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MALTATODAY 26 January 2020

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 26 JANUARY 2020 1 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 26 JANUARY 2020 ARTS • TV • WHAT'S ON "When immersed in the creative process, my concept of time is lost, a flow of energ y and simultaneous stillness comes over me, it's a grounding sensation which I willingly revisit whenever I can" Art Emma Fsadni Q&A Louis Briffa Film The Lighthouse CLASSIFIEDS & COMMERCIALS PHOTO: ANDREW LARGE SUNDAY • 26 JANUARY 2020 • ISSUE 1056 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY €1.95 maltatoday CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF BOLD JOURNALISM WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT/20YEARS maltatoday | SUNDAY • 26 JANUARY 2020 COMMENT What are we skinning? The controversial carnival float that would have depicted Archbishop Charles Scicluna next to two horned cherubs in front of a plaque that says 'Dar San Guzep' (sic), a reference to the same home for orphans rocked by sex abuse scandals decades ago. Okay, I'm not even gonna bother asking my standard question about why we're skinning this. Oh yes. An LGBTIQ rainbow flag would also have figured into the design. So basically this is a crass obscenity that shouldn't see the light of day. Well, actually, it won't. That's a relief. How come? Newly-instated Culture Minister Jose Herrera said that following legal consultation, the float will not be allowed to form part of the traditional carnival repertoire. I see. Part of me is obviously glad it won't be seeing the light of day, but… Yes, I know. The central governing body putting a stop to a 'satirical' carnival float smacks of the c-word. Courgette? No. Colonic irrigation? Close but… no. Crusty-old-white-guys-dictating- what-is-and-isn't-appropriate- for-us-to-experience? Closer. Oh I know, censorship! Bingo! The same scourge on Maltese cultural life that supposedly went away under the auspices of the very same minister while he was in charge for culture before Owen Bonnici took over for what now seems to be an interim period… Is it really such a blanket case of censorship, though? Herrera himself seems to be fairly confident, given that both the Archbishop himself and the Home have been identified by name and likeness and unambiguously tarred with the same brush that has dirtied the Home's reputation for many years. Still don't like the idea that a Culture Minister's first act in office amounts to the suppression of a work of creative expression, heinous as it is. Yes, politically it smacks of both backtracking and appeasement. To say nothing of the hints of a slavish adherence to the whims of the local clerical elite. Anyway, isn't carnival the time to get chaotic and messy before scaling it all back for lent? In theory yes, but I think it's time to face the fact that Maltese carnival is only ever going to serve as a colourful party that keeps things kid-friendly all throughout. And let's face it: we have yet to see compelling examples of cutting but intelligent satire (political or otherwise) to emerge on the Maltese carnival circuit, the kind that can serve as a good counterbalance to this kind of crude and poorly thought-out attempt. Could it be a case of the general populace not quite knowing what to do with a post-censorship Malta, once it was made available to them? I think that's the nub of it, yes. Education, as ever, is key. Boring as it may sound. Do say: "Freedom of expression is not an invitation to irresponsible spewing that can degenerate into insults and innuendos, especially not libellous ones." Don't say: "Get that float out there as-is and let's start the year with a bang! We've been scandal-free for nearly a month and I'm already itching with withdrawal symptoms!" No 19. The St Joseph Home Carnival Float MICHAEL FALZON Choosing the top cop PAGE 6 EDITORIAL The inevitable politicisation of public appointments PAGE 2 INTERVIEW Abigail Mamo PGS 8-9 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down AARON FARRUGIA On the environment, we can't leave anything to chance PGS 12-13 A new way to enjoy print on Sunday MaltaToday's comment and arts sections housed in the new MT2 and MT3 MATTHEW VELLA FORMER prime minister Joseph Muscat has taken up the mantle for Steward Healthcare, request- ing a meeting with his successor on the future of the hospitals' pri- vatisation project. Muscat, whose career as Malta prime minister ended on 12 Jan- uary, attended a meeting together with Steward Healthcare Inter- national's president Armin Ernst with Prime Minister Robert Abela and deputy PM and health minis- ter Chris Fearne, as well as prin- cipal permanent secretary, at the Auberge de Castille. Muscat was said to have com- municated his wish to see that the privatisation project goes on as initially promised, this newspaper can reveal. But the main reason for the meeting was to meet Steward Healthcare's demand to renegoti- ate aspects of their multi-million euro concession, which includes running the Gozo, St Luke's and Karin Grech hospitals. The US-based company ac- quired the 30-year concession offered by the government to the hitherto-unknown Vitals Health- care Group, for an undisclosed sum. Malta is Steward's first in- ternational expansion. MaltaToday is informed that Steward is interested in clinching more concessions on the deal, es- pecially since the business VGH originally set out to achieve – such as the medical tourism ob- jectives – has, so far, been elusive. Joseph Muscat meets PM Robert Abela to discuss Steward demand to renegotiate €250 million contract Muscat lobbies Abela to renegotiate Steward deal PAGE 2 Backbench influence: Steward's Armin Ernst shakes hands with Joseph Muscat at the opening of the Barts campus at the Gozo General Hospital Central Link destruction 4

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