A gambit declined

 

The setting up of a pre-electoral alliance is a complex exercise. Alternattiva Demokratika recognised the strategic importance of forming pre-electoral alliances a long time ago – in fact, prior to the 2008 general election, it had (unsuccessfully) taken up such an initiative itself.

The actual result of the 2008 general election was so close that any pre-election alliance would have had a substantial impact on the final result. This was very clear in the polls commissioned and published in the run-up to that general election.  The difference in votes on a national level between the PN and the PL in the March 2008 general election was a mere 1580, with AD receiving 3810 votes first count votes.

When examining the possibility of forging a pre-election alliance there is generally a choice between two approaches to take: either a principle-based approach or a pragmatic one.

The principle-based approach for a pre-election alliance seeks a long-term view based on building bridges that can possibly withstand the test of time. A pre-election alliance based on principles is based on an agreed shared vision. Even if it is not all-encompassing, this can be easier for voters to identify with as it entails a positive proposal: the shared vision.

On the other hand, the pragmatic approach is one aimed solely at the desired result. It is arithmetically driven. It can signify the lumping together under one umbrella of all sorts of views with (possibly) a minimum common denominator.

The National Front pre-electoral alliance set up by Simon Busuttil and Marlene Farrugia  was, in my opinion, one of the latter. Not only did it include the Nationalist Party and the Democratic Party but also the fringe elements of the PN itself, which had previously been weeded out over the years as undesirables.

The National Front was a pragmatic exercise to the extent that an analysis of the actual votes cast clearly shows that the PD link with the PN resulted in no votes being added to the PN by the PD.  Some may argue, for example,  that votes cast for PD candidates in the fifth district (Marlene Farrugia’s home district),  helped the PN turning the tides on Labour by recapturing Labour’s fourth seat. This is not so, as the gain of an additional seat by the PN on the fifth district was exclusively due to boundary changes: the village of Marsaxlokk having been moved to the third district and it being substituted by the hamlet of Ħal-Farruġ from the sixth district.

The PN/PD alliance failed in its major arithmetic objective as it is clear that it failed to attract a significant number of disgruntled voters. Actually, it rather repelled them with its continuous negative messages and sent most of them back to Labour. Unfortunately, this failed attempt will dissuade any other attempt at alliance-building in the immediate future, as no political party enjoys being taken for a ride, as was Simon Busuttil’s party.

Declining the invitation to join  the National Front as an appendix to the PN  was the correct response from Alternattiva Demokratika. It was an exercise in foresight that has been proved right. Listening to “independent” journalists and self-centred intellectuals advocating the Busuttil/Farrugia National Front was a very sad experience, as these were the same people who should have taken the PN itself to task for its internal contradictions on issues of good governance. By endorsing the PN-led National Front, unfortunately, they ended up endorsing the PN’s misdemeanours when they should have been at the forefront of those insisting that the PN clean up its act before claiming any right to wear the suit of shining armour.

In another context, it was former PN Finance Minister Tonio Fenech who made the most appropriate statement earlier this week in the Malta Independent. Answering his own rhetorical question as to what the Nationalist Party stands for, Tonio Fenech replied: “The only true answer I can give is, I don’t know”.

And so say all of us.

published in the Malta Independent on Sunday – 18 June 2017

Through the revolving door: politicians for sale at a discount

Barroso.GoldmanSachs

 

US Investment Bank Goldman Sachs announced last week that it had “hired” former EU Commission Chairman Josè Manuel Barroso as an advisor and non-executive hairman of the Goldman Sachs International arm.

The New York Times quoting co-CEOs of Goldman Sachs International Michael Sherwood and Richard J. Gnoddle explained the relevance of the appointment as being “Josè Manuel’s immense insights and experience including a deep understanding of Europe”. Earlier this week, the EU Observer  further commented that Goldman Sachs hired Barroso “as it struggles with the fallout from Britain’s vote to leave the EU”.

