I walked down through the crowd at the feast of St Paul yesterday in Valletta. I struck up a few conversations. As conversations in festas go, none of them where about pauline theology. We talked politics and the current state of play.
And the hopeless state of the PN right now when it should be at its strongest.
The discussion was inevitable. The St Paul feast a year ago was a high point for the morale of people who wanted Labour out. The piled up scandals on the shoulders of Joseph Muscat and his Labour looked like too much for any party leader to win an election.
With hindsight obviously that was not the case. Since the last election the scandals continue to pile up. Nay, since the day before yesterday the scandals continue to pile up.
But, as one of my interlocutors yesterday told me, “people don’t want to hear about corruption anymore”.
They will have to flick to the TV pages if they want to avoid the subject on today’s newspapers.
- Public land for private gain: Company granted public land without tender expected to make 10 million in profit for selling garages and warehouses.
- Police investigating work permit ‘racket’ involving senior government officials.
- Princess Janice of Owen Bonnici lands senior job at tourism authority as a person of trust in the communications department. And on the same page Owen Bonnici presumes to teach law to Francis Zammit Dimech when he’s crapping on it to please his girlfriend.
- Neville Gafa, butler of Keith Schembri, named in investigations of bribery and extortion from immigrants.
- Government’s choice to run 3 public hospitals bankrupted when reputed banks refused to finance it.
- Government keeps location of 8,000 bird-trapping sites secret.
- PA fuel station rules encouraging rural speculation. (They actually say speulation, but since my blog is replete with typos I am ineligible to cast the first stone, or any stone for that matter).
The Malta Independent:
- Politically appointed officer demanding bribes from social housing applicants for months.
- Former gaming authority employee asks to be recognised as whistleblower so he can speak about irregularities committed by his bosses.
- 32-story tower rushed through without a master plan for the area.
- Developers of the White Rocks area refuse to divulge what they are paying for the site.
- Visa fraud allegations to go to court.
ARD journalists in Malta were here this week asking people ‘how corrupt is Malta?’
Beyond any reasonable meaning of the term.
These headlines supersede the grotesque things we found out this week: that some of the owners of VGH are being sued for bankruptcy in the Virgin Islands hideouts they are registered in; our public hospitals have been hypothecated by the failed operators we gave them to; a policeman re-instated in spite of his criminal record, or perhaps because of it, was caught smuggling immigrants through the airport; a New York apartment owned by the prime minister’s wife’s business partner is paid in cash days after an alleged mysterious pay-out from Pilatus Bank; John Dalli confirms he held long-denied accounts in Pilatus Bank; an inquiry is reopened after months of international pressure to find out why the body of a boy who died in mysterious circumstances was sent for burial without its organs; the government uses Survey Monkey to legitimise its decision to extend the sale of citizenship to Russian oligarchs; whistle-blowers in the Pilatus Bank matter are hounded, intimidated and denied the protection of the law.
And those are the ones I could think of.
When I started college, I remember a professor warning us: “Copying from 1 or 2 authors is plagiarism. Copying from 3 or more is research”.
If there had just been one of these scandals the government would have been shaken by public anger. With the accumulation of all this, where do you start?
For many it is better to remain, uncomfortably numb.