Lenti fuq Karmenu Vella: kif jarawh (uħud) fl-Ewropa

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Hemm diversi mill-Kummissarji nominati li mhux ser jieħdu ġost fil-gimgħat li ġejjin. Jidher li ta’ l-inqas hemm ħamsa : l-Ispanjol (Miguel Arias Cañeta), l-Ungeriż (Tibor Navracsics), l-Ingliż (Jonathan Hill), il-Malti (Karmenu Vella) w is-Slovena (Alenka Bratuŝek) li jidher car li dwarhom qed jitlestew il-kanuni fil-Parlament Ewropew u l-kumitati tiegħu.

Illum jiena ser nillimita ruħi għal xi ftit minn dak li qed jingħad fuq Karmenu Vella.

Fil-każ tal-Kummissjoni Ewropeja li jinvolvi l-ex Kummissarju John Dalli, l-Unjoni Ewropeja instamtet. Huwa każ li għadu għaddej, u irrispettivament minn kif ser jispiċċa, għamel ħsara kbira lil kull min kien involut fih.

L-issue hi  l-aċċess mhux trasparenti tal-Kummissarji għas-setturi tan-negozju u l-industrija. Din hi issue taħraq ħafna, u ilha hemm minn ħafna qabel ma faqqa’ l-każ ta’ John Dalli. L-opinjoni pubblika fl-Unjoni Ewropeja tħares b’mod suspettuż lejn kuntatti bil-moħbi u mill-viċin bejn il-politiċi u d-dinja tal-business.

Il-Kummissjoni Ewropeja taffronta din is-sitwazzjoni b’żewġ miżuri: bi trasparenza dwar il-kuntatti u b’dik li tissejjaħ revolving door policy.

It-traparenza tintlaħaq billi tingħata pubbliċita kemm lill-fatt li jkunu saru l-laqgħat kif ukoll dwar x’ikun intqal fil-laqgħat infushom.

Il-politika ta’ dan l-imbierek bieb li jdur hi dwar uffiċjali għolja tal-Kummissjoni (Kummissarji u uffiċjali imlaħħqin) li meta jintemm il-perjodu tal-ħatra tagħhom imorru jaħdmu mas-settur privat li qabel kienu jirregolaw (meta kienu Kummissarji jew uffiċjali tal-Kummissjoni). Għal numru ta’ snin wara li Kummissarju (jew uffiċjal) jispiċċa mill-ħatra huwa jeħtieġlu jikseb permess qabel ma jibda impieg ġdid. Dan biex il-Kummissjoni tipprova tnaqqas l-impatt f’termini ta’ lobbying minn ex-uffiċjali tagħha stess.

Il-Corporate Europe Observatory hi NGO li għandha l-funzjoni ta’ kelb tal-għassa dwar il-lobbying fl-Unjoni Ewropeja. Tlett ijiem ilu ippubblikat rapport dwar Karmenu Vella. Ir-rapport hu intitolat : Don’t bet on the Commissioner: the case of Karmenu Vella of Malta.

Fil-bidu nett tiegħu dan ir-rapport jgħid hekk dwar Karmenu Vella;

“He has been a member of the Maltese Parliament since 1976, but that hasn’t prevented him from also holding a variety of external business roles at the same time including within the gambling industry. CEO now argues that these recent outside interests make him unsuitable to be a Commissioner.”

Għal dawk li bejnhom u bejn ruħhom qed jgħidu, “imma dan x’għandu x’jaqsam?” ir-rapport jispjega l-ħajja professjonali ta’ Karmenu Vella tul is-snin imma jżid jikkummenta hekk:

“ ……it is his recent private sector roles which will raise eyebrows most as, between 2007 and 2013, Vella had an extensive relationship with the Betfair group , acting as “non-executive director on the Betfair Maltese Board” to Betfair Holding (Malta) Limited and Betfair Poker Holdings Limited. He also joined Betfair International Plc on 27 January 2012. Betfair is apparently the world largest internet betting exchange and while it started life as a UK business, its first overseas licence was granted in Malta.”

Ir-rapport ikompli:

“For several years, Vella was also chairman of the Orange Travel Group  which is a merger of Maltese travel firms Mondial and SMS Travel. OTG encompasses a number of subsidiaries and associate outbound travel companies, is present in eight countries, and specialises in cruise trips and outbound travel to Malta and elsewhere.”

