When Aaron Farrugia was first made minister in 2020, he publicly announced he would keep a register of all meetings he would have with stakeholders. He said he would publish the register as a way of ensuring transparency.
The statement was made in January 2020 when Robert Abela first came to office. Meetings held by Ministers are not logged for public consumption here. The risk of rot with that sort of secrecy came to prominence a few months later, in April 2020, when we learnt that Yorgen Fenech had met Michael Farrugia in 2014, on the morning of the day when Michael Farrugia ordered the Planning Authority to change its rules to allow the Imrieħel towers to be granted a permit in an area where high risers were not allowed.
The existence of the meeting was confirmed because of a Freedom of Information request by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation.
Aaron Farrugia promised to make transparency a rule. Nothing came of it, of course. It’s impossible to know if the register was kept at all. There’s no sign of it having been published anywhere.
Aaron Farrugia has now been handed Ian Borg’s old ministry: transport, infrastructure, and capital projects. Lobbyists will be outside his door pressuring Aaron Farrugia to direct millions of public moneys in their general direction. Nowhere is transparency more desirable than in a ministry where the opportunity for corruption is so great.
Perhaps Aaron Farrugia could try his 2020 promise all over again. How about promising us he’ll keep a log of all his meetings and publish it, say at the end of every month? How about keeping the 2020 commitment he’s broken so far?