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Making our policies more humane.

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Partit Demokratiku is saddened by the death of Frederick Ofosu who took his life and who’s case was reported in the media. there have been others like him in the past whose tragic demise was not reported in the media.

Partit Demokratiku reiterates its stand on giving citizenship to children born to migrants who are born in Malta. Inhuman policies which address numbers not people, should be resolved to come up with policies firmly rooted in complete regard for human dignity. Partit Demokratiku asks the government to come up with concrete integration and inclusion plans for people who have been granted THPN status and who have become part of our society. Those people already accorded that status, should not be treated as a number or as an inconvience but should be given a right to residential status in our country; given that they have become fully integrated and possess a clean conduct.
Partit Demokratiku feels it is high time that the government sets up a lobby within international fora to redefine the term ‘refugee’, as the current definition reflects a post world war situation and has not been updated since then. Refugee status should take into account current global realities, so that people do not suffer injustice due to outdated policies. The acquisition of refugee status should be made possible by compiling a set of criteria which reflects today’s reality with regards to the causes of human displacement. Climate change, war and weather induced famines can cause families to flee just as much as any other abuse of their humanity.
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Malta needs to tackle organised crime immediately

Partit Demokratiku would like to express its solidarity with all victims of organised crime in the wake of Monday’s awful car bomb explosion in Msida.
Partit Demokratiku extends its support to the government, the Police and Emergency services during this traumatic period – it is important that we, as a society with common goals in mind, work together in order to tackle the growing issue of organised crime: there have been 5 gang-related explosions in Malta since 2016.
Partit Demokratiku thinks it is high time that an independent task force, which is not a structure within our police force is set up to deal with organised crime in Malta. Such a task force would have specific funding allocated for it, and resources are pooled more efficiently. Intelligence is shared and their aim would be to clamp down on organised crime. We have seen through the years, that such cases are rarely solved. There seems also to be a laisse a faire attitude or so it is perceived by the general public. It is good to keep in mind that in such cases, innocent bystanders can become victims and then it does not remain a matter of criminals eliminating one another, but it becomes an issue of domestic security.
PD’s Spokesperson for Health and Social Justice, Alexander Clayman said, “We must thoroughly explore the root causes of gang crime in Malta. This means increased funding to University criminology and sociology researchers and improved intersectoral collaboration: social workers, police officers, health workers, teachers and business owners should all work together to try and establish why people slip into a life of crime and how we can work to get them out of crime, or even better – prevent it.”
Stqarrija Stampa 21.02.2017
‘Malta għandha bżonn tindirizza l-kriminalita’ organizzata b’mod immedjat’ jgħid il-Partit Demokratiku
Partit Demokratiku jixtieq juri s-solidarjeta tiegħu mal-vittmi kollha tal-kriminalita organizzata wara l-karozza bomba tal-bieraħ ġewwa l-Imsida.
Il-PD jixtieq juri s-sapport tiegħu mal-gvern, pulizija u l-emerġenza li kienu qegħdin jaħdmu bla waqfien il-bieraħ. Huwa importanti li bħala soċjeta’ naħdmu flimkien biex nilħqu għanijiet kommuni fejn tidħol il-kriminalita’ organizzata. Minn 2016 kien hemm 5 splużżjonijiet relatati mal-kriminalita’ organizzata f’Malta.
Il-PD jipproponi li għandu jkun hemm task force indipendenti mill-korp tal-pulizija li tiffokka u taħdem biex tnaqqas il-kriminalita organizzata f’pajjiżna. Għal din it-task force għandu jkun hemm fondi allokati speċifikament għaliha, u riżorsi jiġu maqsuma b’mod iktar effiċjenti. L-għan ta’ talli task force ikun li jwaqqfu l-kriminalita organizzata. Kif rajna matul is-snin każijiet bħal dawn rari jiġu solvuta. Il-perċezzjoni hemm barra hi li kollox qisu jitħalla għaddej sakkem huma kriminali li qegħdin joqtlu lil xulxin. Huwa tajjeb li nżommu f’moħħna li f’każijiet bħal dawn persuni innoċenti jistgħu jisfaw vittmi. Għal daqstant dawn ma jibqgħux persuni kriminali qegħdin joqtlu lil xulxin imma jsiru problema ta’ sigurta domestika.
Il-kelliem għas-saħħa u ġustizzja soċjali tal-Partit Demokratiku, Alexander Clayman, qal ‘hemm bżonn nesploraw x’inhu dak li qiegħed jikkawża l-kriminalita organizzata f’pajjiżna. Għandhom jingħatu iktar fondi r-riċerkaturi fil-qasam tal-kriminoloġija u soċjoloġija u għandu jkun hemm iktar ħidma bejn id-dipartimenti differenti; bħal social workers, pulizija, nies li jaħdmu fil-qasam ta’ saħħa, għalliema u sidien tal-business. Dawn għandhom jaħdmu flimkien biex b’hekk jiġi stabilit għalfejn in-nies jitilfu t-triq u jispiċċaw jagħmlu atti kriminali. Għandu wkoll ikun hemm ħidma biex dawn in-nies jinħarġu mill-ħajja kriminali jew aħjar nipprevenju li atti kriminali jsiru.’
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Policy loopholes should be closed not abused by politicians

