The Malta Independent 24 October 2021, Sunday

TMID Editorial: Vanessa Frazier – Another example of a culture of impunity

Friday, 24 September 2021, 09:08 Last update: about 30 days ago

Last week, The Malta Independent carried a short story about how Malta’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations was watching a football game while she was attending a meeting on Malta’s behalf.

She had posted a photo showing her mobile phone with a Champions League game going on, proudly stating that she never misses a Juventus game and how good she is at multi-tasking. When the Foreign Ministry was asked about this, we were told that the ambassador, Vanessa Frazier, had removed the post and apologised for her mistake.

That a diplomat watches a football game while representing a country during a United Nations meeting is reprehensible.

Frazier is in New York to serve as Malta’s ear and voice. She is the one carrying our flag. That she chooses to tune in on a football game while she is supposed to be there for all of us is simply not on.

That, then, her instinct told her there is nothing wrong to let the social media world know what she was doing is also inexcusable. It was only later that she realised her “mishap”, as the Foreign Ministry described it. But she should not have been watching a game while on duty in the first place, and much less boast about doing so.

We do not know whether the post was removed on her own volition or after instructions from higher above. But it was taken down not before someone took a screenshot to expose her lack of good judgment. What she did was disrespectful to the office she occupies and to the UN in general.

What is equally disturbing is that, from the comments that were posted beneath the story on The Malta Independent’s Facebook page, most people also see nothing wrong in what Frazier did.

“So what?”, we were told. “What’s wrong with that?”

It is, unfortunately, the kind of mentality that has been allowed to fester in our society for the past years.

It is the “u ija, mhux xorta?” (what’s wrong with that?) kind of reasoning that has led to Malta being greylisted.

If people see nothing wrong in what Frazier did, it is then no surprise that they close both eyes to corruption and all the other bad things that have taken Malta by storm. Because if one does not see wrong in the little things that are wrong, then one cannot be expected to see wrong in the big things that are wrong.

Any other country which respects itself would have recalled Frazier from her post and appointed someone else in her stead. What she did would have been enough for her to be forced to resign and, if not, she would have been dismissed. Her utmost disrespect to her duties as Malta’s representative would have been punished. But it’s another kind of story in Malta.

We are in no doubt that she is hard-working, as the Foreign Ministry told us. But she should have paid for her “mishap”. In other countries, officials have resigned for much less.

However, in our dear Malta, anything goes.

It is because of the culture of impunity that Joseph Muscat allowed to grow, and from which it is now not easy to go back.

  • don't miss