Saturday, 25 April 2009

Why voting Green for the European Elections

In a video message that AD is releasing today, former PN member of parliament Dr. Ray Bondin said that he is supporting AD candidates Arnold Cassola and Yvonne Ebejer Arqueros for MEPs since he believes that voting AD - The Green Party, will strengthen pluralism in Malta and Gozo.

Dr Ray Bondin who is also a UNESCO expert on cultural heritage said: "Din id-darba Cassola u Yvonne Ebejer Arqueros ghaliex hemm bzonn nahsbu iktar f`Malta, ghaliex hemm bzonn li nahsbu x`inhu importanti ghal dan il-pajjiz. Hemm bzonn li nahsbu verament f`alternattiva ghall-hakma taz-zewgt partiti l-kbar...u ghandna alternattiva!”

("This time Cassola and Yvonne Ebejer Arqueros because we need to use our heads more, we need to think and realise what`s really important for this country. We need a real alternative to the grip of the two big parties on our country... and we have this alternative!”). Dr Bondin joins leading environmentalist Prof. Edward Mallia in his support for AD`s candidates.

Other Gozitans joined the chorus in endorsing the Greens for the European Parliament:
Mr. Anthony Falzon

...and Mr. Martin Camilleri:

Moreover, people like Prof. Fr. Peter Serracino Inglott gave his greeting to the Europen Greens Party Election Congress in Brussels during which the European Green Party's common election campaign was launched:

These citizens are also endorsing CASSOLA Arnold u EBEJER ARQUEROS Yvonne for the European Parliament elections; Miriam Mintoff - teacher at l-Junior College, Prof. Edward Mallia, environmentalist and Physics Professor at the University of Malta as well as Mr Andre Vella a university student.

Dirk Urpani a young student at the Junior college expressed his wish to vote Green if he were to be eligible to vote. Mr. Ralph Cassar Green counsillor at Attard Local Concil and Italian-Maltese resident Mr. Stefano Moncada, lecturer at the University of Malta are all endorsing CASSOLA Arnold and EBEJER ARQUEROS Yvonne for the European Parliamnt come 6th June 2009.

The disastrous state of the Victoria Playing Field

Few weeks ago, we visited the Playing Field in the heart of the capital of Gozo. I felt ashamed!

“A place intended as a recreation centre to be enjoyed by children and their parents has now been transformed into an abandoned and neglected area, posing a serious threat to health and safety of the general public, especially children.” These were the words uttered by Yvonne Ebejer Arqueros, one of the two AD candidates for the EP Elections, after visiting the site yesterday together with members of AD’s Regional Committee for Gozo.

I added that: “The scene is one of complete chaos. Broken glass litter the floor even under the swings; bags, containing refuse and other dangerous material, left to rot under the trees for months on end; damaged electric lamps and wires left unrepaired for years! The ramps are almost impossible even for non wheelchair-bound persons to negotiate. Such a state of utter neglect which Gozitan residents, Maltese visitors and tourists alike are facing should also be condemned by all those in authority who shoulder the responsibility not only for safeguarding the health and safety of the citizens but also for doing all they can to boost Gozo’s image as a showcase model for attracting the discerning `quality` tourist, thereby enhancing the tourist product and creating more job opportunities for Gozitan youth now and in the years to come.”

Arnold Cassola, AD Chairperson and EP candidate, said: “The playing field, lying in the very heart of the city of Victoria, has been neglected for years despite many complaints. Such a state of affairs is nothing less than an insult to all those Gozitans whose sole interest is to seek the common good of their island and who are not ready to cover up the mistakes and neglect of those Authorities and politicians who are paid from our taxes to work for the welfare of the country as a whole and not for partisan interests. Above all, such carelessness is an insult also to all those families with young children, who, by right, should be provided with facilities for relaxation and recreation in a clean , safe and healthy environment.”

Arnold Cassola concluded by saying: “Alternattiva Demokratika fully supports the Mayor and Councillors of Victoria, who, for the last three years, have been pleading for the transfer of the responsibility for the Garden from the Government to the Local Council. We are convinced that the Rabat Local Council have at heart the real welfare of the residents and no one else can do a better job in the transformation of the present disorderly mess into a beautiful garden and modern playing field, to be enjoyed by all Gozitans and visitors to this unique Gozitan capital city.”

For some reasons, this press conference was omitted from the news on the national TV station (PBS).

Believe your eyes by watching this video.

Interviewing the Maltese Greens at the European Parliament

Early this month I was part of the Maltese delegation attending the European Green Parties Congress at the European parliament in Brussles. It was such an amazing experience to join thousands of Greens from all over Europe.
During this stay, both Arnold Cassola and Yvonne Ebejer Arqueros (both contesting for the European Parliament Elections on the 6th June 2009), were interviewed and here you can watch the event:

Why should we be concerned about the Gozitan elderly?

’Gozo Age Concern’ and Alternattiva Demokratika ask for Senior Citizens’ Care homes and adequate services in Gozo

The Gozitan NGO, “Gozo Age Concern” (GAC) and Alternattiva Demokratika (AD) - The Green Party have made a joint appeal to the authorities to set up Senior Citizens’ Care homes in Gozo and other services related to the Care of the Elderly.

In a joint press conference, Prof. Arnold Cassola, Alternattiva Demokratika Chairperson, myself as the AD spokesperson for Gozo, and Rev. Fr. Mario Cassar from GAC stressed that in Gozo over 21.5% of the inhabitants are senior citizens over the age of 60 and amount to over 7000 people.

Rev. Fr. Cassar from Nadur pointed out that, as opposed to the fifteen private and government run care homes in Malta, Gozo does not have even one care home despite the high rate of older citizens. Fr Cassar stated “The male geriatric ward and the female “Dar Sant’Anna” at the Gozo General Hospital, have only communal wards and therefore do not qualify as Care homes in this day and age.”

Arnold Cassola, Alternattiva Demokratika Chairperson, added: “The ageing population of Malta and Gozo is on the increase and in about 20 years time, nearly 2 out of 3 Maltese and Gozitans are expected to be over the age of 60. It is therefore important that elderly Gozitans have access to modern Care Homes offering single rooms with en suite facilities without having to be relocated to Malta.”

Yvonne Ebejer Arqueros, AD candidate for the European elections, pointed out that it is laudable that the Dominican and Carmelite nuns house around forty female senior citizens who are not bed ridden, however these religious homes are only equipped with communal dormitories, without any real privacy and organized socio-cultural activities due to the lack of staff and adequate resources.

During this joint press statement I concluded that: “Gozitans know well the difficulties of double isolation during their active working life. Retired people should not have to worry about their future care. A number of modern Care Homes in Gozo offering long term and respite care are a must as well as Day Centres for those senior citizens who are still independent. Other community services for senior citizens such as ‘adopt a Granny scheme’ should also be explored. Respite centres during the day for those senior citizens, who are still autonomous and able to sleep at their home, apart from being care centres for permanent guests, who are no longer autonomous and need more care and attention should also be encouraged”.

Watch this video clip: