Archive for May, 2012

Partit megalomanjaku

May 29, 2012

‘Kif tista’ ma ċċempilx?’ daħlet fil-lingwa ta’ kuljum bħala espressjoni ta’ redikolu meta xi ħadd jagħmel, skużawni l-espressjoni, xi ċucata grassa.

Aqraw din l-istorja minn

Mela wara li qalulna li qed jużaw facebook biex jikkomunikaw man-nies (mur obsor! – saħansitra poster ta’ The Times kienet tant qegħdin sew…) issa waslet l-aħbar ta’ reality show bl-isem ta’ Be Prime Minister for a Day.

Ejja għal mument ngħidu li tista’ tkun idea tajba li xi persuni, speċjalment studenti, ngħid jien, iqattgħu ġurnata jaraw x’jagħmel Prim Ministru (x’aktarx dik il-ġurnata ma jagħmilx laqgħa ma’ tal-boathouses illegali jew mal-kaċċaturi biex iwegħdhom l-ilma jisfen), iżda le din l-oxxenita ta’ reality show li m’hi xejn ħlief propaganda Nazzjonalista minn fuq dar kariga uffiċċjali tal-istat qed tiġi organizzata mill-Partit Nazzjonalista – mhux mill-uffiċċju tal-Prim Ministru iżda direttament mill-Partit Nazzjonalista.

Dawn in-nies ma jistħu minn xejn, l-arroganza u l-attitudni tal-‘poplu l-magħżul’ (…bil-kap magħżul mill-Missier Etern innifsu) tal-biża’.

Dawn affarijiet li jsiru f’pajjiżi totalitarji jew b’demokrazija fjakka – l-Azerbajan, jew fil-Korea ta’ Fuq, jew ‘Un giorno con il Duce’. Issa naraw liema lagħqi jintagħżel biex jiffilmjawh bil-bżieq ħiereġ minn ħalqu idur ma djul il-Prim.

Reality show tal-Partit Nazzjonalista – bżar fl-għajnejn u turija ta’ nuqqas ta’ rispett lejn is-separazzjoni bejn stat u partit. Il-bi-partitiżmu wasslana s’hawn – fejn anke l-istat u l-pajjiż qed jiġu redikolati minn dawk li jaħsbu li huma l-pampaluni tal-korrettezza u s-serjeta. Sewwa jghidu, veru saru skip! U The Times jirrappurtaw mingħajr l-anqas kumment jew analiżi.

Kif jgħidu, għandna l-istituzzjonijiet li ħaqqna, u l-politiċi li ħaqqna. L-aqwa li jien ma kontx wieħed minn dawk li poġġejthom hemm.

Cyclist? Pedestrian? Do you live in H’Attard?

May 14, 2012

I want to hear from you… especially if you live in H’Attard, since I am planning some local initiatives.

I want to hear from all those who use a bicycle whether it’s for leisure or for commuting. I want to hear from you on how to improve conditions on our local roads, educate and inform residents about safety and help create better conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.

I would also like to hear if you would be interested in a mass cycling event in H’Attard. Or maybe you’re interested in joining a sub-committee on local mobility issues. If you are interested please contact me by email on

Ralph Cassar
Local Councillor, H’Attard


Ministers’ tunnel vision

May 11, 2012

With our roads choked with traffic, and after messing up the public trans­port reform, ministers Austin Gatt, Giovanna Debono and Chris Said, and I suppose the Nationalist Party too, want us to clap and cheer at their proposal for a tunnel for 1,500 vehicles in each direction a day between Malta and Gozo. This is nothing compared to the tens of thousands of vehicles choking main arteries in the morning and afternoon rush hours. Guess what, this could cost anything between €150 million and over €1 billion. In the meantime cost-effective options and fast Gozo-Malta services were abandoned.

I am told that this proposal was first muted by a prospective Labour candidate, with the PN Gozo MPs scrambling to make the proposal their own. Unbelievable.

We were told time and again that the government, Dr Gatt in particular, managed to reduce the subsidies for public transport by a couple of million euros. Gozitans were also sold the story that the fast hydrofoil service to Sa Maison at €1 million or so a year operating costs was “not feasible”. They cannot provide a fast service to the very heart of Malta – Valletta and its environs – at a fraction of the cost and want us to just say yes to their latest brainwave. These are the same people who couldn’t even handle the terminal projects in Ċirkewwa and Mġarr – cost overruns galore and over 20 years to complete.