Based in London but offering services across Europe, Goldman Sachs may be faced with limited or no access to the EU’s single market as a result of Brexit. Hence the need to hire Barroso as an advisor and lobbyist as the United Kingdom and the European Union prepare for the negotiations leading to the UK’s exit from the European Union which can be triggered any time in the forthcoming weeks through a declaration in terms of article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Barroso’s engagement with Goldman Sachs is one which will be much debated as, like nine other members of the Commission which he led between 2009 and 2014, he has been catapulted into the corporate boardroom through the revolving door. His value to Goldman Sachs is his knowledge of the privileged information to which he had access during his 10-year tenure as President of the EU Commission and, the influence which he may still have on a number of key EU officials.  This gives great value to his advisory/lobbying role with Goldman Sachs.

European Union regulations on the possible activities of its former Commission members draw a cut-off line after an 18-month cooling-off period at the end of their tenure when, as stated by an EU Commission spokesperson, “there is a reasonable assumption that the access to privileged information or possible influence are no longer an issue”.   This is contested by the different political groupings in the EU Parliament who maintain that the cooling-off period for EU Commissioners taking up sensitive jobs after ceasing their duties as Commissioners should be extended from 18 months to five years the present length of time is insufficient to ensure that the EU is really the servant of ordinary people and not of multinational corporations or international financial institutions.

This debate at a European Union level contrasts to the provisions of the Standards in Public Life Bill currently being debated by the Maltese Parliament which Bill, so far, does not make any provision on the regulation of lobbying in Malta in any form or format.

It is not unheard of in Malta for politicians to move through the revolving door from the Cabinet to the private sector boardroom or its anteroom, and back again. Three such cases of former Cabinet Ministers in Malta in the recent past come to mind : John Dalli and his involvement with the Corinthia Group and later the Marsovin Group, Karmenu Vella who similarly was heavily involved first with the Corinthia Group and subsequently with the Orange Travel Group as well as with Betfair and finally Tonio Fenech’s recent involvement in the financial industry.

Being unregulated, lobbying through the revolving door is not illegal but it can still be unethical and unacceptable in a modern democratic society as it can result in undue influence of corporations over the regulatory authorities.

Piloting the debate on the Standards in Public Life Bill on Monday 11 July, Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech recognised the deficiencies of the Bill and declared that a register of lobbyists in Malta was a necessity. While this is a welcome statement and a significant first step forward, it is certainly not enough, as a proper regulation of lobbying in Malta is long overdue. This involves much more than registration of lobbyists or even the regulation of revolving door recruitment in both the private and the public sector.

If done properly, lobbying is perfectly legitimate. It is perfectly reasonable for any citizen, group of citizens, corporations or even NGOs to seek to influence decision-taking. In fact it is done continuously and 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, should seek to ensure that decision-takers are well informed before taking the required decisions.

However, for lobbying to be acceptable in a democratic society, it must be done transparently. In particular, through regulation it must be ensured  that lobbying should not be transformed into a  process through which the decision-takers make way for the representatives or advisors of corporations to take their place. Lobbying activities must be properly documented and the resulting documentation must be publicly accessible.

Hopefully, Parliament will take note and act.

 

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday: 17 July 2016

Rigali lill-politiċi

gift

Kull rigal li jirċievi persuna fil-politika huwa intenzjonat biex jinfluwenza, fis-sens wiesa’ tal-kelma, u  dan irrispettivament mill-valur. Anke l-oġġetti ta’ bla valur jew dawk b’valur insinifikanti huma intenzjonati biex jinfluwenzaw. Issa l-influwenza intenzjonat bl-għoti ta’ diary, jew biro inkella xi flixkun inbid jew xi xarba alkoholika oħra hi bla dubju differenti minn l-influwenza b’lift f’jet privat għal partita futbol fi Spanja.

