Marsa gangsters, Strasbourg agendas

We hope that justice will be done, and the mastermind behind Caruana Galizia assassination is uncovered and brought to justice. In the meantime, there are things which can and should be done

Once a red light district, Marsa is now associated with trafficking of fuels and drugs
Once a red light district, Marsa is now associated with trafficking of fuels and drugs

It would be premature and downright stupid to rush to conclusions when the compilation of evidence against the three men to be charged with Daphne Caruana Galizia murder is at its initial stages.

Media ‘reports’ hint at a ‘middle-man’; other reports say that the mastermind and the executioners were different hands. The Italian press, notably the La Repubblica, seem to have an open link with the investigators, or those ‘in the know’.

We hope that justice will be done, and the mastermind behind Caruana Galizia assassination is uncovered and brought to justice.

In the meantime, there are things which can and should be done.

Marsa

For a start, Marsa needs a clean-up. It is no secret that for years criminality of the organised type has been allowed to flourish. For years, scores of illegal migrants were dumped in what used to be a government school. For most of the day, they stood idle in the town’s side streets, and on the roundabouts bang in the middle of a busy intersection. They did what all idle men do – litter, get into fights and make the life of law-abiding citizens a nightmare.

Armed patrols by the police and the army, given the precarious situation Marsa is in, are an inconvenient must

Now that most of those migrants have gone, and are never replaced – for it has been ages since we’ve had new arrivals (we’re told there are less than forty men at the Marsa Open Centre), the real culprits emerged. We now speak of the criminal underworld, which uses Marsa as its base. For years, reality was ignored. Now that the inevitable has happened, we must face it – and tackle it at source.

Armed Patrols

The Marsa Police Station must be opened – 24 hours. It is beyond the Marsa residents how, for a long time now, their town’s police station was closed for hours on end. Armed patrols by the police and the army, given the precarious situation Marsa is in, are an inconvenient must.

It is incomprehensible that in a small island as ours; criminal activity is allowed to flourish within a relatively confined area. But it is pointless to express shock and horror, as many are doing now, unless the Malta Police Force has the necessary tools, and intelligence to fight back.

A stronger Police Force 

It is no secret that the arrests made a few days ago, in relation, we are told, to the Caruana Galizia murder, were carried out thanks to the intelligence provided by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Admittedly, they have the resources which enable them to get to the bottom of the most complicated of investigations – but there is no reason why Malta shouldn’t provide more resources to the Police Force, its Army, and the Secret Services.

Millions of cash is invested, and rightly so, in the upkeep of our towns and villages – but it is useless to have flowered roundabouts, and state of the art arterial roads if, within the core of our towns and villages, the criminal underworld is allowed a free hand. We’ve had a series of car bombs which, as yet, have gone unsolved; jewellery shops have been burgled in spectacular fashion; a journalist was murdered in broad daylight – through, we are told, an SMS sent from a large boat away at sea; a man was, it seems, murdered for having been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This situation has been a long time coming. But it is now that we must act

And before the usual suspects hit their keyboards in a rush, accusing me of pointing fingers at the current Labour administration, calm down trolls, for this situation has been a long time coming. But it is now that we must act. Here’s to hope that we will.

Beating the enemy

The situation, especially in Marsa, is already out of hand. From being a red light district in Malta’s southern part – it is now associated with the trafficking of illegal fuels; drugs and the place where, we’re told, crimes of the gravest nature are planned. There was once a master plan for the regeneration of Marsa, of which we haven’t heard back since. But before buildings are mowed down, to make way for a ‘regenerated’ Marsa – enemy number one must be destroyed: the criminal underworld which, for years, was allowed to flourish and operate in the most comfortable of manners.

To quote Tony Blair (in case you forgot, the man who gave us New Labour, the post-war Iraqi disaster, and ISIS) we must be tough on crime, and tough on the causes of crime.

At the European Parliament

In Strasbourg, this week, an ‘initiative’ by Socialist MEPS, to label Malta and other EU members states as ‘tax havens’ was narrowly defeated. Despite talk of EPP MEPs working ‘against Malta’s interests’, what the Socialists did was unprecedented, and had they succeeded it would have dealt a hard blow to Malta’s financial services industry, and thousands of jobs that depend on the success of this sector.

Hidden agendas

The Panama Papers, and Malta’s role – through Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri; the unhealthy situation within the Police Force – and its refusal to investigate a damning report by the FIAU was, we’re told, the main factor which led the Socialist MEPs to hit out at Malta, its tax and financial services setup. As always happens, when a country is under the spotlight for the wrong reasons, those who want to drive us out of business jump on the bandwagon, and milk the situation to suit their agenda. For really and truly that’s what happened – Socialist MEPs took the occasion to label Malta a tax haven – though a tax haven we are not. If we were, Konrad Mizzi wouldn’t have bothered to open his offshore company in Panama. For it is Panama, not Malta, which is a tax haven.

Warning signs

What happened in Strasbourg, was a warning which, should it go unheeded, would wreak havoc in the near future. For a start, the Maltese government needs to admit that, despite a booming economy, good governance is seriously lacking. This must be addressed for lack of good governance puts Malta in a bad light – where it matters most. We then need to ensure that our attractive tax system weeds out those with the wrong intentions. For ours is a legal tax system, achieved through hard work and good reputation along the years. However, it is depicted as being a ‘shady’ system which gives Malta ‘an edge over its competitors’. That it gives Malta an edge over its competitors, that’s a given – and there is nothing wrong with that; but shady it is not, no matter what our competitors, aided and abetted by their MEPs say.

We need to safeguard what we have, and for this to happen we cannot shoot ourselves in the foot.

 

Frank Psaila is a lawyer and anchors Iswed fuq l-Abjad on NET TV

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