International investors must be puzzled with the way governance in Macau is conducted. Lawyer Manuela António is correct and is one of the latest to criticize what so many others, including some local media, have been doing for years on end. But to no avail.
The lack of accountability for political and administrative decisions is causing the public coffers to lose billions every year. There’s no idea how much, we can only guess.
The number of bad decisions is frightening. Their impact is mesmerizing, and yet, nothing seems to happen.
Some court decisions reveal the absolute lack of control, to say the least. Recently, courts have been recognizing that private investors have not been able to develop some pieces of land that the local government leased to them, because of the government’s malfunctions, mistakes, delays in licensing and ultimately lack of answers, as the administration apparently went on holiday years ago to an uncertain location, lost in action. Still, the court supports the government’s decision to have the land returned to its possession.
It would be completely defendable to get the land back if the fault lay entirely on the investor’s side. But the opposite is outrageous. Especially when the government is one of the entities that did not even develop on time, the parcels of land that it gave to itself. Two weights, two measures.
It is time to make decision makers accountable for their actions. High ranking officials cannot just come up with the old excuse of “family matters” to withdraw from office while their backs are protected by their peers, leaving the people of Macau under a curtain of silence while the public coffers are looted as a consequence of strings of bad decisions.
PS – In front of two main hotels in Macau there’s a piece of land that is supposed to be the site of some government buildings. We have been waiting for years and still nothing. Worse than that, the view from these hotels, that should be one of the best in the city – and guests are paying for – is of an abandoned parcel of land with wild vegetation and plenty of garbage. A huge open-air trash deposit (see photo). For a government that continues to try to market the town as an international tourism centre, this is quite revealing of what’s going on. Correction: what is NOT going on.