Waiting for Robespierre

Welcome to the world of theatre and theatrics, as we listen to numerous individuals calling for the publication of the Vitals inquiry.

Robespierre: Who shall we behead next?
Robespierre: Who shall we behead next?

Welcome to the world of theatre and theatrics, as we listen to numerous individuals calling for the publication of the Vitals inquiry.

But the inquiry itself is everywhere; copies have been photocopied and distributed digitally indiscriminately.

Beyond the simple morbid curiosity of reading through the contents, we should really be motivated in seeing justice being done. But I am not quite sure that anyone is interested in this.

I may be going against the grain here but the contents of a magisterial inquiry should not be made public unless we want to influence the outcome of justice. And yet everyone has called for the publication of the inquiry. And for what reason?

To prove beyond any doubt that someone is either as guilty as hell or else that someone is innocent.

The whole scope of a magisterial inquiry is to seek the truth and preserve evidence. For that to happen it must be carried out in complete serenity. With all due respect to those who have argued that serenity must be the order of the day – the President being one such voice – I humbly ask why everyone confutes justice with the right to know or with being used by politicians of either side and political groups.

I have no idea how the implications of this inquiry will play out. I have the feeling that the proceedings will take years and in the process the public would have forgotten about the scandal and in the meantime, people would have regained their reputation and credibility.

Just see how the oil scandal of 2013 has taken a different course. Cikku Portelli of Virtu, Tancred Tabone of Forestals, George Farrugia of Bonnici Brothers are today all respectable people with success stories in their own field well after their court proceedings started. Indeed, their sins have long been forgotten, even though in the case of some of them court proceedings are still pending and somehow lost in the amazing confusion of our lethargic legal system.

The only difference between the oil scandal and the Vitals case is that the protagonists involved are either active professionals with a thriving client base or else a former prime minister with an ability to fire up public support and cause an outcry.

The truth is that in both the oil scandal and the Vitals saga everything was wrong and nothing was right. In both instances, the authorities turned a blind eye and, in the latter, we gave our hospitals away to a bunch of brigands.

No one is seemingly asking why no one raised the alarm when the hospitals plan was just an idea.

If individuals such as Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi conspired to make money illegally out of this deal, they should be held accountable. If there were others who participated in an illicit manner, they should pay for this too. But if there were others who worked in the system who simply did their job like so many other functionaries and professionals, we owe it to ourselves to speak up and state that they cannot be dragged into this and left to hang in the open air as if they were murderers and rapists.

This inquiry is a double-edged sword. It may lead to those accused being torn apart and eradicated but it may also maim and hurt those who are playing the part of Robespierre and calling for everyone’s head.

And a small word of advice, this country needs to address its corrupt practices, but it cannot do this at the expense of paralysing the country. If the latter scenario materialises the only ones who will suffer will be the detractors, who will be blamed for everyone else’s ills.

This is not Haiti, where people can see their president living like a king while they experience death and famine. This is Malta and in Malta people do not have it bad at all, and whether we like it or not, most could not give a hoot what really happens in their country as long as they continue to live calmly and have adequate cash in their pockets.

We need to address the judicial process and ensure that things are speeded up, nail the bastards who profited from the deal but clear those who are not guilty of the crimes brought against them.

There is no place for another Robespierre in this small island nation!