Partit Demokratiku finds it scandalous that Toni Bezzina, co-author of PN’s newly launched environment working policy document, tried to make use of existing loopholes in a policy which came into force in 2014, rather than addressing the loopholes. The reason why he has been able to file an application for a development which was then unearthed by the partisan news outlet ONE was due to a loophole which is not yet addressed in the rural development guidelines policy. Partit Demokratiku feels that it is very unfortunate that when the PN showed signs of willing to protect our environment, one of its co authors’ intention was not to walk the talk. Whilst it may be clearly allowed by law, it requires an extra effort in order to restore trust in the party. Leader of the Democratic Party and Member of Parliament Marlene Farrugia said that ‘it is very unfortunate that our countrymen are constantly being reminded that the two main political parties have no qualms about making promises they know they will break.’
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Stqarrija Stampa 16.02.2017
Bezzina jurihom id-debba u jqabbżilhom il-ħmara. Il-Partit Demokratiku jinsab skandaliżżat bil-fatt li l-On. Toni Bezzina, wieħed mill-awturi tad-dokument tal-politika ambjentali tal-Partit Nazzjonalista, flokk għalaq it-toqob li jstgħu jwasslu għall-abbuż f’din il-politika għamel użu mill-istess toqob huwa stess. Ir-raġuni għalfejn l-On. Bezzina seta jitfa’ l-applikazzjoni tiegħu li iktar tard ġiet mikxufa b’skopp partiġjan mill-midja tal-Labour, setgħet issir minħabba regolamenti li ġew fis-seħħ fl-2014. U taħt liema jintefgħu diversi applikazzjonijiet. Il-Partit Demokratiku juri ddispjaċir tiegħu illi filwaqt il-Partit Nazzjonalista kien beda juri rieda tajba fejn jidħol l-ambjent, wieħed mill-awturi ta’ dokument tiegħu naqas milli jġib ruħu b’mod li juri differenti. Filwaqt li l-linji gwida jgħatu lok għal tali żvilupp, in-nies hemm barra jistennew iktar mill-politiċi tagħhom biex dawn verament juru r-rieda tajba favur l-ambjent u ma jagħmlux użu minn loopholes eżistenti. Il-Kap tal-Partit Demokratiku u Membru Parlamentari, Marlene Farrugia żiedet tgħid li ‘hi ta’ sfortuna kbira li n-nies qegħdin il-ħin kollhu juruhom id-debba waqt li jkollhom diga l-hmara lesta biex iqabbzuhielhom. L-aġir tal-politiċi stess qiegħed juri li l-partiti lesti li jiksru kelmthom daqs tazza ilma.’
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Koalizzjoni u Qagħaq tal-Għasel

Ilbieraħ mort taħt it-tinda tan-Nazzjonalisti b’appoġġ għall-ġurnaliżmu u stampa ħielsa.

