The Malta Independent 16 May 2022, Monday

Anglu Farrugia must be fuming

Daphne Caruana Galizia Sunday, 17 February 2013, 09:38 Last update: about 9 years ago

So Anglu Farrugia gets sacked for a remark about a magistrate, while Toni Abela gets to stay on as deputy leader, despite the cocaine-dealing cover-up that has dominated the news for the last few days. And the Fearless Leader defends him unconditionally.

Just in case you’ve been on another planet and haven’t heard the news, here are the broad facts. The deputy leader of the Labour Party was heard in a voice recording describing how a Labour Party club president went to him and said that he had walked into the club kitchen and found somebody there cutting up a block of cocaine. And he made that person throw the cocaine away (yes, right...). The barman, who was in on this cocaine dealing, was fired, Labour’s deputy leader said, but he did not go to the police because he was worried about the ‘innocent and fearful’ club committee members. Toni Abela took a decision to protect them rather than to report to the police that cocaine was being cut up and sold on the Labour club premises.

We have two reasons to be shocked and upset here. The first is that a Labour Party club was being used not just to sell cocaine, but as somewhere to break up cocaine blocks for onward distribution. This is a safe conclusion to reach because unless that particular Labour club was Cocaine Central with a large client-base of cokeheads, going through an entire block is not to be sniffed at (sorry, but I couldn’t resist that).

The second reason to be shocked and upset, and in my view this is the far more serious one, is that the Labour Party’s deputy leader, Toni Abela, when faced with a choice between reporting a cocaine dealer to the police for investigation/monitoring, with the inevitable result of negative press reports for the Labour Party, and covering up the case completely so that the police wouldn’t find out and the press would not find out either, chose the latter.

Abela was never high up on the list of people we should emulate, but this is really rock bottom. Putting the interests of your political party before the interests of society in getting to grips with cocaine dealers? I don’t think so. Yet this is so typically Labour: anything and everything is justified in the interests of the party, even if it breaks the law and every moral code in the decent person’s handbook.

Abela has given an interview in which he claims that his Fearless Leader knew nothing of this matter, which occurred two years ago. Isn’t that wonderful? Here we have a party deputy leader hiding from his party boss a serious case of cocaine trafficking at a party club. That is one hell of a sacking offence. Joseph Muscat the Fearless Leader says that he agrees with the way Toni Abela did not go to the police because the evidence – the cocaine – had been binned (or so we’re told). But surely he has pretty strong feelings about the way Abela hid it from him, even if he refuses to say anything about it in public. He must be wondering what else his deputy leader might have under wraps.

And yet he still doesn’t demand his resignation. I’m beginning to think that the only reason he doesn’t do so is that he is afraid of what might happen if both his former deputy leaders, sore at being given the boot, get together to collude against him. They’d have a store of stuff they can use against him, so he has no choice, really, but to keep Abela on.

Meanwhile, the so-called oil scandal emails are falling to pieces, and journalists and others are feeling a little stupid for not inspecting them a little more closely in terms of legitimacy, authenticity, context, meaning, motivation and the rest, instead of taking them as the real and meaningful thing.

Austin Gatt gave a good press conference yesterday which exposed the falsity of some of his enemies. The Labour Party responded shortly afterwards with a press conference of its own, fielding the seriously unpleasant Manuel Mallia and Evarist Bartolo with the quite ridiculous David Farrugia Sacco. Are those the faces of change? Please count me out. I wouldn’t trust them to buy my groceries. Manuel Mallia has forgotten that he is no longer in the business of defending criminals, and that politics is not a court of law.


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