It’s crunch time. This is when the going gets tough for the new administration.
While on several fronts there have been steps in the right direction, there are have also been glaringly bad decisions which need to be rectified.
The pandering to the hunting lobby is the most obvious one. What did the Labour party really expect, that it could relax the spring hunting laws and trigger happy hunters would not run amok in our countryside? 3,000 additional springtime hunters, freed from having to wear identifying armbands and no longer obliged to pay the 50 Euro spring hunting license, simply threw on their camouflage gear, loaded their guns and are now deliriously shooting everything in sight. The army has now had to be deployed to cope with all these macho men with guns and the increased abuse. Of course there was going to be increased abuse, with the increase in hunters, that much should have been obvious. Or was Muscat naively relying on a measure of goodwill from the hunting community since he had been so lenient with them?
Those of us who cannot abide the cruelty of hunting will never see eye to eye with hunters who insist it is their right to practice their hobby and ‘sport’. Having said that the petition going round asking the PM to abolish all hunting is unrealistic – it will never happen. What should have happened was to leave things as they were and improve what needed improving, because at least we were moving towards a semblance of control. Now, as a result of the lax laws, the manpower needed to curtail abuse has had to be stepped up, which makes about as much sense as leaving a toddler alone with a knife and then belatedly calling in a whole squad of paramedics.
What is worse is that our tourism, always a sensitive industry at the best of times, will probably be affected by the attention which the foreign press is understandably throwing on this issue.
As I said, it’s crunch time. One way or the other, Muscat has to bite the bullet and face the hunters or else he will have to face the music with the rest of the population whose outraged voice is getting louder and louder.