Robert Abela gave birth to another record-setting Cabinet.
No, the Bodybuilder Prince hasn’t achieved fresh peaks of excellence with his latest spawn. He simply achieved bulk, as all those creatine-laced protein shakes swelled into a massive dump of Party hacks onto the public purse.
The prime minister outdid his record-setting performance from January 2020 by tacking on two more to create the largest Cabinet in Maltese history. It’s also the third-largest Cabinet in the EU, but the largest in terms of proportion.
There goes tiny Malta again, punching well above its weight.
It makes me wonder how Ottawa — a city with nearly twice the population — gets by with just 23 city councillors and a mayor.
Abela chalks up the need for so many ‘generals’ to an overabundance of talent rather than an overabundance of greed.
“When you look at the value these people bring,” he said, “I think the balance is very much in favour of keeping them in government”.
And what about the value these people take?
Of course, not everyone’s star was meant to shine. Some ministers manage to outdo others when it comes to ineptitude, even in this bunch of bottom-feeders.
It turns out former Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli didn’t know what she was doing after all when she welcomed COVID-infected party people to the house. She’ll now be applying her widely mocked “mechanisms” to the Inclusion and Quality of Life portfolio.
Including her in the Cabinet improved the quality of her life, even if it affected no one else’s.
Abela’s decision to task the bumbling Owen Bonnici with Research, Innovation and Coordination of the post-COVID-19 strategy is a pretty good indication of just how unimportant this government’s recovery plan must be.
The EU has invested in the procurement of the vaccine and will distribute it according to need. Abela can count on Big Daddy Brussels to solve his problem for him, even as he slags the Union on Party media to get a few bleats from his sheep.
Speaking of zombie resurrections, your new Education Minister Justyne Caruana has proven that anyone’s political career can be salvaged in order to squeeze more votes out of Gozo.
She fell from grace when the rest of us learned her husband Silvio Valletta — formerly one of the country’s ‘top cops’ — was hanging out with the chief suspect in the country’s most shocking political assassination. But Caruana was able to survive her 11 months in the wilderness by living off public funds, including ‘winning’ a €48,000 direct order from the Lands Authority and another €10,000 from the Water Services Corporation.
In Malta, resignation is seen as payment for wrongdoing, just as re-election grants absolution and wipes a dirty slate clean.
Anyway, it wouldn’t be fair to exclude her. Not when the man who exchanged some 700 WhatsApp messages with Yorgen Fenech won’t be forced to take a ‘time out’.
The intellectually vapid Edward Zammit Lewis remains justice minister — a strange appointment for someone with an inability to distinguish right from wrong.
Alas, even the most brilliant political careers come to an end.
Spineless Eddie Scicluna has finally been put out to pasture. The scandal-plagued finance minister is being ushered out under the cloud of a criminal investigation into his role in the Vitals Global Healthcare fiasco, among others.
He dug his brittle old fingernails into his desk and refused to leave until he was handed the Governorship of Malta’s Central Bank, a role that’ll see him raking in €100,000 per year.
For a man of 74, Scicluna has remarkable grip strength — at least when it comes to clinging to his salary. His dignity, on the other hand, was prostituted long ago.
Sadly, this isn’t the end of the carnage. I’ve saved the greatest sob story for last.
Are you ready?
Okay. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Silvio Parnis has informed the nation that he’ll be taking his toys and going home.
The former Parliamentary Secretary for the Elderly announced his decision to sulk his way out of government after being told he can’t have a title and his own ‘person of trust’ entourage.
“With what he did, the Prime Minister hurt me,” said the dispenser of shrink-wrapped roly-polys. “He hurt my family, my friends, and those around me”.
But Parnis wants you to know the decision to exclude him from Cabinet will hurt you even more.
“How can I contest when I cannot help people?” he cried.
And therein lies the problem.
Malta will never become a mature, modern democracy as long as its elected representatives continue to treat politics as an end in itself — and as long as voters treat elections as their chance to cash in.
Politicians don’t run for office because they want to make Malta better or to serve anyone other than themselves. They run because of what they can get, and their supporters vote because of what an MP can give them if he or she wins.
You can understand how easily ethical lines begin to blur.
It’s only a short step from ‘bending’ those procurement laws and soaking up an endless stream of direct orders to getting into bed — literally or figuratively — with common criminals.
Perhaps that’s why no one was surprised to learn Joseph Muscat spent an Easter vacation at Yorgen Fenech’s Évian-Les-Bains hotel in France.
Sure, Muscat previously denied ever having gone on vacation with the accused murder mastermind or having had any trips funded by him.
The man’s mouth spews lies like the uncontrollable anus of a cholera patient voids bowels.
But your former Parasite-in-Chief insists he paid for his own flights on this one. Well, not the flight from France to Brussels. He stuck the EU with his private jet bill.
Muscat would have done the same even if he’d flown from Malta, so that makes it ‘orrajt‘.