This is a translation of Robert Aquilina’s speech yesterday outside Police Headquarters. It was intended for an audience of one: the police chief. But you can read it as well. Scroll down for a video.
From that tragic day, 16 October 2017, to today, we have come before the Police General Headquarters several times. We have come here because it is from this building that justice has to start to be served.
It is in this building that it is decided whether the Maltese and Gozitan people will be given the possibility to set their minds at rest that justice is truly just.
It is in this building that it is decided who will defend the Maltese state: whether it will defend that section of the people who works hard and pays its taxes or the criminals and those who defend them, cover up their misdeeds and even befriend them.
It is in this building that the defence of what is good has to begin, by fighting against what is manifestly wrong.
In the last few years, this building has seen scandalous happenings which, if watched in a film, would appear as excessive, over the top. So it is only natural to ask how can we not be disgusted and angry when we learn that these dirty tricks really occurred, took place in our country, carried out by Maltese citizens like you and me who used their police uniforms to shield criminals.
It is not in a film that we watched a journalist denounce a corrupt government, a police corps consumed by unprecedented corruption, a political and financial system that corrupted every aspect of life in this country.
It is not in a film that we watched a courageous journalist assassinated in front of her home, by means of a bomb placed under her car seat.
It is not far-fetched to say that as soon as this murder occurred, the official entrusted with leading the investigation was the husband of a minister who was part of the corrupt government that she used to denounce.
It is no exaggeration to state that rather than investigating the killers, the police officer in question was in league with them.
It is not as part of some sensationalist film that it was affirmed that this policeman actually went abroad with these criminals to watch football games, shared their table and their wine, and fooled around with them in their luxurious cars.
It was not in a film that we saw criminals obtain information about investigations to the extent of being told when exactly they were going to be arrested or being given the choice of whether this was to be done on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday.
We did not witness these stories in a film. We heard these stories in Court, under oath, in a public inquiry, these stories really took place in these headquarters.
These stories make us puke. These stories were revolting to anyone across the world who heard them. These stories would be revolting to anyone who would call themselves a decent human being.
I am sad to note, however, that in contrast, it would seem that these stories have not upset the person who leads these headquarters in the same way they have upset us.
Today, Mr Angelo Gafà leads these headquarters. Mr Angelo Gafà heads these headquarters because Prime Minister Robert Abela decided so and wanted him to.
When we learned that Angelo Gafà had been chosen as the new Police Commissioner, in the spirit of goodwill we decided to give him a chance to prove himself.
We waited one month, two months, three months, a year: until a few days ago, his probation came to an end.
We did not keep reminding everyone that at the time when all these disgusting things were happening in these headquarters, Mr Angelo Gafà was actually the Chief Executive Officer of the Police Corps.
But now, we are fed up, so we are going to say: But is it possible, Mr Gafà?
Is it possible that you did not notice anything when in the same building where you worked every day, occupying such an important post, some of your colleagues were fully in league with and collaborated with criminals and killers?
Is it possible that you did not notice anything when, under your very nose, the Police Commissioner had, for years on end, hidden FIAU reports on members of Joseph Muscat’s government?
Mr Gafà, we are no fools. We smell people who try to abuse the intelligence of the Maltese and Gozitan people, from miles away.
There isn’t one person in Malta and Gozo who does not know that in these headquarters, very dirty happenings took place.
There isn’t one single Maltese or Gozitan who does not know that the Police Corps has become a tool that protects a class of people who believe that because they have power and money, they are invincible.
Before Joseph Muscat came to power, the Police Corps was headed by a Commissioner – Mr John Rizzo – who was respected by everybody.
Mr Rizzo did not pay allegiance to anyone. He had no hesitation in arresting a Chief Justice and a Judge and took them to Court, accused them of bribery, and did not stop before he saw them condemned to prison.
A little while later, he caught another judge receiving bribes and plotting with a criminal gang. Once again, he ordered the arrest of this judge and ordered criminal charges to be brought against him.
He did not allow any politician to interfere. He did not allow any businessman to corrupt him. No wonder he enjoys everyone’s respect to this day.
No wonder, to this day he represents the standard of integrity against which anyone in our country who is expected to lead the fight of the Maltese nation for what is right is measured.
No wonder as soon as the criminals who seized the Partit Laburista came to power, they removed him.
Mr Gafà, we remind you that you did not become Police Commissioner in ordinary times.
You became Police Commissioner after a journalist was killed by mafia methods after criminality had infiltrated the Police Corps after the Police Corps had become, and still remains, a tool of impunity.
What are you doing about all this Mr Gafà?
We note that you have dedicated yourself fully to rebranding the Police Corps.
We are not bothered about new paint on police cars. Neither are we against a newer and nicer Police social media.
But we know that this is just glitter.
We couldn’t care less about the paint which is used to embellish police cars.
What we are interested in is whether you have placed the corrupt in these cars.
What we are interested in is whether you have used these cars to take them to court to face accusations.
Frankly, Commissioner, this glitter is not the job of a Police Commissioner, but of a marketing manager.
Up to today, whatever is emerging from these Headquarters is still ensuring the impunity of those who hold political and financial power in this country.
You can wrap it up in any packaging you like. You can paint it in any colour you choose. If this is what you are going to continue offering us, we tell you straight and plain that we are not interested in what you have to offer.
We stopped those who preceded you not because they were not likeable, or had no manners. We stopped them because they had abdicated their responsibilities because they protected criminals.
We couldn’t care less about your rebranding exercise. We will judge you only on what you give us, the concrete results you will provide.
And up to now, Mr Gafà, we have seen absolutely no concrete results.
