It is the nature of lotteries that they are aleatory by nature. This generally means winning at a lottery depends on luck and uncertainty. Mathematicians might calculate the odds of winning down to a millesimal point, but you would mostly find there are more chances of the PN conjuring up a united position on anything than of you striking lucky.
According to a Shift investigation, a Bormla sexagenarian defied the odds (literally) by managing to have the winning receipt in the VAT lottery 13 times since January 2021. In June 2022 alone, this same person had four winning entries. It was less being “kissed by lady luck” and more being violently and indecently assaulted by the Madame of Chance. Either that or some evil trickery was afoot.
Sure enough, the finance minister was mum and proved unable to provide any logical explanation behind the fiscal punter’s fortunes. Now, the scientific community might speculate on the very special circumstances which might precipitate a lottery punter’s fortunes in such a cornucopious (my word) manner. These kinds of takings would set the alarm bells ringing in any bona fide betting company’s watch room.
It is not a private betting company, however, that is finding ways to generously shower a citizen with extra cash via suspiciously high winning stakes. Once again it is the public purse that is allegedly being manipulated to favour a chosen few — in this case Lucky Lady from Bormla — with higher dividends of society’s dole outs.
That, of course, is the nature of our society in general. We have come to accept as matter of fact that when it comes to the management of the common wealth (read public property and public wealth), the whole game is rigged to favour the select few. The safeguards that should be inbuilt into our system to prevent the unfair distribution of public monies are whittled down to nonexistence as the rigging is no longer hidden from plain sight.
Pardon the cliché, but a citizen’s life in modern society is akin to participating in a lottery. The rights and freedoms afforded to citizens under our basic laws are intended to create a playing ground of equal opportunities. All things being equal, everyone should have an equal chance to succeed. The odds are in your favour, so to speak.
The free market, in theory, rewards the ablest and most efficient operators to ply their wares, offer their services and reap their just desserts. Not anymore. Along the way the odds have been tweaked. Business, it seems, can only be done if public property and monies are rigged. The business of government becomes government for business.
The level playing field, whether in public or private employment, depends on fairness of competition, meritocracy and diligent transparency. The rigged system ignores these tenets and instead the undeserving win more and more slices of the public treasury. Just take a look at this week’s headlines in The Shift to see how the rigging is rife.
Is it not a rigged system that gives away public land at 47c per square metre? Or one that allows one of its own to breach the rules ? How about the man on the public payroll who does not turn up for work for a year – what kind of lottery winner is that? No chance to buy that lottery ticket? No worries, just become a political appointee, or a government CEO. No prior experience needed.
In other news, if you are finding it tough to get those odd jobs, just leech on to the government system of direct orders with a little help from the minister in question. Ian Borg farmed out €450k to Labour-linked “The Events Company” circumventing procurement requirements by breaking it down to 20 separate direct orders. Best lottery ticket ever!
That’s just a snapshot from this week. I am sure you get the gist of it, though. Valletta residents must be wishing they had their magic lottery ticket, too. It is evident that the well-connected business establishments have ‘convinced’ those in power to allow them to transform the Gentlemen’s City into an infernal tasteless cacophony with rules that fly in the face of logic and international standards.
In the end, this will be just like the Comino saga, with some politician or the prime minister himself saying that “a balance may be found between business interests and environmental needs”.
What they do not tell you is that the scales on which the ‘balance’ is measured have long been rigged, too.