The Malta Independent 16 December 2018, Sunday

TMID Editorial: Cardona needs to at least suspend himself

Wednesday, 10 October 2018, 10:18 Last update: about 3 months ago

If Minister Chris Cardona holds any modicum of respect for the country which he serves, he would suspend himself from his ministerial and parliamentary duties without any further ado - much more after his expressed hope to explain himself in Parliament yesterday descended into an absolute farce.

There was no meaningful ministerial statement worth its salt even though one would have expected the minister to have been better prepared to fight his corner considering the gravity of the accusations being levelled against him by the international media, however wild or not those accusations may be.

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From the outset we need to stress that the accusations the minister is facing are not our own, we have merely heard of them like the rest of the country on Monday.  Nor will we delve into the merits of those accusations.

The fact of the matter is that those accusations, whether the minister likes them or not, have been levelled and they are now doing the rounds across Europe thanks to the long tentacles of The Daphne Project.

It may be true that the minister was merely a victim of circumstance, and it may be that unsavoury people, to use a polite term, have been in his direct or indirect company at bars and bachelors parties. But the fact of the matter is that one will always be judged by the company one keeps.

This holds especially true of politicians, and of Cabinet ministers in particular.

And the fact of the matter is that the Cardona continues to appear in places and in the sort of company that no minister of a European Union member state should be seen under any circumstances.

It is just not appropriate.  Ministers in other EU states have resigned for less, and some have returned to office after having cleared their name.

And now that the international media, and none other than Italy’s La Repubblica, have launched another broadside in Cardona’s direction, and is attempting to implicate the minister in some kind of involvement or knowledge of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, he needs to either furnish satisfactory explanations for his relations and acquaintances, or face the axe.

Like it or not, true or false, the man’s name is being bandied around Europe. This can serve the country no good whatsoever.  Are we meant to continue to carry the burden for the people the Prime Minister is intent at all costs to keep on board?  Have we not had enough shame with Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri of Panama papers fame? 

Minister Cardona may shout in Parliament about his innocence until he is blue in the face but until he finds the ways and means to clear his name, his name is tarnished.

Beyond the accusations, the question what is a Minister of Cabinet doing keeping the kind of company he has been shown time and time again to keep?

The truth is that Minister Chris Cardona should have stepped down a long time ago until he cleared his name of the FKK club scandal.  He did not do anything of the sort and the way that the who0le sordid, surrounding libel case as dropped merely implied guilt on the part of the minister.

That did not happen and, frankly, it comes as no surprise given the current administration’s less than lacklustre track record when it comes to dealing with wayward ministers.

How long this situation will persist is anyone’s guess, but judging from past experience the minister and the government will bury their heads in the sand, let the storm blow over and proceed with business as usual.

The only problem is that this is far from business as usual, it is business most unusual indeed  in a modern, democratic EU member state.

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