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The war chest is empty

Prime Minister Robert Abela addresses a press conference. Photo: DOI, Omar Camilleri.

It would be interesting to know how much money, taken from either EU funds or our taxes, was used to pay for all the television adverts, short films, brochures used in the government campaign on how to handle coronavirus.

Wash your hands as many times as possible, use sanitizers, stay safe, stay at home, go out only if necessary and – if you have to – wear masks. Practice social distancing and do not gather in groups of more than three people. This is the only way we can beat COVID-19.

These were the instructions given on a daily basis by the Health Minister and the Superintendent of Public Health. And these orders made sense because these were based on scientific research and issued by experts in the field.

The Maltese obeyed and stayed at home; well, most. They hung flags on their balconies, roofs and windows. Street concerts were organised where they sang amid shouts of “kuraġġ” and “viva Malta”.

Then, Malta’s superhero, Robert Abela, started going out in public for photo opportunities. Touching elbows with a vulnerable old man at the entrance of a home for the elderly – without practising social distancing – while smiling at cameras.

What a man. Then he gave a press briefing outside the law courts – while not wearing the obligatory mask – and surrounded by a mass of journalists, photographers and cameramen… all jostling for a soundbite.

For the past months, he kept telling people to go out for a walk or a jog. Keep yourself in shape, he told us. And stay safe. “Please do not ruin my summer.”

He constantly challenged Health Minister Chris Fearne and Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci who were advocating for people to stay home and stay safe. He wanted to make it clear who was the boss.

People chose to listen to him and out they went… in droves. They bought ice creams as they walked by the sea, swam, went for bike rides and organised barbeques. Well, nothing happened to Bobby did it? And out they went.

Then, the unthinkable happened. Abela understood that his war chest was emptying fast and the government was paying people to stay at home. So he called Joseph Muscat, the crowned king of Corruption, to give him advice about the next step forward.

Muscat duly obliged, and they had a five-hour long meeting. The results were soon evident.

Our prime minister threw caution to the wind:  “I am the bearer of good news. Go to the beach,” he said. “Enjoy yourselves.”

Hairdressers can now open, and nail technicians. And in even more good news, restaurants will also open next week.

This is our Prime Minister.  He took Muscat’s advice – people now go back to work and contribute to his war chest. Who cares if someone dies? Those are the casualties of war.

Pieter Omtzigt

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