Justice minister Owen Bonnici has shown great concern over the issue of the right to be forgotten. He insisted that the removal of judgements from the online court website did not affect official records and made reference to the right to be forgotten.
I will not comment on the case that stirred this issue; my only comment on this is that such matters should not be decided on the basis of discretion, and neither should the person appointed to decide what to delete or not be appointed by discretion.
But if you stop to think about it, the right to be forgotten must be a very important matter for Bonnici, as if you stop to think, you would quickly realise he would have us forget a great number of things. Here are a few of them.
He would have us forget the battle cry of meritocracy during the electoral campaign preceding the 2013 election. Yet the number of political appointees and persons of trust this government installed simply beggars belief.
Suffice to say that currently there are some 700 persons of trust, that include among others a security guard at the Addolorata Cemetery. Of course, this is an insult to career civil servants and government employees, as this implies that they are not trustworthy.
Their appointment is also unconstitutional and flies in the face of rule of law, as they are based on discretion, the rule of men not the rule of law.
He would have us forget that the people he appointed to the bench were mainly former Labour politicians, including a former Labour deputy leader, the daughter of the Speaker of the House, previously also a Labour deputy leader, and the daughter of a former minister.
He would have us forget that right after the first cabinet meeting in 2013 minister Konrad Mizzi opened a secret company in Panama, promising to populate the company’s accounts with close to a million.
He would have us forget that the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri, did precisely the same thing.
He would have us forget that the government paid millions in taxpayer money to purchase half a property in Valletta. Marco Gaffarena and his wife had acquired a one-half undivided share of a palazzo in Old Mint Street, Valletta which was then expropriated by the government to the tune of €3.4 million.
He would have us forget how slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was sued for millions by foreign companies close to his administration.
He would have us forget that the FIAU issued a number of reports on the Prime Minister’s buddies that were not investigated by the police.
He would have us forget that a journalist who reported on corruption, crime, standards in public life, and political issues was blown to shreds, And those who ordered the execution are still free to continue with their criminal activities, contend that they have eliminated the person who stood between them and their illicit earnings, and that they have warned all journalists to shut up or else.
He would have us forget that no one assumed political responsibility for Daphne Caruana Galizia’s execution.
He would have us forget that Malta received an overwhelming vote of no confidence in the state of rule of law in Malta and good governance and a damning report on rule of law by the European Parliament delegation sent to investigate the state of Rule of Law in Malta..
Yes, Owen Bonnici would have us forget a great many other things.
But nothing will make me forget.