The Malta Independent 29 May 2024, Wednesday
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Death by bad governance

Sunday, 19 March 2023, 08:30 Last update: about 2 years ago

Alessandra Dee Crespo

Prime Minister Robert Abela,

This is the second time that I am addressing an open letter to you in our newspapers. I could not help but be moved by another more important open letter written by the grieving a parents of Jean Paul Sofia, a vibrant 20-year-old man whose life was snuffed out buried under a collapsed building amid stone, bricks, and fresh concrete. It took fifteen hours to find his body and extract him from the debris of a construction site in Corradino last December. Jean Paul was a young man on the cusp of life. He must have had plans, goals, things to aspire to. But everything ended on that horrific day in December. Recently his devastated mother, Isabelle, said that thought that her precious son might have suffered pain before he died leaves her gasping for breath.


Prime Minister, you are a parent, you keep reminding us about the joys of parenthood on your social media and other means, but then you fail to acknowledge the parenthood of a father and mother grieving “the loss of an only child due to the negligence and lack of discipline in rules is the highest price one can ever pay.” Jean Paul mother’s words, not mine.

It is no secret that this country kills its citizens. This is no country for honest, hard-working people with hopes and dreams. This has become a country for shysters, crooks, and cowboys whose only currency is knowing the right people in power so that they will turn a blind eye at infringements, downright illegalities and outright criminal practices.  And it’s no secret either that you pretend that senseless deaths like Miriam Pace’s, numerous nameless migrant construction workers, and now Jean Paul’s, did not happen on your watch. Your hands are tied, you brazenly told Jean Paul’s mother, while pretending to care about her horrific loss. With what, prime minister? By whom?

It must have made for very soothing reading when a local newspaper marked the decade your party in power by stating that "no major corruption scandal has so far rocked the Abela administration..." Amazing what perception can do for one’s critical faculties. What is scandalous about your premiership, prime minster, is your shocking lack of leadership on any one issue. It’s been a year since you won a general election with a comfortable majority. Before that, dissenters were told we expect too much from someone who is hindered by the Muscat toxic legacy. But not everyone is willing to give you a free ride.

You have been prime minister in your own right for one year and still you bow to your predecessor’s legacy. You practically sing from his hymn book. In your earnestness to deflect from your customary dereliction of duty, you met calls by Jean Paul’s family for an independent public inquiry into the circumstances leading to his death with tone deaf callousness, while bullying the magistrate conducting the inquiry. Hearing you talk about this tragedy one would think that this young man died as a result of a freak accident. But as his own parents told you: “This was no accident occurring as a result of a natural disaster. This was much the result of inaction by state entities and administrative, regulatory and legislative failure, as it was the result of actions of people involved in the site’s development.”

Repubblika backs Jean Paul’s parents call for a public inquiry. It is not true, as you are leading the country to believe, prime minister, that a public inquiry would replace a magisterial inquiry, nor is a magisterial inquiry would be sufficient in these circumstances.

We heard all this before. These fallacious arguments were used by Joseph Muscat against calls for a public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Secrecy is the enemy of the rule of law. Only those who abuse their power benefit from hiding the truth. Anyone with nothing to hide should welcome such inquiries.

What are you hiding, Prime Minister? Who are you protecting?

In their grief, Jean Paul Sofia’s parents are thinking of others. They want to prevent further senseless deaths on construction sites. They want to people to feel safe in their homes. They want to protect other people’s children from the maw of greed and destruction.

Why don’t you, Prime Minister? Why don’t you want to protect other people’s children?

Stop saying things like they mean anything. Do the right thing for once.

Start governing.


Alessandra Dee Crespo is Repubblika’s vice-president


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