Even you have a voice

The country needs to send a clear message to this Socialist government: we are no longer going to ignore the truthstaring us in the face. This is the people’s country and the people need to claim it back

The GRECO report, published a few days ago, exposed the serious institutional deficiencies in our country. The report is one condemnation after another, highlighting a systematic and complete take-over of the institutions, that are meant, on paper, to protect the national interest but have ended up protecting the “highest government officials”.

Our state institutions were hijacked, in a planned move that clearly saw its inception before the Socialists were elected in 2013.  Once elected, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat moved at lighting speed, to take over any institution that could limit his executive power. Nearly all institutions became an extension of the political arm of government. Most institutions were subjected to the whim of Castille. The Office of the Prime Minister remote controls nearly every institution in our country, including the police, attorney general and the FIAU. The GRECO report states that the country institutions “suffered from a lack of courage, accountability and real means to accomplish their duties. There is also a clear perception in Malta that political support currently prevails over the enforcement of the law and the general interest”.

There are, of course, exceptions. The Auditor General and the Ombudsman have not capitulated. Neither have our Courts. However, with regards to the Court, their future impartiality has been put in question with the appointments made by this government. Sixteen out of seventeen judicial appointments were given to people with links to the Labour Party. Judge Giovanni Bonello said that our country needs fifty years to rid itself of this predicament, by which time, the people who carried out this hijack would have escaped any sanction.

Judge Giovanni Bonello saw the elephant in the room and he made it a point to tell everyone about it. In its report, the GRECO confirmed what the Opposition I now lead has been highlighting for the past years. Unfortunately, several people in Malta, for one reason or another, choose to ignore these serious issues concerning our democracy.

The country needs to send a clear message to this Socialist government that the elephant in the room is no longer invisible. That we are no longer to ignore the truth which is staring us in the face. This is the people’s country and the people need to claim it back

For far too long, the Opposition was nearly a sole voice speaking about the deterioration in our country’s democratic credentials. It did this at the expense of being labelled negative. It did this at the expense of its members being personally attacked with made-up stories, with half-truths spun to give credibility where there was none. The tactic of repeating lies until they are believed was employed. This strategy is just another part of the bigger plan to remove any forms of accountability on the powers that be.

This ‘socialist’ government has the hallmark of past socialist administrations. It is unable or unwilling to distinguish between what belongs to the Party and what belongs to the State. It is incapable of respecting the boundaries between what belongs to the people and what belongs to them. In their minds, everything and everyone in this country is property of the powers that be.

How did we get to this stage?

What happened to the voices that stood up in the past to protect our environment? How did this government manage to censor the voices of those who in the past spoke out so publicly against censorship? What happened to that large majority who voted for meritocracy, accountability and transparency? Why have so many voices gone silent. There isn’t a simple answer to this question. And to a certain extent, what the country needs most at this stage is not an academic exercise to determine what went wrong. What we need are solutions to fix the serious problems undermining our democracy.

If we fail to act, others will act on our behalf. Our country is being threatened with economic blacklisting. There are those in Europe who want to sanction Malta politically. The Nationalist Party, the Party that fought to give an equal voice to Malta in the European Union, can never and will never agree to have that voice silenced. We believe that we, as a nation should solve our own problems. It is within our power to do what is right, to fix what is wrong. And we can start doing that in the upcoming elections on May 25.

The country needs to send a clear message to this Socialist government that the elephant in the room is no longer invisible. That we are no longer going to ignore the truth which is staring us in the face. This is the people’s country and the people need to claim it back.

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