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MALTATODAY 4 October 2020

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FREE The Government is committed to achieve stronger gender balance levels of our society women in the 2020 SUNDAY • 8 MARCH 2020 • ISSUE 1062 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY €1.95 maltatoday Farmers' The big steal PAGE 4 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 8 MARCH 2020 COMMENT What are we skinning? Malta Developers Association president Sandro Chetcuti. Why are we skinning him? The death of a woman as the result of a building collapse has once again put Malta's construction lobby in an unfavourable light. But what does he have to do with it? He's just a lobbyist. He's the lobbyist for a Maltese business sector that has historically enjoyed an unprecedented degree of impunity and is now, apparently, also murderous. That's a bit dramatic. An entire sector cannot be blamed on one accident. Let alone a single person. Yes, but its self-declared key representative should be put under the spotlight. He hasn't been the most dignified of orators throughout his tenure, sure… Right? I mean, we've all got our favourites. Mine's his declaration that Malta's two main political parties are just like "two big shops" for developers and other big business: "sometimes you buy from the one, sometimes you buy from the other". That's a hard one to beat. But I kind of appreciate him saying it. How do you mean? Well, I would rather have someone who's honest about the avarice that informs this industry, instead of some clean-cut guy who just blubbers out placating but shallow PR-speak. That's true, but wouldn't you rather have someone who actually makes tangible change happen in these defining industries, rather than someone who just continues to dredge their way through the status quo? Yes, but this is Malta. What do you expect? That's not really an excuse. Come on… And I expect quite a bit, actually. A woman just died. You're right. But I don't think the answer lies with Sandro Chetcuti. Or with any ONE other person. Yes. We should denude ourselves of the idea that personages, or personalities in and of themselves, will make any tangible difference. Once again, I'll risk a smack across the face and pull the 'It's Malta' card again. The cult of personality is an intrinsic part of our parochial existence. Sure. But for once, we're in full agreement about something. We're in full agreement that the kind of macho 'charisma' espoused by the likes of Chetcuti will solve exactly nothing. So let's fight for its removal. We'll need numbers on our side. Whatever it takes. Do say: "While it is unfair to pin all of the myriad wrongs of the construction industry on one single individual, Sandro Chetcuti's attitude and approach is a telling illustration of the kind of impunity that the construction sector continues to enjoy." Don't say: "Accidents happen! Whoops!" No 25. MDA President Sandro Chetcuti EDITORIAL Construction industry must up its game PAGE 2 CORONAVIRUS A breeding ground for conspiracies 12-13 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down BRENDA MURPHY Women make up half the world, and have given birth to all of it. We're entitled to a place at the table PGS 8-9 MIRIAM DALLI Why closing the gender pay gap is an urgent priority PAGE 16 ALEXANDRA GORN SMUS maltatoday | SUNDAY • 8 MARCH 2020 Q and A Julia Balzan This Week Composer Ruben Zahra Film The Invisible Man CLASSIFIEDS & COMMERCIALS ARTS • TV • WHAT'S ON MATTHEW VELLA IN June 2017, debts inside Vitals Global Healthcare, the mysterious company granted a multi-million concession to run three state hospi- tals, were climbing and bank finance seemed impossible to obtain. But VGH's directors Ram Tumu- luri and Mark Edward Pawley, the brains behind BVI offshore company Bluestone, signed off on a back-dat- ed contract that set their directors' fees at €600,000 and €400,000 annu- ally, with a €5 million bonus for Ram Tumuluri. Three months later, talks were starting with US healthcare company Steward to acquire their concession. By then, millions in con- sultancy fees and debts had piled up. Covid-19 CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF BOLD JOURNALISM WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT/20YEARS BRENDA MURPHY the portrayal women in matters INTERVIEW• MT2 COMMENT & ARTS inside our MT2 and MT3 sections Miriam: the death of an innocent woman Michael Falzon "Greed is a convenient scapegoat" CABINET CLASH Fearne-Abela disagree on stopping northern Italy flights due to virus page 3 First confirmed coronavirus case in Malta is Italian girl of 12 page 2 As debts piled up at Vitals Global Healthcare, directors Ram Tumuluri and Bluestone's Mark Pawley paid themselves €1 million each year and a €5 million bonus in a back-dated contract they devised in June 2017, months before they exited Malta and the doomed hospitals' concession Keep smiling: Ram Tumuluri and Mark Pawley Women: the fight continues Page 12 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 22 MARCH 2020 COMMENT What are we skinning? Economy Minister Silvio Schembri's 'unfortunate' post-COVID implications for third country nationals working in Malta. Why are we skinning it? Because it was a perfect storm of cross-party appeals to racist sentiment and a merciless X-Ray examination of the ethical problems inherent in the dynamics of cheap imported labour. So what happened exactly? Forgive me, but these are heady days. Understood. Responding to a concern raised by Beppe Fenech Adami in parliament, where the PN MP made his own appeal to xenophobes by claiming that COVID-19 redundancies would result in foreigners running riot on our streets, Schembri insinuated that talks are underway with the Home Ministry that could result in the deportation of third-country nationals which lose employment as a result of post-COVID-19 economic strain. "Charity begins at home," he said. Yikes. An unfortunate choice of words, given the times. Yes, and 'unfortunate' was precisely the way Schembri himself described his own comments in a subsequent video statement on Facebook, where he apologised for any offence confirmed that of surely don't have the monopoly on running riot in our streets? Fenech Adami's stance is also a poignant synecdoche of the PN's way of doing things: grand moralistic statements rooted in historically reactionary habits and assumptions, meant to stoke conservative sentiment and lull them into a false sense of security and the belief that the PN is the natural vanguard of 'traditional values' and national heritage. On the flipside, Schembri appears to be reflecting a political attitude that's pragmatic to a fault. Yes, he clumsily attempted to make a rigidly legalistic argument to quash Fenech Adami's concerns. Because yes, third country nationals without renewed work permits technically don't have a legal right of stay in Malta, but should this really be the time to bring that to the forefront? The pandemic really has put a timer on Muscatian feel-good political rhetoric, hasn't it? Indeed. Do say: "While it is good that Schembri and his team recognised the inherent insensitivity of his original statement and that we should acknowledge the gaffe-prone stress everyone is under these days, neither should we distract ourselves from the inherent problematics of imported labour. More humanity and solidarity all please." No 26. 'All My Love' by Destiny EDITORIAL Abela is not in war mode. We need a fightback plan PAGE 2 CLAUDIO GRECH The Budget won't work INTERVIEW 8-9 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down SAVIOUR BALZAN Fighting a cancer with an aspirin PAGE 5 JOSANNE CASSAR And just like that, everything changed PAGE 6 PHOTO BY BRANIMIR BALOGOVIC MICHAEL FALZON The end of the world as we know it PAGE 7 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 4 OCTOBER 2020 Q&A Malta CLASSIFIEDS & COMMERCIALS ARTS • TV • WHAT'S ON PHOTO TEATRU MALTA maltatoday Get the critical perspective on politics, culture and society Be the first to enjoy our print newspaper with a subscription When you need to decode what politicians are saying, when you want to understand why Malta's crazy construction industry is impacting upon your life, when you need to step out of the social media and understand the world from a different perspective, our journalists and columnists will provide you with expert reporting, analysis and commentary. Order now at

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