The Malta Independent 20 January 2022, Thursday

TMID Editorial: It is the same State, Ramona

Wednesday, 11 August 2021, 08:05 Last update: about 6 months ago

The president of the Labour Party, Ramona Attard, told The Malta Independent on Sunday in an interview that the State which was under investigation in the inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia is not the State we have today.

She’s wrong.

It is the same State, because the Constitution was not changed and there is no new Republic.

She might have confused State with government. If this is the case, she might want to look up the difference between the two. A few clicks on the internet will help.

Yet, even here, and even if she wanted to say government, Attard is not fully correct.

First of all, we are still in the same legislature, the one that started with the Labour government being elected in 2017 and will end when the next election is held. So if Attard meant to say government, she must be reminded that no general election has taken place since Daphne was assassinated.

We did have a change of prime minister, with Robert Abela replacing Joseph Muscat who, we all remember, was forced to resign in the wake of developments surrounding the murder. But many of the people on Robert Abela’s Cabinet and behind him on the government benches in Parliament are still the same people who were elected in 2017 – some of whom formed part of the Joseph Muscat government which did nothing to limit the growing culture of impunity that paved the way for the murder.

The report compiled by three judges found that the State failed to recognise the real risks to the journalist’s life. A culture of impunity spread its tentacles to regulatory bodies and the police, which led to the rule of law collapsing. What the report pointed out was what many, including the independent media, had been saying for quite a while, but which had been ignored by Muscat and those around him.

But there is another thing which probably made Attard regret the words she used the moment she uttered them.

Because by saying what she did – that the State is not the same one we had when the murder took place – she was trying to put distance between the Labour Party and its former leader Muscat. She will never directly admit that Muscat was wrong, but what she said did imply that Muscat must shoulder some form of responsibility.

Her (wrong) interpretation that today’s State is new was a way with which she was blasting Muscat. The PL will never be able to kick Muscat out of the party in the same way that it dismissed former minister and star candidate Konrad Mizzi, but deep down it knows the extent of the damage that Muscat caused it.

Like Abela did when he was asked, Attard skirted around a question on whether Muscat should be banned from the party. She said that Muscat paid his price and is no longer an MP.

But all those who are not a Gahan know that this is not enough.


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