Ir-rapport tal-Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) wara li jispjega l-importanza għall-ekonomija Maltija tal-industriji tal-imħatri u tat-turiżmu jagħmel l-osservazzjoni segwenti:

“ In CEO’s view, it is pretty shocking that an MP was able to maintain such outside interests whilst apparently not breaking any rules; even more shocking when this MP was then appointed as Minister for Tourism.”

Wara li jirriproduċi l-kummenti ta’ Karmenu Vella illi meta kien Ministru ma kellu l-ebda konflitt ta’ interess minħabba li l-kumpaniji li fil-passat kellu assoċjazzjoni magħhom ma kellhom l-ebda xogħol mal-Gvern  l-Corporate Europe Observatory tagħlaq ir-rapport tagħha dwar Karmenu Vella bil-kumment segwenti:

“In CEO’s view, it is inappropriate to nominate as a European commissioner a serving politician who has had such recent links to big business. As a very minimum we hope that MEPs who will shortly grill him on his appointment will seek the following commitments from Vella: a commitment to have no professional or private contacts with any of the companies with which he has been involved and / or their lobby representatives, and a promise to refuse all professional and private contacts with the gambling and tourism industries.”

Hu ċar li hemm il-biża’. Il-biża’ hi dwar kuntatti bil-moħbi (lobbying mhux trasparenti). Wara l-każ ta’ John Dalli, hu inevitabbli li Karmenu Vella jitqiegħed taħt il-lenti.  L-ispjegazzjonijiet li jrid jagħti huma bosta.

Hu ċar, għal min irid jifhem, li hemm baħar jaqsam bejn kif inħarsu lejn is-serjeta’ fil-ħajja pubblika aħna l-Maltin u kif iħarsu lejha fl-Ewropa. Il-Corporate Europe Observatory qed jgħid b’mod ċar li dak li f’Malta ma nagħtux kaz tieghu, għalihom hu ta’ importanza fundamentali.  Mhux ser ikun faċli għal Karmenu Vella, anke bir-rieda tajba kollha possibli, li jikkonvinċi, għax il-każ ta’ John Dalli ħoloq pregudizzju kbir fil-konfront ta’ Malta u tal-Maltin li diffiċli ħafna biex jingħeleb.

 

ara wkoll fuq dan il-blog

10 ta’ Settembru 2014 : Ir-responsabbiltajiet ta’ Karmenu Vella fil-Kummissjoni Juncker .

11 ta’ Settembru 2014 : Jean Claude Juncker hu ġurdien xiħ.

12 ta’ Settembru 2014: Kif jista’ Karmenu Vella jitfi s-switch?

Oxford University dwar kif u għalfejn ħadmu lil John Dalli

 

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Ilna żmien naqraw li l-każ John Dalli fl-Unjoni Ewropeja huwa parti minn eżerċizzju ta’ lobbying mill-industrija tat-tabakk.

Bil-mod il-mod hemm min qed isib id-dettalji dwar kif saret din il-ħadma.

Aqraw ftit din l-istqarrija maħruġa mill-Universita’ ta’ Oxford. L-oriġinal issibuh hawn:

Study identifies EU policy shift on tobacco control after massive industry lobbying

A study has tracked how the dominance of language that first appeared in tobacco industry’s submissions gradually crept into the final drafts of the European tobacco directive passed by the European parliament earlier this year. Using a word coding technique, researchers tracked how the European Commission’s drafts on tobacco control policy changed markedly between 2010 and 2013, resembling tobacco industry submissions much more than those of health groups in the latter stages. The study concludes that the change in the drafts coincided with massive lobbying by the tobacco industry and was ‘associated with significant policy shifts’ towards the tobacco industry. The research in Tobacco Control, published by BMJ, was conducted by the University of Oxford, London School of Hygiene &Tropical Medicine and the University of Bath.

The research team used a form of automated content analysis, Wordscores, to code the wording of three main drafts of the proposed revision to the European Tobacco Products Directive. They also coded 20 documents from 18 stakeholders (health groups and representatives from the tobacco industry) written between 2010 and 2013, in which the different positions on tobacco controls were expressed. This computer-based technique is widely used to code policy positions of party manifestos and lobbyists, but it is thought to be the first time it has been applied to measure the effects of different lobby groups on tobacco control. The research team scaled Wordscores from 0, reflecting the position of tobacco industry, to 1, reflecting the position of tobacco control advocates. They found that the European documents shifted from a near neutral position of 0.52 (slightly favouring the health groups) to 0.4 (a relative 10% shift towards the tobacco industry position).

