In life there are so many things that could be termed good or bad. Such as good people and bad people.  Good weather and bad weather. There are good doctors and bad doctors. Good lawyers and bad lawyers. Good parents and bad parents. And there are also good businessmen and bad businessmen.

A few years ago, you could walk down the promenade in Sliema and meet nobody else but Maltese. Photo: CharltonB1/Shutterstock.comA few years ago, you could walk down the promenade in Sliema and meet nobody else but Maltese. Photo: CharltonB1/Shutterstock.com

Now many readers are going to disagree with me about the good things businessmen do in our country. They think that all businessmen are villains and that this country can very well do without them. But can this country of ours do very well without them? That is the real question.

Malta is, and always has been, a beautiful but barren little rock, situated in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea.

It has virtually no natural resources and hardly any water. Yet for thousands of years Malta has existed and has supported a reasonably sized population. This has been achieved by the natural ability of the Maltese to survive and create enough wealth to get by.

Maltese were traders, and very good ones, and traders in those days are the present day equivalent of our businessmen. Maltese are natural businessmen and we can also boast of having some very good businesswomen too. If it wasn’t for the Maltese businessmen the island would have probably ceased to exist a very long time ago.

A large percentage of Maltese were able to create work and wealth, and thus provide work for the other equally large percentage of Maltese who were quite content to live a peaceful and trouble-free life, and make their living by conscientiously working for some company, organisation, or individual.

This has carried on to this very day. Some Maltese creating wealth and work, and the rest just content to work hard and well for someone and eventually retire and get a pension for the rest of their lives.

Of course there were good and bad businessmen and there still are. Some treat their workers well and others don’t. Some treat Malta and the environment well and others don’t. Some create good ideas and others bad ideas, but nevertheless, without the businessmen, there would be no Malta as we know it today, or even as our ancestors knew it many years ago.

Malta as we know it today could of course be much better, with more thought, planning and attention, but that could be the subject of an article on its own. Many people in fact blame the Maltese businessmen for things they perceive as not right within our country, but taking all into consideration, the standard of living here is a lot better than most countries in our region because of the abilities of our businessmen.

In more recent times up to the 1960s, some businessmen did not have a good reputation, and educated children were encouraged to get a good job with the British Forces, the banks, or the government.

Maltese are natural businessmen and we can also boast of having some very good businesswomen too

However, without the businessmen, the banks would not have existed, and the government would not have had money to pay the people working for it. So once again it was the businessmen, who propped up the economy and kept the country going, especially after the British forces left our country.

As time went by, more and more people, who might otherwise have gone into the professions or worked for banks or the government, started to enter the business world. The natural inclination of the Maltese resurfaced and business grew and flourished.

Malta’s economy depends entirely on various manufacturing companies and industries and the Maltese are once again traders of a very high quality.

Because of the business created by businessmen, there is more work, and more money for everyone including the government. There are pensions for all. Free healthcare for all. Free education for all. Look around you and see. It is absolutely amazing.

Now, with all this added prosperity created by businessmen and steered by successive governments, there are people who are not happy. Even though they have jobs, homes, food, clothing, free education, free health care, and pensions… they are still not happy.

Why? Maybe, it is because too much business success creates more and more people coming to Malta? More buildings being built to accommodate them? More hustle and bustle? More tension? Maybe too much is happening for these people to cope with in their minds and hearts.

They are probably correct, because not everybody wants success and more problems and change, they are quite content to reach a level and carry on with a trouble-free and peaceful life. Can they be blamed? Of course they can’t. It is their right and if their mentality is not that of an entrepreneur, the present situation in Malta is quite disturbing and confusing.

Don’t forget. I mentioned earlier that there is a large percentage of people in Malta who are not business-minded and just want to lead a quiet life with little or no confusion. A businessman has the temperament to take risks and accept ups and down in his stride. Not everybody has this ability, or desire, and so differences of opinion arise.

Unfortunately we all need money to live. This money is not produced by the government. We are not sitting on vast mineral assets. The wealth to keep the country going, to pay wages and to give pensions, is created by businesses.

It’s a vicious circle.

Malta has changed, make no mistake about it. A few years ago, you could walk down the promenade in Sliema and meet nobody else but Maltese. Today practically everybody passing you by is foreign. A mere 25 years ago it was difficult to find a non-European or African person in Malta.

Today we have a large number living and working in Malta and some of them are a great asset to our country. Just a few years ago there were less people and less buildings, today we have the exact opposite.

Malta is changing. It’s becoming more cosmopolitan. The whole world is changing. Malta has to change with it. Malta has to keep up. This is unfortunate to some, but it is a fact.

What we must do is to make sure that what we do now, on this very small island of ours, does get carried away and spoil everything that we call home.

This can be done, especially with the country earning good money, mainly due to the efforts of our businessmen. We must however, put this money to the very best use, to please all the Maltese.

This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece

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