Over the last three years the government commissioned three reports following the violent and untimely deaths of three women.
There was the public inquiry that followed the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia which found the state responsible for her death, allowing for a toxic state of impunity to protect senior government ministers and their criminal associates at much cost to the nation including the life of the journalist who exposed them. A long list of recommendations was attached to the inquiry report. Immediately on its publication Robert Abela promised to implement the recommendations with enthusiasm and commitment. None of the inquiry’s recommendations have been implemented by the government.
In the aftermath of the death of Miriam Pace buried under the rubble of her home when cowboy developers dug too deep under the plot next door, the government resisted calls for a public inquiry. Attempting to diffuse pressure the government published an internal report recommending significant changes in regulation, implicitly recognising that the state had been responsible for Miriam Pace’s death for failing to make the changes in time to save her life. Robert Abela stood in Parliament promising to implement the recommendations with enthusiasm and commitment. Most of the recommendations still gather dust.
When Bernice Cassar was killed after the state ignored her reports about her husband’s threats and made no attempt to step between the victim and the murderer they knew about ahead of time, another inquiry was commissioned. It filed its report a month ago but that fact was kept secret. Yesterday ministers said the report – which remains unpublished – blamed “the system” for Bernice Cassar’s killing. This is new. ‘It’s the system’s fault,’ is something a hard left revolutionary student with utopia on their mind would say. I don’t think that was the inquiry’s intention.
Blaming “the system” is a peurile fudging of the real meaning of that conclusion: the state failed to protect Bernice Cassar and is consequently responsible for her death. You might say it is too early to assume that the promises the ministers made yesterday to implement reforms to prevent a repition with enthusiasm and commitment will be left to gather dust.
But I will say that a year before Bernice Cassar was killed the government was given a report it had commissioned from academic Andrew Azzopardi which listed recommendations that if implemented would have saved Bernice Cassar. That’s what “the system failed” means. Ministers did not do their job because protecting women from their violent, occasionally murderous husbands, was not a vote-grabbing priority for them. So if I was a betting man I’d put my money against the government changing anything after the Bernice Cassar inquiry report.
Here’s the government’s loving inscription for this year’s Woman’s Day card:
We’ll allow you to be blown up in your car, be buried under the rubble that used to be your home, or be shot in the street like pestilence, but if you need to take time off because of period pain we’ll pay for that. With love from your feminist femicidal government.