Leo Brincat: loyalties and lip service

epa04912519 Maltese Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and CLimate change Leo Brincat arrives for an EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting at the conference center in Luxembourg, 04 September 2015. EU Foreign Ministers gather in Luxembourg to discuss on the ongoing refugees and migrant crises. EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

When Leo Brincat gave evidence before the EU Parliamentary Committee on Budgetary Control last week he was, as anticipated, quizzed on his position regarding the Panama Papers.

Leo Brincat made himself crystal clear by stating that he would have submitted his resignation – or else suspended himself from office until such time as matters would have been clarified – had he been himself involved.

He volunteered the information that there had been a point at which he had considered resigning from Ministerial office due to the manner in which the Panama Papers scandal was handled in Malta. He added that, eventually, however, his considerations did not materialise and he did not resign as he had no desire to be a “hero for a day and end up in the (political) wilderness” thereafter.

Then came the fundamental issue: what about his vote against the motion of No Confidence in Minister Konrad Mizzi which was discussed by Malta’s House of Representatives? He emphasised that he could not vote in favour of the No Confidence motion as he was bound by the party’s Parliamentary Whip! It was a basic standard of local politics, based on the Westminister model, he emphasised.

At this point Leo Brincat made it clear to the EU Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee that he had made a very important and fundamental choice: he preferred loyalty to the party whip to loyalty to his principles: those same principles which he has been harping on for ages. When push came to shove, solidarity with Konrad Mizzi took priority over good governance. This is what irked a substantial number of MEPs and prompted them not to recommend the  approval of Leo Brincat as a member of the European Court of Auditors. Leo’s declaration means only one thing: that his statements on good governance are only lip service to which there is no real commitment.

From this point onwards, the issue became one of principle, stated Slovenian Green MEP Igor Šoltes, Vice Chairman of the EU Parliamentary Committee on Budgetary Control and rapporteur on the European Court of Auditors, when interviewed by the local media. How is it possible to expect appointment to the European Court of Auditors and simultaneously give a nod of approval to Konrad Mizzi? Leo’s reluctance to distance himself from Konrad’s misbehaviour was his undoing.

Leo Brincat was considered as being technically qualified for the post of member of the European Court of Auditors but his public behaviour relative to the Panama Papers left much to be desired: it rendered him ethically unqualified.

Most of the information on Malta and the Panama Papers scandal is freely available online. In this day and age, MEPs and their staff, like anyone else, can easily look up all the information they need in an instant. They do not need any prodding by David Casa, Roberta Metsola, Therese Commodini Cachia or anyone else!

The facts are damning enough. Leo Brincat, unfortunately, came across as an ambivalent person who speaks in favour of good governance yet through his vote simultaneously gives support to its negation. Konrad Mizzi’s behaviour,, sanctioned in parliament by the vote of Leo Brincat and his colleagues on the government benches, signifies that the Parliamentary Labour Party in Malta does not care about good governance. Leo Brincat’s failure is quite representative of the Labour Parliamentary group’s behaviour in Malta, as they have all contributed to this mess – the effects of which are yet to come.

In fairness, I must also point out that the press had, at a point in time picked up information about a rowdy Labour Party Parliamentary Group meeting during which Leo Brincat and a number of other MPs (including a number of Ministers ) had argued for Konrad Mizzi’s resignation or removal. It is indeed unfortunate that Joseph Muscat did not feel sufficiently pressured to remove Konrad Mizzi from Cabinet, as that meeting was only followed up with cosmetic changes in Konrad Mizzi’s Cabinet responsibilities.

It is useless to try and shift the blame onto Joseph Muscat and his cronies. While Joseph Muscat is ultimately responsible, this does not exonerate Leo Brincat and each individual member of the Labour Party Parliamentary group; each one of them too must shoulder responsibilities for  failure to act in removing Konrad Mizzi from public office.

At the end of the day there is just one lesson: loyalty to your conscience is not up for bartering.

