The Malta Independent 15 August 2020, Saturday

Why do we let everything fester?

Victor Calleja Sunday, 12 July 2020, 09:00 Last update: about 1 month ago

At the time of writing the Attorney General still sits grandiloquently on his seat of power. No one has dared try to dethrone him.

But hold on. In a world where sense prevails wouldn’t we all – blue, red, green or yellow – be yelling and protesting out in the streets? Clamouring for his removal? Pitchfork in hand, stamping our feet till justice is meted out? Demonstrating till all of us are dead tired, hoarse and energised?

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Peter Grech the AG should be removed. As inelegantly as possible. No amount of silly words of defence from his office can erase the horror he perpetrated on this land of ours. The investigation into the most important and cataclysmic case of corruption and money laundering our islands have ever witnessed, was slowed, stalled and buried thanks to one man: Peter Grech.

What is absurd is that hardly anybody seems to think this is a big deal or even calls for an investigation. The Daphne Caruana Galizia family and Repubblika call out for his resignation or his impeachment but beyond that who speaks?

Has the lawyers’ collective grouping, the Camera Degli Avvocati, gone into amnesia-mode? Do we still need iron-clad, water-tight, court-perfect proof to sniff out the corrupt, the facilitators and the ones who let injustices rot on?

In any other democracies, even those with a shorter history than ours, anyone caught with a smidgen of what the AG did would have resigned, or ideally been fired, ages ago.

His position is no pushover. It requires a spine, a spine which can take the bombardment of many in all sorts of ways. If he knew he could not rise to the occasion he should never have accepted.

Responsibility comes with a long string of requirements, foremost among them being that, if you are coerced or asked to do something which is wrong, you refuse or resign. And preferably admonish the ones who tried to influence you in any way.

Let’s make it crystal clear: his position was given to him by a PN government not by a Labour one. Even if it was the Labour gang who took advantage of his weakness so that their misdeeds went un-investigated, he was not a stooge originally appointed by them.

The PN, in their infinite wisdom, always did this as well. They were as bad as Labour in their intent. What they did less was turn that intent – to manipulate important people in top institutions – into a reality. But they kept these pliable, easily-bent people as insurance.

In case of emergency the PN always reasoned they could break the glass and get the AG genie (or whatever position they would have needed) out of the bottle and all would be solved.

This is what is wrong with our society. We have created a state of affairs where top positions like the AG, the Police Commissioner (I will reserve judgement about the new one for the moment), the Speaker and many others, are given to people who can be pliable and nice to the people in power.

The top institutions which should be looking after our rights are beholden to whoever can keep them in their position.

The only reason these things are coming to a head now is because the pliable ones, the manipulated, have gone way too far. The ones in power, who happened to be Labour but could have been a greedier lot of PN people if they so wished, grabbed too much too quickly. But they did not reckon that one woman was not going to accept the status quo of omertà and cover-ups.

She fought, she uncovered, so she was murdered. She was executed by a gang of thieves, a gang of people who wanted to carry on ravaging uncontrolled. They made sure she was eliminated so that they could go on licking the coffers clean.

Yet the system remains unchanged. And, even if Daphne Caruana Galizia is still causing havoc in Malta with all she uncovered and instigated, not enough is being done to divert our course. To really start afresh. To change our old ways and get rid of all our horrors.

The AG retaining his position with all that has been uncovered is a sure sign that nothing has really been learnt.

Until there is a total overhaul and a new beginning, with new attitudes, new people and proper checks and balances on the way we conduct public life in Malta, we will get over this period of turmoil and go back to our old ways of covering up all that is wrong in our society.  

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