Malta has long had a reputation for being a stable and financially sustainable country. For many years, Malta has enjoyed a business as usual lifestyle with no material episodes which caused uncertainty.
If one has travelled to different countries, he would have noted at some point or another, a protest. This is something which, up till a few weeks ago, was not a common scene in Malta. In fact, one of the traits normally associated with the Maltese population is that it is laid back and not too active in the civil society sphere. This seemed to change when recent developments in the Daphne Caruana Galizia case implicated key members of the former Prime Minister’s team. When it was reported by the media that the Chief of Staff and Tourism Minister of the Prime Minister were heavily associated with the potential mastermind behind the slain journalist’s death, Malta saw a number of protests taking place in central locations.
The protests were consistent and many were held in the span of just a few weeks. They were spearheaded by the Repubblika organisation, which emphasised that it holds no allegiance with any political party. The protests were organised to put pressure on government, so that all those involved in corruption are held accountable.
One of the questions we would ask is to what extent do such protests affect the country. One of the clearly obvious and mostly reported is that such protests had impacted the sales of shops in Valletta, where most of them were held. This therefore shows that such protests had an impact on the country’s economy.
Such protests may also cause instability on a larger economic scale. In a period where people are out in the streets protesting, many would be less inclined to invest and part with their money. In fact, many people complained of lesser business activity towards the end of last year, with the civil unrest being one of the believed reasons why.
Protests also impact the perceived safety of a country. In a place like Malta, where safety is one of the main elements which distinguishes it from other countries, such protests cause unrest and people would not feel safe to go to places which are close to where these are being organised.
Ever since a new Prime Minister has taken the helm of the country, things seem to have calmed down. Are things getting back to normal? Only time will tell whether we are to see such protests and how these may potentially impact the country.