The Malta Independent 4 June 2020, Thursday

Nothing is ever settled until it is settled right

Mark Josef Rapa Thursday, 28 November 2019, 08:55 Last update: about 7 months ago

From whatever angle you look at it, Prime Minister Muscat and Keith Schembri are in cahoots with each other. There is otherwise no rhyme or reason why Muscat would keep protecting his aide for this long. 

In a matter of hours, we have seen unfolding what, for long, we thought, would never happen. Both energy Minister, Konrad Mizzi, and Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri, resigned. Acapulco, Chris Cardona ‘suspended himself’; constitutionally, there is no such thing as a minister suspending himself –either you resign or get fired from the job–


Yes, Keith Schembri and owner of Panama company Hearnville Inc., resigned and is now under arrest. But has he given up his throne? At the time of writing, it is clear to me that he has not; until Prime Minister Joseph Muscat remains in power, Schembri has still not lost it all. 

The partnership between Muscat and Schembri dates back to before the 2013 general election. Schembri, a successful businessman in his own right, was there when Joseph Muscat became party leader in 2008. He was by his side every step of the way, but don’t be fooled; he wasn’t there to safeguard and promote our rights. 

The puzzle had long been designed, but it could not have been crafted by one man. The ‘Artful Dodger of Europe’ must have had his hand in it. But it would take us some time to find the pieces and put them together for they were all scattered; from offshore companies in Panama and trusts in New Zealand to trips to Azerbaijan, sale of passports and redacted contracts presented in parliament. And yet, Schembri retained his position. In normal countries, where the system of government and justice works as it should, those discovered to have a Panama company resigned. 


In Richard III, Queen Margaret warns the Duke of Buckingham to beware of Richard:

Take heed of yonder dog,

Look when he fans, he bites, and when he bites,

His venom tooth will rankle to the death.

Have not to do with him, beware of him;

Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him,

And all their ministers attend on him.

(Richard III I.3.288-93)


Muscat and members of his government were, and still are, not in the least bothered by all of Schembri’s misdemeanours. None of them had the sense and decency to warn their leader that the Chief of staff is robbing the country alive and tarnishing the party’s reputation. In fact, not only none of them stood up against their leader or Schembri, but they dared attack the members of the opposition when they called them out for what they are, Mafia.

The credibility of all members of the government is in manifest jeopardy. On two occasions this week alone, before and after the resignation of Keith Schembri, the MPs voted affirmatively in a vote of confidence. You would think that by now, there would be a Queen Margaret and warn Muscat that what in keeping befriending Schembri, protecting him, he is putting himself in danger, or maybe a Malcolm who flees the tyrant and work his way to restore peace and justice. Alas, this was not mean to be, but Birnam Wood is fast-moving.

The citizens of Malta have now gone to the streets. They cried out ‘Justice for Daphne’, ‘Blood on your hands’; Indeed, were Schembri and Mizzi removed from their position as soon as it was revealed that they have companies in Panama, Daphne Caruana Galizia would still be alive. But the puzzle they had not as yet completed; they needed more time to scatter the missing pieces.  They want the Prime Minister out.

Is it a reasonable request? Of course, it is. How can a Prime Minister, who has for long protected his Chief of Staff and who is now under arrest, still think of himself as a legitimate person to govern the nation? Staying on as a leader of the party in government, when you are responsible for the acts and omissions of your ministers and aide is a non sequitur. 

If you have let your people behave in such a Machiavellian and criminal manner without stopping them when you could, then you, yourself are in the same game.  In fact, this is what our country and democracy have become to those who have long supported the tyranny of Muscat and his government, a game. A game where laws are toyed and played with upon the whim of the businessmen who seek to enrich themselves, leaving us citizens poorer financially and morally.

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