Initially, the European Commission’s draft legislation from 2010 was closer to the position of health groups but as it passed through the Commission in 2013 and eventually EU Parliament and Council in 2014, the policy position moved significantly closer to that expressed by the tobacco industry, says the research. The research adds that this shift coincided with the tobacco industry employing over 170 full-time lobbyists and corresponded with a reduction in the proposed size of plain packaging labels, delays to proposed bans on menthol cigarettes, and a scaling back of proposed limits on where cigarettes could be sold. Several stakeholders, including retailers and trade unions, also held positions closer to the tobacco industry over the same period.

The word ‘health’, which appeared in about 1.71% of words in health group submissions, made up around 1.5% of total words in the initial European Commission proposal but only 1.21% of total words in the final approved legislation, says the research. Meanwhile, the researchers found that the root word ‘warn’, used frequently in submissions by health groups, declined from 1.57% to 1.18% in official EU documents.

Researcher Professor David Stuckler from Oxford University said: ‘This study documents a significant policy shift in EU legislation in favour of the tobacco industry following massive lobbying. This shift happened in spite of the fact that all EU countries have signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a treaty developed to protect policy-making from industry manipulation, which is a cause of concern.’

Professor Martin McKee, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: ‘Our study shows why we need to tighten up the governance of health policy in the different institutions of the European Union.’

Lobbying risks corruption

 

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In a democratic society, lobbying is a potentially legitimate activity. It involves the communication of views and information to legislators and administrators by those who have an interest in informing them of the impacts of the decisions under consideration.  It is perfectly legitimate that individuals, acting on their own behalf, or else acting on behalf of third parties, seek to ensure that decision takers are well informed before taking the required decisions. Obviously lobbying should not be the process through which the decision takers make way for the representatives of corporations to take their place.

Free and open access to decision takers is an important matter of public interest. It is perfectly legitimate but ought to be regulated and the resulting information adequately and appropriately disclosed. The difficulty, as always, is where to draw the line. It must be ensured that society protects itself against the corruption risks involved in lobbying when this is secretive and unregulated.

The manner in which Dalligate is unfolding in the EU institutions clearly underlines this preoccupation.  The European Institutions have lobbying rules.  The basic issue of Dalligate is in my view not whether former EU Commissioner John Dalli resigned or was dismissed. Rather, in line with the Code of Conduct for Commissioners, the issue is whether he “acted in a manner that is in keeping with the dignity and duties” of his office when meeting with lobbyists away from the Commission offices, unaccompanied, and such that what went on during the meetings is not documented but known only to a couple of persons. Even if everything said in such meetings was above board, the fact that they were held is itself unacceptable. John Dalli claims, most probably correctly, that he was entrapped by the tobacco industry. Being so naive as to facilitate his own entrapment, it was right that he should go without a whimper. Instead we were regaled with theatrics which have served no useful purpose, not even for John Dalli.

All this is further compounded by the additional very serious allegation that representatives of the tobacco industry met with other senior officials of the EU Commission without these meetings being disclosed and documented.  Emily O’Reilly Ombudsman of the European Union is currently carrying out an investigation at the request of Corporate Europe Observatory on fourteen such meetings.

Corporate Europe Observatory, a watchdog based in Brussels and campaigning for greater transparency and accountability in decision taking, estimates that in Brussels alone there are around 30,000 lobbyists. Compare this to the around 24,000 staff employed by the European Commission as on 31 December 2013 and you get a glimpse of what’s going on in the corridors of Brussels. Lobbying in Brussels is a billion euro industry which seeks to influence and at times deflect political decisions. The regulation of lobbying seeks to place a spotlight on the source of influence and hopefully to counter attempts to derail or deflect political decisions.

There is a continuous debate in the EU institutions on fine tuning the rules regulating lobbying. In 2011 the European Parliament approved an “Inter-institutional agreement on a Common Transparency Register between the Parliament and the Commission”. This register provides for the voluntary registering of lobbyists active in the EU institutions. It is hoped that during the current EU Parliament’s term the registration of lobbyists in Brussels will be a compulsory matter. This may happen when the issues raised by Dalligate are finally addressed, possibly within the next few months.

Closer to home, a Parliamentary Select Committee has concluded its workings on Standards in Public Life. The Select Committee generally did a good job. It produced a final report which Mr Speaker laid on the Table of the House on the 24 March 2014. The report, including the proposed legislation attached to the said report, deals with the behaviour of Members of Parliament (including members of Cabinet) and persons appointed to positions of trust in the public sector (including statutory authorities) primarily with reference to their declaration of assets as well as with reference to a Code of Ethics which has been in force since 1994.  Surprisingly there is no direct reference to lobbying in the workings and conclusions of the Parliamentary Select Committee.

