industry should be given more than a basic course to learn a few phrases in Maltese and something about Maltese culture.

Appreciating Malta’s history

A compulsory secondary school book on Maltese history for all schools, covering over five thousand years of archaeology and Maltese history until today. And perhaps an appreciation of who our icons really are, whether it is an architect, a linguist, a sportsperson, a benefactor, a scientist, a performer, a judge, a doctor, a politician or a soldier.

Saving the media

Private and government subvention to urgently revive and save the media industry and help it survive from the social media onslaught to enable it to provide a truly inquisitive but truthful service in the long and bumpy road of a middle-aged democracy.

Foreign workers

Before arguing over whether one should save migrants at sea or integrate them in Maltese society, can we at least agree on the number of foreign workers that we can take as a nation? Surely with the dramatic need of skilled and unskilled labourers this number cannot be small.

Full-time parliamentarians

Just make parliamentarians full-time and cut the crap. You are either a parliamentarian or something else, you cannot be both. Malta did not reinvent the wheel. Reimburse them adequately and do not pay them peanuts.

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