Robert Abela’s programme in two words

There’s a rule of thumb that distinguishes a democratically healthy government from a decadent one. The first behaves accountably. The decadent government, when challenged over its outrageous behaviour, responds, “Why not?”

Decent governments recognise the need to explain themselves. Decadent ones cross the limits and defy anyone to show them where it says they can’t.

Why not companies in Panama? Why not target Daphne Caruana Galizia? Why not rape the environment? Why not go to Vegas with a businessman you’re regulating? Why not keep the terminal benefits given to disgraced politicians secret?

Robert Abela’s Labour has yet to publish its electoral programme, but its actions, in practice, can be distilled to two words: “Why not?”

Blatant contradiction is no barrier. The Caruana Galizia public inquiry recommends, among other things, that journalism is recognised in the Constitution as the fourth pillar of democracy. Abela says he accepts the public inquiry report. Even Labour’s own 2021 document, 100 Ideas, exalts journalism as the fourth pillar.

When it’s action time, Abela’s government refuses to recognise journalism’s value in the Constitution. Instead, it has drafted a law that opens the door to legal action against journalists if their persistent investigations can be construed as “cyber-bullying” and harassment. Why not?

Abela boasts of wanting to offer the best healthcare and technology that’s available. Then, when multi-million-euro medical technology for cancer treatment needs to be bought, there are machinations to buy inferior technology at €3 million more than necessary.

“The real loser in all this will be the patient,” a consultant told this website. Why not?

With Labourites who are disturbed by the rank corruption, Abela is positioning himself as someone who needs a second term to sweep the stables clean and undertake the necessary reforms. Really? With whose help?

Joseph Muscat is campaigning on behalf of some new candidates, as well as old. If elected, they will be beholden to him.

Then there are the people that Abela is directly promoting. He takes credit for getting a few of his disgraced ministers and MPs to resign. One of them is Rosianne Cutajar, slammed by the Commissioner for Public Standards. Yet Abela actively protected Cutajar from parliamentary sanctions. The dust had barely settled after her resignation in disgrace when she was appointed chair of the health parliamentary committee.

Abela is doing more to promote her chances of re-election. Cutajar was a speaker in Abela’s presence at a recent campaign event in Marsascala. He doesn’t even keep her at arm’s length.

Abela also takes credit for getting Justyne Caruana to resign — twice — although his government won’t tell us if she got paid her €30,000 terminal benefits twice as well.

You have to wonder how she feels about being forced to resign over a €15,000 contract issued to a special friend. After all, the tourism minister employed his girlfriend and then had her transferred to another ministry where it’s claimed she doesn’t show up for work.

And why not €15,000 if the deputy prime minister’s campaign manager can be given a public contract worth 11 times as much?

Then there are the politicians Abela has pointedly endorsed by having them co-opted into parliament — that is, handpicked by the Party he leads.

When Labour’s former deputy leader Chris Cardona resigned from parliament, we were expected to believe significant political change was being ushered in, but one of Abela’s handpicked co-opted MPs is Jonathan Attard, a former consultant and close aide to Cardona.

Then there is Andy Ellul, co-opted at the fag end of Parliament. The only significance of Ellul’s few weeks as MP was to signal to voters that Abela favoured him. Ellul is someone who used to flaunt his connections to Muscat and Konrad Mizzi.

Abela assures us of his credentials for environmental and democratic reform, yet in 2016 his chosen man, Ellul, was publicly extolling the United Arab Emirates as a model of governance and development. The Emirates: a corrupt human-rights violating autocracy.

And let’s not forget Abela’s sister-in-law, Alison Zerafa Civelli, a candidate on the second district competing with Glenn Bedingfield.

She made news for having parked a campaign trailer with her image plastered across it in various places. The trailer takes up five parking spaces and used to be left out overnight. In at least one place, it was parked on a double yellow line and outside the allocated box.

When Newsbook asked the police about this, they replied that the trailer had since been removed, but they didn’t reply on whether action will be taken.

I saw the trailer myself in Cospicua before Christmas. “Kelmtejn ma’ Alison”, it said — “A couple of words with Alison”. Those two words are, I suppose, “Why not?”



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2 years ago

Andy Ellul enjoyed plenty of direct orders from the Labour Government. Direct orders have become the norm under this corrupt Government

2 years ago

What kind of party, or rather entity, is the PL if it fails to present a proper programme for the next few years?
This can only mean that Muscat’s P-anama L-ooting programme will continue.

2 years ago

Considering how much the EU invests in Malta, how little actually arrives here, it seems that many Maltese are content with breadcrumbs and chicken feed while the cake is stolen from before their eyes.

Poor Malta.

joe tedesco
joe tedesco
2 years ago


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