L-affarijiet żgħar li jingħataw huma ħafna drabi iktar riklami milli rigali u l-iskop tagħhom ikun wieħed ta’ nota ta’ introduzzjoni jew inkella ta’ apprezzament. Imma l-biro, id-diary u l-flixkun inbid biż-żmien jikbru ftit ftit u jsiru ikla, hampers u affarijiet oħra ukoll. Ħafna drabi t-tixħim ma jkunx f’moħħ min jagħti “token”, l-anqas f’min jagħti xi ħaġa iktar sostanzjali bħal hamper. Niftakru forsi li fis-settur privat ħafna drabi dan hu l-mod kif jingħad grazzi lil klijenti li jiġġeneraw ħafna xogħol. In-nies tan-negozju mhux dejjem jirrealizzaw li l-prattiċi tagħhom, għalkemm validi għalihom, għandhom sinifikat u implikazzjoni differenti meta applikati fis-settur pubbliku

Niftakar lil sid il-jet privat li kien stieden lil Tonio Fenech miegħu sa Spanja biex jaraw partita futbol kien qal lil waħda mill-gazzetti  li ma kellux bżonn jistenna l-partita futbol biex jiltaqa’ ma Tonio Fenech. Seta jagħmel appuntament miegħu meta ried, mingħajr l-iċken diffikulta. Kien korrett. Għalih ma kellu l-ebda sinifikat li ta’ lift lil Tonio Fenech.

Dakinhar ħadd ma qal li Tonio Fenech kien ixxaħħam bil-lift fuq il-jet privat. Imma Tonio Fenech xorta għamel ħażin bħalma kien għamel ħażin Lawrence Gonzi li għalih ukoll kien qiesu ma ġara xejn. Aċċetta rigal meta kien ipprojibit milli jagħmel dan mill-Kodiċi tal-Etika tal-Ministri u s-Segretarji Parlamentari.

Il-mod kif żviluppa l-każ ta’ Dr Joe Cassar dwar ir-rigali (karozza u CCTV) riċentement kien għal kollox differenti. Cassar inqabad bis-sunnara mingħajr ma nduna. Li l-Kap tal-Opposizzjoni ħa passi kien posittiv imma mill-Opposizzjoni ma ħtieġlu l-ebda sforz partikolari għal dan. Ovvjament qed jipprova jerġa’ jibni l-kredibilità li l-PN tilef meta kien fil-Gvern.

Ma neskludix li hemm kazijiet oħra li s’issa għadhom ma rawx id-dawl tax-xemx. Huwa importanti li meta dawn il-kazijiet tifaċċaw ikollna l-għodda lesta biex tkun tista’ issir l-investigazzjoni meħtieġa. Kien għal dan l-iskop li sentejn ilu Kumitat Magħżul tal-Parlament wara diskussjoni twila ħejja abbozz ta’ liġi dwar l-Istandards fil-Ħajja Pubblika.

Imma jidher li l-volontà politika hi nieqsa għax dan l-abbozz għadu pendenti wara li għaddew sentejn.

L-iżbalji saru, u jibqgħu isiru. Li m’għandniex huwa r-rimedji.

Id-dnubiet tal-abbatini

ann fenech

Ħelwa din Ann Fenech tiddeskrivi l-iżbalji tal-PN fil-Gvern qieshom “dnubiet tal-abbatini” ħdejn dak li qed isir illum.

L-istejjer tal-lum huma gravi. Anzi gravi ħafna. Mhux biss dawk dwar il-kumpaniji fil-Panama ta’ Konrad u Keith tal-Kasco. Gravi ħafna ukoll l-istejjer dwar il-biċċa esproprijazzjoni ta’ Triq iz-Zekka l-Belt Valletta u anke l-kaz tal-Cafè Premier.

Huma gravi ħafna minkejja li sa issa għad m’hemmx provi ta’ korruzzjoni.

Mhux bħall-kaz tas-Segretarju Privat ta’ Tonio Fenech li quddiem il-Qorti tal-Maġistrati ammetta akkużi ta’ korruzzjoni u weħel sentenza ta’ tlett snin ħabs sospiza. Dakinnhar kien hemm min ikkummenta li dan l-ex-Segretarju Privat kien refa’ ħafna iktar milli messu. Tonio Fenech dakinnhar kien qal li hu ma kellux x’jaqsam u ma kien jaf xejn.

Imbagħad tiġi Ann Fenech tipprova ddaħħaq bid-dnubiet tal-abbatini.

