The prevailing atmosphere of secrecy, hidden contracts, mysterious conditions of employment for persons occupying various positions of trust were all fomenting a belief that merit is no longer a necessary precondition of success, Malta Employers’ Association president Dolores Sammut Bonnici warned.

“The fact that even the Commissioner for Data Protection’s warnings and decisions have been repeatedly ignored speaks volumes and sends dangerous messages that strike at the heart of governance and business ethics. These issues can only be ignored at the risk of losing what the country has managed to build over so many years,” she told the MEA’s annual general meeting.

She warned that governance issues were adversely affecting Malta’s international reputation and that this was not going to be changed by arguments as to whether this was a perception or reality, or whether certain incidents were being given more international coverage than they deserve.

“The harsh truth is that Malta is suffering severe reputational damage, and we are in the international limelight for reasons not to our liking,” she continued, saying that quite apart from the international reaction, it was also affecting the nature of human and business relationships in Malta and Gozo.

“There is an emerging feeling of mistrust, a misguided belief that successful business is the result of shady dealings, speculation and ruthless competition,” she warned.

The harsh truth is that Malta is suffering severe reputational damage

“Honest business is not an oxymoron. Many businesses in Malta are family owned and have been providing decent employment for entire generations, through hard work, personal sacrifice, and risk taking. Terms such as short-termism and one-off transactional profits do not feature in their business plans.

“Yet we observe too many instant rags to riches stories around us today, which is placing the entire business community in a bad light. Employees are likewise perplexed when information is leaked about remuneration packages of persons of trust and government consultants, who are in some cases unqualified to what they are supposed to do, and with no accountability to their actions,” she said.


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