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Leo Brincat: iħallas il-prezz tal-ambivalenza

 

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Il-Parlament Ewropew iktar kmieni illum waranofsinnhar iddeċieda li ma jaċċettax in-nomina ta’ Leo Brincat bħala membru Malti tal-Qorti tal-Awdituri. Fil-Parlament ma kienx hemm diskussjoni, imma r-rakkomandazzjoni tal-Kumitat tas-sorveljanza tal-Budget. Kienet rakkomandazzjoni biex Leo Brincat ikun approvat. Fil-kumitat kien hemm diskussjoni u l-maġġoranza tal-kumitat qablet li Leo Brincat kellu  ikun approvat.

Waqt il-laqgħa tal-kumitat Leo Brincat wieġeb diversi mistoqsijiet mill-membri parlamentari ewropej. Il-mistoqsijiet kienu juru b’mod ċar x’kien ta’ tħassib għall-membri tal-kumitat parlamentari. Ir-raġunijiet u l-argumenti li inġiebu huma bla dubju l-bażi li fuqhom il-Membri tal-Parlament Ewropew ivvutaw u iddeċidew li ma japprovawx il-ħatra ta’ Leo Brincat.

Hemm min jitħassar lil Leo Brincat għad-deċiżjoni li ittieħdet iktar kmieni illum. Għax, jgħidu, huwa raġel validu, ippreparat u ta’ integrità. U li ma kellux jeħel hu bit-tortijiet tal-Gvern ta’ Joseph Muscat.

Tajjeb iżda li niftakru ftit li meta Leo Brincat ġie mgħarbel mill-Kumitat Parlamentari tal-Parlament Ewropew dwar is-Sorveljanza tal-Budget ħarġet ċara ħafna li l-bniedem hu ambivalenti.

Issa l-ambivalenza tfisser l-esistenza simultaneja ta’ żewġ attitudnijiet opposti u konfliġġenti.

Leo Brincat iffaċċjat b’dak li kien qed jingħad dwar l-involviment tal-Ministru Konrad Mizzi fil-każ magħruf bħala l-Panama Papers qal illi li kien hu floku (flok Konrad Mizzi, jiġifieri) kien jirriżenja minn Ministru jew ta’ l-inqas jissospendi ruħu sakemm jiċċaraw ruħhom l-affarijiet. Leo Brincat  żied jgħid li ffaċċjat b’dak li kien qed jiġri kien hemm mumenti li kien qed jikkonsidra li huwa jirreżenja minn Ministru. Imma kieku huwa rreżenja, żied jgħid Leo Brincat, kien ikun “a hero for a day”.  Imbagħad, wara, jitwarrab u jispiċċa “in the wilderness”.

F’din is-sitwazzjoni, żied jgħid, ipprefera li jiġġieled minn ġewwa. Ma qalilniex kif jew x’għamel. Imma nafu minn dak li ħareġ fl-istampa li f’dak iż-żmien kien hemm laqgħa movimentata tal-grupp parlamentari laburista u Leo Brincat issemma flimkien ma numru ta’ veterani oħra fil-grupp Parlamentari Laburista li insistew għar-riżenja ta’ Konrad Mizzi u Keith Schembri l-Kasco. Imma jidher li kienu fil-minoranza.

Imbagħad ġiet is-siegħa tal-prova, l-vot ta’ sfiduċja fil-Parlament. F’din is-siegħa tal-prova Leo Brincat bil-vot tiegħu ddikjara li kellu fiduċja f’Konrad Mizzi u ivvota favur tiegħu, minkejja li fil-fehma tiegħu Konrad Mizzi kellu jirreżenja!

Ambivalenza iktar minn din qatt ma rajt u diffiċli biex nara.

Huwa veru li ma kellux freevote imma li kien obbligat mill-Partit tiegħu li ma jivvutax kontra Konrad Mizzi. Imma dik kienet l-għażla li kellu jagħmel Leo Brincat. Meta ġie biex jagħżel ivvota kontra dak li kien jemmen fih. Ivvota favur il-medjokrità u kontra s-serjeta u l-governanaza tajba.