Il-bozza l-ħamra għall-Onorevoli Ministru

warning

Meta Ministru jingħata rigal, f’soċjetà demokratika tixgħel il-bozza ħamra. Jiġifieri l-allarm. Waħedha toħroġ il-mistoqsija: għalfejn l-Onorevoli Ministru ingħata rigal?

Il-Kodiċi tal-Etika tal-Ministri [ara t-Tieni Skeda tal-Abbozz ta’ Liġi dwar Standards fil-Ħajja Pubblika – li għadu pendenti quddiem il-Parlament]  fir-regola numru 58 jgħid hekk :

“58. L-ebda Ministru m’għandu jaċċetta rigali jew servizzi li l-entità tagħhom tkun tali li jistgħu jpoġġuh f’obbligazzjoni, kemm jekk din tkun reali kif ukoll jekk tidher li tista’ tkun……………… ”

Huwa għal din ir-raġuni li hawn kjass bħalissa dwar il-flat ta’ Portomaso li qed jagħmel użu minnu il-Ministru Chris Cardona. L-ewwel ġie allegat li l-flat kien misluf lill-Ministru. Il-Ministru wara ħafna ħin qal li l-flat hu mikri għandu. L-Onorevoli ipproduċa ukoll kuntratt li qed jingħad li ġie iffirmat f’Diċembru 2014, għal perjodu ta’ għaxar xhur.

Il-kuntratt, li jidher li sar bil-għaġġla, fih xi dettalji nieqsa imma fih ukoll kundizzjonijiet speċjali li jwasslu għal konklużjoni li hemm xi ħaġa li qed tinħeba. Il-kera li mistennija titħallas, skond dan il-kuntratt li ġie ippubblikat il-bieraħ fil-għaxija mid-Dipartiment tal-Informazzjoni, m’għandiex titħallas minn qabel, l-anqas xahar b’lura imma sa mhux iktar tard minn ħamest ijiem minn tmiem il-kuntratt.

Il-kuntratt ippubblikat għaldaqstant flok ma jagħlaq il-każ iktar jiftħu beraħ. Għax issa, iktar ċar minn qatt qabel trid tiġi imwieġba l-mistoqsija: għalfejn l-Onorevoli Ministru qed jingħata dan it-trattament preferenzjali?

Hemm min ser iweġibni u jgħidli li sid il-flat għandu dritt li jagħmel li jrid bi ħwejġu. Naqbel perfettament.

Id-diffikultà, f’soċjetà demokratika, hi li l-Onorevoli Ministru m’għandux l-istess dritt: ma jistax jaċċetta rigali jew trattament preferenzjali. Għax ikun qed jagħti messaġġ li għandu obbligazzjoni, inkella li bir-rigal jew bit-trattament preferenzjali qed titħallas lura obbligazzjoni. F’soċjeta demokratika, dawn l-messaġġi m’humiex aċċettabbli.

Għalhekk kien ġie ikkritikat bl-aħrax Tonio Fenech meta aċċetta passaġġ bla ħlas fuq jet privat biex mar jara logħba futbol ta’ l-Arsenal ġo Madrid. Lawrence Gonzi dakinnhar ukoll ma kienx kredibbli għax ma ħax passi.

Imma donnu li xejn m’hu xejn! Joseph Muscat miexi fuq l-istess passi etiċi ta’ Lawrence Gonzi: għan-niżla.

L-ispjuni boloh ta’ Tonio Fenech

spys

 

It-Torċa tal-lum irrappurtat storja dwar numru ta’ uffiċjali pubbliċi mlaħħqa li kienu qed jgħaddu informazzjoni lil Tonio Fenech, ex-Ministru tal-Finanzi. Billi kienu msieħba f’google group dawn kienu jiddiskutu bejniethom issues kurrenti hekk kif jinqalgħu w jgħaddu informazzjoni sensittiva lil Tonio Fenech xi kultant ankè qabel ma jkun jaf biha l-Gvern stess.

Għal Tonio Fenech bla dubju kienet scoop għax kien ikun armat b’informazzjoni biex ikun jista’ jitkellem “in real time” imma għas-servizz pubbliku hi daqqa ta’ ħarta.

