Jon Mallia has once again published a very educational and informative podcast this time round on planning and construction development in our Islands.
The President of the Chamber of Architects, Andre Pizzuto tells Jon Mallia that the right for development is only granted to you by the State and it is not a given right in spite of the so-called local plans, contrary to what Robert Abela has tried to imply when referring to a recently proposed development of luxury hotels and apartments on a natural site in Gozo.
These kinds of podcasts are exactly what we need to air on our national broadcaster in contrast to the constant stream of cheap propaganda and trash-drama by Party friends and acolytes all produced by public funds. Basically, Jon Mallia is doing the public service that PBS refuses to fulfil.
I will also take the opportunity to reply to Andre Pizzuto on his remarks about my experience as Executive Chairman of the National Book Council. I may have been misinterpreted and misjudged on some of my actions as a government executive so I will explain very briefly and dedicate another post in the future about my experience at the Book Council. Andre says that one doesn’t have the right to be transgressive when one serves the government as an executive and that one should follow policy.
Sure, Andre, I agree with you because policy is rarely nefarious especially when you are ina liberal-democracy and you are chasing votes, however, the application and interpretation of a government policy in a bureaucracy have multifaceted aspects which reflect in execution and may vary in impact and consequence. In my book “A Rent Seeker’s Paradise” I give a brief description in one chapter of what it means to be a bureaucrat with the government. I realise that I should explain more in detail about my thoughts on bureaucracy.
For now, I will say this. Frank Fabri proved me right. When you are a bureaucrat you ought to follow the interests of the State and the public instead of blindly following the orders of politicians. Now, take a look at what happened to Frank after blindly following his Minister’s orders and giving out a corrupt contract to her boyfriend. His reputation has been ruined because he has shown quite clearly that he doesn’t work in the interest of the public but in the interest of himself and his career. By ingratiating with his masters and facilitating their corruption, Frank thought he would be promoted further. I explain in my book that the good bureaucrat, the Stanislav bureaucrat, is the bureaucrat who says No and refuses to distribute public resources out of nepotism or corruption.
As a government executive, I constantly aimed to extract value out of public capital and to generate even more capital from the distribution of public capital. I may have done this in rather unorthodox ways, many times entering grey areas of legal procedures such as in my direct subsidies to publishers for cultural exports, book purchases, marketing of local literature in the local press and much more, only with the difference that my actions were in the public interest and were made in an industrial and commercial framework with the direct support of the book industry and not in the interest to appease my masters or appoint political cronies. There is a very big difference in leveraging laws and bureaucracy to obtain value out of public funds between using policies and laws to enrich yourself and appoint political cronies. And on top of it all, my exit from the Book Council was an exit brought by political decisions while Frank’s was brought by after he was exposed for a corrupt act. If you were to audit the financial history of the National Book Council when I was its executive chairman, you would find a massively-documented financial history with background details archived, files, emails, all of which show a very rigorous paper trail of strict control of funds. And the value extracted out of this process will show up in the paper trail on a constant basis and this can be tangibly calculated as well. I estimate, that at least, on the cost-cutting side alone, there’s around €100,000 a year of free value in the Council’s books while I was its executive – from cost-cutting alone (say a contractor is awarded a tender at an amount and is forced to give even more, or services paid for are way below market value).
So, yes, indeed. In 2020, I did say fuck you to a couple of people publicly when I was a government executive, but by then I already knew I was on my way out, with a purge-date set in advance. I’m glad that I did. I left kicking and screaming instead of leaving with my head bowed down, silent and sad. And I will be back too but in a different way. I loved the public service and I have no regret in bragging about the fact that I was one of the best government executives. I’ll say it even more given that the government has tried to humiliate me and tarnish my legacy. I have absolutely no regrets.