The Malta Independent 2 April 2020, Thursday

Consultation

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 27 January 2020, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

The state bodies which as a category, are set up under constitutional rules that require the Prime Minister to first consult the Leader of the Opposition before they are carried forward, again came into the limelight recently.

It was claimed, even by some who are recognised as legal authorities, that this means – for bodies falling into this category – that one half of board members should be nominated by the Prime Minister, the other half by the Leader of the Opposition, while the PM nominates the chairperson.

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If I am remembering correctly past practice, concerning the appointment of board members it happened like so for the Broadcasting Authority and the Electoral Commission, but as a matter of convention. The approach did not follow from constitutional language that says “in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition”.

In my experience, “consultation” meant in the great majority of cases, that the Prime Minister would ask to meet the Leader of the Opposition simply to tell him what he intended to do. If the latter disagreed, that was his business.

I’m no longer sure whether this is the correct practice or otherwise. It is clear that today, PN speakers and their voices in civil society argue it is not. Yet I saw it from close quarters being implemented by PN Prime Ministers. Nobody then spoke against the practice (with which, whether good or bad, I disagreed).

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BAD FAITH  

As was to be expected, Prime Minister Robert Abela is already at the receiving end of insidious criticism from the current champions of  good governance in Malta.

On the one hand, they expected him to go and clear, as of his appointment, whatever he found in his path. Only in this way – so they proclaimed – could he clean the country from the thousand sins that, according to their claims, have been staining our reputation.

Abela did well to carefully take decisions meant to bring about change in the right direction.

Just as soon, these champions (for it was not just one) were proclaiming that the PM was encouraging people coming from his own camp to turn against him.

Their game is so transparent – as is their bad faith. Even if – do we need to say this? – all they say is packaged in extremely high sounding philosophical pronouncements...   

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HOLOCAUST

The commemoration of the Holocaust (I would prefer using the term Shoah, but it has not caught on in Malta) needed to be done. And it should continue to be done.

I agree with those who assert that the memory, with its deep horror, of the Nazi effort to exterminate the Jewish people was a moment in the history of humanity that should be kept alive. Once for all, the cry must be sustained: never again!

Prior to the Shoah, genocides had occurred, as well as after it. But what happened between 1940 and 1945 was without precedent. The extermination of a whole people was not attempted as part of the effort in a war between nations but as an industrial project which had to be carried out to the end without any feelings except those driven by calculations of efficiency. I began to read the memoirs recently of the Nazi commander of Auschwitz – written before he was hanged – but could not continue.

He discussed the murder of scores of thousands of human beings from the perspective of how this “task” could be implemented with maximum efficiency...

We have to do all that needs to be done to ensure that never again in the future will humanity run the risk of getting caught in such a mechanical madness fuelled by racial hatred.

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