Għax is-servizz pubbliku mhux qiegħed hemm biex jivvantaġġa lil xi partit politiku imma biex imexxi u jagħti servizz lill-pajjiż kollu.  Għalhekk ngħidu li l-lealtà tas-servizz pubbliku hi waħda lejn il-Gvern tal-ġurnata li jiddetermina d-direzzjoni. Is-servizz pubbliku imbagħad jimplimenta.

L-artiklu fit-Torċa jidentifika uħud minn dawn l-uffiċjali pubbliċi b’isimhom. Qegħdin fost oħrajn fil-Bank Ċentrali, l-MFSA (Malta Financial Services Authority), u fl-Uffiċċju Nazzjonali tal-Istatistika.

Dan hu ħażin, avolja mhux l–ewwel darba li ġara.  Kien hemm indikazzjonijiet fil-passat  li dan ġara. Id-differenza issa hi li qed jingħad li dawn inqabdu “red-handed”, jiġifieri li hemm il-provi. Probabbilment li l-provi huma ta’ natura teknika u jinvolvu traċċi elettroniċi tal-emails mibgħuta, kif fil-fatt ġie ippubblikat fit-Torċa.

Dawn sfortunatament huma l-konsegwenzi tar-rwol tal-politika partiġġjana fis-serviżż pubbliku li timmanifesta ruħha ukoll fil-parti l-kbira tal-ħatriet li saru u jsiru prinċipalment fil-gradi l-għoljin. Mhux kaz ta’ Nazzjonalisti kontra Laburisti jew ta’ Laburisti kontra Nazzjonalisti, iżda hi ferm iktar ikkumplikata minn hekk. L-abbuż bl-impiegi pubbliċi imsejħa “position of trust” hi parti importanti  mill-problema. Il-mod kif ġew ittrattati s-Segretarji Permanenti immedjatament wara l-elezzjoni hi aspett ieħor tal-problema.

Sfortunatament, dawn l-affarijiet ikomplu. L-ispjuni ta’ Tonio Fenech kienu l-boloh li nqabdu. Il-problema l-kbira huma dawk li għandhom aċċess għal informazzjoni sensittiva ħafna jużawha kif jaqblilhom u ma jinqabdu qatt. Kien hemm minnhom qabel Marzu 2013 u jkun hemm oħrajn li jagħmluha issa.

Fis-settur pubbliku ukoll, dak li tiżra’ taħsad.

The hospital’s concrete

concrete sampling

 

The issue came to the fore last September when Minister Konrad Mizzi said that there were problems with constructing additional wards on the Emergency Department of Mater Dei Hospital.  The contractor whose tender had been selected proceeded to carry out the necessary tests to ascertain that the existing buildings had the specified load-bearing properties. It was found that they did not.

All hell broke loose. Questions were asked as to how this was possible. Only one person kept his cool, former Finance Minister Tonio Fenech who, in September ,  declared  that he was not at all surprised by what was being said. He added that he was aware that Skanska, the contractor in charge of the hospital construction project, had repeatedly refused to construct additional floors because (it maintained)  the structure was not designed to carry such additional loads.

How come that only former Minister Tonio Fenech seems to have been aware of the design limitations of the hospital’s concrete?

On the other hand, whilst an inquiry is under way, Minister Konrad Mizzi is unethically disseminating selective titbits of information in order to make heavily loaded political statements.

Arup Group, a UK engineering firm, was commissioned by the government to analyse  the concrete used in the hospital’s structure. The report, which has already been submitted to the government and parts of which are being selectively quoted by Minster Konrad Mizzi, has not yet been published.

Likewise, the government is selectively quoting a waiver agreement between the Foundation for Medical Services and Skanska, signed on the conclusion of the project, presumably putting in writing what had been  agreed when addressing the final list of pending issues between the parties. The quotes being made lead to the conclusion that the waiver agreement was a blanket waiver. In fact, Minister Konrad Mizzi is actively encouraging such a conclusion. A full disclosure of the agreement would make it possible to consider whether the selective quotes are misleading –  as they most probably are.

