Letters: 7 June 2015

The Mater Dei saga, the report and the police

Permit me to say that in my opinion it seems to be escaping everybody’s attention that the companies which supplied the alleged defective concrete for the construction of the Mater Dei Hospital acted under a legal framework of subcontracting to the principal building contractor, which in this case happens to be Skanska. 

This means that these contractors, and all other contractors supplying whatever materials for the same project are answerable only to the principal contractor, Skanska. They have no other juridical relationship to any other party and they are not and cannot be held answerable to any other party, including the Maltese government. 

In legal terms, this means that whatever they have supplied and in whatever format can never be alleged as being criminal or fraudulent unless their principal contractor puts a claim accordingly. It also means that no authority in Malta, and including the Police, can proceed against any of them directly for any damages and or criminal redress except under instigation of the aggrieved party which in this case means Skanska. 

Skanska is the only party that can open legal proceedings against them for any defective material and/or any fraudulent activity resulting in such defective works and Skanska is the only party that can refer the matter to the Police for their further action. 

It is therefore of no use sending a copy of the investigation report to the Police Commissioner and to the Attorney General’s Office for their advice as to possible proceedings that can be taken against the perpetrators of this alleged crime and for the Opposition to insist on such a move. In my opinion this is all politically motivated and meant to win political points in the unfortunate political match prevailing. Both the government and the opposition have enough lawyers in their ranks to understand and agree with the above. 

The only recourse for the government to recover damages is to initiate legal action against Skanska and then to be part as ‘parte civile’ in any resulting counter civil and criminal action that Skanska may eventually institute against the named contractors and this to cover its interest. 

All legal minds know with certainty, that the contract as it stands adequately covers the requisites that allow the government to be able to take action for structurally defective works. It is not possible to delve into the legal niceties of this claim in such a short space, but again this point is somehow being possibly spun for political mileage and nothing else. 

Once more, a situation that should be of national concern has been turned into a political mudslinging match instead of the different parties joining forces and showing a common front to the assumed enemy, namely Skanska. 

Skanska will, of course, take note of this and will use this division in Maltese politics to its advantage. It has the financial clout to drag the problem into a never-ending legal battle knowing that it is fighting a divided enemy with limited resources.  

The above is based on material as commonly available in the local media and may stand to correction in the light of a more informative situation, though I honestly doubt that it will change anything to what has been stated. However, I will humbly submit to any corrections from any party who happens to be so enlightened. 

Frank Camilleri, St Julian’s

Poorly thought out letters

Mark Mifsud Bonnici complained (May 17) about the “poorly thought-out letters” against hunting published in MaltaToday.

He himself wrote a poorly thought-out letter in which he resorted to name-calling and insults: “On reading ‘Blasting birds from the sky’, I cannot but laugh and attribute such writing either to a fool or to a person who has been confined to living in a box since birth.”

Mifsud Bonnici took the editor of MaltaToday to task for “publishing such nonsensical letters” while being oblivious to his own juvenile, emotional-toned writing.

He castigated the editor for “advocating a warped reason” by publishing a letter which condemned the killing of migratory birds and which urged the boycotting of Malta for this reason.

Hunters themselves advocate warped reasons for their mindless killing of migratory birds. As Henry David Thoreau wrote in his book Walden: “No humane being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will wantonly kill any creature which holds its life by the same tenure that he does.”

Mifsud Bonnici goes on to tell Sean Whyte, the writer of the letter, to “stop feeding garbage to certain obliging editors”.

If Mifsud Bonnici aspires to write properly thought-out letters, he should avoid emotionally charged language (such as calling other people’s letters ‘garbage’), name-calling and insults. He should limit himself to rational argument and neutral words.

He does not help the hunting cause with his poorly thought out letters. 

John Guillaumier,  St Julian’s