By George Farrugia Calleja who here makes an analogy with the third Godfather movie. The comparisons of Joseph Muscat’s behaviour this Good Friday with the mafia are irresistible and so correct. I saw someone write ‘Puttinu o Plomo’. Quite.
Let’s be charitable and surmise that Premier Muscat was suffering from severe jet-lag when he phoned Xarabank to distribute his Imperial largesse. Or that the twins had been giving him gyp about not travelling First Class all the way to Australia. Or that Michelle had been fretting about that ‘loan’ to her mate, Buttigieg of “Buttardi – the only Retailer that Won’t” fame in New York, now that their dear friend, Ali Sadr was banged up there, no doubt weighing up his options.
Or let’s not, let’s take it as a given that Joseph Muscat knew full what he was doing when he made that call, which can only be the case, because he acknowledged the input of Keith Schembri in the affair.
Schembri is known to be an astute entrepreneur, which is about the only thing he can be called without the risk of being dragged into the libel court, and there’s nothing to suggest that Homer had nodded when he advised his boss (or however the Muscat/Schembri tandem works) to make the call.
So, Muscat knew what he was doing and he went ahead regardless. The same can’t be said of his Minister of Finance, who ended up not knowing whether he was coming or going when he tried to fix things, only making them worse. One wonders how much longer Prof. Scicluna can expect to keep his place at Cabinet.
One also wonders how long someone like David Curmi, the Chair of the Board of Governors that is supposed to dispose of these funds, can tolerate being shown to be an irrelevance.
To be clear, the Puttinu Cares Foundation is there – like all other such organisations – to supplement what the Government does to make life more bearable. It supports Government, in that sense, and therefore is not to be supported by the Government. It is the Government that is charged with administering public funds directly, Puttinu Cares and all the others (who probably now expect to receive a few millions) supplement that activity, not benefit from it.
This is not to detract from the valiant efforts of the people behind all these organisations. Whether or not it is financially smart to buy property in London or wherever, or rent is not the point of this discussion, either. The people who run Puttinu – and every other voluntary organisation – know that they have to maximise their resources and will take advice accordingly: the point I’m making refers to Muscat’s arrogance and conviction that he has the right cynically to fly in the face of common decency.
It is indecent for a Prime Minister to call up a TV show of Jeremy Kyle levels of populism and pledge public funds simply to curry favour and come over for all the world like a benevolent hood, a Michael Corleone setting up his Foundation in Godfather III. At least we were spared the sight of his daughter(s) being put into the spotlight, as Corleone had done in the movie.
It is indecent for a Prime Minister to use funds for this purpose that come from a scheme that pimps the country’s passport out to any oligarch or other “person of value” who has a few million to dedicate to getting himself into the EU under cover of anonymity.
It is indecent for a Prime Minister to do this and smugly accept the plaudits of his minions and trolls, for whom this was a donation out of the PM’s private funds, inspired by his own saintly generosity and decidedly not an unacceptable abuse of public funds (dirty as they may be) for personal aggrandisement.
But then, since when has indecency been an attribute to worry Joseph Muscat and his clan?