The Malta Independent 22 July 2024, Monday
View E-Paper

Labour marking its own homework

Kevin Cassar Sunday, 24 September 2023, 08:40 Last update: about 11 months ago

Why does Labour get top marks when it marks its own homework but fails abysmally when external assessors rate it? 

Social Justice Minister Michael Falzon bragged in January 2021 that he’d implemented 90% of Labour’s electoral manifesto. He also allowed the most massive fraud of disability allowances under his nose.

Minister Carmelo Abela, the Minister responsible for Implementation of the Electoral Manifesto told parliament in February 2020 that 67% of Labour’s manifesto had been implemented.  He was lying.  Four months later only 43% of the manifesto had been implemented but Carmelo Abela covered up that fact by stating that 76% of the manifesto had been implemented or was “at an advanced stage of implementation”. In fact only 312 of 722 electoral pledges had been entirely implemented. 

Labour has made an art form of self-congratulation and hyping up its petty achievements. Press conferences, DOI statements, glitzy events, TVM news items, pompous declarations are a regular feature of Labour’s propaganda.  Labour is always the best in Europe, the most amazing, the unbelievable achiever.

“The government is a doer”, Minister Falzon declared in a DOI statement “we will continue to achieve more success”. Does he count his failure to detect the millions of euro stolen from our taxes in false benefits claims a success?  While Falzon was bragging of his magnificent achievements the biggest benefits scam in history was going on through his department. Had he spent more time focusing on his job instead of making ludicrous claims of greatness he would have saved the country millions.

In February 2020 Falzon was wasting more of his time, and ours, promoting himself.  “I’ve implemented 81% of the electoral manifesto”, he bragged.  “The government has a social soul and people with disability are being given priority,” he announced. They certainly were not.  Public funds earmarked for supporting people with severe disability were being drained into the pockets of undeserving people allegedly with the help of Falzon’s fellow MPs - Silvio Grixti, Owen Bonnici and Silvio Parnis - aided by customer care officers at the OPM.

Parliamentary Secretary for Active Ageing and Persons with Disability Silvio Parnis had also featured in that press conference and press release.  Parnis announced that “in the disability sector, I am working to ensure that all remaining work is complete”. What remaining work?

Michael Falzon has been exposed for the utter incompetent he is. He was made to resign once.  He should be made to resign again. How is it possible that somebody who boasted so frequently about his achievements wasn’t able to spot a multi-million euro scam?  How could Falzon allow almost a thousand persons to get benefits they weren’t entitled to? Falzon is clearly hopeless.  He’s responsible for the daylight robbery at his department.  He failed to ensure systems were robust enough to identify patterns and sudden increases in claims.  He was responsible for ensuring that funds allocated reached deserving citizens.  Falzon is an inept useless amateur too busy announcing his own greatness.

“As a government we are making the choice to stand with the Maltese people and protect the people,” Robert Abela declared at his party’s general conference soon after his resounding electoral victory. It seems Labour made that choice far too late. His Minister, Falzon, failed to protect the people while awarding himself a 90% in his homework.

For all its bragging Labour is failing dismally when assessed against proper standards.  When Carmelo Abela claimed in 2020 that 76% of the electoral manifesto was implemented, he boasted about the “major changes implemented in improving the rule of law and transparency”.

The Council of Europe GRECO has published its 2023 report on Malta.  Labour only implemented 8.7% of GRECO’s anti-corruption recommendations. It implemented none of the recommendations on improvements of the conduct of top government officials. Those recommendations included measures to improve the integrity of top officials and to fight corruption. Labour isn’t interested in fighting corruption because corruption is the glue that keeps Labour from falling apart.

Labour resists all anti-corruption measures because it simply cannot afford to root out corruption.  If it did it would lose its majority, very swiftly. Its electoral strategy is built on corruption. Labour uses all the powers of incumbency to buy votes.  Labour isn’t ever going to tackle corruption.  And that is exactly why it is so secretive.  That’s the reason why it refuses to disclose even the most basic information. Otherwise it would get caught.

GRECO (https://www.coe.int/en/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/-/greco-publication-of-4th-round-second-addendum-to-the-second-compliance-report-on-malta) expressed its concern about the public’s inability to access information. Easy access to official documents “is key to effectively prevent corruption”, GRECO president Marin Mrcela commented.  That’s why Labour fights every FOI request.  It even fights rulings by the Data Commissioner to release information in the courts using an army of lawyers paid by the taxpayers to deprive those very taxpayers their right to information.

The European Commission’s 2023 Rule of Law report similarly lambasted Labour. The report stated that Labour had made absolutely “no progress in establishing a robust track record of final judgements in high-level corruption cases”. Of course not. Labour is intent on protecting its own.  It’s not going to take steps to bring those involved in corruption to justice. There’d be hardly anybody left to run the party.

The report also noted that Labour made “no progress on access to official documents”. It noted that Labour made “no progress on strengthening rules and mechanisms to enhance independent governance and editorial independence of the public service media”. Did the EU Commission expect Labour to publish Norma Saliba’s contract? Did the Commission expect Labour to let TVM stop being its second propaganda station?

When will GRECO and the EU Commission realise that this is Labour they’re dealing with? No report is going to make Labour relinquish its absolute control over the state.  No commission report is going to stop Labour abusing its power. No GRECO is going to make Labour transparent. No EU Commission is going to make the culprits face justice.

  • don't miss