The Malta Independent 6 August 2020, Thursday

The fight must go on

Thursday, 5 December 2019, 10:04 Last update: about 9 months ago

These have been highly traumatic days for our country.

Our people are closely-knit - by blood, personal relations, association, etc. Yet the past days have seen our society split right through - families, friends, colleagues find themselves on opposite sides and close relationships have been ruined for ever.

Yet the fight must go on, till the bitter end. It cannot be left halfway. We cannot have halfway reconciliation that leaves things as they are.


The fact of the matter is that there is a government with a huge majority that is there for a full term. There is a weak official Opposition that is split. And there is now an unofficial Opposition by courageous activists who have turned the fight around.

Out there, one finds a huge majority of Labour supporters even if the present government has left most of them as poor as they were, if not more, despite some crumbs at Budget time. They still support 'Joey' and find it impossible to decipher what's going on except a Nationalist plot.

Nevertheless, the daily protests outside Parliament have now led Prime Minister Muscat to call it a day, even though he is taking his own sweet time to do what's right. They also led a powerful minister, Chris Cardona, to self-suspend himself, and then bounce back to office. And as for the Panama Papers minister Konrad Mizzi and the PM's assistant, Keith Schembri, they seem to be out, though one can't be certain, especially since Konrad Mizzi remains an MP.

There is an air of unreality in the country. While the whole world has come to see Malta as a 'Mafia island', university graduations and celebrations continue and Christmas celebrations carry on.

It is thus crucial that the momentum is not lost and whatever has been gained allowed to slip through our hands. Soon, next week, we will see the beginning of the campaign to choose Muscat's successor and this can be another huge distraction. People must not get carried away that a couple of mass meetings, even if huge as last Sunday's, are enough to bring about change.

Those who have driven this so far, must remain focused and plan ahead. They must seek to build bridges with the moderates in the Labour camp, although these are few and most have been bought by illegal posts or sinecures by the government.

Yet the task ahead is an enormous one. It is not to unseat the present government but rather to kill the 'Mafia island' tag. No amount of changes of key persons will be enough. The cleaning must begin at the top - chairmen of government bodies chosen for their political affiliation - down to government boards, down to the huge amount of people employed beyond their abilities just because they were party supporters. No one is calling for these people to be sacked but rather to be given a worthwhile job, perhaps with a better package.

Next, all the deals in which corruption is suspected must be closely examined and, if need be, suspended, whatever the cost. We cannot compromise with corruption.

This goes too for the Opposition. Any possible link to corruption must be eradicated. Any link must be followed up, and any attempt to sidestep must be revealed and stopped. No one must be able to escape justice by links of friendship or party allegiance.

The damage has been, in a minister's words, 'irreparable'. It will take long years and huge efforts to eradicate the cancer, with the possibility that the cancer spreads at all times. To stop now is to lose hope and give up when such unhoped rewards have come our way.  
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