For years both major political parties have justified environmental destruction as some sort of collateral damage caused by the drive to create wealth and jobs. However, Partit Demokratiku (PD) leader Anthony Buttigieg yesterday said that the two do not necessarily go hand in hand.
Underlining the need to look into new technologies to create wealth without damaging the environment, Buttigieg said “Malta could and should be at the forefront of developing and using those new technologies. We need to spend much more on Research and Development and we need to seek collaboration with industries that are working towards such a future. To begin this process, as the core of our policy, we intend to formulate a long term National Master Plan that sets out how our land will be utilised for future generations.”
In a speech to diplomatic corps, Buttigieg outlined his party’s vision for the country and said PD wants to see Malta’s economy develop in a way that preserves the nation’s natural and cultural heritage.
Describing the current economic model as archaic, he said “Malta is enjoying an unprecedented economic boom, but it is coming at a cost; at a cost to our natural and urban environment; at a cost to our social fabric and at a cost of the destruction of what was left to us by our forefathers.”
Buttigieg said that the fledgling party which elected two MPs in last year’s election stands for more than good governance and highlighted a number of priorities, including social inequalities, education and electoral reform.
“Many have asked what is Partit Demokratiku’s vision. People know that our party stands for good governance but our vision for a future Malta goes well beyond that,” Buttigieg said, adding that the divisions in the country need to be healed.
“Although we are one people, the vast majority sharing the same religion and culture, us Maltese still manage to be divided. Political parties, for decades, fostered these divisions to further their own interests. It is time this destructive culture changed. Partit Demokratiku believes everyone has something to offer no matter their ideology or political colour. We do not look at people through blue, red, orange or green lenses and welcome all people of good intent to contribute to moving this country forward.”
He said this can be achieved through transparency and stressed that citizens have the right to know how every penny of their tax money is spent and where it is going to.
“Every citizen should be able to understand why contracts and tenders were awarded and to whom they were given,” adding that government’s power should be reduced.
“We want to see the power of the executive reduced and a more bottom up style of government introduced with powerful institutions representing the interests of the general public and the majority of members not directly appointed by government. We want to not only create the impression that government is there to serve the people, but also put it into practice.”
Buttigieg also said that parliament can only become more truly representative of the diverse aspirations of the people through electoral reform given that the current system is designed to favour the two established parties.
Turning to education, Buttigieg said the system needs to be overhauled in order to prepare young people for the challenges of a fast changing and globalised world.
“We want to ensure that every child is able to develop their particular talents, be they academic or not, to the full. We want their education to be a fulfilling experience, not one of needless and excessive stress.”
On the growing social inequalities Buttigieg said all citizens should have an equal opportunity to reach their full potential on a level playing field that is not skewed by nepotism or political favour.
“Only then can Malta itself harness the full force of its human resources. Our wish is to create mechanisms where every person’s aspirations are facilitated not hindered. We want to create a society based on hope not frustration and disappointment.”