The Malta Independent 14 July 2020, Tuesday

The good news has arrived

Rachel Borg Saturday, 27 June 2020, 06:54 Last update: about 16 days ago

Remember that announcement on the 13.4.14?  What Joseph Muscat “announced” was that the price of petrol was going down by two cents and diesel price will remain unchanged till the end of the year. Dr Muscat said the government's decision meant Malta was the only country in Europe with stable fuel prices up to the end of this year.

That press conference fell as flat as a pancake and left all the listeners gawking at the empty hype and sheer incredulity that Joseph Muscat could have thought he was going to impress with this manoeuver. 

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Joseph Muscat’s ex-Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri, gave us something of a similar preview this week when announcing that the time for the truth has come and he will be revealing all when he is summoned as a witness in the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, who stands accused of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

But just as Yorgen Fenech may have been releasing the moorings of his Cabin Cruiser at Portomaso, having ignored advice coming from the PM, Schembri launched out on nothing more than a lilo, pumped with hot air. 

Drop a distraction here, muddy the waters there, deny this and deny that and own up to something that you had been denying for years before.  That was the big reveal.  The moment of truth from Keith Schembri. The lilo deflated and he sunk with it. 

Only these were serious and tragic events that led up to the killing of a journalist who made crooks uncomfortable. 

Is there never any remorse?  How long is this “Not me, what about him” act going to go on? 

Schembri was in good company though, as his ex-colleague and Panama buddy, Konrad Mizzi, wheeled out his own denial in response to being asked to resign from the Labour Party’s Parliamentary group by Prime Minister Robert Abela over the Montenegro affair.  The matter did not stop there and Mizzi was removed following a vote by the PL executive and the same parliamentary group. 

After 7 years of contradiction from the Parliamentary group, a sudden change of heart came about and the wind blew in the other direction, perhaps into the wind farm of Montenegro so they might generate some profit for Enemalta.

These times are certainly confusing and uncertain for all.  We want to survive an economic downturn but we want to protect our health.  We long for events to start up again and to put our mind at rest that our years of work and investment will not fail.

But here we are, splashing away with Michelle Muscat, treading water and going nowhere.

Announcements are a thing of the past. Do your job. Say the truth. Respect your country and its people and cut the theatrics. After 7 years the PL parliamentary group caught up. We are all supposed to congratulate them and breathe a sigh of relief that Konrad Mizzi is no longer around to create some mega project that puts a knife into the country.  Are we to get excited because Keith Schembri will speak? He paddled out to the other side of the pool on his lilo, trying to keep afloat. The announcement fizzled out and he went back home.

But just as we continued to pay the high prices for petrol and diesel in 2014, so now too we continue to pay for the cost of corruption, whether it is for underhand deals with individuals and big business, contracts or others.

The tangible result is the Moneyval report that is in peril of failing, the Venice Commission that continues to wait for progress like a teacher with a pupil that continues to forget his homework, banks without correspondents and a name for our country that fits with Joseph Muscat being named the ‘2019 man of the year in organised crime and corruption’ by the OCCRP.

Resignations and dismissals are not enough. The people have fought for more than an announcement. The dismissals are not from an affirmative action but from a preventative one, where the time to disassociate from the scum has exceeded the self-interest of full association. 

In the past, in battle, when the general would fall, the whole army would retreat. Joseph Muscat resigned but his legacy survived, largely through the continuation afforded by Robert Abela and the delusion of the Panama duo.

At this point, the only beneficiaries are the likes of Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi and their associates, and big business, and also the money launderers. Until the alleged provenance of transactions are thoroughly investigated, the resignations and dismissals are perfunctory, though necessary and way overdue.

The fact of the matter is that certain things that were alleged and revealed concerning the Labour Party’s hot shots are now undisputed and it is only the intention which separates truth from lies and justice from injustice. Either justice is going to be done or we will continue with these childish lies and blind manoeuvers, trying to hold on to a depleted LP majority and an illusion of being in the best of times.

The Ombusman’s annual report into 2019 is a damning review into the fall of democracy in Malta and those responsible for this state of affairs. Such reports, following on those of the European Union offices and the international authorities, cannot be brushed aside with a shrug and a toss towards the past. These abuses are happening now and it is up to the Prime Minister to ensure that his government is up to the job of fixing the country and setting a new course.  Right now, society alone is reckoning with the truth.

 

 

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