Labour’s open war on Facebook: Schembri’s henchman Gafà takes aim at Evarist Bartolo

Castille’s unofficial Libya envoy Neville Gafà has leapt to the defence of the embattled former chief of staff Keith Schembri

Loyal to the last: Neville Gafà (right) has been at the beck and call of former chief of staff Keith Schembri
Loyal to the last: Neville Gafà (right) has been at the beck and call of former chief of staff Keith Schembri

The unofficial Libyan envoy Neville Gafà has taken aim at Labour veteran minister Evarist Bartolo over the latter’s unstinting criticism of Keith Schembri, the former chief of staff now implicated in the probe on the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination.

Gafà has been a link between the Labour government and the former chief of staff since his resignation after being revealed to have passed on information on the police investigation to the alleged mastermind, Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech. He has been filmed entering and exiting the Mellieha home of Schembri.

On Facebook, Gafà accused Bartolo of “spitting out hate” for calling into question Schembri’s overweening power as chief of staff to outgoing prime minister Joseph Muscat.

“Why don’t you do your job instead of spitting out hate? Why did you not resign three ago? If you did not agree, why didn’t you man up and left?” Gafà said on Facebook, in a reference to Bartolo’s original disagreement with Muscat over retaining Schembri and Konrad Mizzi after they were outed in the Panama Papers of having opened secretive offshore companies.

The companies were later revealed to be connected to Fenech’s offshore company in Dubai, 17 Black. Fenech is a shareholder in the Electrogas consortium, which runs Malta’s gas plant.

“To hit out at critics, you have to be pure of heart,” Gafà said in his angry Facebook comment. “Don’t think we have forgotten that you once attacked the Prime Minister. Even while you led a delegation abroad! And another thing; before you judge Mr Schembri, I suggest you compare what you have achieved with his achievements for the good of Malta.”

Gafà’s outburst came in a reaction to Bartolo’s Facebook status in which he said Malta’s prime ministers have had chiefs of staff who had too many powers - an obvious reference to Schembri as well as Eddie Fenech’s Adami’s own enforcer, Richard Cachia Caruana.

“The PM must have a person he trusts to carry out his job. But in Castille, there must be just one prime minister, the one democratically elected to run the country. You cannot have someone building an informal web of power in various sectors, which becomes greater than our institutional structure of power. It does not make for good governance or democracy or the people, not even for the prime minister himself.

“There must be just one prime minister and one Cabinet: the one that takes power and its oath to serve the people and which can be kept under the scrutiny of the parliament, media and civil society. Every other power, hidden and secret, can only do damage.”