Now that the general election has been triggered, Citizen Joe has a right to request from each candidate what they stand for. Although each candidate is obliged to follow their party manifesto, what added benefit will they bring to the well-being of the nation?

Sadly, politics has been given a bad name due to some politicians who did not seek to serve but to be served. Politics has been reduced to a glossy marketing exercise in which candidates are just well-groomed props.

My chosen slogan for this election is ‘Your Voice’. I am determined to do my utmost to be the voice of honest citizens and their legitimate concerns. I want to be a robust promoter of those who are on the fringes of our communities, in particular the elderly and disabled, and to address the ever-growing social injustice and inequalities between the haves and the have-nots.

Above all, I also want to be an assertive voice for our environment, our common home, which is being systematically rampaged by greedy fat cats with the current Labour government as an enabler. One only has to look around to witness the systematic demolition of our heritage and patrimony and the alarming increase in urban overdevelopment.

Although St Julian’s, Sliema and Swieqi areas are still the prime targets of this blitz, the building frenzy is taking place all over the island. Today, cranes and high-rises dominate our skies. All this is rapidly changing our architectural landscape. Malta is turning into one big construction site.

Our Stone Age ancestors put together mega temples for us to visit, the Knights of St John left magnificent auberges, churches and palazzinos to admire, the British left appeasing colonial town houses. What will our legacy be to our future generations? 

We need to introduce solar rights. Residents cannot end up living in the shade facing blank walls- Albert Buttigieg

To address such a perilous state of affairs, I want to be a proactive candidate.

If entrusted with one’s vote I will lobby towards the implementation of the following proposals:

The urgent setting up of an aesthetics board to monitor and evaluate development proposals. We cannot continue constructing soulless buildings.

We must urgently draw up a holistic national building and environment master plan. We need to revisit or update all current policies, stating clearly that ODZ and UCA are what they are meant to be: ODZ and UCA without any exception.

We must insist that every development have a water well or reservoir to catch rainwater instead of letting water go to waste in the streets.

We need to introduce solar rights. Residents cannot end up living in the shade facing blank walls. Thus, we must issue a protection order protecting front and back gardens. We need to stop axing trees.

We need to schedule historical buildings/sites and limit height limitation next to landmark buildings. Our pavements must remain accessible and not become an extension of commercial outlets. The local councils, as the local government, ought to have the final say on outdoor tables, chairs and platforms.

We need to create more open family parks such as the White Rocks complex. We need open spaces if we are to retain our sanity. We need to enforce ‘one apartment, one garage’ policy and all developments must have a garbage room/area to reduce uncollected garbage left out for days.

We must identify public land/pathways. Public pathways are to be safeguarded and accessible to all.  We ought to subsidise double-glazed windows to reduce electricity consumption.

I believe the above proposals go beyond partisan lines and enhance the common good.

Vote me in, boot me out but I aspire to do my utmost to be the voice of honest citizens, an assertive voice for our environment and a robust voice for inclusion and social justice.

Although both the Nationalist Party and I might be the underdogs, we will not be deterred.

This is my commitment.

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