The curious case of Chris Cardona

Certainly enough, were we living in a normal country, the Labour Party would be calling on Chris Cardona to resign his deputy leadership role

What happened in the last days in relation to the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, the alleged mastermind in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, may have gone unnoticed to all those who resort to only reading the titles of stories rather than the content. 

What has suddenly surfaced is that the middleman Melvin Theuma, who has been given a presidenital pardon, has now ‘confirmed’ the content of the selective transcripts of his recordings presented in court which point a finger to Labour’s deputy leader Chris Cardona. 

This is news. It is not proof of wrongdoing, but certainly worrying. 

My choice of the word ‘selective’ is not meant to exculpate anyone. Certainly enough, were we living in a normal country, the Labour Party would be calling on Chris Cardona to resign his deputy leadership role. Not only, it would be the delegates themselves who would stand up to be counted and demand that Cardona relinquish his position inside the party. Not because he is culpable (for he did remind us that all that has been said is “hearsay”...) but at this stage the honourable thing is to do the only right thing: and the right thing is resign. 

But back to the word selective. For what I cannot understand is why Inspector Keith Arnaud has so far not given a much broader exposé of the audio files from the Theuma recordings, for I can surmise that in these dozens and dozens of files, so many other people in power have been mentioned; people in the highest echelons of power. Like Keith Schembri, or the former Commissioner of Police. 

Why just this transcript? And why now? 

Certainly enough, were we living in a normal country, the Labour Party would be calling on Chris Cardona to resign his deputy leadership role

Melvin Theuma himself is expected to say all the truth and not be ‘selective’ or economical with the truth. He may have just walked into a maze. The truth about his money laundering activities and his dealings with the people who ordered and executed the assassination could also be in the transcripts, and not yet exhibited. 

For example, the sum of money mentioned that was paid for the murder has now increased over a previously mentioned figure by Theuma. How come? How did this change? 

I am seeing a Zeppi l-Hafi remake, and the onus of responsibility here lies with the police prosecution, which will make or break this case. I can understand that their resources are depleted and limited, but I am baffled as to why the police have not called in the alleged bombmakers, who have been mentioned once, twice, three times in court sittings. A simple question: why have the police stalled and not called them in? That’s quite a tame question. Surely there is no justification for police delays on this matter alone. 

And though the State has no obligation or right to interfere in the judicial process, it is certainly justified to ask the police why these omissions have taken place. 

Even the presentation of transcripts could be designed to bypass certain episodes in the conversations that Melvin Theuma recorded. In the eyes of the public, a good deal of evidence here is being presented without chronological sense or context. It is one thing having selected pieces of these audio files presented in court, another to have the full picture out in the open; for it could show that Theuma is not saying the entire truth (at least for now), and that after all this, we should be talking of masterminds... not one mastermind. 

For truth to prevail, we need a police force that acts with the complete freedom to act. And for this to happen we need a new police commissioner now – not the acting commissioner of police we have today. 

Time is on nobody’s side. And failure to act will serve no one. Surely not the truth and neither justice. 

Budgetary virus 

The budget that will be presented on Monday may fall short in reaching out to ailing businesses. I feel that the reasoning behind the proposal may not be creative enough to cushion the tsunami that will hit the Maltese economy. 

I have said this before and I will say it again: it cannot be that more than the half the population in the private sector are attempting to survive while all those in the public sector continue their routines as if there was no tomorrow. 

On this matter, the Air Malta pilots – whose ludicrous demands I still do not quite understand – may have a small point: “Why us and not the others?” For it is true that Air Malta has been operating at a deficit, but if that is the only argument then surely the same can be said for the rest of the public sector. 

Surely there are those in the public sector who are unwilling to get out of their comfort zone and the COVID-19 pandemic has shown this. But the decisions at Air Malta should be duplicated in other spheres, especially where civil service working days do not reflect those of the private sector (the summer half-days compensate for longer winter days, but that means reduced serviced for those who work normal houses in summer). If we are going to talk of national sacrifices, we have to balance out the costs endured by the private sector with the cushion available to the public sector. 

Some people have not quite realised that the world has changed and that the recession that has hit Europe and beyond will leave such deep wounds that most people’s reduced spending power will now take centre-stage. 

And yet, some businesses, from the professional classes to small retailers, continue to think in terms of making the same profits. We will be killing ourselves if we do not change this mindset dramatically. And my fear is that a new, anti-social free market mind-frame will take over, ignoring all common sense or compassion, only wanting to make the rich richer while the have-less and have-nots are forgotten, with a sandwiched middle-class that will, no doubt, either claw its way to the top, or be left gasping for air. 

Robert Abela needs to throw us a lifebuoy now, and ensure a level playing-field for all. We are in for a very ugly time. The collapse of the Maltese economy will lead to mass unemployment. Stay safe now. But that safety is in the hands of the State led by Abela.