It is true that in the last months there was the beginning of an important prosecution, that of Keith Schembri and other persons who had long been mentioned in the news for all the wrong reasons.
This was a step in the right direction and we were among the first to praise it and to highlight its importance. But how did we get to these prosecutions?
The truth is that these prosecutions only started as a result of certain magisterial inquiries that had been requested by Simon Busuttil, inquiries that neither Joseph Muscat nor Robert Abela wanted and tried to do everything to stop.
The Police Corps was right to pursue these inquiries, but let’s face it… it could not do otherwise, its hands were tied by the Courts.
And even with regard to Keith Schembri, we cannot help but notice that the charges brought against him concern crimes that he allegedly committed before occupying any seat of power.
So I am forced to point out, Mr Gafà, that even under your leadership, our islands maintain the world record for a country where politicians and big business are UNTOUCHABLE; nobody can go against them.
Corrupt politicians and businessmen have their minds at rest that no level of corruption or criminality is going to land them in jail, not even for one hour.
Under your leadership and that of Robert Abela, impunity continues to reign.
The lack of action on your part is allowing Robert Abela to continue playing the record of continuity. He can do this because you have brought no one to Court to answer for the disgusting practices that occurred under the leadership of Joseph Muscat and with his involvement and protection.
Mr Gafà, let me remind you that the history of the Police Corps did not begin when you took the seat of Commissioner.
In 1987, the Police Corps was in a situation that is very similar to the one it finds itself in today. At that time, and in the years following, one of the challenges that those who occupied the position you occupy today had to face was that one of their predecessors – a Police Commissioner – had participated in an assassination that had occurred at the Headquarters itself.
At the time, the leaders of the Corps could choose to look the other way and leave things as they were. They could have done that. They could have tried to make people forget. But they didn’t.
Those who were in command after 1987 showed the stuff they were made of.
They decided not to be afraid. They decided not to serve the interests of dark forces.
They decided to take the necessary steps which led Police Commissioner Lawrence Pullicino to be taken to Court, to be condemned as an accomplice to a murder that had occurred in this building, and to spend years in prison.
Consequently, Mr Gafà, this is your moment of truth; for you, for the Corps you lead, and for our country.
At present, you are faced with a fundamental choice:
You can choose to follow the footsteps of the Police Commissioner who ordered the prosecution of his predecessor, Lawrence Pullicino. You can choose to follow the steps of the person who ordered the arrest, interrogation and prosecution of a Chief Justice and two judges.
This is the first choice you have: to bring to justice those who have shamed our country, those who have robbed the Maltese and Gozitan people of their welfare, their good reputation and their future.
If you choose – without dragging your feet – this right way, we promise you that you will find us shoulder to shoulder with you.
If you do what is right, we will be among the first to acknowledge your work and support it.
You also have the contrary option: to take the same road as that followed by your predecessor Lawrence Cutajar, the road of darkness, the road of silence – Omertà – the road which does nothing concrete to ensure that the corrupt forces of our country get what they deserve according to the law.
If you choose this direction, you will find us opposing you. We will oppose you with the same strength and the same determination that we showed Lawrence Cutajar and Joseph Muscat.
Commissioner, we are determined to see in our time justice being served and what is a right triumph.
We are determined to see this happen and we are ready to do all it takes for it to happen.
The corrupt forces of our country do not scare us.
When we were protesting a year and a half ago, we knew that in these Headquarters there were those who wanted to unleash a riot squad against us and were geared up for it. We knew this and we were not afraid.
We were ready to face blows as long as our country was cleaned up.
Just like we did not fear Yorgen Fenech, we did not fear Silvio Valletta, we did not fear Joseph Muscat, we did not fear Keith Schembri, we do not fear who gave you the position of Commissioner.
Mr Gafà, we haven’t given up on you completely. We did not come here to ask for your resignation. But our patience is coming to an end. We are disappointed by the lack of action we have seen, despite your appointment.
Commissioner, you are late, but you are still in time to remedy. Leave your image in the hands of your marketing colleagues, and start working on prosecutions. Leave the re-branding to others and begin to give us a clear account of what has been happening – or not happening – under your predecessors. Tell us what happened in the office you occupy today and what concrete action you intend to take to remedy these abuses.
Commissioner, if we are to continue seeing no prosecution of the corrupt and corruptors who have brought this country to its knees in front of the world, we will return here in bigger numbers and we will express our disapproval more strongly.
Don’t give in to pressure by Robert Abela and Joseph Muscat.
You are faced with the most important decision in your career. Don’t be afraid to look anyone straight in the eye. History will judge you on how you act in the coming months.
You have to choose between stopping Robert Abela and Joseph Muscat and being the Commissioner who saved the Police Corps and Malta, or being the Commissioner of Police who, like your predecessor, abdicated his duty to serve the delinquents who placed our country on the grey list.
Commissioner, do not let criminals continue to commandeer our country.
Commissioner, do not let this country continue to be wrapped in mafia tentacles.
Commissioner, do not allow the prime minister to use you as a screen.
Commissioner, do not continue to allow whoever committed criminal acts from within these Headquarters to avoid responsibility for his actions.
Commissioner, do not allow the corrupt to continue to dominate our country.
Commissioner, do not allow delinquents to continue dragging the name of our country in the dust and deprive it of a serene future.
Commissioner, the situation in our country is very serious.
The Apap Bolognas
The Pilatus Bank criminals
And many others.
Commissioner, our country can only take the right direction if it has a Police Commissioner who makes it his mission to throw into prison those corrupt and corrupters who have snatched our dear country – who are choking it with their mafia fingers.
Mr Gafà, do not let us lose hope that you will be that Commissioner.