Lobbying, as is normal, is very much existent in Malta too. It would be appropriate if it is addressed by ensuring that it is regulated, documented and disclosed where appropriate. However it seems that currently there are no plans to regulate lobbying in Malta. If we are really serious on tackling corruption at its roots it would be better if the need to regulate lobbying is urgently reconsidered. Together with legislation on the financing of political parties, the regulation of lobbying would create a quasi complete tool-kit in the fight against corruption.

published in The Times of Malta – 21 July 2014

30 minuta għal John Dalli

30 minutes or less

Meta Josè Manoel Barroso, President tal-Kummissjoni Ewropeja, iltaqa’ ma John Dalli nhar  is-16 t’Ottubru 2012 qallu li kien qed jagħtih 30 minuta biex jiddeċiedi – jew jitlaq inkella jtellqu.

Wara li iktar kmieni din il-ġimgħa l-Qorti Ewropeja tal-Ġustizzja (ECJ) semgħet ix-xhieda ta’ John Dalli, ta’ Josè Manoel Barroso u ta’ oħrajn, kif ukoll wara li l-konsulenti legali kemm ta’ Dalli kif ukoll ta’ Barroso qalu tagħhom, l-affarijiet forsi huma ftit iktar ċari.

Lil John Dalli nafu, mill-viċin. Ħdimt miegħu għal xi żmien. Nistqarr li jiena ftit ippreġudikat favur tiegħu. Kont qiegħed nittama li f’dak li nisma’ jew naqra insib x’imkien xi ħaġa li tispjega dak li ilu jingħad b’mod li jkun  ċar li mexa sewwa.

Dak li qiegħed jingħad m’hu ta’ ġid għal ħadd. Jagħmel il-ħsara lir-reputazzjoni ta’ kulħadd. L-ikbar ħsara li saret s’issa hi lir-reputazzjoni ta’ Malta li jidher illi kull min lablab dwar il-każ ftit li xejn ħa in konsiderazzjoni.

Hemm affarijiet li huma ċari ħafna. Il-każ  hu kumplott mill-industrija tat-tabakk biex tipproteġi lilha inifisha u biex tnaqqas ir-regolamentazzjoni tal-industrija. Il-mira kienet id-Direttiva dwar il-Prodotti tat-Tabakk u l-profitti sostanzjali għall-industrija li jirriżultaw b’inqas  regolamentazzjoni.

John Dalli jidher li għandu raġun meta jinsisti li hemm diversi persuni mlaħħqin fil-Kummissjoni li kienu f’kuntatt inkiss inkiss mal-industrija tat-tabakk. Tant li Corporate Europe Observatory nhar it-2 ta’ Lulju 2014 ħabbret li l-Ombudsman tal-EU Emily O’Reilly ser tinvestiga 14-il laqgħa li saru minn persuni ta’ madwar Barroso u li m’humiex dokumentati skond ir-regoli tal-EU. Il-Corporate Europe Observatory hi bbażata fi Brussels. Xogħolha hu  biex tgħasses fuq il-lobby tal-industrija u n-negozju u l-impatt tagħhom fuq il-ħidma tal-istrutturi kollha tal-Unjoni Ewropeja.

Imma minbarra dawn il-laqgħat li Barroso u ta’ madwaru qed jgħidu li ma sarux hemm laqgħat oħra li saru minn John Dalli. John Dalli ikkonferma anke’ fix-xhieda tiegħu quddiem il-Qorti Ewropeja li dawn il-laqgħat saru imma qal li ma ippjanhomx u l-anqas ma kien jaf li dawk li ltaqgħu miegħu kienu mill-industrija tat-tabakk.  Jiġifieri l-inqas li jista’ jingħad hu li tat-tabakk lil Dalli ippruvaw jaħdmuh, u sa ċertu punt irnexxilhom. Imkien ma irriżulta s’issa li Dalli, kif induna x’ġara, informa lill-awtoritajiet kompetenti fi Brussels b’dak li ġara.  L-unika ħaġa li nafu li titfa ftit dawl fuq x’ġara hi x-xhieda ta’ Joanna Darmanin [ara nota 1], li kienet tmexxi s-Segretarjat Privat ta’ Dalli bħala Kummissarju Ewropew fi Brussels. Darmanin nhar it-Tnejn xhedet illi meta staqsiet lil John Dalli jekk hux veru li huwa ltaqa’ ma tat-tabakk, weġibha li jiltaqa’ ma kull min jidhirlu hu. Dan hu statement gravi ħafna, għax waqt li kien Kummissarju John Dalli ma kellux dan id-dritt li jiltaqa’ ma min irid hu. 24 siegħa kuljum kien qed jirrappreżenta lill-Kummissjoni u kellu l-obbligu li jimxi mar-regoli. Dan m’għamlux, anke jekk mhux neċessarjament li hu t-tort tiegħu.

