We’re finishing 2019 but we’re half way through the most intense, most critical chapters of the history of independent Malta. A wrap up of the news at the end of the year sounds hollow. When one is half way through something it hardly feels the right time to be looking back.
This ‘Top 20 posts of 2019’ roundup confirms that.
14 of the top 20 most read posts of 2019 where from the dramatic days leading up to and following the arrest of Yorgen Fenech as he tried to make a run for it aboard his yacht on 20 November. This is not just the story of the year. This is a defining and existential crisis for our republic, a turning point with its inestimable consequences so far unknown.
The top-ranking posts from those days were:
- 19 November 2019: Far too keen on where and how and not so hot on why. (#20)
- 20 November 2019: Yorgen Fenech is suspect in Daphne murder. (#18)
- 20 November 2019: Tumas Group fired Yorgen Fenech from its board a week ago. (#17)
- 20 November 2019: Joseph Muscat will think he can get away with this. He can’t be allowed to. (#12)
- 21 November 2019: Yorgen Fenech released without charge. (#10)
- 21 November 2019: How Yorgen Fenech’s brother celebrated with Schembri Labour’s victory in 2017. (#8)
- 22 November 2019: Sicilian prosecutors want to know where Yorgen Fenech is staying so they can charge him with match fixing and illegal betting. (#15)
- 22 November 2019: Portable shredders at Portomaso. (#13)
- 23 November 2019: Former Chief Justice, Prosecutor says Joseph Muscat should take several steps back from Daphne murder investigation. (#4)
- 24 November 2019: Government hired UK PR firm to brief journalists that Daphne was a corrupt spy for Russia – Swedish newspaper. (#5)
- 29 November 2019: Watch this incredible video as thugs working for Joseph Muscat detain journalists illegally inside Castille. (#3)
Journalists held hostage: https://newsbook.com.mt/en/journalists-held-hostage/
Geplaatst door Newsbook.com.mt op Donderdag 28 november 2019
- 30 November 2019: Message to Myriam Dalli, Saviour Balzan and all the others whose scales are falling from their eyes. Come to tomorrow’s protest. (#6)
- 26 December 2019: Keith Schembri travelling out of Malta with his family – reports. (#7).
This series of stories was anticipated a few weeks earlier on 6 October 2019 after The Sunday Times of Malta wrote about the suspicions of investigators in a “prominent businessman” and his links with a middleman that would later turn out to Melvin Theuma.
Neither The Sunday Times nor many other journalists could write all they knew at the time. We knew the government was dragging its feet but carefully journalism could be a catalyst for action by investigators and other institutions.
Revealing all we knew would have tipped off the suspects that the game was up. But the careful hints that were published sent a message to the government that if they continued to try to do nothing about the suspects of this murder, the government’s attempts at covering it up will be known.
The blog post was called Daphne’s assassination: an inch closer to the truth. It ranks 9th in the 2019 most read blog posts.
Other stories in the 2019 top 20 are in one way or another related to this central them.
Where’s the Franco għandu raġun brigade? of 1 February (#19) asked why all those who cheered Franco Debono in the years and months up to the 2013 election were now silent as the former MP insisted Joseph Muscat is the owner of Egrant.
In the midst of the Yorgen Fenech arrest storm, Reuters warned in a story that the Bank of Valletta was facing meltdown. The blog post Pilatus. Sata. Now BoV. of 21 November placed the crisis of Malta’s largest high street bank in the context of political interference which reached its worst extent in the Electrogas scandal which the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia appears to have meant to cover up. 21 November was the busiest news day of the year, for this website as well, and this post in particular ranks the year’s 14th.
Some stories from the first half of 2019 make it to the top 20. On 6 January 2019 this website reported that Adrian Delia “in fit of rage” damages office furniture when he discovers WhatsApp leaks. That post was in the aftermath of reports from Christmas week of 2018 when Adrian Delia estranged wife opened separation proceedings against the Leader of the Opposition against the background of embarrassing videos of Adrian Delia in a domestic context. The 6 January post ranks #11 for 2019.
The second highest ranking story of 2019 is also from early in the year. On 22 February this website published Involuntary committal analysing a video put on Facebook by Mario Portelli, chief witness in the trial that acquitted David Gatt in an organised crime trial two years ago. The video, which has since been removed from Facebook, appears to show Mr Portelli being arrested by the police to be committed to the mental institution.
The number 1 most viewed blogpost from 2019 is from 23 February but its record viewings at the time it was posted have been topped up in the last few days as the event it reported on took a new meaning with new facts emerging.
Watch: Alas, our poor country! showed a video of Joseph and Michelle Muscat in enthusiastic celebration. A post later that day clarifying That Bacchanal was in the chapel of the official residence of the Prime Minister of Malta ranks #16 in the top posts of 2019.
Alas our poor country attracted fresh interest in December when news emerged that a guest at that party was Yorgen Fenech who was known to the country at the time as the owner of 17 Black and therefore implicated in bribery allegations connecting him with Joseph Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and Minister Konrad Mizzi. Significantly Joseph Muscat knew at the time that Yorgen Fenech was the principal suspect of investigators in the Daphne Caruana Galizia homicide investigation. And also, significantly Yorgen Fenech that day handed over a lavish gift of three bottles of Château Pétrus to Joseph Muscat.
None of these stories are closed. May 2020 be the year of justice.