Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (12) The President

2020-05-19T14:21:29+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 15:01|

22. As explained elsewhere in this document, the government’s decision to postpone its response on the Commission’s recommendations in this regard, renders their acceptance of other recommendations, that bestow the President with executive authority, a very dangerous development. We register our deep concern that if the powers of the President are increased, whilst the Prime [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (11) Persons of trust

2020-05-19T13:53:30+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 15:00|

It is our view that the present system of appointment of persons of trust goes against the provisions of the constitution. There should certainly be room for appointing a limited number of collaborators inside ministerial secretariats, who may owe their position to the trust the Minister has in them. But we do not believe there [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (10) Permanent Secretaries

2020-05-19T13:51:50+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:55|

The civil service has been progressively weakened by the system of short-term appointments to headship positions and the creaming off of certain positions to foundations, corporations and agencies. The Principal Permanent Secretary (PPS) has, ever since the post was created, exercised powers that can only be reined in by a sufficiently powerful and independent Public [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (9) The Prime Minister

2020-05-19T14:54:07+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:47|

16. Replacing the power of the Prime Minister to appoint persons in high office by transferring that power to “the government” is a purely cosmetic development. The fact the government agrees with this, rather confirms this view. The government is, probably correctly, equating the Commission’s meaning of the term “the government” with “the Cabinet of [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (8) The Ombudsman

2020-05-19T13:48:06+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:45|

13. Elevating the legal basis for the Ombudsman to the constitution is ‘a welcome step’. But the government in no way responds to the correct observation made by the Commission that “requests for information (from the Ombudsman to the government) are frequently not complied with” (our emphasis). Nothing in the changes proposed by the government [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (6) Prosecution

2020-05-19T13:44:12+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:30|

7. As the government acknowledges in its letter, legislative changes in this regard that have already been adopted by Parliament remain theoretical. No time frames are given for implementation, in spite of the fact that the letter of the government is headlined “implementation of the recommendations”. We do not think these delays are innocent. As [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (5) Judicial discipline

2020-05-19T13:41:31+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:25|

6. We do not understand why it is still necessary for a qualified majority in Parliament to confirm whether a judge or magistrate should be removed from office once the Commission for the Administration of Justice (CAJ) and, as is proposed, the Constitutional Court, have confirmed that the criteria for removal established at law have [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (4) The Chief Justice

2020-05-19T13:39:53+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:20|

5. The government’s response creates the false impression that “civil society has publicly praised” the appointment of the new Chief Justice by a resolution approved by a qualified majority in the House of Representatives. Although the government may have been referring to views expressed by others, Repubblika has indeed expressed its delight at the choice [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (3) Judicial appointments

2020-05-19T13:37:15+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:15|

The remarks made by the government ignore the context in which this reform is being undertaken, and how this has evolved since the Commission published its report in December 2018. Since March 2013, the government has focused on manipulating the composition of the judiciary, to ensure it can exert influence on its decisions in a [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (2) General Observatio

2020-05-19T13:33:49+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:10|

The document published on 13 May 2020 purports to provide details on how the recommendations of the Commission in its opinion 940/2018 are to be implemented. It is significant to note that this is the first substantive reaction from the government to an opinion it was served with 18 months ago. The document does not [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (1) Introduction

2020-05-19T14:35:41+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:05|

In this and the upcoming posts, I am transcribing Repubblika's response to the government's proposals after the Venice Commission's recommendations on rule of law reforms in Malta, starting with Repubblika's president Vicki Ann Cremona's opening letter:   18 May 2020 Mr Thomas Markert Director and Secretary European Commission for Democracy through Law Council of Europe [...]

Silvio Schembri is a proper eejit. And a bully.

2020-05-19T11:15:22+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 11:15|

So, the economy minister felt his dignity punctured by a someone pointing out to him that he was breaching the laws enacted by his own government on social distancing during a ministerial PR do. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for ministers to comply within their own rules. I don’t understand why they’re not [...]


2020-05-19T08:57:16+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 08:57|

It’s almost exactly 40 years since John Lennon was shot dead outside his New York apartment, the man who imagined a world without countries, without greed, a world with nothing to kill or die for, where people live in peace. What a dream that was and humanity lost an influential voice of protest with the [...]

‘Malta must take Captain Morgan migrants to a safe port’ – EU Commission

2020-05-18T14:14:58+02:00Mon, 18th May '20, 14:14|

The European Commission said it is closely monitoring the situation of migrants on board Captain Morgan coastal cruisers hired by the Maltese government. 167 people are being held in limbo just outside Malta’s territorial waters, some of them have been there since 20 April. NGOs have complained the migrants’ are not being assessed for their [...]

The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog

2020-05-18T10:46:33+02:00Mon, 18th May '20, 10:46|

I wrote earlier how Robert Abela does not volunteer for the rack to assure us he’s telling us the whole truth. Political leaders who want to persuade us of their sincerity will sit with journalists who will look like they’re challenging them and giving them a hard time. The gamble does not always pay off [...]

The Garden of Life

2020-05-18T10:14:43+02:00Mon, 18th May '20, 10:14|

There’s a public open space in Qala in Gozo rather dramatically named ‘The Garden of Life’. It was a project of a PN-led council completed about 9 years ago and inaugurated by those annoying Nationalists. Here’s a souvenir photo from the launch at the time. Soon after, Qala switched to Labour and elected Clint Camilleri [...]

Who needs science when you have Joseph Muscat?

2020-05-18T09:34:21+02:00Mon, 18th May '20, 09:34|

Robert Abela’s faith in Joseph Muscat is misplaced. Joseph Muscat got economically lucky in the way Robert Abela was unlucky. The economic success of the 7 years of plenty that ended last February happened in spite of Joseph Muscat, not because of him. The heir to Malta’s integration with Europe and the reinvention of our [...]

Feel to lead

2020-05-18T09:32:54+02:00Mon, 18th May '20, 09:32|

This post will not argue that we should stay indoors for longer. Nor will it argue that restaurants should open by this weekend.  I will not say that lockdown was excessive caution. Nor will I say that it should be kept up. I will say that we should be relying on our authorities to give [...]

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