Contrary to the manner in which the public debate has so far developed, the issue of the hospital concrete is primarily one of quality control on site, that is whether adequate quality control existed on site throughout the duration of the project. Such quality control requires that all concrete used on the Mater Dei project should have been sampled on use and tested according to established standards. Generally speaking, 28  days after use the project management team would have been in possession of the laboratory results on the concrete’s strength.

The questions which logically arise are whether the project managers had results indicating that the concrete supplied was not compatible with the relative specifications and, if such results did in fact materialise,  the manner in which they reacted to them.

The answers to these questions will point to the technical responsibilities arising both professionally and managerially.

Are there political responsibilities? I do not know. However,  the question of political responsibilities could arise if the politicians in charge interfered (directly or indirectly) in the technical decision taking. Political responsibilities  could also arise if the politicians obstructed the Foundation for Medical Services in the performance  of its duties by, for example, withholding funds or by dishing out appointments to persons who were not fit for purpose.

These are undoubtedly issues which the inquiry led by Mr Justice (retired) Philip Sciberras will examine, hopefully in some detail.

The sooner this whole saga comes to an end, the better. It is about time that everybody’s mind is at rest. This includes the taxpayer, who is not yet certain whether he will end up footing the bill.

Published in The Malta Independent on Sunday, 31 May 2015

Il-konkos f’Mater Dei: min kellu idu fil-borma?

 pouring of concrete

Fil-konferenza stampa ta’ Konrad Mizzi u Chris Fearne intqal li l-konkos dgħajjef f’Mater Dei twassal fuq is-sit fl-ewwel sitt xhur tal-1996.

Lawrence Gonzi, dal-għodu qalilna li l-ftehim [dwar il-waiver] bejn il-Fondazzjoni għas-Servizzi Mediċi (FMS) u Skanska qatt ma tela’ l-Kabinett għall-approvazzjoni. Dan minnu innifsu jnissel ħafna iktar mistoqsijiet dwar x’ġara fil-fatt u dwar min realment kellu idu fil-borma.

Imma l-gazzetti jidher li m’humiex jagħtu piż biżżejjed lil biċċa informazzjoni oħra li sirna nafu biha f’Settembru li għadda. Dakinnhar meta ħarġet l-aħbar li l-konkos kien dgħajjef u l-bini għaldaqstant ma jiflaħx piż addizzjonali, Tonio Fenech kien qal li xejn ma kien sorpriż. Kien żied jgħid li kien għalhekk li Skanska kienu irrifjutaw li jżidu l-għoli tal-bini.

Dan kollu jfisser li hemm min ilu ħafna jaf li l-kwalità tal-konkos użata f’Mater Dei kienet inferjuri minn dak ippjanat. Probabbilment ħafna qabel ma ġie iffirmat il-ftehim li skandalizza lil kulħadd.

Il-mistoqsijiet li jeħtieġu tweġiba huma bosta. Liema kienu l-idejn iħawwdu fil-borma tal-konkos ta’ Mater Dei? Kemm kienet ilha magħrufa din l-informazzjoni? X’kienu d-deċiżjonijiet dakinnhar li kienet magħrufa din l-informazzjoni?

Qabel ma jkun hemm tweġiba għal dawn il-mistoqsijiet ser ikun diffiċli ħafna li nifhmu kemm x’ġara kif ukoll min hu responsabbli.

 

It-tkeċċija ta’ Manwel Mallia minn Ministru

Manwel Mallia 11

 

M’hiex xi ħaġa li tiġri spiss f’Malta li l-Prim Ministru jkeċċi wieħed mill-Ministri tiegħu.  L-anqas ma hi xi  ħaġa li għadna nieħdu ġost biha. Imma la ġrat irrid ngħid li Joseph Muscat għamel sewwa. Dam jaħsibha dsatax-il ġurnata. Il-kritika li nista’ nagħmillu hi dwar id-demwien, mill-bqija fil-fehma tiegħi mexa sewwa.

