Saturday, 23 February 2008

A democratically elected Gozo Regional Council

A section of the AD Gozo Manifesto talks specifically about Gozo public administration towards a full democratic and transparent participation in decision-making. (Read more here)

Our interest in the island-region of Gozo comes before that of party politics.

Nowhere more than in Gozo has it become so clear that the ‘special favours’ political culture directly undermines the confidence ordinary citizens, business operators and their employees need in order to develop a strong and healthy local economy. This was my main contribution during a public debate I was invited to yesterday at the Circolo Gozitano.

Gozitans want and deserve better. We know that transformation can happen for the better.

Today, even those who have materially gained from the feudal favours system, crippling Gozo, realize that they are sliding downhill with everybody else. Gozo is ripe for a reform, which will propel it from an abandoned periphery of Malta to its most successful region. Although not yet represented in parliament, Alternattiva Demokratika, is already significantly influencing government policies for Gozo.

The greatest reform would be for Gozitans to be represented in Parliament by AD, a party characterized by long term, consistent commitment to the benefit of Gozo and the welfare of Gozitans.

Alternattiva Demokratika is committed to supporting Gozitans in safeguarding their island home from private greed. This also shows that AD has Gozo at heart and cares for it and all Gozitans.

Moreover, The Greens will endlessly work to increase Gozitan participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the electorate.

Once elected to parliament, Alternattiva Demokratika will embark upon a number of initiatives among which several administrative and organizational affairs will be addressed:

1. AD proposes the set-up of an inclusive Parliamentary Committee for Gozo Affairs made up of all Gozo’s MPs. The Standing Committee will ensure transparent and serious governance by the Ministry for Gozo;

2. Eliminate once and for all the prevalent stagnant clientelist nepotism and in its stead institute an administrative framework to inform and to guarantee the inalienable rights of all citizens and economic operators;

3. Set up an administrative structure to which Gozo residents can address their complaints and through which they can be informed on matters related to construction industry sites affecting directly their everyday life;

4. See that meritocracy replaces the prevailing practice of exclusive selection of ‘‘jobs-for-the party-boys-and-girls’;

5. Demand the enactment of the Whistleblower Act to ensure that those who have the courage of speaking up are not victimised;

6. Demand the enactment of a Freedom of Information Act – to ensure that all citizens are informed of the manner in which government through its politicians and civil servants is acting on its behalf;

7. Endeavour to set up new forms of political organisations aiming to expand the evolution of participatory democracy for Gozitans through direct citizens involvement in the decision-making process. A democratically elected Regional Council is completely in line with Green Politics;

8. Institute a legislative function, drawn from the Local Council Act, modified to eliminate reference to byelaws of government departments. This enables the Gozo Parliamentary Committee to raise issues regarding conflict of remit;

9. Based on effective democracy for Gozo and Gozitans, the executive of this Gozo Regional Council will appoint a 'head of ministry', to effectively administer the annual budget allocated to the Gozo Region.;

10. Formulate the legal framework for a Regional Status for Gozo. The concept of this Regional Statusis intended to gain more autonomy for Gozo as well as to acquire the legislative and executive potential based on effective democracy;

11. Encourage the close collaboration between the Gozo MPs of different leanings to optimise existing local human talent as oppose to wasting such resources simply because of varied political creeds;

12. Insert effective review mechanisms to ensure constant transparency. Gozo has inherent promising opportunities but also threats emanating from the omerta’ symptom and the structural weakness of social aggression. These challenges shall be explicitly addressed by AD for a better life and work environment in Gozo;

13. A Regional Institution to include a Public Registry, a Regional Police HeadQuarters with lock up cells, a fire brigade and Rescue Centre, Regional Attorney General office, Regional office for Local Government and any other departments which fall under the aegis of the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs;

14. Ensure a full manpower of police officers for Gozo;

15. Ensure all police stations are manned;

16. Guarantee the right of a fair, impartial and effective police protection for Gozitans in the course of their daily activities;

17. Certify that all ranks in the police force are entitled to modern training techniques, to be supported and equipped with the latest technological apparatus to provide a service of excellence;

18. Strive to obtain a fair, proportionate representation for Gozo voters in that the quota of Gozo’s MPs reflect the number of Gozo’s registered voters This means that Gozo should be allocated a sixth elected MP to its current five representatibes.

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