Pressing the right buttons

Robert Abela promised continuity, but in reality he has shown that he wants to detach himself from the Muscat hegemony and I would not be too surprised if he takes more decisions that may lead to not only revealing Muscat’s political weaknesses, but his real role with Keith Schembri

By pressing all the right buttons, Prime Minister Robert Abela has passed his first test with distinction. Not only has the underdog made it to the top, to the chagrin of many, but he has startled onlookers with his first moves.

Chris Fearne would have never gone this far.

The resignation of the police commissioner, the decision not to clear the Caruana Galizia memorial in Valletta after the traditional vigil, and the brave decision to install new faces at the justice ministry and home affairs are all brownie points.

And there was also purpose in the choice of locations when announcing decisive action.  When Abela let everyone know that he had countered a decision to clean up the Great Siege Monument, which has been turned into a shrine, he did this at the old people’s home for the clergy – a shrine no Labour prime minister had stepped into.

Abela and family are renowned for being of Catholic stock, and this will show in the months ahead. He has little of the lofty liberal ideas you would expect from a 42-year-old Labour leader.

This is Abela vintage, a professional class seemingly concerned with the working class... but not at the expense of tradition (and probably business...).

There was little to fault in his first moves. As usual, the Caruana Galizia family demanded more, as did the NGO Repubblika. On this Abela is right in keeping his calm and letting everyone think what is next. And it is true, Malta’s reputation has moved a notch up.

Robert Abela promised continuity, but in reality he has shown that he wants to detach himself from the Muscat hegemony and I would not be too surprised if he takes more decisions that may lead to not only revealing Muscat’s political weaknesses, but his real role with Keith Schembri

We all expect a new police commissioner to take a more active role in investigating Keith Schembri. But the arrest of any individual cannot take place simply because someone calls for someone to be arrested.

What we need is a serious investigation – which brings me to the contents of the letter which was passed on to Yorgen Fenech, allegedly at the behest of Keith Schembri.

Before looking at what was said, it is important to recall that the police admitted that they had not investigated the letter, the caligraphy, the likelihood of finding traces of fingerprints or DNA, on the letter, whether it originated from a printer used by Schembri, the source and other aspects that would have confirmed the origin and originator of the letter; though it has to be said that both the doctor (the messenger), and Yorgen Fenech have said that it was Schembri.

It is important to remember that the fantastical story in this letter was aimed at directing Yorgen Fenech to follow a story that would have lobbed all the blame on Chris Cardona, then economy minister.

The letter also refers to two individuals who were close to Chris Cardona, the usual sycophants that politicians themselves always choose to be surrounded with. And interestingly the name of Ferdinand’s bar in Siggiewi is mentioned.

Now, what no one knows is that Keith Schembri’s lawyer happens to be Edward Gatt, who at some point was a very close friend and one-time law firm partner to Chris Cardona until they fell out. Why this happened is unclear. Cardona and Gatt were rather close and they would mix socially and be together in social events.

Somehow it revolved around the German brothel allegations made by Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Now the police were very fast in interviewing Cardona and the two other characters mentioned in the letters. They found that the story was based on suppositions and lies. And they were thanked by the police and informed that they could leave. However, the police, in their excitement, conveniently or absent-mindedly forgot to look at the note from a forensic point of view.

And still, a storyline about Cardona on other matters was fomented – and I have said this – by Keith Schembri before this incident. Others believed that he was at the centre of the murder of Caruana Galizia and this was taken up by Caruana Galizia family, Repubblika and Occupy Justice, the media and the first magistrate to investigate the murder.

This suited the perpretrators fine.

What I am getting at is very simple.

The new police commissioner, who will definitely not be Carmel Magri, will be tasked with the job of widening the investigation. It will definitely take him to Keith Schembri and beyond. As things stand, nothing can surface from those other magisterial inquiries on Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi when any leads on banking facilites or accounts in the Middle East namely Dubai will go unanswered by the authorities there. 

Our judicial inquiries do not have the legal possibility of reaching out to sources by paying money to people who will break the law to source that information.

Robert Abela promised continuity, but in reality he has shown that he wants to detach himself from the Muscat hegemony and I would not be too surprised if he takes more decisions that may lead to not only revealing Muscat’s political weaknesses, but his real role with Keith Schembri.

That is, of course, the million dollar question. Did he or did he not know what was happening?

As I write today in a news story, most ministers cannot believe he did not know. And most of them believe that he should have resigned at once.

When I sit down and write down my notes of what I know and what I thought could never have happened, I know I have the makings of a blockbuster film or a Netflix series.

Rather, it has been the nightmare that has engulfed so many people in the last weeks.

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