Il-Partit Demokratiku u jien nemmnu f’ġurnaliżmu ħieles u responsabbli, għaliex id-demokrazija tosfor jekk ma jkollniex min isus wara min jagħmel il-liġi u ħwejjeġ oħra, biex inżommu xi forma ta’ trasparenza u kontabbilta’ ta’ dak li jiddeċiedu u jagħmlu f’isimna u mhux f’isimna.

Jien u dieħla taħt it-tinda, fost ħafna oħrajn waqqfitni mara anzjana, li apparti milli għanqitni bil-qalb u għannaqtha bil-qalb aktar jien, ħarġet borża tal-karti mill-handbag u qaltli ‘din qagħqa tal-għasel friska, ħudha binti, għalik din.’

Bqajt dieħla fejn poġġewni u bdew id-diskorsi.

Jien kont qed nisma’ sew imma ħarsti baqgħet fuq il-ġemgħa.

Maġġoranza kbira ħafna ta’ nies avvanzati fl-eta’. Żgħażagħ ftit.

Bqajt naħseb fuq dik il-mara li fittxet tara x’ser ittini, kif tagħmel ommi ma’ kulmin iħabbtilha l-bieb, imma wkoll bosta nies tamparaha u ġenerazzjonijiet iżgħar imma xorta anzjani li nżur u li l-istess bħall-mara tal-qagħaq, dejjem lesti biex jagħtu.

Quddiemi allura bdejt nara kampjun tal-popolazzjoni li tana l-pajjiż. Ngħid kampjun għax dawk li kont qed nara probabbli kienu Nazzjonalisti, u bħalhom fid-djar kien hemm bosta anzjani oħra Nazzjonalisti u Laburisti, jew newtrali, Maltin u Għawdxin li f’ħajjithom ħadmu w’stinkaw, biex bnew il-pajjiz kantun kantun, pont pont, bħall-ifjen bizzilla, ħajta ħajta bħall-filigranu ġmiel tagħna.

Dawk il-ġenerazzjinijiet li rajt quddiemi lbieraħ bnew il-pajjiż mill-qiegħ. Wara t-tifrik tal-gwerra naddfu, żbarazzaw il-fdal tal-qerda u b’xogħol iebes u bl-għaraq ta’ ġbinhom fittxew li jum wara jum joħolqu pajjiż mibni fuq is-sewwa tad-demokrazija, is-sbuħija tax-xogħol, il-bżonn tal-ġustizzja u s-saħħa tal-liberta’ li għassew biex ma ssirx libertinaġġ.

Kienu huma, il-ġenerazzjonijiet ta’ qabilna, li taw lill-pajjiż l-Indipendenza, il-vot lil kulħadd, inkluż lin-nisa, għamlu lil Malta Repubblika’, ħolqu l-edukazzjoni b’xejn għal kulħadd, servizz tas-saħħa mill-aqwa u b’xejn għall-konsumatur, bnew l-industrija tat-turiżmu, l-AirMalta, is-Seamalta, l-Enemalta, it-Telemalta, u nista’ nibqa sejra.

Bnew fuq li bnew. Ajruporti, mini, sptar ġdid, power stations, irrestawraw il-front tal-Belt, il-Birgu u Bormla. Proġett kontra proġett.

L-għaqal t’ommijietna, missirijietna, in-nanniet tagħna, ħalla l-frott. Frott għalina biex inkattruh għal uliedna.

Aħna komplejna nsaħħu w’nibnu fuq dak li ħallewlna.

Daħħalna lil Malta fl-Unjonj Ewropeja, biex tħallatna aktar ma’ ġnus oħra, u ħadna biljuni ta’ ewro f’għajnuniet biex saħħahna l-infrastruttura tagħna, filwaqt li ħloqna opportunitajiet għal uliedna, opportunitajiet li aħna konna biss noħolmu bihom. U meta fit-tmeninijiet rajna l-vjolenza u t-theddid għad-demokrazija, aħna lkoll qomna u waqqafna d-dekadenza u l-mistħija li fihom kien ser jegħreq il-poplu tagħna.