Fil-fehma tiegħi din hi l-issue ċentrali li fuqha iddeċieda l-Parlament Ewropew meta għarbel il-ħatra ta’ Leo Brincat. Kien ċara daqs il-kristall minn kmieni. Id-dikjarazzjonijiet ta’ Leo Brincat favur l-imġieba korretta u l-governanza tajba ma jikkorrispondux mal-vot ta’ fiduċja favur Konrad Mizzi. Huma żewg affarijiet kontradittorji.

Dak hu li jfisser il-vot tal-lum fil-Parlament Ewropew. Min m’għandux il-kuraġġ tal-konvinzjonijiet tiegħu (għax jemmen ħaġa u jagħmel mod ieħor) mhux addattat għal karigi pubbliċi.

 

Leo Brincat u l-morsa tal-iskandlu tal-Panama

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Bħal diversi minnkom segwejt lill-Leo Brincat jiġi eżaminat mill-Kumitat Parlamentari tal-Parlament Ewropew dwar il-Kontroll tal-Budget qabel ma jinħatar bħala membru tal-Qorti Ewropeja tal-Awdituri.

Leo qal li Konrad Mizzi messu irriżenja. Qal ukoll li hu ħassu f’morsa u kien qed jikkunsidra li jirriżenja fil-ġranet ta’ qabel il-mozzjoni ta’ sfiduċja.

Dan fakkarni li f’dawk il-ġranet kien hawn diversi rapporti dwar diversi membri tal-Kabinett li tkellmu b’ċerta qawwa waqt il-laqgħat tal-Grupp Parlamentari Laburista u lkoll insistew li Konrad Mizzi kellu jirriżenja.

Issa li m’għadux membru tal-Kabinett Leo stqarr fil-pubbliku dak li kien magħruf li qal wara l-bibien magħluqa.

Għamlu tajjeb il-Membri Parlamentari Ewropej li insistew għal tweġibiet dwar l-iskandlu tal-Panama. L-istorja ċertament ma tieqafx hawn għax fil-ġimgħat li ġejjin trid tibda l-inkjesta fid-dettall dwar l-istess skandlu. Għad irridu naraw kif din l-inkjesta ser tiżviluppa u b’mod partikolari kif ser iġibu ruħhom dawk il-Maltin li ser ikunu mitlubin jidhru quddiem il-kumitat parlamentari tal-Parlament Ewropew li ser imexxi l-inkjesta.

Min ħaseb li l-istorja raqdet sejjer żmerċ. Għad irridu nisimgħu ħafna iktar. U min żbalja għad irid iħallas. Jekk mhux illum ikollu jħallas għada.

Id-dikjarazzjoni ta’ Leo Brincat illum għandha sinifikat simboliku. Seta kellha sinifikat ħafna ikbar kieku kellu l-kuraġġ tal-konvinzjonijiet tiegħu.

Standing Ovation għal Konrad

joseph_muscat_konrad_mizzi_ice_bucket_challengeeuropean-court-of-auditors-7-638

 

Jekk Konrad ma għamel xejn ħażin Joseph Muscat jista’ jikkunsidra li jinnominah bħala l-kandidat Malti għall-Qorti Ewropeja tal-Awdituri. Jinnominah flok Toni Abela, issa li ġie imħabbar li n-nomina ta’ Toni Abela ġiet irtirata.

Ikollu l-opportunità li jkun intervistat minn Kumitat tal-Parlament Ewropew u jkun jista’ jispjega lil udjenza ferm ikbar milli għamel s’issa għaliex għamel sewwa meta fetaħ kumpanija sigrieta fil-Panama.

Bla dubju għandu esperjenza ħafna iktar minn Toni Abela.

It-Taljan Gianni Pitella, bla dubju jagħtih l-appoġġ kollu li jista’, tiegħu u tas-Soċjalisti u Progressivi fil-Parlament Ewropew!

Titħajjar?

Ma tafx kif jispiċċa bi standing ovation oħra!  Tlieta fil-fatt: waħda għalih, oħra għal Joseph u oħra għal Malta għax l-aqwa fl-Ewropa.

