Owen Bonnici, just go

Owen Bonnici is an embarrassment to his party, his government and his country. The man is totally out of his depth, bungling, botching and messing up day in, day out.

As new details of his dismal mishandling of the sexual harassment saga at the national orchestra emerge, Bonnici cuts an increasingly sorry figure clutching at straws, firing bizarre accusations and desperately attempting to redeem himself.

Another senior figure has been suspended on half pay.  The CEO of the Manoel Theatre, Massimo Zammit, is the third senior figure to be suspended.

A senior official at the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra was suspended just two weeks ago after being found guilty of sexual harassment.

Last week, MPO CEO Sigmund Mifsud was suspended after he was charged with attempting to intimidate orchestra musicians into covering up the sexual harassment case and denied bail.

Owen Bonnici knew what was going on. The sexual harassment victim met the minister. She gave him a detailed account of Sigmund Mifsud’s mismanagement of the orchestra as well as the abuse — including sexual harassment — that orchestra musicians were subjected to.

The minister took notes, which he passed to his permanent secretary, but he did little else. He certainly didn’t refer either Sigmund Mifsud or the sexual abuser to the police.

When The Shift sent him questions about the events at the orchestra days before the story broke, Owen Bonnici refused to answer. He wouldn’t comment about what action he had taken, if any, against those accused of abuse.

Now the Manoel Theatre CEO has been suspended on half pay and referred to the police but everything remains  shrouded in mystery and secrecy. The culture ministry stated that Massimo Zammit was suspended by the Manoel Theatre’s management board on the basis of a report by an external board which investigated allegations about him.

Nobody knows what the “external board” was, who were its members or what the report was about. Nobody’s seen the mystery board’s mystery report. And nobody knows what the allegations against Zammit are.

Minister Owen Bonnici is intent on keeping things under wraps despite the daily leaks. Bonnici has a track record of breaching fundamental rights. He’s now developing a record for breaching the ministerial code of ethics, too.

Item 4.4 of that ministerial code states that “ministers shall be, to the widest extent possible, open to providing information to the public in general”. Instead, Bonnici does his best to disclose the minimum possible with the maximum delay. He gave no details as to why Massimo Zammit was suspended or why he has been referred to the police.

The only reason Bonnici is belatedly becoming proactive is because the heat is on, because everybody and his cat is demanding he disappear as quickly as possible from the public sphere. The revulsion at Bonnici’s despicable failure to protect the victim who sought his help is palpable.

Bonnici has only woken up from his stupor because he’s got his bacon to save. He’s suddenly realised he has to appear to be doing something to justify his cabinet post. The country has woken up to the fact that the man is worse than useless — he’s wrecking the whole ministerial code.

Item 4.5 of that code states that ministers shall ensure that government departments and entities that fall within their ministries are managed well and prudently. Bonnici knew full well there was nothing prudent about how the national orchestra was managed. And what did he do about it? He covered it up by refusing to answer questions put to him by The Shift.

Bonnici is as guilty as Sigmund Mifsud for covering up the whole sordid mess, but he denies the charge. He insisted he took immediate action. His pathetic excuse is that, when the victim turned up at his office pleading for protection, he claimed he wrote to the Commissioner on Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence.

PN MP Claudette Buttigieg urged him to publish his communication with the commissioner. Bonnici reacted with fake outrage. “So after the person opened up about her difficulties, you want me to go public and publish the details?” he said. Bonnici needn’t reveal the identity of the victim. If he took such swift action, if he really did write to the commissioner, then surely he should have no difficulty publishing the correspondence with redacted personal details.

Bonnici has his back against the wall. He’s shooting from the hip. He’s lashing out. He’s now accused PN MP Julie Zahra in a blind panic of being aware of the sexual harassment scandal at the orchestra before The Shift broke the story.

Bonnici is really scraping excrement from the bottom of the cesspit he inhabits. He told parliament that Julie Zahra had travelled with the orchestra to attend a concert in Bratislava last May. He made scurrilous allegations about her. “When she travelled with the orchestra was she aware of the case?” he asked. “Did members of the orchestra open up to her about the situation and if they did what did she do about this?”

“What applies for me, applies for you too,” he told Zahra in parliament. No it doesn’t. Julie Zahra is not the minister responsible for the orchestra or the Manoel Theatre. Julie Zahra didn’t meet the victim in her office, and she didn’t take notes of the detailed information of the abuse at the national orchestra.

The PN leader was right to call for Owen Bonnici’s resignation or sacking. Bonnici failed in his duty of care. He’s failed to live up to requirement 5.8 of the ministerial code to “show a sense of balance and consideration by being sensitive …to the rights and aspirations of the persons concerned, in order to act with a sense of justice”. He failed to intervene to protect the victim of sexual abuse. He attempted to keep that abuse under cover. And now he’s accusing an Opposition MP of the very crimes he committed.

Shameless and shameful.

Owen Bonnici, just go.

                           
                           
                               
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makjavel
makjavel
26 days ago

Ghidli ma min taghmila u nghidlek x’int. Owen , smajtha din?
in Maltese
Tell me who are your friends and I tell you the type you are.
If these are your friends , no wonder your party protects criminals.

KLAUS
KLAUS
26 days ago
Reply to  makjavel

I think Owen Bonneci has no real friend.

makjavel
makjavel
26 days ago

It all started with a hit and run. But everybody seems to have forgotten.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
26 days ago
Reply to  makjavel

Well, the police did their now accepted duty in covering up the hit and run for him, and the AG quoted article 69 by design.

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
26 days ago

The PN should boycott Owen Bonnici in parliament. As soon as he speaks, they should all pull out. Civil Society should start organising fresh protests and will not stop until Owen Bonnici, his permanent secretary and the AG will be kicked out. These are all crooks and do not deserve to sit in top positions. SHAME ON YOU!!

Raymond Borg
25 days ago

If SHE was still here Noddy

Joseph
Joseph
25 days ago

Il PL dejjem uza lil mara bhala oggett , ma ninsewx li f’kull kampanja elettorali dejjem uzaw nisa sbieh wara il kelliema principali biex jattiraw attenzjoni aktar mil kelliema li jkunu qed iwaslu il messagg , il veru messagg li kien qed jasal huwa li in-nisa qedin hemm ghal uzu ta kull min ghandu ftit poter u illum qed naghqtaw il frott ta dak il messagg.

Joe Borg
Joe Borg
24 days ago
Reply to  Joseph

Joseph ilqat il musmar fuq rasu. Prosit

Greed
Greed
24 days ago

Noddy will attend the opening of an envelope so invite him saying that a camera will be there then ask him the questions b4 taking his photo which he seems to love?

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