By far and without a doubt the greatest and most restricting force on the Maltese culture industries is the government itself. The government is constantly overshadowing, stifling and competing with the local culture industry by funding and promoting foreign events which are hosted and organized by companies of friends of the Labour Party and who also have connections with personnel at the Malta Tourism Authority. I experienced this personally when MTA brought Cirque de Soleil to Malta and pushed the Malta Book Festival out of the MCC.
MTA’s strategy is supposed to prioritize local arts and culture but its racket of corruption and fraud is continuing unabated to the detriment of many in the culture industry. By now MTA has no shame at all in showing its actual use and purpose: a one-stop-shop for clientelism, corruption and fraud. The only reason why local artists can not speak critically of how their industries are stifled by rampant corruption at MTA is that many artists in Malta depend on government grants and therefore fear reprisal if they speak out. Here is for example a long list of funds distributed by the Arts Council. The tourism industry is finally waking up to this mess as well and is pleading with the government to change track.
Malta has been turned into a cheap party destination not by organic industries which compete in a free market, but through the racket of corrupt government funds in a backdrop of rampant construction building, lack of planning and jungle rules. Who knew that rule of law could actually benefit artist and culture industries? The government knows, and that is why it intends to press on in the total control of its public cultural bodies by callous and incompetent men who have nothing to show other than blind loyalty to their political masters. These men offer our culture industries a gross spectacle of incompetence and total fraud and stupidity, and of course, clientelism.
The Minister of Tourism is quite representative of the wreckage the government is leaving behind in our culture and tourism industries. Clayton Bartolo is turning Comino into an over-crowded island that services the business of his friends and others in Labour. They are literally trashing the country for a cheap profit to themselves. Crass and consistent with the Mafia State.