Of champagne socialists, and their accolades

The Malta Labour Party is no longer a socialist party. Its members have become Champagne Socialists. If you’re in their inner circle, you stand to benefit, and benefit big time.

[email protected]

It goes without saying – being a company director requires experience. Being experienced at 18 years of age is possible, but experienced enough to manage a company is somewhat impossible. The 18-year-old selected for his “skills and experience”, as Minister Chris Cardona chose to put it, is yet another appointment gone wrong in the Malta Taghna Lkoll legislature. 

It’s interesting though how the developments evolved in this case. This, and similar cases, come to light, either through a newspaper story, an online blog or revealed by the Opposition through a parliamentary question. It seems that no one bothers to shoulder responsibility. 

In a damage-control move, Minister Chris Cardona later stated that the boy would not be paid and would provide the service voluntarily. We all know this wasn’t meant to be the case when the boy was assigned.  It later transpired that the 18-year-old director subsequently resigned from the position. It is clear that the case lacks meritocracy, and had the boy not been a close relative of the Chief of Staff of Minister Cardona, he would have never been called in for an interview, let alone be selected. 

Boarded out in four days 

Another case of sleaze was revealed by the Opposition through a parliamentary question a few days ago, this time involving a police officer who happens to be the son of former Police Commissioner Ray Zammit. Daniel Zammit was successfully boarded out in just four days. I have never met a case of an individual being boarded out so expeditiously in a matter of four days. 

Let’s go through the process of what is required for a person to be boarded out. The individual must submit a request to the department concerned. I would understand that the employees in the department are busy handling other previous requests, and place Zammit’s request in the queue together with others.

These are vetted for the seriousness of the situation and the individual is given an interview with the board, composed of members whose duty it is to determine whether Zammit’s request is legitimate and whether his condition is such that he merits being boarded out.

The board would have to go through the medical records presented, ask the applicant pertinent questions and on this base conclude whether the request is to be upheld. Zammit’s request is upheld and a letter is sent to him by the board secretary to inform him that his request had been approved. Does anyone really believe that this process may be accomplished in four days? 

During my time in politics so far, I have come across cases of individuals of every kind – those who prima facie deserve being boarded out, and others who simply try their luck given a minor condition. I recall however an individual who had been so sick that he couldn’t even move, and it took him months to obtain clearance to be boarded out. I will not pretend to have the credentials to judge Zammit’s request, because I don’t, and it might have been a legitimate one – but getting boarded out in four days simply stinks of sleaze and is unjust. 

Boarded in again for €60,000

The story doesn’t end there, however. Zammit is swiftly taken on by Enemalta for the astronomical salary of €60,000 a year, for a job with similar duties as his previous employment. It is all very obvious why Zammit has been carefully assisted to craft a plan which would award him the rights of a full pension (on par with police officers after 25 years of service and duty), and enjoy a salary equal to that of MEPA’s CEO. 

What about responsibility?

What strikes me is the fact that nobody shoulders any kind of responsibility. Up until now, it’s the 18 year-old-boy and Mr Zammit who have carried some responsibility. But what about the individuals who have been instrumental in making such happenings? Who will shoulder responsibility for having selected an 18-year-old to manage a government agency? Who will shoulder responsibility for awarding a boarded out policeman a job in a government-led corporation? Who will shoulder responsibility for providing Zammit such a handsome salary? 

Once again, the true colours of Labour are out for everyone to see. To hell with socialism, ‘let’s celebrate and rejoice for having spent 25 years in Opposition’ – this must be their motto. The Malta Labour Party is no longer a socialist party. Its members have become Champagne Socialists. If you’re in their inner circle, you stand to benefit, and benefit big time. 

The Opposition will continue to show the true colours, what Labour truly stands for. Pity their slogans have been trashed, they could have made Malta a better and fairer place.