During an online vigil in remembrance of Daphne Caruana Galizia, three years and nine months since her assassination, Repubblika president Robert Aquilina highlighted how both the current and previous Labour administrations “used the institutions as a smokescreen, not for justice, but to ensure that the arm of the law never reaches them”.
He also argued that “our institutions do not have a divine right to our good faith”, referring to entities such as the police force and maintaining that complacency within its ranks was a key reason for Malta’s reputational decline on the international stage.
Despite a change of police commissioner, “the product is still the same”. While praising the police for some prosecutions initiated, Aquilina said it was far from enough. “And let’s be clear, the prosecutions are a result of actions taken by others who called for magisterial inquiries.”
“The police force should apologise for its failures. It must clean up its act. Malta deserves better. We deserve better,” Aquilina said, stressing the public’s right to be informed.
Former Repubblika president Vicki Ann Cremona, another speaker at the event, stated that “too many journalists have died for exposing the truth”, referring to Caruana Galizia, Dutch journalist Peter de Vries, who died yesterday, Jan Kuciak, Martina Kusnirova and Giorgios Karaivas, all journalists who were killed as a direct result of their investigative work.
Her statement echoed the words of fellow Repubblika activist and president-elect Alessandra Dee Crespo, who stated that “these journalists are the heroes of our time; even though they knew they were in trouble, they kept fighting for what’s right”.
Cremona also questioned how former political figures associated with corruption such as disgraced ex-prime minister Joseph Muscat, Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona have not been prosecuted.
“What do these people know for them to be protected in a way that suggests everyone is afraid of them? What secrets would they uncover? Will we ever see justice in this country, or will we see a mockery of it?” she asked.
Occupy Justice activist Martina Farrugia spoke of “Malta’s inability to take responsibility for its own actions”, referring to a long list of corruption allegations such as the Electrogas contract and the setting up of Pilatus Bank as moments in which criminal behaviour went unpunished.
The public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s assassination has now been concluded, according to a statement by the panel of judges on Thursday. The findings are expected to be published in the coming days. The groups appealed for respect towards the family, which has been the subject of regular attacks from government officials, MPs and supporters.