Disgraced former Office of the Prime Minister chief of staff Keith Schembri has told the Public Accounts Committee that he left politics much poorer than when he entered. It’s a strange situation.
Keith is poorer, the quality of our politics is definitely much poorer and, most of all, the nation’s coffers are much poorer than when he wielded his (self-claimed) Midas touch.
It makes you wonder where all that wealth has gone, doesn’t it?
The triad of protagonists of the greatest government scams ever all seem to have hazy memories for one reason or another.
Whether it is Muscat, Schembri or Mizzi being grilled in libel cases or parliamentary committees, there is a selective approach to answering varying from the “I don’t know” to the “I don’t remember” and to the “I choose not to answer”.
Had these lacunae of memory been random and few and far between, they would have been forgiven and justified by the lapse of time. Instead, the pattern is obvious for all to see. Time is just another partner in the obfuscation of the truth.
And then there is this mysterious entity called Cabinet (my capitalisation).
“It was discussed in Cabinet” is the new get-out-of-jail-free card. Fine, they are nowhere near jail yet but you get the gist. It is as though this Cabinet were a real-life person upon whom to brush off all responsibility.
It is as though there is some hidden rule similar to medieval ecclesiastic immunity. Touch the Cabinet and all evil is healed.
It’s not that their former colleagues in the aforementioned Cabinet are falling over themselves to corroborate this Cabinet discussion thesis. It is increasingly evident that the Cabinet was most likely used as a scapegoat of sorts.
Plans were waved under their general noses possibly without too much detail. Cabinet was used for acts of faith in the masterminds of electoral victories who were supposedly turning Malta into a gold-plated paradise.
It was all apparently on a need-to-know basis and few seemed bothered to have really wanted to know anyway since they were busy “pigging out”, as a disgraced former parliamentary secretary put it not so gracefully in a chat with a millionaire accused of commissioning the murder of a journalist.
That is indeed the crux of the matter.
It is a Cabinet that had mutated from meritocracy to a kleptocracy of the vilest proportions could not be expected to go much further than providing a blindfolded nihil obstat for the perpetrators of national rape and pillage.
The devil, they say, is in the detail. When we see the wider picture of the villains of the great heist relying on their minions for corroboration, we tend to overlook the masterful way in which they roped them into the deal.
It has all been chronicled by the reporters at The Shift and elsewhere.
The “pigging out” far from the lazy eye of the country’s neutered institutions took the shape of a general free-for-all that captured the system for its own benefit.
Every minister, every parliamentary secretary, every backbencher and every former member worth his or her salt was out on a mission to capitalise and monetise their position as quickly as possible in what amounts to a modern-day feudal system.
Cabinet positions were, in fact, nothing less than a partitioning of feudal estates with less concern about politics and more about profits.
It’s the age-old problem of the stewards gone wild. Platonic considerations of best government practice would quickly have dismissed the lot as a band of criminals unworthy of governing.
They will protest that our accusations are unfair and unsubstantiated.
That the web of funnels leeching public funds was apparently created by sheer coincidence. Those involved were apparently only being rewarded for their contribution to the nation and those who came before them had done the same.
A decade ago, I had been forced to blog anonymously for a while. I dug up this post from the Comino Republic blog I created, which turned out to be quite prophetic. It’s worth looking at.
50 days into the Muscat administration, the signs were there for all to see. The pigs were already busy, snout in trough preparing for that great decade-long buffet.
No worries at all: when in doubt, they would blame it on the Cabinet. It’s the will of the Cabinet…
Thanks for the interesting article of today and more so, for the link to the other one from ten years ago. I can only agree with the contents of both and it is maybe more shocking than surprising how what has been written ten years ago, proved to have been quite the right foresight into a future, back then not known how long it will last.
I just like to quote that passage from the other article:
‘we have become suspicious of those who tak a stand against abuses of power or dogma’, as this is a quotation from Salman Rushdie, the also important passage in that other article just adds up and compliments the aforesaid. ‘While it is easy for us to admire physical courage we find it harder to admire moral courage’.
These two quotations in their own ways, sums up to me, that Daphne Caruana Galizia was quite that person in the light of these. She had all the credentials the quotations refer to and she also was admired for that by those people in Malta, on whom the ‘Taghna Lkoll opiate’ didn’t work. Apparently, in contrast to the many then and now, a minority.
Sometimes, it looks hard to tell whether things were in principal the same back then or got worse in recent times. What feels worse today, looks like the mere continuation since it all started ten years ago. Just the faces of the people have changed, or been replaced. As the saying goes, the revolution is eating its children.
I took the bother to look up the wording of the oath of allegiance, which I think every MP, Minister, PM and the President himself have to take on the start of their term.
‘I …… solemnly swear/affirm that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the people and the Republic of Malta and its Constitution. (So help me God).’
I was wondering, how many times has this taken oath being broken by those who abused their power in order to serve their vested interests and in any case of a conflict of interests. Whether ‘self-inflicted’ or ‘stumbled’ into, or by having been misled by the PL elite (of whicht some of them have been part themselves), all in their persue of their greed and cronyism.
They make a mockery of that oath, signed by themselves but not taken seriously in their mind, and in the end, they make a mockery of the Republic and the people of Malta. It stands in context to this and the other article.
The oath of allegiance is just a formality before submitting a grossly inflated claim for additional hours and transport costs. The only oath of allegiance that they abide by is the one to Omerta.
Quite right, as you put it. When people don’t take an oath of allegiance as a serious obligation they have to fulfill, it is just a formality which in the end renders the oath of allegiance pointless.
So if it’s not true and I wholeheartedly believe so, why are the members of cabinet mum on the issue? Maybe because all of them have something to hide?
The problem with the PL is that there are 1, 2 or more messes almost daily that are purposefully damaging to Malta. Especially under ROBBER Abela, the current policy has turned into a real pig sty!
For sure Daphne Caruana Galizia disrupted his plans, when she exposed him in the Panama Papers.