There was a very interesting post on Reddit alleging that the Rector of the University of Malta, Alfred Vella stopped doing new research on air and soil pollution caused by fireworks as soon as Joseph Muscat hired him as his consultant in 2014. Afred Vella was then appointed Rector of the University of Malta by the government in 2016. Afred Vella was the top academic studying the various forms of pollution coming from fireworks. Before being employed by Joseph Muscat, Alfred Vella had conducted a study which discovered that Maltese soil had an even greater amount of perchlorates than Chinese soil. Perchlorates coming from fireworks which find themselves in local food products are also toxic and harmful to the body. You can read the report here.
Now, Joseph Muscat’s conflict of interest in appointing Alfred Vella Rector stems from the fact that Joseph Muscat’s father, Saviour Muscat is the main importer of fireworks in Malta. Let’s also cut straight through the bullshit. The current University Rector was chosen by Joseph Muscat and I know this on a first-hand basis, because the Labour Party pushed various candidates for the rectorship, and eventually Joseph Muscat chose Alfred. I also know who the other contenders were and they were all Labour-leaning like Alfred. The University Rector is chosen by the University Council whose composition is made up of mostly appointees chosen by the Prime Minister.
On the other hand, Alfred Vella knew all along what he was doing. He was selling and exchanging his academic work in exchange for a promotion in a corrupt exchange which simultaneously benefited the business of Joseph Muscat’s father. Keeping Alfred Vella away from his research would ensure that the production of fireworks in Malta would remain unregulated and thus keep profit margins high for the business. And indeed, the production of fireworks in Malta resembles an unregulated state of anarchy of immense reckless proportions.
Fireworks are produced by dilettantes with a license which can be obtained easily and without serious scrutiny. The production of fireworks is made recklessly and haphazardly often leading to explosions and deaths. The press has so far failed or ignored to investigate the Wild West of this practice and takes at face value what fireworks dilettantes tell them. For example, the press failed to mention that the Mosta fireworks room explosion of this year, was actually caused by haphazard storage of dangerous chemicals, some of which were stored in metal containers. The recklessness is simply incredible, yet the government allows it because for some it’s their hobby.
Production of fireworks should be made by official businesses under the supervision of professional personnel and not produced in tiny rooms in the countryside by dilettantes. Alfred Vella was one of the only scientists whose work could have led to a proper regulating of fireworks in Malta, but he sold out to Muscat instead, and then he went on to become Rector to ensure and protect the Labour Party’s interests at the University of Malta.
And that’s how things roll in the Rent Seeker’s Paradise.