[WATCH] ‘At least we got something from Labour’s corruption’: Debono Grech

Labour’s stalwart justifies apathy on party’s corruption – ‘we’re with the good thief’

Former Labour minister Joe Debono Grech addresses a rally for Gozo MP Clint Camilleri
Former Labour minister Joe Debono Grech addresses a rally for Gozo MP Clint Camilleri

Labour stalwart Joe Debono Grech summed up Malta’s apathetic response to corruption in a speech to the Labour faithful that typically excoriated Nationalist partisans and glorfied Labour’s leaders.

In a rally held for Gozo minister Clint Camilleri, the former minister Debono Grech kept his audience entertained with snippets of Labour history and blind adulation for the Abela administration’s work during the pandemic.

But in a brief reference to Malta’s problem with corruption, Debono Grech eagerly swept the issue under the carpet for his Labour audience.

“One person once came up to me, telling me ‘politicians are all corrupt – both sides’. And I told him, ‘you’re right, but look here: in the times of the Nationalists’ corruption we got nothing, but at least we got something from our corruption’,” he said to raucous applause.

“Another told me, ‘you’re all thieves’. And I said: ‘Christ had two thieves... we’re with the good thief.”

MaltaToday Survey | Corruption is top concern for Nationalists, shunned by Labourites

Debono Grech gave his Gozitan audience a slice of history on Labour’s activism in Gozo, recounting that Labour minister Clint Camilleri’s grandfather Anglu ‘il-Bedeq’ had been solicited with a bribe to switch over to the Nationalist Party.

According to the US embassy cables from 1973, this episode was recounted to the American ambassador to Malta by Nationalist MP Mario Felice, who said the bribe had been “very nearly successful” but that the police uncovered plot “and that two Gozitans tried to stop Mintoff from making case public, but Mintoff insisted. Felice says that businessman Roger Camilleri is long-time Labour supporter who gave £10,000 or £12,000 to MLP for last political campaign.”

“They’re quite the champions for democracy,” Debono Grech told the Labour rally, taking to task the PN’s historic ties to the Maltese Catholic Church.

“I don’t care about those complaining about wanting a ‘serious’ opposition... I care about having a strong party of our own. My job today is like Guza’s,” Debono Grech said of Gozo’s well known delegate Guza Cassar. “We ask ministers to help out people... not by corruption, but for what’s theirs by right.”