They’re back in business. It took only a few weeks after Labour’s resounding confirmation at the polls to settle back to business as usual. It’s not only a matter of the kind of continuity Robert Abela so adeptly pursued once he took over the reins from Malta’s most corrupt prime minister of all time. It’s a sick dedication to the modus operandi that is wrecking the system apart as the plundering by the new elite proceeds unabashed.
A week ago, this portal reported that Keith Schembri is back in business. It couldn’t get any more real. Abela’s bloated government benches may be back to resume their assault on public coffers but we are still seeing signs of the disgraced old guard raising their ugly heads in the battle for survival.
Speaking of the government being back in business, we cannot be surprised by the news that the higher ranks of the civil service have been packed with faithfuls of Labour Inc. That, and the appointments and redecorations of different government agencies are pointers that the intent to plunder the public purse remains the only solid value that Labour is clear about.
Faithful servants in high places are a key element in stonewalling requests for information by the Fourth Estate trying to monitor the profligacy of our representatives using the public purse. Before the election, I would declare to whoever would listen that this would be the last election that Labour really desired to win. The reason is plain and simple… there is a limit to the plundering and the cracks are beginning to show.
The Covid pandemic has served as a smokescreen for the increasing deficiencies in the management of public funds. Take, for example, the national deficit that exploded in the past years. Thankfully, there has been a moratorium on the EU Excessive Deficit Procedure until next year. We are in for some surprises after that, and it will be tough for the government to blame the war in Ukraine as the only source of our problems.
So, as I was saying, this business as usual is nothing other than a last desperate lunge by politicians to take advantage of the huge lack of accountability and the continuation of a sense of impunity to – as one businessman put it – “make hay while the sun shines”.
The latest excuse for a justice minister has taken to repeating the broken record that Labour has introduced such a wide array of laws that we are back to a good state of rule of law. Meanwhile, the European Public Prosecutor visited Malta and ‘found it extremely difficult’ to put her finger on who exactly is responsible for fighting corruption.
Again, this comes as no surprise at all. Authorities and agencies have become nothing less than enablers of the plundering class. Public money serves for many reasons. Look at what is happening in the sphere of hunting. There is absolutely no shadow of a doubt that the hunting season is an infringement of EU law but the plundering class is not in the least worried. The reason is obvious – what is the worst that can happen if Malta is found guilty of breaking the EU law (again)? A fine, that is what.
Who will pay the fine if not the taxpayers? In other words, we are all being asked to fork out the cash to cover the expensive murderous hobby of a strong lobby. Just like hunting, the continued sales of passports is another example of the carefree attitude of an administration fuelled simply by greed.
Networks built on ‘business’ interests are wherever you look. Take a quick look at this story about the Fishermen’s Cooperative. It is a splendid example of the manner in which public power mingles with private interest to generate ‘business’ of the worst kind. Or look at this other story about the ill-fated Gozo Museum project. Three ministers dipped their hands in this mess including that paragon of heritage protection – Anton Refalo. A bloated and ever-increasing budget is only useful to the privileged contractors who are awarded tenders on direct orders.
Business as usual it is then and it seems like the speed of such business has doubled up. I am often asked why I bother writing articles and whether it is not depressingly negative. I do not have an immediate answer for this but what I do know is that without the sterling work of The Shift, journalists who incessantly hound our politicians, we could not begin to build a strong enough case for change.
That is enough motivation to maintain our side of business as usual.