A congress of clowns

Konrad Mizzi is still running out the clock, this time with longwinded ‘statements’ designed to use up all the Public Accounts Committee’s time so there’d be none left for asking him inconvenient questions.

Unfortunately, his inability to lie without getting flustered means no appearance by Joseph Muscat’s former star is likely to go well.

They’ll schedule another hearing, of course. But showing up once buys the errant ex-minister a chance to pull a couple more no-shows before this toothless inquisition hauls him back for another shouting match.

Mizzi hasn’t finished reading his ‘statement’, so you’ll soon be treated to more of the same.

More quotes taken out of context — could the Auditor General’s Electrogas report be any more damning? — and more whataboutism as Beppe Fenech Adami’s swimming pool is held up alongside one of the most expensive swindles ever perpetrated against this country.

In the end, even Mizzi’s own former colleagues barely made an effort to defend him, despite his declaration that he’s still and always will be a Labour voter. Only the never-silent Glenn Bedingfield could be bothered to fire back with the usual vulgar bluster.

But the real issue here isn’t the endless farce being perpetrated by someone who should have been investigated and charged years ago. It’s the joke that’s been made of parliament.

Mizzi was called before a parliamentary committee to answer questions about a corrupt deal he signed in your name, not to indulge in endless personal diatribes.

Where’s the parliamentary procedure — and the person with the authority to enforce it? And while we’re at it, where are the results?

The institutions have broken down to a point where elected officials aren’t even trying to hide the utter contempt they feel for the people. Their behaviour is a disgrace, and it’s gone on long enough. It’s time to demand better.

In other functioning parliamentary democracies, committees are where the work gets done. Where MPs chosen from all parties sit down together, listen to expert witnesses, and set aside partisan squabbling in order to examine serious issues in greater depth than would be possible in the House.

The conclusions of their examinations are summarised in reports to the House, which are then used to decide issues related to spending, legislation and public policy.

Political cheap shots still exist, of course. In Canada it happens during Question Period, a 45-minute block of time each afternoon when MPs ask government ministers their questions in the House. It’s sure to generate soundbites for the evening news, but deviations from parliamentary procedure are not permitted.

Committee meetings are dull by comparison.

The behaviour exhibited by Konrad Mizzi this week would not be tolerated in a functioning parliamentary democracy. Nor would shouting over one another, personal insults and accusations, and deliberate obstruction of committee business for the partisan purpose of avoiding scrutiny.

It only encourages such hopelessly unruly behaviour when a compliant media parrots their self-serving statements as that day’s ‘news’.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)’s monitoring committee has called for “profound reform” in Maltese politics.

They seem to believe a full time parliament with proper salaries will put an end to the sort of self-interest which bogs down any real attempt to rein in corruption — that and “drawing up of a clear list of positions and functions that are incompatible with the position of MP”.

While such rules might puncture the current excuse for double-dipping and clear conflicts of interest by elected officials who ‘have a right to feed their family’, it won’t stop the sense of entitlement at the root of it.

Nor will a full time salary suddenly transform bickering, grandstanding, whataboutism-spouting clowns into serious people who place governing the country above the sort of endless partisan cheap shots that belong in an elementary school playground.

The PACE monitors were closer to the mark when they said: “The culture of impunity and of tolerance for corruption and conflict of interest cannot be addressed by legislative changes only, but requires a change of attitude and behaviour on the part of all concerned.”

It starts by electing serious people to do a serious job and holding these people accountable for their behaviour.

Is it really a year and a half since Angelo Gafa gave his first press conference as the newly-minted police commissioner?

He made a big show of saying “names do not impress me, we will investigate anyone… every case of corruption will be investigated and we will prosecute if we have proof.”

Gafa was hinting no one was out of bounds… not Konrad Mizzi… not even Keith Schembri or ‘IxXiħ’. A lot of filthy water has passed through the culvert since then, and ample proof of rampant corruption has been aired more often than a brothel’s laundry.

Why did Mizzi suddenly recover from John Dalli-itis and fly back to Malta right after Gafa was made the new police commissioner?

Mizzi was always meant to be the fall guy. The dupe left holding the bag in the unlikely event The Roadmap to Easy Riches took a wrong turn. Someone had to sign those contracts with Electrogas and Vitals Global Healthcare — and it wasn’t going to be Muscat or Schembri.

So haul him in and get it over with, Mr Gafa. At least move this farce to the next act.

                           
                               
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Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
23 days ago

Unfortunately, when you have a string of clowning police commissioners whose given mission is that of acting as a quilt cover, to keep the the stains of political corruption out of sight and embarrassment.
I would expect the 6th nominated Commissioner, to have understood the meaning of cosmetically applying for that post, by just learning from the failings and shortcomimgs of his errant predecessors.
However that is not to be, as the continuity pill forced dowm his throat by Robert Abela, will last until both Robert Abela and himself, wake up to reality and expose their real balls, if they have any.

James
James
23 days ago

The evidence is overwhelming and still Gafa does nothing… the only logical explanation is that our Commissioner of Police can only be under instruction from the “ untouchables “

It is disgrace…pure and simple.

Simon Oosterman
Simon Oosterman
23 days ago
Reply to  James

It’s ‘continuity’, promised and delivered.

viv
viv
23 days ago

More faith in a colluding commissioner / Labour plant?

‘Pretty please with sugar on top do something Mr. Gafa’

The naivety is way beyond contempt.

Travis Brannon
Travis Brannon
23 days ago

The country is lost. It’s pointless hoping for change. Malta is a rogue mafia state and needs to be managed by the international community as such. Economic and political isolation then let the place fall into decay. Only the Maltese themselves can fix this and it will take generations.

M.Galea
M.Galea
22 days ago
Reply to  Travis Brannon

Only the Maltese can fix this and it will take generation! How right you are! But I dont think the Maltese will ever fix anyhting! Gahans voting for the two parties PN and PL!

M.Galea
M.Galea
22 days ago

Provi fuq korruzzjoni w hasil ta flus u dawn n nies ghadhom jiggerew barra! U jekk l kummissarju jqum mir raqda u l kaz jasal sal qorti s sentenza tinqata meta l individwu jkun lahaq xjah u miet! U dan l politici jafuh!

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