The Malta Independent 13 December 2019, Friday

‘Delaying inevitable for a month will serve no useful purpose’ - Chamber of Advocates

Monday, 2 December 2019, 07:59 Last update: about 10 days ago

The Chamber of Advocates said that delaying the inevitable by a month - it was referring to Joseph Muscat's resignation in January - will serve no useful purpose but seriously risks tainting the integrity and credibility of the investigative process.

In a statement, the chamber said it has patiently waited, and soberly urged the powers that be to do the right thing.  In the extraordinary circumstances we have experienced this last week, our legitimate expectation is that the integrity and credibility of the investigative process and all that ensues in the pursuit of justice is paramount – this is what must be preserved and protected at all costs and at all times.

Accordingly, anyone in power and whose position is one of conflict due to relationships with anyone involved or named in the investigations which are underway, should make way to allow that process to take its course objectively credibly, and without any form of interference, whether real or perceived. 

In these extraordinary circumstances the position of the Prime Minister has become untenable, the chamber said. For the sake of the country’s reputation and credibility, the Prime Minister must resign. The time for that is now. Delaying the inevitable by a month will serve no useful purpose but seriously risks tainting the integrity and credibility of the investigative process.

Any government has a structure that can, and should, be able to withstand the resignation of a prime minister.  If the Prime Minister himself cannot fully appreciate or understand the importance of this, in the national interest, then it is incumbent upon his colleagues in cabinet and in Parliament to withdraw their support and to act in the national interest. 

The outcome of any investigation and of any ensuing judicial process is only as good as the credibility and integrity of that process, the credibility that the Maltese people, and the international community attentively watching, will attach to it.  That process cannot be allowed to be tainted by conflicts and potential or perceived bias otherwise its outcome will likewise be tainted.  Now is the time for leaders to show that they can also shoulder their responsibility for the common good and the national interest. The current state of affairs in untenable and certainly cannot be prolonged. The uncertainty, the lack of trust that this creates in important institutions will only increase instability in the country and further obfuscate our international reputation. 

The Chamber of Advocates reiterates that conflicts of interest, which in this case are self-evident, pose a clear and present danger to the investigation, and the subsequent judicial process. It is crucial that the country is returned to a state of normality and proper governance; and to undertake with utmost urgency the required constitutional reforms to ensure the resilience and independence of vital institutions from the executive arm of the State, and to endow our institutions with the trust and credibility that they deserve.

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