THE SUNDAY TIMES: ‘The office of Dr Joseph Muscat’

2020-05-10T08:29:05+02:00Sun, 10th May '20, 08:29|

From my article in The Sunday Times today: "I will not buy the excuse that Robert Abela is new and inexperienced. He sat in cabinet for years as his predecessor’s guest. And his ministerial team is composed of veterans of seven years of public administration. And he’s not running a band club. He has a [...]

A beer on his 60th

2020-05-08T16:23:41+02:00Fri, 8th May '20, 16:23|

Yesterday was my daughter’s 10th birthday. She crossed the first round landmark, the first decade of her life. Your 10th, your 20th, your 30th and so on are special. You want them to be. They’re the great landmarks of a lifetime. With every new decade we clock we feel luckier to have come so far. [...]

UN agency “concerned” about government conduct on rescues at sea: doubts commitment to human rights

2020-05-08T12:59:22+02:00Fri, 8th May '20, 12:59|

A spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (the UNHCR) made a statement in Geneva today on the situation in the Mediterranean Sea. The statement was made in the aftermath of the illegal pushback of 57 migrants to Libya after the Easter weekend following an incident where 12 people were left to die [...]

GUEST POST: The three envelopes

2020-05-08T10:58:24+02:00Fri, 8th May '20, 10:57|

The author, John Vassallo, wanted this preamble to appear with this new series of articles: "As a regular contributor to The Times of Malta, I have realised that a series of recent articles since February 2020 have been shelved. Whist respecting editorial independence I have a feeling that they have been refused either because my [...]


2020-05-07T12:45:39+02:00Thu, 7th May '20, 12:45|

Edward Zammit Lewis said he thought Charles Mercieca was “insensitive” when the young lawyer switched from working at the prosecutor’s office to the defence team of Yorgen Fenech. Overnight. Without working his notice. It was that, but it does feel like an understatement. The PN Opposition spokesman Jason Azzopardi yesterday said the episode smacked of [...]

The integrity of the case

2020-05-06T17:50:07+02:00Wed, 6th May '20, 17:50|

There’s mounting concern again that after the surge in November 2019 when Yorgen Fenech was arrested, the momentum on the shuffling feet of our state institutions in their attempt to get to the bottom of the truth in the case of the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia is stalling again. Some of this is no [...]

His eyes flickered open

2020-05-06T13:56:22+02:00Wed, 6th May '20, 13:56|

It’s an old slasher movie trope. You think the villain is dead. The vampire has been shot through the forehead with a silver bullet dipped in holy water. The zombie has been torn from limb to limb. The pervert with the ski mask has been electrocuted. It is finally time to release all the piled [...]

CoE rapporteur warns Malta parties against reforms without wide consultation

2020-05-06T12:16:26+02:00Wed, 6th May '20, 12:16|

The Council of Europe's rapporteur on the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the rule of law in Malta, Pieter Omtzigt, expressed concern that Malta's government and opposition are attempting to push through institutional reforms without wide consultation in society. “When I visited Malta in February, I was encouraged to hear from the government that [...]

ICC prosecutor paints a grim picture of treatment of migrants in Libya

2020-05-06T08:30:50+02:00Wed, 6th May '20, 08:30|

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda yesterday reported to the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Libya describing the treatment of migrants detained there. “My Office is aware of allegations of serious violations in many prisons and detention facilities throughout Libya,” including facilities under the authority of the Ministry of Interior of the [...]

So now it’s the Pope’s fault, is it?

2020-05-05T20:24:30+02:00Tue, 5th May '20, 19:25|

Evarist Bartolo has taken his slithering, conniving, weaselly cunning to the foreign office exporting his particular brand of Maria l-Maws subterfuge and deceit and seeking to package it as diplomacy. Our country’s diplomacy. He’s picked up a standard racist troll’s taunt “daħħalhom id-dar tiegħek lis-suwed, ħelu” and sent it to the Pope. The argument is [...]

Familiar methods

2020-05-05T11:59:42+02:00Tue, 5th May '20, 11:59|

First, use the law to flout the law. Joseph Muscat’s government kept doing that all the time, pulling out legal loopholes and minor legal detail in order to suffocate the real intent of the law. They would say Jason Micallef and Tony Zarb were exercising “free speech” while they abused official power to intimidate and [...]

Fighting fire with spittle

2020-05-05T08:29:06+02:00Tue, 5th May '20, 08:29|

The police department is beefing up its anti-financial crimes unit. The responsibilities of the unit are enormous. It is split in four sub-units: economic crimes, anti-money laundering, financial crimes analysis and blockchain analysis. Although we would never have a department bearing the name, because people might get the idea that we have a specific problem [...]

GUEST POST: Pilatus Bank and the Competent Person (2)

2020-05-05T07:59:44+02:00Tue, 5th May '20, 07:59|

Continues from Part 1, linked here. In this article, I am writing on some of the key points highlighted in the second and third six-monthly reports of the Competent Person, together with my observations. These two reports were addressed to the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Digital Economy, on 24 March 2020, and 14 [...]

Dog day afternoon

2020-05-04T15:54:46+02:00Mon, 4th May '20, 15:54|

Do you remember Robert Abela saying migrants were not being rescued at sea at all because we needed to focus on Covid-19? Do you remember when that ‘policy’ changed to a determination not to bring anyone on shore in Malta even if they were saved, and that too was because we needed to focus on [...]

Truth optional

2020-05-04T15:32:09+02:00Mon, 4th May '20, 15:32|

Robert Abela was reported to have spoken to the press as to what he gave in sworn testimony to a criminal inquiry into his conduct this morning. Criminal inquiries are supposed to be confidential affairs and witnesses are habitually cautioned they are not to state what they have testified in the inquiry. Even the fact [...]

Where two or three are gathered in my name

2020-05-04T14:58:20+02:00Mon, 4th May '20, 14:58|

If anyone else but the prime minister was in a gathering like this in Republic Street this morning, they'd be facing a hefty fine for organising a public event in spite of the pandemic instructions. And the journalists present would be fined for attending the gathering. There isn't a mask in sight though the prime [...]

Alarmphone explains what happened at sea over the Easter weekend

2020-05-04T10:41:17+02:00Mon, 4th May '20, 10:41|

Alarmphone published a detailed report which shows in detail in what ways, and how often, Alarm Phone sought to mobilise rescue by alerting the Maltese authorities. "In total, Alarm Phone reached out to RCC Malta 42 times: 34 times via the phone, though getting through only 11 times (mostly without receiving any information), and eight [...]

Mediterranea demands to know what Malta is doing with 90 migrants at sea; warns against illegal pushback.

2020-05-03T11:13:15+02:00Sun, 3rd May '20, 11:13|

Italian NGO Mediterranea this morning wrote to Malta’s government saying it has been carefully following the case of a wooden boat in distress with approximately 90 people on board, reported to all concerned authorities by the organization Alarm Phone - Watch The Med in position 34° 37' N - 12° 27' E at 22:35 CEST [...]

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