Imissu għamel  l-istess Lawrence Gonzi ma Tonio Fenech u ma Austin Gatt. Imma ma kellux il-kuraġġ. Forsi Joseph Muscat għamel il-kuraġġ bil-posizzjoni li ħadet il-media u l-opinjoni pubblika li instemgħet sewwa.

Avolja hi deċiżjoni li damet tinħema, id-deċiżjoni dwar it-tkeċċija ta’ Manwel Mallia minn Ministru taf tkun bidu ġdid għall-politika f’Malta.

Fir-rapport tagħhom it-tlett imħallfin irtirati jemfasizzaw il-ħtieġa li tintrefa r-responsabbilta’ politika u jikkummentaw kif ġej :

“In konnessjoni ma dan il-każ issemma l-konċett tar-responsabbilta’ Ministerjali għall-operat ta’ persuni li Ministru jkun għażel  u ħatar biex jaqdu funzjonijiet pubbliċi. Wieħed jinnota li dan il-konċett ta’ sikwit jiġi invokat mill-politiċi li jkunu fl-Opposizzjoni, iżda dawn malajr jinsewh appena  huma jkunu fil-Gvern.

Intqal li l-kultura tar-risenja, sfortunatament ftit li xejn qabdet għeruq f’pajjiżna. Wieħed isaqsi jekk waħda mir-raġunijiet għal dan toħrogx mill-fatt li ċerti għażliet u nomini – minn xufier ta’ Ministru sal-għola karigi fil-pajjiż – mhux dejjem isiru skond il-mertu, ħila u kwalitajiet intrinsiċi ta’ dak li jkun, iżda inveċe sikwit isiru fuq il-bażi ta’ kulur politiku, nepotiżmu, ħbiberija u konsiderazzjonijiet oħra mhux xierqa bħal dawn. Meta jiġri hekk, huwa ferm faċli, li persuni hekk magħżula, li ma jkollomx il-kwalitajiet kollha neċessarji biex jaqdu d-dmirijiet tagħhom, jiżolqu fin-niexef. Ta’ spiss żelqiet bħal dawn ma jinkixfux, u kollox jibqa’ għaddej daqs li kieku ma sar xejn, iżda s’intendi bi ħsara lill-pajjiż u l-governanza tiegħu. Jekk inveċe n-nuqqas li jkun isir magħruf, il-Ministru li jkun għażel u innomina l-persuna li ikkommettiet in-nuqqas, x’aktarx ma jkunx raġel biżżejjed biex jgħid pubblikament mea culpa u għall-bżonn jixħet ir-riżenja tiegħu talli jkun għażel persuna li ma kelliex il-kwalitajiet neċessarji biex taqdi d-dmirijiet li jkun assenjalha. Minflok dan il-Ministru malajr ixandar mal-erba t’irjieħ li hu ma kien jaf b’xejn dwar dak li ġara u jekk si tratta ta’ rejat kriminali, minnufih jagħmel rapport lill-Pulizija biex dawn jinvestigaw u jieħdu l-passi skond il-liġi. B’hekk isalva ġildu.” (paġna 11 tar-rapport tal-inkjesta)

Ir-responsabbilta’ politika m’hiex hemm għall-prietki. Hi x-xiber li bih għandu jkejjel il-Prim Ministru. Bid-deċiżjoni dwar Manwel Mallia jidher li fi ħsiebu jibda jagħmel użu minn dan il-kejl. Jagħmlu tajjeb il-Ministri u s-Segretarji Parlamentari li għadhom hemm li jieħdu l-każ ta’ Manwel Mallia bħala twissija.

Id-deċiżjoni dwar Manwel Mallia damet 20 ġurnata biex issir. Nittama li jekk ikun hemm każ ieħor ma jdumx daqshekk. Għax suppost li issa bdejna nitgħallmu.

 

ippubblikat fuq iNews it-Tlieta 16 ta’ Diċembru 2014

Dwar ir-responsabbilta’ politika, il-PN jipprietka biss

Muscat + Busuttil

 

Meta tisma’ lil Simon Busuttil u lil Joseph Muscat jitkellmu dwar ir-rapport tal-inkjesta ippubblikat tard it-Tnejn, faċli tasal għall-konklużjoni li t-tnejn li huma għadhom ma tgħallmu xejn minn din l-esperjenza.

Joseph Muscat meta kellem lill-istampa fi Press Briefing għoġbu jagħżel raġuni inkorretta bħala r-raġuni għaliex fil-fehma tiegħu Manwel Mallia kellu jirriżenja. Joseph Muscat, meta għamel hekk, injora l-iktar parti importanti tar-rapport tal-inkjesta (paġna 11) li titkellem dwar ir-responsabbilta’ politika.

Din id-dikjarazzjoni tal-Bord tal-Inkjesta hi waħda qawwija ħafna.

Id-dikjarazzjoni tibda b’battuta li l-politiċi Maltin wara li jipprietkaw mill-Opposizzjoni, hekk kif jitilgħu fil-Gvern malajr jinsew kollox. Ir-rapport imbagħad jgħaddi biex jispjega għaliex (fil-fehma tal-awturi) dan qiegħed iseħħ. Il-ħatriet fil-pajiż (mill-iċken sal-għola) jsiru “fuq bażi ta’ kulur politiku, nepotiżmu, ħbibierija u konsiderazzjonijiet mhux xierqa bħal dawn”.  Dan, ikompli r-rapport, iwassal għal ħsara fit-tmexxija tal-pajjiż.

Din il-ħsara mhux dejjem issir magħrufa. Iżda meta dan iseħħ (jiġifieri li tkun magħrufa) “il-Ministru li jkun għażel u innomina l-persuna li ikkommettiet in-nuqqas, x’aktarx ma jkunx raġel biżżejjed biex jgħid pubblikament mea culpa u għall-bżonn jixħet ir-riżenja tiegħu talli jkun għażel persuna li ma kelliex il-kwalitajiet neċessarji biex taqdi d-dmirijiet li jkun assenjalha.”

Minflok, ikompli jgħid ir-rapport, “dan il-Ministru malajr ixandar mal-erba t’irjieħ li hu ma kien jaf b’xejn dwar dak li ġara”. Jekk imbagħad ikun seħħ reat kriminali l-politiku “jagħmel rapport lill-Pulizija biex dawn jinvestigaw u jieħdu l-passi skond il-liġi. B’hekk isalva ġildu.”

Filwaqt li fil-prinċipju naħseb li lkoll naqblu ma dan, il-problema hi li waqt li l-Partit Nazzjonalista fl-Opposizzjoni dan jipprietkah, fil-Gvern ma ipprattikaħx. Irid ikun rikonoxxut li din hi ir-raġuni ewlenija għar-reżistenza biex Manwel Mallia jirreżenja. L-eżempji ma jispiċċaw qatt, imma nistgħu nsemmu s-segwenti żewġ eżempji:

Tonio Fenech ma irreżenjax minn Ministru tal-Finanżi meta s-Segretarju Privat tiegħu ammetta fil-Qorti li kien irċieva flus ta’ korruzzjoni.

Austin Gatt ma irriżenjax minn Ministru meta sar magħruf li l-każ ta’ korrużżjoni dwar ix-xiri taż-żejt seħħ taħt Chairman tal-Enemalta li appunta hu.

 

Il-kritika fil-konfront ta’ Joseph Muscat hi li dam ħafna biex iċċaqlaq. U allura meta iċċaqlaq li messaġġ li ngħata kien li għamel dan mhux b’xi konvinzjoni li kellu jaġixxi b’dan il-mod imma minħabba l-pressjoni tal-opinjoni pubblika li saret iktar qawwija iktar ma għadda żmien.

B’hekk il-valur tal-pass il-quddiem li Ministru tneħħa f’dawn iċ-ċirkustanzi intilef minħabba d-dewmien li kien hemm.

Fi ftit kliem, dwar ir-responsabbilta’ politika, il-PN jipprietka biss, u meta kellu l-opportunita’ li jaġixxi m’għamel xejn. Imma fil-kaz ta’ Manwel Mallia il-Labour dam wisq biex iċċaqlaq.