Erba’ snin ilu eġajna dħalna għall-pajjiż. Din id-darba ż-żgħażagħ tal-lum ukoll kienu magħna ż-żagħżagħ tal-bieraħ. Iva, kienu magħna bi ħġarhom għax fehmu li l-pajjiż wasal għall-qabża fil-mod kif nagħmlu l-politika.

Għidna issa pajjiżna ħareġ mill-faqar, qegħdin tajjeb, mela rridu nagġmlu l-pass li ngħollu l-kwalita’ ta’ governanza tagħna.

Mela, nrażżnu l-korruzzjoni, inżidu t-trasparenza, naraw li kulħadd jasal bil-ħila tiegħu, u nwittu t-triq biex insaħħu d-dinjita’ tagħna lkoll bid-drittijiet ċivili u bil-ġustizzja soċjali.

U hekk għamilna. Tellajna Gvern ġdid immexxi minn żgħażugħ jiprometti.

Aħna l-ġenerazzjonijiet li għexna biex nagħtu, biex nibnu, biex insaħħu, ħsibna li ħa ntellgħu Gvern ta’ kulħadd li ser jagħmel hekk, jibni fuq it-tajjeb li bnew u tawna missirijietna, u jagħmel iż-żabra li issa kienet tant meħtieġa.

Minflok, ftit xhur wara, il-Gvern beda juri snienu. Intelaq mal-mewġa ta’ kilba u rgħiba. Il-mewġa ta’ ġib ‘l hawn u tiħux ‘l hemm. Beda jiddisponi mill-art tal-poplu kif ifettillu, bil-prezz li jidhirlu, bħallikieku dik l’art ħallihielu missieru, lilu biss, meta l-art hija Tagħna Lkoll. Biegħ parti mill-Enemalta, l-impjant ġdid tal-BWSC, is-servizz tas-saħħa u l-isptarijiet, iċ-ċittadinanza. Biegħ il-valuri kollha li jqanqlu u jżommu r-rispett lejn min imexxina ħaj u b’saħħtu. Qed ibigħilna l-unur tagħna li bla dubbju hija l-għeżeż ħaġa l’għandna bħala nazzjon, Maltin u Għawdxin.

B’danakollu, kif rajt ilbieraħ, u kif qed niltaqa’ u jgħiduli kuljum, il-ġenerazzjonijiet li tawna l-pajjiż kif nafuh aħna, mhux ha jħallu l-ebda pippistrell ikompli jħott dak li bnew huma u saħħahna aħna.

L-aktar meta jaraw li l-ġid tal-pajjiż qed jiġi sparpaljat f’xalata ta’ skandli, waqt li dawk li taw saħħithom lil arthom illum qed iqanċu b’pensjoni li mhix biżżejjed biex ilaħħqu mal-ħajja.

Mhux ha jħallu, u aħna magħhom, li bniedem marid għadu kemm jiġi operat jintbagħat id-dar minnu ‘l Alla, għandu jew m’għandux min jieħu ħsiebu, u għandu jew m’għandux biex iħallas il-kura u l-medċina li jkun baqgħalu bżonn.

Dawk in-nies ta’ xagħarhom abjad, mhux ha jħallu lil uliedhom u lil ulied uliedhom mingħajr pajjiż, mingħajr wirt naturali, mingħajr soċjeta’ ta’ valuri u rispett.

Iż-żgħażagħ tal-bieraħ li bnew il-pajjiż se jingħaqdu maż-żgħażagħ tal-lum, li jixraqilhom li nħallulom pajjiż aħjar milli sibna aħna, biex flimkien, f’koalizzjoni ta’ fehmiet politiċi, ‘il fuq mill-Partit Nazzjonalista, Laburista, Demokratiku, jew oħrajn, ikunu huma, inkunu aħna l-Forza Politka li twassal biex dalwaqt, inwaqqfu l-isfruttar tal-ġid nazzjonali TAGHNA LKOLL, u nieħdu l-pajjiż fuq it-triq tal-GĦAQAL, tas-SINĊERITA’ u ta’ dak li huwa s-SEWWA MAGĦRUF.

