On the recommencement of Parliament following the summer recess, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said those who pushed the “Egrant lie” should admit that what they said was false.
Three months down the line since the conclusion of a magisterial inquiry into the Prime Minister’s dealings, he’s the one with access to the full evidence of the inquiry by Magistrate Aaron Bugeja while the public remains in the dark. In this time, he has established the narrative that conclusions are drawn.
Therefore, the truth according to Joseph Muscat has been established never mind the necessary scrutiny in a democracy. It is clear at this point that the public willl not get to see the full report – at best, it will be a version redacted by the Prime Minister’s lawyer Pawlu Lia (the same one who defined the narrow remit of the inquiry in the first place).
And there’s the Justice Minister, who the Attorney General also gave a copy to on the grounds that he’s the Prime’s Minister’s legal counsel (false). But the AG said he didn’t want to throw this into the political arena when answering questions for him to justify why he refused to give a copy to the Opposition leader.
The clip of Muscat’s well-rehearsed speech was immediately circulated by Labour activists on Facebook. The narrative and its conclusion were set.
If the truth were on his side, Muscat should have nothing to fear
The rest of the island was denied the right to challenge the report’s findings. The owner of Egrant – its set up and intended use – is definitively known. But Muscat’s narrative continues to hide this.
All that is known from the 3% of the Egrant report that has been published is that Magistrate Aaron Bugeja was unable to find material proof that Egrant belonged to the Prime Minister or his wife, in an inquiry whose terms of reference were set by the Prime Minister himself (the subject of the inquiry).
Meanwhile, the AG is refusing to make the report public, making a travesty of democracy, accountability and transparency while having no problem handing it to his boss who was at the centre of allegations.
In ancient Rome, when times were tough, the rulers would often resort to two time-proven techniques to hold on to power – panem et circenses (bread and circuses) – bribery and distraction.
By meeting the basic needs of the people by bribing them with money or food, and distracting them with entertainment of various sorts, the rulers of Rome ensured the loyalty, or at least the passivity, of the people.
The Prime Minister’s speech in Parliament was exactly that – a spectacle designed to distract, derail and obfuscate. Why should the Prime Minister attempt to end a debate that, according to him, can only turn in his favour?
If the truth were on his side, Muscat should have nothing to fear.