The Malta Independent 26 May 2024, Sunday
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Stop digging, and make things straight, Mr Prime Minister

Darren Carabott Sunday, 12 May 2024, 08:00 Last update: about 15 days ago

When in a hole, stop digging, the old adage goes. It is usually addressed to someone who might have ended up in a bit of a situation, by their own doing, or otherwise. Matter remains, that when in a spot of bother, you must absolutely stop digging!

Our Prime Minister however seems to have never heard of this valuable piece of advice, and the events of this week continued to expose this.


In the middle of one of the greatest political crises this country has ever faced, Robert Abela has doubled down on his irresponsible and despicable rhetoric to try and cover up for his own sins, those of his party and his predecessors. It’s true, Robert Abela might not have been leader himself when the corrupt hospital deals were negotiated, but he sure was a trusted attendee on Joseph Muscat’s cabinets and now has had enough time in the highest seat of power to take all necessary action to come clean.

In fact, the writing has been on the wall for the best part of the last decade. However, he chose to ignore the journalists’ reports, three NAO reports on Vitals, and two Court judgements, and now, he is forced to resort to the most unbelievable logical gymnastics to try to save face.

This has been a week of history in the making. For the first time in our young nation’s history, we have seen a former Prime Minister being charged criminally in our courts of law. Similarly, it is the very first time that a sitting Deputy Prime Minister (and EU Commissioner in waiting), Central Bank Governor and former Minister of Finance, have also been charged. The surreal thing about this is that till the time that I am writing this article, they still haven’t tendered their resignations, receiving complete protection from the Prime Minister. That means, we have a sitting Deputy Prime Minister and Governor of the Central Bank who are currently being charged criminally, and who the Prime Minister is protecting. The situation is beyond words at this point.

The Prime Minister is defending the indefensible. He is making up the most childish of excuses to try to keep his derelict ship from sinking. He is fending off calls from all upstanding corners of society, to do the right thing and start making things straight. Instead, he continues to attack and demonise the entire judiciary, attack student organisations, the Church, journalists who don’t adore the ground on which he walks, and anyone who gets in the way.

Instead, Robert Abela has decided to oppose the Opposition's requests for debates no less than two times this past week in Parliament, with our Honourable Speaker of the House acceding to his request to not hold the debate in both instances. Where else are these debates to take place if not in Parliament? If this is not urgent Parliamentary business, then what is?

For too long has this Government been focused on covering up, justifying, and coming to terms with the most creative and obscenely shocking scandals this country has ever woken up to since 2013. It is time that this country gets a government that is focused on the important matters at hand, not try to fix what has been broken for years, in a constant state of firefighting.

Most seriously, Robert Abela should stop sowing horror and fear in the minds of the public. He should stop spreading inflammatory narrative, hoping to intimidate the judiciary and hoping for riots to break into the streets. His comments and actions have been incredibly irresponsible, and in a modern democracy would warrant an immediate resignation – but sadly, this is Malta, and this is a Labour Government, so we know to expect a much lower bar.

No one, absolutely no one should gloat or be happy about the current situation our country is in. This is a royal mess, which will require a lot of hard work to fix – from reputational damage, to reinstating the trust lost in the judiciary with a particular cohort of the Maltese society, to mending the very deep divisive lines that have been drawn in the past days at the fault of non-other than the Prime Minister and his irresponsible statements.

I only hope that justice will prevail, and within an acceptable time frame. In the past days, we have seen a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. I only hope this will result in justice being served with no fear or favour.


Dr Darren Carabott is the Opposition’s Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, Security and Reforms, and President of the Public Accounts Committee.


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