There’s a popular meme of a bird with almost horror-struck, glassy eyes that has been doing the rounds on the internet for a few years. Its pose is one of saggy defeat. Under the bird, there’s a caption which reads: “Every day, we stray further from God.” At this point, this meme, which is usually used when someone says something so tragically absurd that you can’t believe your eyes and ears, might as well be tattooed on our flag.
I don’t know if any of you have been to Comino in recent years; I, myself, had the dubious pleasure of visiting it last summer and swore not to go back. Even getting onto its shores was an obstacle course as we dodged numerous discarded pineapple carcasses and ice cream wrappers. It turned out that that was just the poorly played overture.
When we finally hauled ourselves onto the island itself, it was like we had stepped into a busy souk. People busily and sweatily bustled, tripping over other people and rubbish like ants; different genres of music were being blasted at us from several directions, creating an awful cacophony and, if all that wasn’t enough, almost every square inch as far as the eye could see was covered in deckchairs. There was no space for anyone to put down a towel and leisurely swim through the rotting fruit farm in the sea, even if they wanted to.
We spent a total of 10 minutes there, left and spent the next half an hour shaking our heads in disgust at how this once little paradise had gone to seed.
It was this less-than-pleasant image that I recalled when hearing that this week the tourism minister said that the effects of fewer deckchairs on Comino need to be considered before any study on Comino’s carrying capacity and that fewer deckchairs around the Blue Lagoon “automatically reduced the number of people who visited the Blue Lagoon this year”.
I struggle to see my island become shabbier by the day but struggle even more with the endless excuses and convoluted logic that our politicians present to protect the greedy- Anna Marie Galea
Are you confused yet? Because I certainly am. Is there some deckchair list that I don’t know about that people can check before getting to Comino? How did they know there were fewer chairs before they arrived? I mean, I don’t have the facts and figures in front of me but, if our overall tourist numbers on Comino have gone down, I’m pretty sure that a lack of deckchairs isn’t the reason.
If anything, the tourists I encountered in my 10-minute jaunt looked as disappointed as I was when they realised they had paid through the nose to sit in a mountain of filth. I guess they should have Googled us properly before showing up.
It’s a funny old situation, isn’t it? Public land being seized by deckchair operators and the people meant to represent the public not only seeming to mostly ignore the situation but actually taking the time to find excuses for more deckchairs to be introduced in places where they were finally reduced. If I didn’t know better, I’d say something smelled fishy.
I struggle to see my island become shabbier by the day but struggle even more with the endless excuses and convoluted logic that our politicians present to protect the greedy.
No one needs more deckchairs, minister; they need you to do your job.