I have Methyl benzoate in my post… Help!

Jason Azzopardi’s own political crusade never fails to entertain. Even the timbre of his voice… is like it has been fashioned for God’s messenger, sent down to Malta’s House of Representatives to deliver the country from evil

Jason Azzopardi said that police tests identified the substance he received as cocaine
Jason Azzopardi said that police tests identified the substance he received as cocaine

I believe the smell is of Methyl benzoate. Trained sniffer dogs know this smell and detect it from the recesses in suitcases and the car paddings under leather seats. It is, of course, linked to a notorious drug, one that conjures up images of wild parties, tempestuous sex and an addictive Netflix series, Narcos.

Now Jason Azzopardi, drama-queen-extraordinaire, informs us that a letter sent to the PN’s party HQ which he opened up at home contained a sachet of cocaine. This was confirmed by the police.

He says he smelt it (saying in his statement that the substance “had an odour I had never smelt before”) and then rushed off to the police. Perhaps the ‘culprits’ or ‘jokers’ who sent the letter to party HQ, may have known that this particular post would not be scanned by the Armed Forces of Malta.

But the timing of the cocaine sachet in the envelope coincides with the party’s General Council, which seemed to have enabled Azzopardi to get some media attention. Given the lacklustre speech of Delia, the cocaine-post story did take precedence.

Yet in my opinion, it seems the reaction of people in the streets to the news of a sachet of cocaine mailed to an MP has been met with derision, to the point that some will suggest that this could have been either a nasty prank, or a stage-managed charade intended to put Jason Azzopardi in the news. How nasty, indeed.

Azzopardi seems to have a certain reputation for hifalutin rhetoric and general political cant. I can understand why people would laugh this off, and why some would even think this media show could have been concocted by Azzopardi himself.

Azzopardi’s own political crusade never fails to entertain. Even the timbre of his voice… is like it has been fashioned for God’s messenger, sent down to Malta’s House of Representatives to deliver the country from evil

Indeed, Azzopardi’s own political crusade never fails to entertain. Even the timbre of his voice, when he ascends the political pulpit and starts to dispense fire and brimstone, is like it has been fashioned for God’s messenger, sent down to Malta’s House of Representatives to deliver the country from evil.

No sooner had that sachet’s contents been confirmed as the devil’s nose candy, he stated hand on heart that this would not deter him from continuing with his political mission.

I think we’ve also seen other conspiratorial nuggets in the past: for example, the time he claimed he was being followed by two Security Service cars, only to have been told it was part of his fertile imagination.

And like many MPs who rejoice in moral crusades, such as his own staunch opposition to divorce after the 2011 referendum, years later he was caught with his pants down, accused by his wife of carrying out an affair with another woman. Even in 2013, at the time of the oil scandal as the Nationalist Party hit out at the credibility of the John’s Garage business group. At the heart of the scandal – it turned out that Azzopardi garaged his private VW Golf when he was a cabinet minister, I wonder whether he paid them for their services.

So, I think the honourable MP must ask himself whether the machine has run out of steam… whether what once fired a strong political argument backed by strong conviction, is still there. Next time he receives a sachet of Methyl benzoate, I think he would think twice about telling the press.

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To give Azzopardi one… the IAID report on tuna investigations he filed in Parliament was a turn-up for the books.

The IAID is a little-known organisation housed inside the Office of the Prime Minister that also works in tandem with the European Commission and monitors the way institutions and agencies in Malta function and use their money. By releasing part of an IAID investigation into the tuna industry, Azzopardi did pour hot water over a time when there were serious shortcomings in Malta’s tuna industry and the fisheries department. But it was also the time when Andreina Fenech Farrugia – the disgraced fisheries director – was not yet calling the shots at the top of the food chain.

Indeed, Azzopardi’s move allowed Labour to remind us that he was exhuming the shameful administration of the fisheries department and ministry under George Pullicino.

Still, the IAID investigation does confirm one important reality: those who do not have such an extensive memory should really go back to some of MaltaToday’s archives, and read about Pullicino’s very cosy relationship with a particular tuna rancher, so close that they even planned to spend some days in the crammed quarters of a sailing boat. Unfortunately, their chartered sailing boat rammed a reef in Sicily and left the two personalities waiting in vain on a pontoon in a Sicilian port.

After that investigation, Fenech Farrugia was moved out of fisheries and then placed in another government agency, as it happens, under the purview of minister for lands and small business Jason Azzopardi. But in those halcyon days, nothing shocked the Nationalist administration at the time – not even the allegations of tuna laundering reported by MaltaToday, which was left to fend for itself against a €2 million garnishee threat by the industry.

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It is with relief that the police have stated that they indeed took action by identifying the aggressor in a domestic violence attack in Sliema earlier in the week, despite the victim’s refusal to identify her aggressor. Kudos to the police. Shows how badly they need to have a pro-active public relations officer who promotes such important action, to the general public.

As the Women’s Rights Foundation said, domestic violence, including intimate partner violence, is a criminal offence that cannot rely on the complaint of the injured party. When brought to the attention, authorities have the obligation to exercise due diligence, investigate and take the necessary criminal action. No complaint from the injured party is required in such cases.

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