Mr Omar Debono is not a public figure as such. But what he wrote on Facebook and the position he occupies gives insight into the mindset of people in responsibility and of the poor chances we have with thinking like this of emerging from the quagmire they put us in.
Omar Debono is one of the bosses at something called the “Malta Digital Innovation Authority”. That’s an agency the square-jawed, hollow-brained Silvio Schembri set up back when the notion of “Blockchain Island” was still fashionable.
They could have called it “Mafia Island”. They went about fulfilling the world’s prophecies and, as Clyde Caruana reluctantly admitted on TV, the crypto debacle was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was the last in a long list of reasons why the FATF needed to warn investors, bankers, and customers who didn’t want to be seen in a place of ill repute to steer clear of our islands.
Stupid millions went through here when the last corrupt and ruinous brainchild of Joseph Muscat was put in place. Some of those millions likely found their way into the pockets of terrorists and some of those millions likely came from proceeds of crime.
Now Omar Debono is one of the bosses at the agency that was one of the major causes of the ruin of the country’s reputation and that will inevitably cost many people their livelihoods or at least part of it. The Panama Papers, impunity for Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri, and Konrad Mizzi, the Electrogas imbroglio: obviously all that and more cannot be laid on the lap of the agency he works for.
But, if, as Clyde Caruana has it, crypto was the last knife in our back, people at the agency that had the legal responsibility to prevent just the sort of abuse and wrongdoing that made us lose all arguments, I would have thought people working at the “Malta Digital Innovation Authority” would lie low for a while.
Not Omar Debono. He put up this gung-ho, jingoistic Facebook post on his personal page suggesting that we should, as a country, grow some balls and show the USA, Germany, the UK and, frankly, the large majority of the international community, that we’re boss and we won’t be pushed around.
He speaks in Mintoffian materialistic terms. We have “assets” he says, as if he’s speaking about a hidden nuclear arsenal.
Is it time for us to reconsider our position? Is it time to throw our real weight around? Is it time for Malta to turn the table on the ‘bullies,’ and remind them who is really in control?
Just in case the rhetorical flourish confuses you, this guy, who is a senior boss at the government’s crypto agency, thinks that he, we, Malta are “really in control”. He wants to turn the table on the bullies, which he means he wants to be the bully.
This is not just a flagrantly Lilliputian inability to grasp the basic realities of existence. After all the art of not letting our size come in the way of our foreign policy is not the preserve of foreign-hating Mintoffjani. After all, being small did not stop us joining the European Union as equal partners though I’m prepared to bet a limb that Omar Debono would have been one of those who voted “għall-partnership” instead.
This senior government official in a strategic position that has brought much damage to this country is, however, recommending ‘diplomacy’ that would not even work for Russia, let alone for Malta.
Right now, a guy like this should shut the fuck up and let the ministers he worships grovel on his behalf and try to live down the mess they made and that he helped them make. He should perhaps be made aware that the opinion he has inflicted on his Facebook followers will make its way to the follow-up file of whoever is reporting to the review committee of the FATF.
“Are these people serious about cleaning up their act?” someone one day will ask. “Nope,” someone will answer handing in a copy of this post.
Should I be telling someone to shut up? In principle that is not really my job.
In a thinly veiled reference to me several months ago Omar Debono joined the chorus of those who said I had been betraying my country when I pushed the government to rescue people dying in our waters even if there was a covid pandemic going on.
He said at the time that I should shut up because not enough time had passed since my “pudini” (which is what they call the bus reform of 2011) to be entitled to have an opinion about whether people should be rescued by a country that can when they’re drowning in its waters.
My pudina got buses late one hot summer 10 years ago and gave Boris Johnson a reason for a cheap chuckle he has long since forgotten. Your pudina, Mr Debono, is the last reason in a long list that we’re now a financial pariah.
Today, Sir, as any other day for that matter, I’d rather be me.