Fid-dawl ta’ dan kollu hu ċar li John Dalli iltaqa’ ma rappreżentanti tal-industrija tat-tabakk u ma informa b’dan lil ħadd sakemm inqalgħet l-istorja tas-€60 miljun.

Ir-rapport tal-OLAF fuq il-każ kollu hu mimli toqob. Kif sewwa jgħid Dalli innifsu biex sar ir-rapport Giovanni Kesssler wettaq ħafna irregolaritajiet. Waħda mill-MEPs Ġermaniżi membru tal-Kumitat Parlamentari (EU) tal-kontroll tal-budget iddokumentat dawn l-irregolaritajiet  gravi, lista twila.

Dan iwassal għal żewġ konklużjonijiet bażiċi.  L-ewwel li r-rapport ta’ Govanni Kessler għandu jkun skartat u t-tieni li John Dalli, b’konferma tiegħu stess, iltaqa’ b’mod irregolari ma’ rappreżentanti tal-industrija tat-tabakk. It-tielet konkluzjoni dwar kuntatti irregolari ta’ dawk madwar Barroso mal-industrija tat-tabakk  trid tistenna ftit ieħor sakemm l-Ombudsman tal-EU Emily O’Reilly ittemm l-investigazzjoni tagħha.

Dan ifisser li John Dalli bħala riżultat li tat-tabakk ħadmuh ma kienx iktar postu fil-Kummissjoni Ewropeja.

John Dalli ma kellux bżonn 30 minuta biex jiddeċiedi. Kien ilu li ikkomprometta l-posizzjoni tiegħu mill-mument li induna li tat-tabakk ħadmuh u ma għamilx rapport dwar dan.

Hi ħasra li John Dalli aġixxa b’mod daqshekk baħnan. L-irġulija titlob li meta jsir żball nerfgħu r-responsabbilta’ tiegħu.  Wasal iż-żmien li anke John Dalli jagħmel dan il-pass. Il-ħsara li saret hi kbira wisq.

ippubblikat fuq iNews il-Ħamis 10 ta’ Lulju 2014

 

nota 1:

Malta Today irrappurtat hekk online

18:16: Darmanin says she asked Dalli whether he had really met the tobacco representatives. “He said, I meet with whom I like.”

 

Dalli vs Barroso u Kessler : ir-round li jmiss

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Il-ġimgħa d-dieħla fil-Qorti Ewropeja tal-Ġustizzja ser jitla’ jixhed Josè Manoel Barroso innifsu biex iwieġeb għall-mistoqsijiet ta’ l-Imħallfin fil-kawża li fetaħ John Dalli innifsu.

Dan hu l-ewwel darba li Barroso qed ikun mitlub jixhed dwar il-każ sentejn wara r-riżenja sfurzata ta’ John Dalli minn Kummissarju.

Imma dan mhux kollox. L-Ombudsman tal-EU Emily O’Reilly bdiet tinvestga dwar laqgħat sigrieti bejn il-Kummissjoni Ewropeja u l-Industrija tat-tabakk. Talbet lill-Barroso jispjega u tatu sat-30 ta’ Settembru żmien.

L-investigazzjoni tal-Ombudsman tal-EU bdiet wara li irċeviet ilment mill-NGO Ewropew Corporate Europe Observatory.

Sadanittant f’Malta sirna nafu li Silvio Zammit ġie imwiegħed proklama u li l-konfront bejn John Dalli u Giovanni Kessler jidher li hu pospost!

Il-kobba tkompli titħabbel.

 

 

 

 

 

Fir-Repubblika tal-Banana ……………..għandna ukoll Parlament

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Fil-Parlament il-lejla l-Ispeaker Anġlu Farrugia ta’ ruling fuq każ ta’ ksur ta’ privileġġ li Joseph Muscat Prim Ministru ressaq kontra Simon Busuttil Kap tal-Opposizzjoni.