 

Toni Abela fir-raba’ sular

Toni Abela. EU hearing 160316

Id-deċiżjoni tal-bieraħ tal-Kumitat tal-Parlament Ewropew dwar il-Kontroll tal-Budget setgħet kienet antiċipata. Toni Abela hu persuna li qatt ma ħarab il-kontroversja, u l-istess kontroversja bla dubju baqgħet tiġri warajh.

Bħal ħafna oħrajn jiena kont sorpriż meta l-Gvern iddeċieda li jinnomina lil Toni Abela għall-Qorti tal-Awdituri, prinċipalment minħabba li m’għandu l-ebda esperjenza ta’ amministrazzjoni pubblika. Qatt ma miss direttament b’idejh id-deċiżjonijiet politiċi dwar l-allokazzjoni ta’ fondi pubbliċi u l-infieq tagħhom. Esperjenza f’dan il-qasam ma kellu xejn.  L-esperjenza bħala Viċi Sindku tal-Ħamrun 24 sena ilu, fil-fehma tiegħi ma tfisser assolutament xejn.

Ma dan trid iżżid il-kontroversja dwar id-droga fil-Każin Laburista ta’ Ħal-Safi li dwarha, l-ispjegazzjoni li ta Toni Abela, anke jekk probabilment hi korretta, qatt ma kienet sodisfaċenti. Hi spjegazzjoni li ma kkonvinċiet lil ħadd. Hi kontroversja li wasslet ċar il-messaġġ li l-Partit Laburista ipproteġa l-kriminalità fil-każini tiegħu.

Dan kollu, trid tarah ukoll fid-dawl tad-dibattitu kurrenti dwar il-korruzzjoni fil-pajjiż kif ukoll fid-dawl tal-fatt li l-kaz John Dalli ta lil Malta isem ħażin fuq l-livell Ewropew. Dan hu salib li bħala pajjiż irridu inġorru għal snin kbar u minħabba fih kulħadd ser jeżamina kull ma nagħmlu u nipproponu bil-lenti.

Hemm min qed jgħid li dan kollu hu riżultat ta’ kampanja negattiva mill-membri parlamentari tal-PN fil-Parlament Ewropew. Issa jiena ma nafx dawn x’għamlu, imma naf li illum il-ġurnata, sempliċi search fuq l-internet, f’tebqa’ t’għajn tagħtik l-informazzjoni kollha li tkun trid jew teħtieġ, mhux biss dwar Malta iżda ukoll dwar Toni Abela.

Fid-dawl ta’ dan kollu Toni Abela seta faċilment antiċipa r-riżultat tal-bieraħ. Żbalja bil-kbir meta aċċetta n-nomina.

Għadni ma nistax nifhem kif l-istrateġisti tar-raba’ sular dan kollu ma fehmuhx.

Louis Galea u r-Reshuffle fil-Kabinett ta’ Joseph Muscat

Louis Galea ECAEuropean Court of Auditors 2014

 

Diversi, fosthom il-maltarightnow.com  qed jispekulaw li ser issir reshuffle fil-Kabinett dal-waqt biex jinħoloq post ħalli jerġa’ jinħatar Manwel Mallia bħala Ministru.

Dan hu possibli li jsir. Imma waħda mir-raġunijiet li qed tissemma biex tiġġustifika għaliex ser ikun hemm reshuffle hi l-post Malti fil-Qorti tal-Awdituri tal-Unjoni Ewropeja fil-Lussemburgu.

Preżentement hemm Louis Galea, li kien inħatar f’Mejju 2010. Qablu kien hemm Josef Bonnici li dam fil-ħatra bejn Mejju 2004 u Mejju 2010, jiġifieri sitt snin. Dan ifisser li l-ħatra tal-Louis Galea hi għal sitt snin. Allura l-ħatra mill-Gvern Malti tas-suċċessur ta’ Louis Galea ma tidħolx fis-seħħ f’Mejju 2015, iżda f’Mejju 2016.

Ovvjament jekk ser issir reshuffle dal-waqt mhiex ser issir minħabba s-suċċessur ta’ Louis Galea!