From impunity to legitimisation

The allegorical story of the frog being slowly boiled to death is what best describes our rule of law. The frog starts by being put in tepid water till it is slowly boiled to death. Every day we hear of something which should shock us to the core, as it eats away at the very heart of our democracy. Instead, we trudge along in a comatose state, hardly flinching as new scandals unfold by the hour. We are getting used to the boiling water which is getting perilously close to killing us; and we are perfectly fine with it! What has happened to our sense of justice, uprightness, pride and fighting spirit, which caused us to rise up on 7 June 1919? Did we mellow into such complacency as to actually ignore being scalded to death for fear of being labelled negative? Are people so afraid of being marginalised by the powers that be?

Lately, we have heard so many cases of people who should either be facing justice, or indeed, should already be behind bars. Yet they bizarrely have not only been resuscitated and rehabilitated back into society, but are actually legitimised. Let us start with Iosif Galea, whose partner is the personal assistant of Michelle Muscat, with whom they were holidaying together with our very own artful dodger, Joseph Muscat. Muscat seems to think it is perfectly normal for his travel buddy to be apprehended by the Police abroad.

Here in Malta, our own Attorney General has not yet provided the Maltese police with the necessary authorisation to arrest him. Is it too much to expect of a person occupying such high office that she comes clean about this prevarication? And after she fulfils this obligation can she please do us all a favour and resign, as she is evidently not only unfit for purpose, but just a stooge. Ineffectual at best, and in other cases, as in the plea-bargaining case involving Il-Topo, potentially a cog in this problematic machine.

Kurt Buhagiar, who in 2009 was arrested and held in a Sicilian prison for his role in human trafficking, is now working at the Lands Authority. This means he has not only been legitimised, but he is in line for a promotion. His crimes, forgotten; you know, these are things that happen. Everyone can make a mistake; right? Wrong. You do not simply end up in a position of such responsibility with a track record that normally disqualifies candidates from even entering the public service. Or are they actually choosing them to fit this template by design? Maybe such people are more inclined to think more “positively” than the rest of us lesser mortals ever will.

Similarly, the infamous Alex Dalli used to recruit people with a shady past and still get them jobs with CCF. What guarantee do we have that there are no criminals in key positions at CCF as an inheritance of Dalli’s modus operandi? Should not the newly appointed director conduct a thorough examination of his staff’s credentials and suitability as a matter of urgency? Now Dalli has been legitimised into the role of migration coordinator in Libya, doing whatever one does in Libya. Pity the poor migrants!

The cherry on the cake is the legitimisation of Christian Borg accused of a kidnapping and reportedly under investigation over alleged drug dealing and money laundering, convicted of tampering with car license plates in 2015 and only last year he was also convicted of perjury. Not to mention the allegations that Borg used two individuals inside LESA and Transport Malta to help erase around €3m in traffic fines which a car hire company he owned had against it. This cupcake and his company, Princess Operations, were able to bid for a tender to supply cars for the judiciary at the sum of €2.5m. And brace yourself – he might get it. All legitimate? We cannot afford to alienate friends and philanthropists like these, now can we?

This is the sorry state the country currently finds itself in – the perpetrators of wrong have not only become excusable and unpunishable but are projected as role models. In self-respecting countries, they would have long been brought to justice, paid for their misdemeanours and ended up on the scrap heap of society. But in this Malta of ours, gleefully celebrating the 103rd Sette Giugno anniversary, we have become frogs with such thick skin that it will take boiling point to bring us to our senses… by which time we will have paid a very high price as a society indeed.

Sandra Gauci
ADPD Deputy Chairperson
Published in The Malta Independent – Sunday 26 June 2022