Muscat ħassu offiż li l-bieraħ, fil-Parlament, Busuttil qal li kien hemm indħil politiku minn Muscat fil-każ tal-pulizija fil-konfront ta’ John Dalli.

L-Ispeaker Farrugia ikkonkluda li kien hemm ksur ta’ privileġġ. L-Opposizzjoni telqet il-barra wara li Mario de Marco qam fil-Parlament u qal li r-ruling tal-Ispeaker ifisser illi l-Membri Parlamentari ma jistgħux jaslu għal konklużjoni politika dwar dak li jkun għaddej.

Naħseb li l-Membri Parlamentari qed jaġixxu qieshom tfal żgħar.

Muscat messu qam u spjega għaliex Busuttil wasal għal konklużjoni żbaljata, jekk inhu l-każ.  Il-fatt li dan m’għamlux ifisser li jħossu skomdu jidħol f’dan l-argument. Għax dak li qal Simon Busuttil hi konklużjoni li waslu għaliha ħafna nies hemm barra fit-triq.

Hija l-perception tan-nies.  L-istess perception li tul is-snin wasslet in-nies biex tikkonkludi li dan hu pajjiż korrott.  Jekk tistaqsi għall-provi ħadd ma jagħtihomlok. Mhux ser issibhom imma hekk taħseb in-nies.

Meta tara l-mod kif tkellmu kemm il-Kummissarju tal-Pulizija tal-lum Pietru Pawl  Zammit kif ukoll il-Kummissarju ta’ ftit ilu John Rizzo bil-fors tasal għal konklużjoni li hemm xi ħaġa m’hiex f’postha. Kif jista’ l-Kummissarju Rizzo jasal għal konklużjoni mod u wara ftit il-Kummissarju Zammit jasal għall-konklużjoni mod ieħor? It-tnejn qalu li qabel magħhom l-Avukat Ġenerali tar-Repubblika, avolja dak li fil-fatt qal l-Avukat Ġenerali tar-Repubblika s’issa ma jafu ħadd hlief Rizzo u Zammit!

Qiesna f’Repubblika tal-Banana.

Il-logħba ta’ Muscat hi waħda perikoluża u għalkemm ma naqbilx li hemm xi theddida għad-demokrazija kif qiegħed jgħid il-PN qed tinħoloq klima ta’ sfiduċja li fit-tul tista’ twassal għal konsegwenzi gravi.

Il-Gvern qed jieħu għalih bil-kritika u flok ma jwieġeb u jispjega juża l-ksur tal-privileġġ, metodu mhux adatt għas-seklu 21.

L-Opposizzjoni min-naħa l-oħra minflok ma tirreaġixxi bil-kalma bl-iskop li tesponi b’mod intelliġenti l-Gvern għal dak li hu, issabbat saqajha u titlaq il-barra.

L-anqas li kien Parlament tat-tfal ma jimxi b’dan il-mod.

Fir-Repubblika tal-Banana għandna ukoll Parlament!

Repubblika tal-Banana fil-Mediterran

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John Rizzo li sa Marzu 2013 kien il-Kummissarju tal-Pulizija jgħidilna fil-Qorti li hu kien iddeċieda li kien hemm biżżejjed provi biex itella’ lil John Dalli l-Qorti dwar il-każ oriġinalment investigat mill-OLAF in konnessjoni mat-taħwid u t-tixħim koness mal-industrija tat-tabakk.

John Rizzo jgħid ukoll li dwar dan kien qabel miegħu l-Avukat Ġenerali tar-Repubblika.

Il-Kummissarju tal-Pulizija l-ġdid Peter Paul Zammit l-ewwel qalilna li wara li studja sewwa l-każ hu tal-fehma li ma hemmx każ kontra John Dalli. Imbagħad qalilna li l-każ għadu mhux magħluq. Interessanti li s-Sur Peter Paul Zammit ukoll qalilna li l-Avukat Ġenerali jaqbel miegħu!

Tajjeb pero li qatt ma smajna x’qal verament l-Avukat Ġenerali. S’issa nafu biss x’qal ħaddieħor dwaru.

Qiesna qed ngħixu f’Repubblika tal-Banana fil-Mediterran.  L-opinjonijiet legali jiddependu fuq min ikun fil-Gvern. Hemm każ jew  m’hemmx każ?

Tonio Borg: his nomination and Malta’s reputation

Stephen Calleja heads the editorial team at Standard Publications, publishers of the Malta Independent as well the The Malta Independent on Sunday.

