A murder… three killings?

The past days saw the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the murder of Raymond Caruana. Unfortunately, the Maltese people had to be reminded of the brutalities of the past, when violence was the order of the day in Malta and young people in the prime of their life, like Karen Grech, Raymond Caruana, Nardu Debono, Wilfred Cardona and Lino Cauchi, were sacrificed on the altar of senseless violence.

We cannot and we must not forget the past victims of violence
– Arnold Cassola

Some Maltese believe that we should forget the past and move on. Same attitude that the Labour Party and many in the Nationalist Party take vis-à-vis the Gaddafi regime.

For me, this is totally wrong. We cannot and we must not forget the past victims of violence. What is important, however, is that these events and commemorations are not utilised as political party activities but are organised by the Maltese state in a united show of respect for all those who suffered in the past in order for us to lead a better life today.

Instead, the state is completely absent. It is absolutely abominable that, as per the PNPL maxim of “let’s forget the past, let’s look to the future”, there is no history school textbook that gives our children a picture of what happened in Malta in the 1960s, in the 1980s, etc.

We have monographs written either by PL or PN hacks or even by respected writers and historians with a critical approach… but still identified with either the PL or the PN. But we do not have a school textbook for the young Maltese generations to learn from the aberrations of our past.

Unfotunately, with regard to the 1960s’ interdiction and the 1970s’-1980s’ murders, the political parties have suppressed any attempt at building a national conscience about them.

Getting back to the above-mentioned murders, all have been left unsolved, apart from the Nardu Debono case. And, yet, various people have been associated – in court, through the grapevine or otherwise – with the various killings.

But let us get back to the Raymond Caruana case.

We know that the same gun that killed him had shot previously at the Tarxien PN club premisies then again at PN Gudja and, afterwards, the same gun was planted by someone in Pietru Pawl Busuttil’s farmhouse.

The sequence of the said (and “sad”) gun was: 1. PN Tarxien; 2. PN Gudja and Caruana murder; 3. Busuttil farmhouse.

It is obvious that from phase 2 to phase 3, the murderer passed on the gun to the person who planted it in Mr Busuttil’s farmhouse or else to somebody who then ordered someone else to plant the gun where it was found. In the second case, the person who actually planted the weapon knows the identity of the individual who ordered him to do so but, for one reason or another, he has kept his mouth shut all these years. Utterly disgusting and irresponsible.

Immediately after the killing, Anthony Carabott, Michael Spiteri and Edwin Bartolo were brought in for police questioning but there was no conclusive evidence to link them to the murder.

It was only four years later, in 1990, that Nicholas Ellul, known as Iċ-Ċaqwes, was identified as the owner of the gun. Though charged with the murder of Raymond Caruana, he was never heard in court. Mr Ellul died of an overdose in 2001.

Then, in 1997, Il-Pupa, Ġanni Psaila, testified that he knew who had fired the gun on that fatal December day. Later in the same year he died when he fell off a roof.

In the meantime, the famous gun disappeared from the strongroom of the law courts. Disgusting.

Raymond Caruana was murdered 25 years ago. Il-Pupa fell off a roof 14 years ago. Iċ-Ċaqwes died of a drug overdose 10 years ago. Did they die or were they killed?


Prof. Cassola is spokesman on EU and international affairs of Alternattiva Demokratika – the Green party.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012