Labour’s Summer of Hell – Kevin Cassar

It’s 5 August 5 2021.  Energy Minister Miriam Dalli declares, “Frequent power cuts are unacceptable”.  She promised, “Direct communication with Enemalta has been established to resolve these issues – I want clients in their own homes to have the best possible service”.

The problem, she explained, was distribution and not supply.

Two years later and the country sizzles with rage. Huge swathes of Malta and Gozo have endured days of power cuts. Thousands were left without energy in the middle of a heatwave. But this time Miriam Dalli has hardly been seen, except for posing in some trench.

The problem is not supply, Enemalta CEO Jonathan Cardona insisted, but cables – it’s that distribution again. The reason hardly matters to those enduring days without electricity – no air conditioning, no fan, no fridge.  For diabetics, no medicine (insulin requires refrigeration). For the frail and disabled trapped inside their homes, missed hospital appointments due to non-functioning lifts.

For most, it’s hundreds of euros of refrigerated and frozen items that have gone to waste. For businesses, it’s thousands of euros in wasted products and thousands more in lost business. For tourists daft enough to choose Malta for their holiday, the incredulity of finding their rented apartment in absolute darkness, with water trickling down in the shower as water pumps failed, no fridge, no air conditioning, no chance of charging their phone to call for help. Welcome to Miriam Dalli’s Malta.

But it’s not Labour’s fault. It’s the temperatures making the cables overheat.

Phoenix Arizona saw a record-breaking run of daily maximum temperatures above 43 degrees Celsius. But the best thing that happened to Phoenix was that it didn’t have a Labour government.  Since the beginning of July when record-breaking temperatures baked the city, the electricity grid kept functioning. Strange that their cables didn’t overheat despite the higher temperatures than Malta’s.

So in Phoenix homes, indoor workplaces and publicly accessible “cooling stations” were air-conditioned. Deaths from heatstroke were kept to a bare minimum. Undue suffering was prevented. Economic losses were averted thanks to an efficient and well-maintained electricity service.  If Arizona’s grid had gone out, Phoenix would have seen the “Hurricane Katrina of extreme heat” according to a new book titled ‘The heat will kill you first’.

Sadly for Malta, it’s had Labour for a decade so when Malta barely hit 40 degrees, our electricity grid collapsed.  Huge sections of the country were plunged into darkness.  Many were exposed to life-threatening heat for days on end.

Malta was not being battered by hurricanes or tsunamis.  Our roads were accessible. Yet Enemalta failed to restore energy for days. Elderly and frail patients were left struggling for breath without a glass of cold water. The most affected are women over 80. Mount Carmel Hospital, is full of them, yet its energy supply was interrupted too.

Despite the catastrophe and the risk to lives, the health department only issued a health warning on Monday.  When the opposition requested Parliament to be recalled to discuss what it considers to be a national emergency, the health minister accused it of making another “partisan move”. “We understand the inconvenience many people have gone through,” Minister Fearne commented.

That’s better than Robert Abela.  Abela can hardly imagine the thermal torture of those elderly patients trapped inside their homes without electricity, from his air-conditioned luxury yacht.

“Moreover, compensation will be given to those affected,” Fearne remarked.  So why are you moaning? Labour’s going to pay you for your inconvenience, unless heat exhaustion kills you first, out of money it will borrow at high interest rates which you and your children will have to repay. You’d think Fearne would be worrying about saving lives rather than covering up for his boss.

The unbearable heat poses an immediate threat to life.  In Malta that threat is greater.  Labour’s been on a relentless drive to destroy trees, uprooting thousands of them and replacing them with black tarmac. The less vegetation and the more sunlight-absorbing tarmac, the more the waste heat is produced, leading to the urban-heat-island effect, exacerbating temperatures.

Labour has produced optimum conditions for overheating.

The last thing you need in this context in the middle of a heatwave is a power cut. Major foreign cities similarly affected appointed ‘Chief Heat Officers’ to coordinate mitigating measures against the human and economic toll of the heatwave. Malta’s Labour government failed to act – except to condemn the Opposition. Labour responded in the only way it knows – it buys people’s silence with borrowed money.  It keeps the public quiet by mailing cheques.  It will borrow millions more to compensate the public for its incompetence.

The whole world predicted the damaging impact of climate change. But Labour simply ploughed on with decisions that only made the situation worse. Instead of planting more trees which provide shade and cool the air as water evaporates from their leaves, they uprooted them. Instead of enforcing white roofs for passive cooling, they tarmacked half the country. They didn’t repair underground cables.

In 18 months it reinforced only nine out of 1,200 cables – that’s less than 1%. It didn’t bother to learn from Dubai or Phoenix, which have lived with scorching temperatures for longer without any power cuts.

Labour is great at promising heaven on earth but it is much better at delivering a flaming hell. Labour did little to nothing.  Its investment in the entire electricity infrastructure has been a miserly €15 million annually. Labour has no qualms about squandering millions on the Mozura wind farm and millions more in salaries of incompetent political appointees and persons of trust. It had no problems striking a deal with Azerbaijan through which Malta lost money “hand over fist” according to The Guardian.

Labour spends millions on summer parties, film festivals and concerts but not on underground cables. Konrad Mizzi was too busy setting up secret personal financial structures in secretive jurisdictions to protect his “family assets”.

He wasn’t bothered about protecting the nation with a modern energy grid. And Miriam Dalli hasn’t fared any better. She’s more interested in spending public funds paying Ira Losco to exploit her children for personal political mileage.

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Albert Beliard
Albert Beliard
1 month ago

How is Robert Abela’s parents’ comfort during the thermal hell?

Let me guess in one word – ‘humble’.

Last edited 1 month ago by Albert Beliard
1 month ago

And despite the criminal incompetence, the graft, the nepotism, the corruption and other stomach turning excesses, Labour manages to top the PN!
There’s really no hope for this island!

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
1 month ago

Do the people of this country deserve any better? I’m not quick to say “Yes”. They have been warned in 2017 and also in 2022 but the people were blind. What the people can do now is to force this government to resign.

Joseph curmi
Joseph curmi
1 month ago
Reply to  saviour mamo

Too late

Francis Said
Francis Said
1 month ago

Not to mention the drastic situation at Mater Dei. The hospital is inundated with patients placed in corridors that staff did not know existed.
Notwithstanding the excellent work and hardship of all medical and non medical staff, people have died due to this heatwave.
This thanks to the corrupt deal with Vitals/Steward that cost millions and nothing to show for these millions spent.
To add insult to injury, Vitals/Steward were very keen to promote Malta for medical tourism!!!

1 month ago

Kollox irvinaw.

Kull settur li mess miegħu l-Labour kompla jmur mill-ħażin (taħt il-PN) għall-agħar, u laħaq livell fejn is-soluzzjoni meħtieġa hi ħafn’akbar mill-kompetenza u r-rieda tal-gvern tal-ġurnata.

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