He considers himself to be “independent” so much that he did not bat an eyelid in accepting to present a TV discussion programme on the PN political TV station NET TV: l-Iswed fuq l-Abjad. Its independence can be attested by considering his choice of speakers and his myopic consideration of the  issues discussed.

In today’s edition of the Independent on Sunday Mr Calleja speaks of “restoring Malta’s reputation” when discussing the consideration by the EU institutions of Tonio Borg’s nomination as John Dalli’s successor on the EU Commission.

Calleja’s point is that The Green’s criticism of Tonio Borg’s nomination and credentials will tarnish Malta’s reputation.

It seems that those defending Tonio Borg’s nomination, including Mr Calleja, consider that he has only one positive point, that he is Maltese and they expect all to rally behind this nomination on the basis of his nationality.

Calleja fails to give due weight that Tonio Borg has destroyed his own candidacy by his utterances and actions as a Minister. His actions on immigration  when he supported Berlusoni’s agreement with Gaddafi’s Libya to send back immigrants to Libya to be tortured is compounded by the 2002 Eritrean refugee mishap documented by Amnesty International amd UNHCR. Tonio Borg as Malta’s Minister for the Interior  was responsible for sending back Eritrean immigrants. Some were tortured others disappeared.

Tonio Borg’s utterances against tenancy rights of same sex couples during the rent reform debate in Malta’s Parliament may have been forgotten by Stephen Calleja.  Calleja may even consider as unimportant the fact that Tonio Borg defied the referendum result and opposed divorce legislation.

In view of Tonio Borg’s record as pointed out above I do not consider that his nomination was the appropriate one.

When Lawrence Gonzi, notwithstanding the above decided to proceed with Tonio Borg’s nomination he was gambling Malta’ reputation.  He should have nominated someone else. There are plenty of suitable candidates amongst Malta’s  404,000 population.

It is on Lawrence Gonzi’s doorstep that Stephen Calleja should direct his criticism. But obviously, as he is “independent” he will find considerable difficulty in doing so.

A democratic test

The reaction of government to Franco Debono’s motion on St Philip’s Hospital is of serious concern. It will certainly be no feather in the cap for Deputy Prime Minister Tonio Borg if he has to face hearings in the European Parliament in the weeks to come as a possible successor of John Dalli. It is unheard of in a democracy to postpone the consideration of a motion in order that you have a free hand as a result of obstructing Parliament from expressing itself.

Tonio Borg as Leader of the House has to shoulder political responsibility for the manoeuvres which he is orchestrating in the House Business Committee. The motion calls for withholding the conclusion of an agreement between Government and Good Shepherd Group Limited until such time that the process leading to the agreement has been thoroughly examined by the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee.

Such actions contradict Tonio Borg’s credentials built up in the 70s and 80s as a result of which he is known to one and all as a democrat: a reasonable person, respecting the views of others. These manoeuvres point to a different Tonio Borg.

These manoeuvres are motivated by the fact that it is clear that government no longer enjoys the confidence of the House. Faced with such a fact any democrat would not dare to create obstacles to ensure that such a motion is not considered.

Last Monday’s debate in the House was conceded by government as it did not involve any decision taking. The debate revealed that there are a large number of unanswered questions in respect of the  proposed agreement to lease and eventually possibly purchase St Philip’s Hospital. These require an answer before not after the signing of the agreement.

A democratic government would ensure that Parliament expresses itself at the earliest, and once it has spoken it would seek to follow meekly as directed by Parliament.

This is a democratic test which government must face. So far it has avoided it.

 

Published in di-ve.com on Friday, 19 October 2012

Issa x’imiss li jiġri ?

Il-bieraħ il-Kumitat Eżekuttiv tal-PN iddeċieda li tlieta mill-Membri Parlamentari tiegħu: JPO, Franco Debono u Jesmond Mugliette ma jkunux kandidati tiegħu u f’ismu fl-elezzjoni ġenerali li jmiss. Fuq tnejn minnhom (JPO u Jesmond) ġja kien hemm dikjarazzjoni mill-kandidati infushom li ma riedux jerġgħu jkunu kandidati.  It-tielet wieħed, Franco, qal lill-media u riedna nemmnu li hekk kien, li Lawrence Gonzi riedu jerġa’ jkun kandidat. Ħalliha li Gonzi ċaħad dan.

