08 AUGUST 2002

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Cartoon this week: Little fish, big fish

A nation under shock

The nation is still under shock. If the fate of the two judges were left to that of a kangaroo court, there is no doubt that the two judges would be torn apart and fed to the dogs - so angry and disgusted are the people.

And yet, we contest that this decadent development is not restricted to a fluke or a freak event converging on the courts.

The institutional crisis sparked off by the irresponsibility and greed of the two judges is a symptom of our culture.

In our view, the two judges have much to respond to, but more must be asked of the powers that be, which have seen the judiciary to fall into such a state.

First and foremost, the appointment of certain individuals to the judiciary was not carried out with the long view in mind. Very few of the politicians cared to note the history and business links of the judiciary. And yet, both administrations ignored the facts and went about their matters in their own ways.

This malaise is not restricted to the judiciary. We have in Malta a similar attitude when it comes to business.

There is the propensity toward the fact that - and we will say this with much conviction - kickbacks and cuts are a part of the way business preparations are carried out.

There is more - tax evasion and fraud, considered to be very serious offences in other civilised countries, is the name of the game in Malta.

Indeed the sort of fraud and tax evasion that takes place in Malta is so widespread that many professionals legitimise it.

From the notaries that sign the sale of properties, to the lawyers who draw up the contracts to the middle-men in business.

This is culture of deceit.

This is not endemic to Malta.

But the fact that no one is reprimanded or has put a stop to acting deceitfully has not lessened the chances for corruption and abuse.

This country needs a culture change.

This will only come about if the politicians on both sides of the political divide dedicate themselves to transforming our institutions into bastions of fairness and transparency.

While we rummaged around in archival material on jurisprudence, we failed to find one case in the European sphere that involved a Chief Justice.

In another country, the foundations of society would be shaken to the core.

The same needs to be replicated in Malta.

The trouble is in finding someone who can win the confidence of society in general.

What we need is someone, or individuals, who have been an example, who have lived independently from the powers that be and the workings around them.

In this newspaper we focus on the ramifications of this case on the business and financial world.

There are those who sustain our belief that this will have repercussions on confidence in general. There are others who would disagree.

As in all things, business is not only about sums and figures or marketing and selling. It is also about a feel-good factor. A sensation dented by a bout of sadness, anger and revulsion.

Those who fail to realise this are unwilling to face the realities of this modern and complex society.


Copyright © Network Publications Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07, Malta
Tel: (356) 21382741-3, 21382745-6 | Fax: (356) 21385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt