Various front page articles in the Times of Malta over the past few weeks struck me for all the wrong reasons.
Adrian Galea, director-general of the Malta Insurance Association (MIA), was “rather sceptical” of the number of drivers who tested over the alcohol limit in the festive period. Why? In 2017 only 11 drivers out of 1,832 stopped were over the limit, and in 2018 this number was down to three out of nearly a thousand.
Galea has been advocating lower allowances for alcohol levels in drivers, and the infamous licence points system, to tackle a problem which evidently is much smaller than he predicted.
Maltese drivers are among the safest in Europe despite our poor road system and our low road fatality rate is confirmed year in year out by European Commission reports.
On the other hand, the fact that motorbike deaths have more than doubled in a year, comparing 2018 to 2017, seemingly is not a priority for the MIA, even though this fact also made the front page ofthis newspaper.
I expected Galea to be much more concerned about road accidents caused by roadside trees, poor road conditions, tired drivers and careless pedestrians.
Would he be in favour of a law against jaywalking, as found in many European countries? On a positive note, recently he has focused on drug-driving, which, in my opinion, is a very good call.
This newspaper has given much prominence to migration organised by criminal elements in Libya and other parts of Africa. In my opinion, the discourse has focused too much on the rights of people to be rescued at sea and far too little on the reasons why such people want to migrate to Europe and on the legality of such sham rescues at sea.
I shudder to think who might be suitable, and, indeed, who wouldbe prepared to drink from such a poisoned chalice?
The distress calls are obviously pre-planned and the refusal to be taken to the nearest port, in Libya, is highly questionable. Much of this migration is purely economic and this is becoming less and less acceptable to more and more voters.
Focusing on individual rescue operations does not allow us to see the big picture, which is evidently mass human trafficking organised by ruthless armed criminals.
The “rescue” operations are just what these criminal gangs need to close the loop and deliver their victims to their intended destination, so as to secure funding for more trafficking. This aspect of the story deserves much more attention.
Finally, the front pages of the Times of Malta have recently focused on the leader of the Opposition. A chain of articles referring to issues which emerged prior to his election as party leader, and which did not deter those who voted for him, are being piggy-backed with stories which scrutinise his behaviour in the privacy of his home.
As a lawyer, he is being criticised due to the actions of his past clients. As a taxpayer, he is being scrutinised for having contested tax bills prior to his election.
This newspaper and those who are releasing this information have called for a new leadership election in the Nationalist Party.
I shudder to think who might be suitable, and, indeed, who would be prepared to drink from such a poisoned chalice? Readers will hopefully forgive me but I was left wondering whether our Lord Jesus could be acceptable to some party members should He, for the sake of argument, be proposed by anyone as a candidate.
After all, His chosen group of Apostles was certainly not gender-neutral. His associates included a reformed prostitute and His first miracle was at the wedding of a man with a woman, where He even provided alcoholic beverages.
Little did He distinguish between Jews and Philistines, between those of different social classes or between saints and sinners. He was more concerned with the problems of the poor and emarginated than with the widespread corruption which surrounded Him.
Above all, there was that episode in the temple where He was quite violent and ‘abusive’ towards the merchants desecrating His Father’s house. I, for one, am in awe of the man and worship God in Him.
We cannot aspire to be like Him in all things but I believe that we are far better off for at least trying our best to do so and following His example.
Is it the case that those who would stone a sinner should consider whether they are indeed without sin?
Jean Karl Soler is a doctor.
This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece
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