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A garnishee order against journalism

The party I represent, Partit Demokratiku, has come out strongly against the precautionary warrants issued in the names of Chris Cardona and Joseph Gerada against Daphne Caruana Galizia. Not because we are fans of Caruana Galizia. To be honest, we are not. We find her style too abrasive and her judgement often tainted by political bias and a personal hatred for one particular political party.

At the same time, it must be recalled that it is thanks to her that we were made aware of the Panama Papers scandal and several other abuses of power by this current government, stories that otherwise might have gone by unnoticed. We will not even comment on the veracity and merits of her revelations regarding Cardona’s visit to Germany. The courts will do that when the libel case is heard.

What concerns our party is that the garnishee order issued by the courts has very serious implications for journalism in Malta, the freedom of the press and our democracy itself.

I will explain why.

Journalists need the freedom to do their job unhindered without the prospect of having their financial assets frozen. Most journalists are not exactly rich; it is a pretty thankless job done by some very dedicated individuals. In order to obtain information, they often rely on people who will give it to them off the record. The journalist knows that the information is correct but cannot, for various reasons, reveal exactly where it came from. They will, however, defend their story in a court of law if sued for libel.

By issuing a garnishee order, freezing financial assets equivalent to the maximum possible fine that can be imposed, the courts have in effect brought about the situation where the journalist is guilty until found innocent. Caruana Galizia may be able to afford to ride out such a financial blow; she certainly can do so now with the funds collected by the public on her behalf. For most other journalists, however, it would mean financial ruin. They would think very hard before publishing a story, and we the public would be the losers.

Justice is best served not by intimidating the press but by ensuring that it is delivered promptly and fairly.
The free press is a pillar of our democracy. With the main Opposition party in disarray, it may be the most important pillar of all. If journalists believe what has been done to Caruana Galizia could also be done to them, we may find that revelations of corruption, graft, nepotism and political coercion will lay gathering dust. Politicians are very sensitive to public opinion. That opinion cannot be made if the public are not properly informed by the free press. Malta will be the poorer for it.

I am a doctor. If doctors treated patients only with the prospect of litigation on their mind, those patients would be hard done by indeed. Two years ago a woman came to my place of work in the process of suffering a major stroke. She couldn’t speak and was completely paralysed on one side of her body. I initiated a treatment which, at the time, was not yet endorsed by the medical advisory committee of the hospital. There was a risk. I was actually mildly chastised for taking that risk. Fortunately, the treatment worked, and the woman concerned left a few days later not as a bed-ridden cripple but as an articulate lady on her own two feet.

Now imagine if my judgement had been influenced not by my concern for the woman’s well-being but by the thought of ending up in court. I would have done what was safe, not what was right. Who would have ended up suffering?

Think of the free press as the caregivers of our democracy. Do you want them to play safe, or do you want them to safeguard that democracy?

What was done against Caruana Galizia has opened a can of worms. The garnishee order was not against her, it was against journalism itself. Next time it could be a pro-PL, pro-PN or independent journalist that gets targeted, with the person filing for a precautionary warrant knowing full well it could take years for the funds to be released.

We have libel laws to protect victims of abuse and slander, be it from the media or individuals. Those laws allow the victims to seek redress and compensation in a court of law as well as a public admission from the perpetrator who is bound by the courts to put the record straight.

That this system does not work quite as it should is not the fault of the law but the fault of the courts themselves. Cases often take years. In the meantime victims of libel could see their careers ruined, reputations destroyed and personal lives put on the rack until justice is done. Only one magistrate is appointed to hear such cases.

Partit Demokratiku proposes that more magistrates should be assigned to deal with them, and the cases given priority. They should be heard as a matter of urgency and the truth upheld as soon as possible.

Justice is best served not by intimidating the press but by ensuring that it is delivered promptly and fairly. It is in the interest of the public, the press and our very democracy that this be the case.

Anthony Buttigieg is the deputy leader of Partit Demokratiku.

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