Din tal-kandidaturi m’hi xejn. Kulħadd kien jistenniha għax kienet ovvja. Bħalma kienet ovvja li Austin Gatt kien ser ikun wieħed mill-iżjed li ser jopponi l-kandidatura ta’ Franco, kif l-istess Franco informa lill-media! X’tistenna? Wara l-kritika ħarxa lilu u lill-assistent tiegħu Manwel Delia (avolja kienet ġustifikata) fuq il-froġa tal-Arriva dan kien mistenni. Forsi Franco jirrealizza issa li l-astensjoni fil-vot ta’ sfiduċja dwar Austin Gatt kien żball da parti tiegħu. Għax il-konsegwenza loġika tal-argumenti tiegħu kellha tkun li Austin Gatt kellu jwarrab minn Ministru. Imma għal xi raġuni li s’issa għadni ma fhimtx Franco iddeċieda mod ieħor!

Fl-isfond ta’ dan kollu  Lawrence Gonzi irid li jtemm il-leġislatura sħiħa. Jiġifieri li l-Gvern immexxi minnu jibqa’ jiffunzjona sas-sena d-dieħla. Il-Parlament jista’ jibqa’ jiltaqa’ sad-9 ta’ Mejju 2013 u jekk jagħmel hekk l-iktar tard li tissejjah elezzjoni jista’ jkun is-Sibt ta’ qabel id-9 t’Awissu 2013. Dak il-massimu. Probabilment li Gonzi għandu f’moħħu li jġebbed sa Marzu 2013.

Imma l-mistoqsija hi : ser iwassal s’hemm?

L-aġenda parlamentari li hemm imħejjija għal wara l-vaganzi tas-sajf kif ukoll il-proġetti li jimmaturaw lejn l-aħħar tas-sena u l-bidu tad-dieħla jindikaw li Gonzi u l-PN ser jagħmlu sforz biex iġebbdu kif jistgħu. Imma dan ma jiddependix minnhom biss.

L-ewwel punt li jista’ jeffettwa hu x’ser jiġri mill-fattur RCC. Diġa jidher li JPO ser ikollu d-diffikultajiet. Il-Kummissarju tal-Pulizija, ġustament, qal li m’għandux ikollu x’jaqsam f’materja purament politika. Gordon Pisani hu ostili għal JPO u m’hu ser jgħid jew jagħmel xejn li jista’ jkun ta’ l-iċken ħsara għal Gonzi. Karmenu Vella diġa kixef idejh, u dak li qal jiddependi fuq il-kelma tiegħu kontra l-kelma ta’ RCC. Jibqa’ biss ix-xhieda ta’ Joe Mizzi u John Dalli!

Jiena m’hux qed nistenna li l-Kumitat Eżekuttiv tal-PN joħroġ b’xi kundanna għal RCC meta jidher ċar li l-argument prinċipali  ser ikun dwar il-kuntatti bejn RCC u uffiċjali tal-Gvern ta’ Alfred Sant dwar l-iskorta li kellu RCC minħabba l-attentat kważi fatali li kien seħħ fuq ħajtu fl-Imdina. Dan ta’ l-inqas joħrog minn dak li qal Joe Mizzi tal-Labour u f’dan il-kuntest hi relevanti x-xhieda tal-Kummissarju tal-Pulizija.  Il-kuntatti li qed jurtaw lil JPO probabilment żviluppaw minħabba li l-Gvern ta’ Sant irtira l-iskorta u RCC ħass (ġustament) li din kienet meħtieġa.

Fid-dawl ta’ dan jiena nistenna li l-Kumitat Eżekuttiv tal-PN joħroġ b’eloġju għal RCC u kundanna oħra għal JPO. Dan ikun ifisser li tiħrax il-kampanja pubblika ta’ JPO kontra l-PN u magħquda mar-reazzjonijiet ta’ Franco Debono ifisser li l-ewwel seduti tal-Parlament f’Ottubru jistgħu jkunu determinanti.

Fid-dawl ta’ dan Gonzi jista’ jikkunsidra li jxolji immedjatament biex jevita konfront ieħor. Bosta qed jgħidulu biex jagħmel hekk, imma jidher daqstant ieħor ċar li ser jibqa’ jirresisti sakemm ma jkollux triq oħra. Sakemm ikun inevitabbli li jwarrab.

Sakemm jibqa’ imqar l-iċken tama li jista’ jibqa’ għaddej fil-Parlament naħseb li ser jibqa’ mkaħħal mas-siġġu f’Kastilja.