lundi, mars 20, 2006
Having (twice) lambasted PM Gonzi for his apparent arrogance on Saturday I feel dutibound to reproduce in full the letter of rectification that he sent to the Times. Before I do so may I point out that the exchange between the PM and the Times can lead us to conclude two things:
1. the Times journalist is either very very biased or very very stupid (ok let's say silly).
2. Gonzi is not very very capable of communicating clearly.
Anyhoo... here is what Gonzi really had to say about what he really said:
"I refer to the article People Should Be More Appreciative - Gonzi (The Sunday Times, March 19).
"Both the title and the opening paragraphs of this article portray an incredibly unwarranted and incorrect picture of my address at Saturday's seminar themed We Are Making Success Of Accession. At no point did I lament that people don't appreciate the government's work nor did I ask people to be more appreciative for it.
"Of course, I did emphasise the fact that without membership none of the benefits would have accrued to our country and to our citizens. In this sense, we must all be conscious of the fact that it is thanks to membership that Malta and the Maltese enjoy unprecedented rights and benefits. But this consciousness cannot and should not be understood as asking people to "be more appreciative of the government's work". On the contrary, I have gone on record to repeatedly state that it is the government and its institutions that need to understand better the people's needs and to communicate more effectively its policies and programmes.
"During my speech, I emphasised the achievements of the country and the citizen as a result of EU accession, mentioning the gains but also the challenges. I recognised the difficulties we are facing as a result of the opening of our markets. While pointing out that small entrepreneurs and importers were happy with this and that the consumer had a wider choice, I acknowledged that such market openness has put pressure on our agriculture community and that we need to address these pressures. I mentioned the benefits achieved in the social and employment fields and gave as an example the ETC scheme for the over 40s. I mentioned roads and projects that have now also started in Gozo, the students and workers going abroad to study and exchange visits, and the support we are receiving to address the irregular immigrants issue.
The power of the citizen who can now refer matters to the EU was highlighted and I gave as concrete example the satellite licences issue (mentioning that this cost government Lm500,000 in one year) and the Marsascala plant which must now be brought to EU standards. I also spoke about the opportunities for our local councils that need to exploit better EU membership.
"All of this has been discarded by the report with a title and an underlying message that does not reflect the thrust of my address.
"I take this opportunity to assure Maltese people of my gratitude for their commitment and hard endeavour towards the success of our country."
Which leads J'Accuse to revise its bedside prayer for the weekend:
Our electorate that art in thirteen districts, hallowed be thy name, thy vote come, thy will be mine in Mellieha as it is in Bubaqra, give me this day your wholehearted approval as I give thee my gratitude and forgive me any misdeeds as I forgive you your occasional lapses, lead me not into opposition and protect me from any opponent.