The Malta Independent 26 May 2024, Sunday
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The unimaginable happened

Noel Grima Sunday, 12 May 2024, 07:00 Last update: about 15 days ago

What happened this week was completely unimaginable two years ago.

We have been discussing what the conclusions of the inquiry would be and who would be arraigned but we now realize we left many considerations out.

Even now most of the comments that are being made regard the logistics of holding a trial with so many accused plus their lawyers etc in one single room, such as happened at the Palermo trial at the L’Ucciardone.


That, I believe, is the least of the problems.

We still do not know what the inquiry conclusion says, though I am starting to think there are people who know. By the time the trial begins there will undoubtedly be others.

We have come to resemble the horses at the beginning of the Palio di Siena with the thoroughbreds being massed together in a restricted space (while the jockeys try dirty tricks on each other) and getting to align and face the same direction, hopefully.

All this takes time but the race would not have begun yet. Likewise, the trial has not begun yet. All the people in the list, from beginning to the end, have not yet been found guilty.

Some of the charges may carry a prison sentence but the eventual sentence will have to be fought between the generally young lawyers for the Attorney General and the more experienced defence lawyers and teams.

This is only the first consideration to be made.

If I remember correctly, the accused in the Palermo trial were not accorded the freedom we are seeing to make statements and dominate the public discussion. Some (you know who) have the media only too eager to report every single word that they say.

So myths are born and misinformation let free. I repeat: we are still far away from the conclusion of this matter.

But we have at least reached this point. Two years ago most of us would not have dreamed we would get this far.

Robert Abela and Joseph Muscat and those around them tried their best to delay the investigation and used all the tools at their disposal to put a spoke in the wheel (including threats, showing the face of the magistrate, putting her up to public dishonour, etc) but still, singlehandedly, this magistrate has reached the stage of arraignment. That is where we are now.

For all his bluster Robert Abela has hit a brick wall. His ‘patt imxajtan’ (devilish pact) has come to a sorry end.

We never really understood what this pact meant. Many understood it to be a pact to defend Joseph Muscat from investigation and arraignment and to appoint Chris Fearne as his successor. Whatever it was has now come to an end.

But the country must move on and the first appointment is the approaching European Parliament election.

I hold that even without considering the maxi arraignment any normal voter can come to a judgement on the Abela regime – the exploding national debt, the absolute record of roadworks practically everywhere, the traffic on the roads, the free hand to developers, the rape of the countryside, the lack of enforcement… And so on and so forth.

This, I hold, is Lawrence Gonzi’s parting gift – putting the Abela dynasty in Sant’Anton. When Robert Abela speaks of the Establishment, as usual putting everything upside down, he is the real establishment ever since they put up a marble memorial to commemorate the christening of his daughter in the San Anton chapel, along with memorials of the British and the Czarist royal families.

Until and unless Gonzi apologizes, all the good he did (and there was a lot of it) will not rub off this blemish from the history books.


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