Opinion: Flip-flopper in chief

Still shell-shocked from the European elections, Robert Abela made a stunning declaration: “Government will respond to the electorate’s message by making decisions that benefit the country… as with tables and chairs”.

Just days later, he was endorsing and supporting ROCS’ hijacking of the whole of Triton Square and the entrance to the capital city for an entire fortnight.

It wasn’t just tables and chairs. Red banners, advertising hoardings, information booths, a platform with a Porsche Cayenne and huge marquees left only a small restricted passage for those trying to reach Valletta.

Abela, the man who believes in “the fight for what’s right”, turned up with his wife to fight for the right of his friends to deprive the public of access to its own capital city.

Rachel Vella, ROCS director, fawned above a photo of herself accompanied by Abela with his broad smile, aviator shades and his wife Lydia, milking the free publicity. “Just three hours away from the start of FESTA ROCS,” Vella said, “and we were honoured by a surprise VIP visit from our Prime Minister Abela and his beautiful wife, Lydia Abela!”

Abela’s contempt for the public is staggering. He doesn’t even try to hide his duplicity. He promotes it, allowing people like Rachel Vella to wipe his disdain in our faces.

Abela’s Minister for Lands Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi tried to pick up the pieces, acknowledging that there had been “a lack of sensitivity” in the takeover of public space. But it wasn’t a lack of sensitivity that Abela displayed—it was sheer scorn for the common citizen while standing fully behind the money-grabbing efforts of his business friends.

Abela has a knack for putting his foot in it. While he found time to support ROCS, he completely ignored the residents’ groups and NGOs who requested a meeting with him after his post-electoral pledges to find a balance on the tables and chairs issue.

“We have written to you several times,” the NGOs told Abela. “We have sent our proposals by e-mail, held protests and actions and were never acknowledged by you or your ministers. Now you say citizens know they can trust your government and that a solution can be found. If we don’t hear from you with a definite date set for a meeting, we’ll know that you are bluffing once again.” But Abela couldn’t care less. 

Even Jason Micallef was livid, calling the whole ROCS event a “hamallata” — a tacky, tasteless abuse of citizens’ rights. 

Cultural heritage advocates like Din L-Art Helwa expressed their outrage at the “devaluing of the historical context” of a UNESCO World Heritage site, calling the event “a brazen bazaar” that “crossed a line”.

This is classic Robert Abela. He says what people want to hear, but he doesn’t mean what he says.

He was never going to try to find “the right balance” when it came to the abuse of public spaces by his rich friends.

He says one thing and does the opposite in an effort to placate the public while hoping they forget his latest promise. 

Abela is convinced there’s nothing the public won’t forgive him for as long as those cheques keep coming.

Back in May 2020, Abela said on ONE that breaches of COVID rules were not intentional. He told the public, “if they have already paid their fine, they can apply for a refund.” But, on 2 March 2021 Abela warned them that fines for those caught breaching COVID rules would be increased.

When Rosianne Cutajar’s chats with Yorgen Fenech were leaked, Abela defended her, saying she should not have to pay a political price again. That was 22 March 2023. He changed his mind six days later.

“Nobody is bigger than the party,” he told Cutajar, and by 3 April, he had called a Labour Party executive meeting to kick her out of the parliamentary group. Cutajar made him wait until the very last minute before announcing her resignation. Abela retaliated by stating that he excluded the possibility of Cutajar running on the Labour Party ticket again.

Just a few months later, with an election looming,  Abela changed his mind again. “Rosianne Cutajar has paid enough,” he said. “I’m reconsidering her position. Nobody should pay a never-ending penalty.” Days later, he made another U-turn, this time insisting Cutajar apologise for her actions. She refused, but she was still on the Labour campaign trail weeks later, making speeches at Alex Agius Saliba’s event.

When Miriam Pace was killed beneath the rubble of her own home, Abela rejected a public inquiry but set up an expert panel to investigate. He promised to publish the report within ten days. When it was finalised, he changed his mind, saying, “The report won’t be published as it is already being implemented.” He gave in and published it months later as public pressure mounted in the face of his callous insensitivity. 

When Abela tabled the Miriam Pace report, he warned the “construction cowboys” that they wouldn’t be allowed to put people’s lives at risk any longer. That was a few months before Jean Paul Sofia was buried under the rubble of another flimsy construction site.  

Abela rejected calls for a public inquiry for months. On 12 July 2023, he ordered his MPs to vote against a motion calling for a public inquiry. Then, on 17 July, he announced a public inquiry into Sofia’s death—but only when faced with the real prospect of massive public protest. 

The man is so out of touch that when that protest went ahead anyway, he walked down Castille’s steps and into the crowd. He imagined he’d be feted as a hero. Instead, he was jeered and booed. His security staff whisked him away for his own safety.

Robert Abela thinks he’s too clever, and people are too dumb to remember his fake promises. He’ll soon discover that there are only so many times you can take the people for a ride. 

                           

Sign up to our newsletter

Stay in the know

Get special updates directly in your inbox
Don't worry we do not spam
                           
                               
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

13 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
wenzu
wenzu
13 days ago

Once a moronic buffoon- always a moronic buffoon! Abela wears it so well.

P montebello
P montebello
12 days ago
Reply to  wenzu

The big problem though is that HE IS the prime minister and takes decisions that effects us all.

Nigel Baker
Nigel Baker
13 days ago

Robert Abela regards Malta as his personal playground and gets away with it due to the majority of the populace being totally thick. The country is a joke. Karma will come in the not too distant future and the aforementioned thickos will wonder why!

Mick
Mick
13 days ago

” He’ll soon discover that there are only so many times you can take the people for a ride. ” I just wish it were true Kevin. This is the King of numbskulls, almost illiterate in his perception of reality, with an incandescent hatred of the truth much like his predecessor, with the two lobes of his brain marked Forward and Reverse having difficulty grasping confrontation in any form. Taking people for a ride is a party trait and the Gahans will believe it every time especially when it’s delivered with the accompanying cheque.

Maria Azzopardi
Maria Azzopardi
13 days ago

You can’t put a crown on a clown and expect a king

Royaustin439@gmail.com
Royaustin439@gmail.com
7 days ago

Only in Malta

joe tedesco
joe tedesco
13 days ago

HIS WILL BE A DISGRACEFUL POLITICAL EXIT
LIKE THAT OF HIS PREDECESSOR.

Paul Borg
Paul Borg
13 days ago

ONCE A TUBA……..ALWAYS A TUBA!

Adam T
Adam T
13 days ago

The fault lies with those who voted for him as the leader of the Labour Party and,, more significantly, with JM and his wife, who supported him by contacting thousands in the week of the election! Some people were fooled by the trap, He should never have been put in power! He demonstrates a lack of intelligence !!!

Charles Vassallo
Charles Vassallo
13 days ago

Tick Tock, Tick Tock, Tick Tock …

paul pullicino
paul pullicino
13 days ago

But his best was the Metsola before and after 8th June.

S. Camilleri
S. Camilleri
12 days ago

What can I say! You said it all.

Royaustin439@gmail.com
Royaustin439@gmail.com
7 days ago

What people don’t realise is Abela has no power at all, he is a puppet on a string for the construction moguls who run this country. His parents must be so disappointed in him, I’ve meet his parents when l lived in Marsaskala l used to bump into his mother in St Thomas’s supermarket early in the morning, she is a wonderful lady and must be so disappointed with him

Related Stories

Opinion: Abela’s hysteria
Robert Abela called an official press conference last week,
Muscat: Fast and loose with the truth
Joseph Muscat likes to play fast and loose with

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo