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Frank Psaila

Bishop Grech’s inconvenient truth

Frank Psaila on Gozo's drug problem: I would have expected the Police Commissioner to issue a statement taking note of what Bishop Grech said

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Frank Psaila
30 August 2017, 7:30am
Bishop Mario Grech described the drug problem in Gozo as
Bishop Mario Grech described the drug problem in Gozo as "a serious wound"
According to press reports, President Donald Trump is said to receive a folder of positive news about himself twice a day. According to the Vice news website, a first version of the document, weighing in at about 20 pages, is put together at 9:30am, a second instalment follows at 4:30pm. The report said that Trump is only interested in reading press reports that sing his praise. Unfortunately for him, the daily digest of positive news about himself probably doesn’t add up to more than a few pages.

His popularity has plummeted. A recent poll by NBC/Marist survey held in Rust Belt states shows that Trump’s job approval was under 40%, 34% in Michigan, 32% in Wisconsin and 35% in Pennsylvania among all voters. In Michigan and Wisconsin, 64% say they are embarrassed of him, while 63% say the same in Pennsylvania. Barely 200 days after entering the White House on the back of a populist campaign, President’s Trump popularity has hit rock bottom.

Popularity is here today, gone tomorrow. It was prone to happen. A good number of the statements made with an international dimension that Trump made during the campaign were incorrect; his promise to pull out of Afghanistan was one of them. Pulling out of Afghanistan would have created another Iraq – as terrorist organisations would have moved in to fill the void. This week he decided to keep his troops in Afghanistan, a decision which was largely welcomed by the international community and seasoned military advisors. It seems that, for once, Trump was in listening mode.

But these occasions are rare. He failed to deliver on many fronts in his first 200 days, which are usually an indication of things to come. Trump was never fit for office – but he was in tune with people’s anger at the establishment and positioned himself as the outsider who could turn things round. Of course he did not, and he will not. His White House set up is in free fall. Resignations and dismissals have become the order of the day. Being a ‘know-it-all’ personality, Trump, who is rarely in listening mode, would probably dismiss all this as fake news covering fake polls.

Grech’s inconvenient truth

“Drugs are a serious wound in Gozo. Several have told me that there is a network of distribution that not only catches adults but also underage children. (…) Any place where drugs are distributed is of serious concern; but it is really humiliating and diabolical that dealers are selling drugs during the feasts,” said Gozo Bishop Mario Grech, in his homily for the feast of the Assumption at the Cathedral. And all hell broke loose.

‘Sources’ within the Police Force accused him of shooting from the hip. A ‘senior police officer’ who did not have the guts to identify himself, told the Sunday papers last week, that if Bishop Grech is aware of drug trafficking he should file a police report.

Ridiculous doesn’t even begin to describe that. For what Bishop Grech said has long been known by professionals in the field. Yet despite this, people who should know better prefer to bury their heads in the sand. Following Bishop Grech’s statement, I would have expected the Police Commissioner to issue a statement taking note of what Grech said and assuring us that his men and women are doing their best to tackle the problem which every Tom, Dick and Harry knows – except the ‘senior police officer’ who spoke to the Sunday papers on condition of ‘anonymity’.

At least, and to her credit Gozitan Minister Justyne Caruana did not shoot down Bishop Grech’s concern. Writing in The Malta Independent on Sunday, last Sunday she said that, “as both a mother and as Minister for Gozo, I share the Bishop’s concerns and I will leave no stone unturned within my remit to combat this threat. In all my efforts to preserve and strengthen Gozo’s social and cultural values, I am determined to protect such impoverished families and to prevent Gozo ending up as a cemetery of psychologically and socially dead people”.

Frank Psaila presents Iswed Fuq Abjad on Net TV

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Frank Psaila, a lawyer by profession, anchors Iswed fuq l-Abjad on Net TV. He was formerly...