The Malta Independent 13 December 2019, Friday

In our country’s interest

Owen Bonnici Friday, 29 November 2019, 08:07 Last update: about 13 days ago

We are going through testing times.

All eyes are focused on the facts which unfolded in the last days and how we, as a country, are reacting to these circumstances.  Future generations will judge these days and will decide who kept the best interest of our country at heart.

It goes without saying that first and foremost, our primary duty is towards Malta and its people. As members of the Maltese Parliament, we might have our differences, but these do not detract us from working for a common objective, that of pushing forward and working for the interests of our country, albeit in our diverse ways. At least, this is what I believe. I sincerely hope that this is our common aim, as it would be unintelligible to believe otherwise.

This country must be administered in accordance with our laws and in accordance with the country’s supreme law - our Constitution, which also defines our fundamental human rights.

One of the fundamental principles, the cornerstone of our Constitution is the Rule of Law: the principle that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced - the exact opposite to the Rule of the Mob or the Rule of the Mighty.

I have had other occasions to write and talk about Rule of Law in our country. We have been heavily criticised during the past two years that Rule of Law in Malta is non-existent. We have been subjected to criticism that Rule of Law in our country ceased to exist when the Labour Party was voted in Government.

We have been criticised that our highest institutions are not functioning, that they have abdicated from their responsibilities, some even saying that this Government has hijacked these institutions.

The facts show the complete opposite.

In less than 50 days after the brutal murder of blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, investigations, which also involved also foreign bodies such as FBI and Europol, led to the arrest and arraignment of three persons who we all know, are accused as being the executors of the said murder.

These arrests however led to a sentiment that notwithstanding these arrests, the real mastermind behind the murder was still on the loose, and that nothing was being done to apprehend the mastermind – the person or persons behind the mandate for the murder. Some even went further and alleged that the institutions were doing absolutely nothing to bring this person to justice.

We have had numerous delegations from European Institutions here in Malta, and in turn we were also invited to meetings abroad,  during which the members of these delegations, together with Maltese MEPs and also others, insinuated that we were not interested to have the truth about this case emerge.

During these meetings, we also were repeatedly accused that the country’s highest institutions were not functioning independently and autonomously as they were firmly in the Government’s grasp.

Throughout all this, we had always insisted about what, in fact, is the real situation in our country. That Malta was not inferior to others were democracy, the separation of powers and the independence of the institutions are concerned.

A democracy, which, indeed, we had strengthened.

It is also proper to remind that when last year, the Venice Commission published its report on Malta, the report focused on laws and systems that were passed or implemented years back and not about laws introduced by this Government. The Venice Commission recommendations mainly focused on laws and systems which had been long-standing and were ‘inherited’ by this government. This was a confirmation that the reforms which this Government embarked upon were deemed positive and a step in the right direction. The Venice Commission never said that Malta’s institutions were not functioning or that Rule of Law in Malta was non-existent.

Today we have a situation where certain individuals are portraying, for their own personal partisan reasons, a very different situation than what the situation in our country really is.

However, the investigations being carried out in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s homicide is proof that the reality is a totally different story.

Everybody knows that investigations take time and must undergo a delicate process that often requires confidentiality - which does not signify that nothing is being done. In fact the results and the facts which came to light during the past days, showed, if ever there was any doubt, that the institutions were just doing their job – which gave the results everyone was calling for.

It is also a significant fact that the breakthrough came about by the bold action taken by the Prime Minister – who wanted the truth to prevail – an action that brought about the granting of a conditional pardon to a person whose testimony may lead to the arraignment of the people who plotted the murder. 

Ironically this was interpreted by some that the Prime Minister was interfering with the delicate investigations.

I am convinced that all those who are decent and all those who have good will in their hearts – irrespective of their political spectrum - are grateful to those who are doing their utmost about this case.

I also appeal that we all should be cautious in our actions and exercise respect to each other.

It is a fundamental right for those who think it is fit to protest to do so, however one should also carry this with a decent attitude, and with respect to the country’s institutions. I take the occasion to thank the Police Corps for the sterling work done, especially during these last days.

Finally I thank the Prime Minister who together with the Cabinet and the structures within the Labour Party, is tackling the situation in the best possible manner and is clearly showing the leadership that the country needs at this moment.

I believe that the facts are showing that our country’s institutions are indeed working, and doing so independently, and that the Prime Minister is making everything possible in his power so that this case is resolved.

  • don't miss