Welcome a new prime minister - we can do i

Surely if Dr Fearne is elected prime minister, he would be well advised to hone his tools for deep surgery. We wish him well in this Herculean task once he promised us 'we can do it'.


Three weeks ago saw the resignation of two cabinet ministers and a chief of staff. The prime minister also announced his resignation to take place on 12th January while Parliamentary sessions were halted ahead of time for the Christmas recess.

In these turbulent days, we also witnessed daily civil protests from various lobby groups alleging Castille to be complicit with the macabre assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia - a journalist.

This was carried out by a powerful car bomb secretly wired to her car and detonated electronically by a mobile device.

So far, the press quotes a princely sum of euro 150k paid to a gang of three accused killers who plotted her demise on orders from the wealthiest person on the island - he is now charged with being the mastermind and is in police custody.

The latter was a close friend of the Chief of Staff at the office of the prime minister - a very powerful person and close confidant of Joseph Muscat. The Chief of Staff is reputed to be the brains that secured two successive landslide electoral victories for the Labour Party.

Both the chief of staff and the tourism minister were accused by the late Daphne Caruana Galizia of having registered secret Panama companies aided and abetted by Brian Tonna M.D of the audit firm - Nexia BT.

The latter has enjoined prolonged patronage from Castille by way of direct orders - he was elected as a person of trust within the Justice ministry.

Mr Tonna was also handpicked as the expert in the adjudication panel which advised government to select Electrogas as a bidder for a controversial euro 450 million tender to procure electricity.

Electrogas is currently under the lense, as Jurgen Fenech - a minority shareholder - has been accused to be the mastermind behind the car bomb plot.

He denied such accusations. This macabre scandal has suddenly erupted last month drowning previous accolades to Joseph Muscat which poured from all quarters following a budget with a surplus for 2020.

Last October, Joseph Muscat’s ego skyrocketed with a swell of positive hubris following a popular budget. He was seen telling party faithful to rejoice as there was never a better time for the island. His budget showered more welfare benefits to pensioners and unprivileged classes.

To add to his adulation, international credit agencies issued favorable prognosis on the economic prospects while the latest IMF report goes to mention a number of steps to help ensure a sustained future growth.

Alas the party is over now - everyone at Castille retired to the darkest corner reaching out for tranquilizers and black coffee - facing vociferous street protests baying for justice. Some party bigwigs found courage to ask Joseph Muscat to leave immediately thus assuming political responsibility for the saga.

The stark reality is that the island has suffered a battering to its international reputation as a result of tales of corruption and sleaze (not to mention criminal overtones) tarnishing the very top echelons of the ruling political class.

As can be expected, angry and betrayed party bigwigs are crying for retribution - a collective blame hovers over the heads of cabinet who acquiesced with the leader.

They expect the new prime minister to be a new broom to sweep the decks - but can the slate be swept clean when meritocracy went down the drain to be replaced by cronyism, nepotism and thousands of so called “soldiers of steel” enlisted with perks simply to act as gate keepers.

The fly in the ointment is the unbridled building frenzy which came under heavy attack from environmentalists, civil society, Caritas and Church authorities lamenting the mad rush to invoke Dubai-ification and make a quick buck. This can only be a symptom of wanton greed.

It led to the ruin of traditional core values and way of life. Party apologists painted a fairy picture about a fleeting feel-good factor but deep down foundations are weak.

Really and truly there has been a complete takeover by sleazy barons who signed lucrative PPP schemes with Castille with impunity. This has killed initiative and suppressed innovation especially from the under privileged - with no access to ever flowing gravy train.

Equally relevant are the allegations of alleged political interference at Castille when approving Malta passports to wealthy foreigners - a case in point saw a top local agent bragging to a foreign (under cover) TV crew how they are able to guarantee 100% success on the strength of their close political ties - even so where applicants have a criminal record.

The agent’s license was immediately suspended while ministry denied any interference in the processing of applicants.

The IIP regulator quickly carried out an investigation and solemnly declared that there were no traces of trading in influence by politicians.

There are other skeletons in the public cupboards - starting from noise and air pollution from mass tourism, pollution from cruise liners, lack of social housing, explosion of social rents and the burgeoning motor traffic.

During the past six years, we witnessed government priming the pump by conceding prime land for residential towers worth millions at a heavily discounted price. Government defended its actions saying it was guided by an independent valuation from a big four audit firm.

This is not a level playing field especially where SME’s are concerned - the latter are struggling to keep pace with competition and due to their small size, albeit they make up 85% of local industry, they face perennial problems to meet the challenges of the 4th Industrial revolution.

Although the bureaucracy speaks of attractive concessions from Malta enterprise, facts show SME’s are not the government darlings. But it is not all doom and gloom since it is an undisputed fact that Malta enjoyed accelerated GDP growth (the best in EU) garnered during the Muscat’s administration which mushroomed in an unprecedented exuberance.

Hope springs eternal to the sans-culotte that the next prime minister will sift the chaff from the wheat and carry out a root and branch overhaul to restore serenity and the rule of law. Already, there has been suggestions by Dr Fearne (a favorite candidate) as to how the medicine can be administered to cure the sick patient in ten measured doses.

Moving forward, one hopes that the dark cloud that is usurping our Christmas cheer will pass quickly. Pray our Savonarola finds strength to demand the resignation of all persons of trust and unceremoniously replace the lot by meritorious candidates.

Hopefully we ill get early closure as otherwise the uncertainty may burst the property bubble with dire consequences for banks, estate agents, leaving in its wake unpaid suppliers, shell properties and the plague of redundancies.

Surely if Dr Fearne is elected prime minister, he would be well advised to hone his tools for deep surgery.

We wish him well in this Herculean task once he promised us “we can do it”.

A Merry Christmas to all.

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