MaltaToday | 22 June 2008 | Broken promises

OPINION | Sunday, 22 June 2008

Broken promises

Evarist Bartolo

More than 100 days have passed since the PN was re-elected in the March elections. Enough time has passed to take a look at what is happening to the 353 electoral promises the PN made in the run up to the election. If the PN has full five years in office its government has at least to deliver an average of six promises every month. Instead of delivering on its promises, the PN is breaking them.
The PN promised to extend the scheme to encourage people to buy eco-friendly domestic appliances. It stopped this scheme. The PN promised that people on public boards would be appointed after a call for applications. These boards are being packed with friends and supporters of the various ministers appointing them. The PN promised to launch more schemes to help young couples buy their first home but once the election was over, one such existing scheme was terminated.
Before the March elections the PN said that Malta was facing a formidable challenge because of the increases in the price of food and energy. The PN promised that it would form a government capable of solving these problems and overcoming these challenges successfully. The PN has so far done nothing to solve these problems except and allowed prices to rise and rise, higher than what is happening in the rest of the EU. Other EU countries have effective mechanisms to ensure that markets work in an efficient and just way and competition watchdogs intervene then they do not. Families and individuals promised tax cuts before the elections are now being told that because of the difficult global economic situation, tax cuts cannot take place in the coming months.
Pensions, salaries and social benefits are becoming less and less adequate to provide a decent quality of life. But government is doing nothing to ease the pain felt by many hardworking individuals and families to make ends meet. But the PN quickly created a soft landing for former ministers by extending for six months the salaries they had before they lost their office so that they “do not starve”, poor souls!
In the address on the occasion of the opening of the 11th parliament more than a month ago the PN promised: “This will be one government for all the people… we must do away with resentment and division, and work together to achieve the common end of the common good.” Government’s deeds have not matched these nice words. The way government smuggled us into the Partnership for Peace without any consultation or electoral mandate is enough to show this.
At various workplaces in the public sector employees who do not support the PN are still feeling that they are being treated as second-class citizens and they still experience the arrogant attitude of PN cronies.
Quite a number of citizens who voted PN last March are already disappointed by the PN government in its first 100 days. This is not enough to console the Labour Party. The March 2008 elections showed clearly that the PN’s loss of votes did not translate directly into Labour’s gain. If Labour does not become a strong opposition and a credible alternative government, new voters will stay away from it and old ones will not return to it. If both major parties do not win the trust of more voters by the next general election, the only “party” that will grow will be made up of people who do not go out to vote.
In five years this group of people increased by 8,335 and reached the total of 21,143. No other party increased its support by that amount. The “party of the 21,143 voters” is set to grow if both the PN and Labour disenchant more voters in the coming months and years.

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