The proposal just confirms the government’s inability to lure certain types of investment to Gozo. IT companies and back office work where distances do not matter, for example. There are scores of other islands in the Mediterranean which are doing really well, attracting tourists the year round. The proposal is confirmation of the PN’s failures. It has given up.

As for Dr Gatt, he is no longer believable. In 2007 just before the 2008 elections, he came up with the usual fanfare surrounding his announcements, 20 projects for the regeneration of the Grand Harbour. From 2007 barely anything has changed. This same minister who used to say that alternative energy is just a dream, that Smart City would employ thousands and that tramlines are not feasible wants us to believe that spending anything up to €1 billion on a tunnel when a hydrofoil to Sa Maison, Valletta or even Sliema and Marsa (connecting to the main arteries and bus routes) will do just fine. What’s the point of having a ferry service just to the very edge of Malta with none at all to the heart of where businesses, workplaces and offices are?

Ms Debono and Dr Said will probably be competing to outdo each other. Selling pie in the sky is common to their way of doing politics.

Let’s just for a moment assume that the cost of the tunnel, which will probably never happen anyway, is half a billion euros. That sum could probably pay for free public transport at the point of use for the next couple of decades or so. The PN government is proposing that we throw away the money on a tunnel when even a fraction of the same amount can pay for fast sea services between the islands.

Wherever the money comes from, would half a billion euros pay for a light rail or underground system connecting all Malta’s main urban centres, with bus routes radiating out of the main stations? If the government finds the money then might as well use it for projects that would really improve the quality of life of the whole population. What about the recent ideas for projects by the Temi Zammit Foundation, which is a government funded foundation? Aren’t these projects which aim to reduce the unbearable traffic congestion and pollution from the tens of thousands which pass through the inner harbour areas each day more of a priority?

Like Silvio Berlusconi’s bridge over the straits of Messina, where local train services have been left to deteriorate and money channelled into the white elephant project instead, the tunnel proposal only serves to inflate the already over inflated egos of PN ministers.

Of course any criticism of this pre-election gimmick will attract the usual attacks from those who are gullible enough not to realise that there are plenty of other options for Gozo which this government itself has abandoned and never developed. The masters of spin are at it again.

Mr Cassar is spokesman for energy, transport and industry, Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party.

Ta’ Qali action plan – my submission to MEPA

May 7, 2012

The Director of Planning

(2012 Revisions to the Ta’ Qali Action Plan)

TheMaltaEnvironment and Planning Authority


Comments about the Ta’ Qali Action Plan revision

Ralph Cassar, local councillor (AD), H’Attard



Open spaces should remain open. Planting and afforestation should be restricted to the use of indigeneous and locally grown species. Noise and light pollution are issues which need to be addressed.


Convention and Exhibition facilities

The document makes reference to energy saving features for the convention and exhibition buildings proposed. The document should also make reference to light and noise pollution. Noise from the MFCC reaches Attard’s residential areas and its environs, with the noise being particularly of a nuisance late at night and early morning – midnight till 4am. A probable cause is sound systems which are not installed and designed professionally with towers of speakers projecting sound over too long a distance. Conditions on levels of sound should be imposed. Outdoor activities after midnight should be limited and even here sound limits should be imposed. Technological solutions exist. Sound barriers and other options such as heavy planting should be a condition for the buildings and outside areas. Embellishment around the facilities should use indigeneous and locally grown trees and shrubs.

Motor sports

The control of noise is also an issue here. Sound barriers should be a condition, together with heavy planting all around the complex.

Access to Ta’ Qali

Access to Ta’ Qali by private vehicles should be through the main arterial roads, access through residential areas such as Attard should be discouraged.

Mass transport of spectators and partons to mass events should be encouraged. As such the provision of parking should be restricted, with facilities available for easy access to the stadium and other facilities by large public transport veichles – minibuses, coaches and buses – and the provision of adequate, sheltered and comfortable areas for commuters.

Safe bicycle and pedestrian routes from nearby Attard, as well as safe cycle routes from Rabat and Mosta should be actively considered. Cycle parking facilites – preferably sheltered should be provided.

All new roads should have space for trees and shrubs on their sides.