Much has been said about efforts to have more beaches awarded the blue flag status and the quality of bathing water in the Maltese Islands, which according to a recent report is second best in the EU after Cyprus. According to the European Environment Agency and the European Commission, the safest places for swimming are Cyprus, Malta, Croatia and Greece, all of which achieved excellent results for more than 90% of bathing water. With a result of 97.7%, Malta placed second after Cyprus, which achieved 99.1%. This excellent result marks an improvement over last year’s results, in which Malta placed third, with 95.4% of its bathing sites having been classified as ‘excellent’. In recent years, the government invested heavily in waste water treatment plants and now the country prides itself as being one of the few in the Mediterranean to treat all its sewage. Huge strides have also been made to ensure safety at sea, with swimmer zones which are being clearly demarcated during the summer months to keep all kinds of sea craft at a safe distance. The scenario when it comes to public beach facilities is a completely different story. Back in the 1960s, when the tourism industry was in its infancy, 16 beach concessions were granted in an attempt to provide basic facilities to bathers.(independent.com.mt) The beaches are a hub for the Maltese economy.
Government must shoulder its responsibility
Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat declared that the government must shoulder its responsibilities after Bank of Valletta (BOV) was fined by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) €203,150 over the La Vallette Multi Manager Property Fund. Speaking during a Labour Party activity in Saqqajja, Rabat, Dr Muscat justified his call on the grounds that the government is the largest shareholder in this bank, citing also the fact that its chairman is appointed by the government. He questioned the government’s credentials on accountability referring to former Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici who refused to resign, until he was ousted by a no-confidence vote. He added that in such a circumstance the BOV chairman must do the honourable thing and resign, or else politicians have to assume responsibility. Touching on the political crisis, he remarked that the Prime Minister is now hostage to his leadership-style, backing his argument with the fact that he kept home affairs under his direct responsibility as “he was afraid to rock the boat” if he had appointed somebody else in charge. He stated that the Prime Minister has too much to shoulder by himself and should have appointed at least a parliamentary secretary for home affairs. “Otherwise, the Police Corps, prison, immigration and other sectors will become a victim of this decision,” stated Dr Muscat.(independent.com.mt) A government that does not assume responsibility is not a government.
Malta condemns ongoing violence in Syria
The ongoing violence in Syria was this evening condemned by Foreign Minister Tonio Borg. He said in a statement: "I condemn in the strongest possible terms the ongoing violence in Syria. The massacre of innocent civilians in the villages of Qubair and Maarzaf in Hama is a shocking testament to the unwillingness being exhibited by the Syrian government of al-Assad to halt the cycle of violence in Syria. "Malta also condemns the shooting on UN monitors investigating the massacre, and urges the Syrian government to allow unimpeded access to establish responsibility for the violence. "It has become crucial for the international community to speak with one voice and to press for the full implementation of special envoy Kofi Annan’s six point plan in order to end the bloodshed.(timesofmalta.com) All this kind of violence are wrong.