Hotelier Winston Zahra has come out strongly against the government, insisting the country needs to protect its “democratic values” by voting for change come election day.

“The collective decision that we take as a country will ultimately define us as a nation going forward. Its impact will be akin to that when we gained our independence and when we voted to become part of the EU,” Mr Zahra, who is the CEO of Island Hotels Group Holdings, wrote on Facebook.

In the lengthy post, Mr Zahra outlined the reasons that he was making his views public, insisting that they had become more pertinent in light of the way the “financial services industry has been seriously compromised”. Corruption, he added, could have a negative impact on various other sectors, ranging from real estate to retail and maritime to hospitality.

It is tragic that the image of our dear island is being dragged through the mud

The hotelier went on to point out that the call for a change in government was not only based on this negative impact but was about the type of “moral fabric the nation” is made of.

“Are we a principled nation with a solid backbone built on proper values, or have we become a nation that puts money, greed and compromise before everything else? Are we a nation that calls a spade a spade, or have we become a country where anything goes?” Mr Zahra wrote.

The decision the country makes on June 3, he continued, will define its future, and it is time to show politicians that they could not “run riot”, he said, insisting that politicians are elected to represent the people and so the choice boiled down to choosing between right and wrong.

“Four years ago, this island was promised unity and meritocracy. It was promised the abolition of corruption in no uncertain terms. The speeches were eloquent and the marketing was slick. The vision for the country was appealing, and even many who stuck to their PN roots were not totally disappointed with the result.

“It is very sad that today we see an island which is once again divided in a way that it has not been for a very long time. It is tragic that the image of our dear island, and our collective reputation, is being dragged through the mud,” Mr Zahra said.

He insisted that come June 3, together with his family, he would be voting for change, writing that just because someone has more money in their pockets than others, they should not close an eye to “blatant wrongdoing”.

Mr Zahra concluded his post by underlining that he was making his position “unequivocally clear with no apology or reservation”.

Contacted by this newspaper for further comments, Mr Zahra said that his position was very clear and he had nothing more to add.

claire.caruana@timesofmalta.com