Let’s see if we can get this right
MaltaToday, a paper that is, let’s say, close in ideology to that of the ruling party, comes out with a story that heavily implies the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in money laundering. Within a few hours, the Prime Minister latches on to the story and orders an inquiry headed by an independent member of the judiciary.
This is taking place in a country where the members of the judiciary are appointed by the head of government who has not hesitated to appoint to the bench members of the party itself.
To a person who has just landed in Malta from Mars, this is nothing less than shortcircuit justice, not much different from the justice as practised in Kafka and as exemplified in the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe. The ruling power, let’s not
personify it in the person of the prime minister, can be the source of a story denigrating the Opposition, the power that calls for an investigation, and by dint of appointing the members of the judiciary, having enough power to find the person being investigated guilty on all counts.
There are no checks and balances, it’s plain and simple – awesome naked power, unchecked and untrammeled. Obviously, since we do not exist in a vacuum, such an exercise of power cannot go unchecked and, in fact, can easily be thrown out by any European Court of Human Rights.
But till then, until this power is checked by a superior and supranational court, the people of this country have only local justice to tell them who is right and who is wrong and, the scales of justice being so tilted in the way we have described, Beppe Fenech Adami, a gadfly in the side of the government, is as good as guilty.
Obviously, too, the fact that this flurry of revelations and alacrity on the part of the government to ensure that justice is done – an alacrity that is quite rare, as the man who spent 13 months in jail on a charge that was patently wrong can attest – has coincided with the entry into Maltese waters of a tanker well gone in years and which is to function as a gas tank on sea to provide a power station that is not yet commissioned, is just that, a coincidence.
As too is the coincidence that just a week before Parliament begins the process of doing away with criminal libel, the former Commissioner of Police, now a lawyer, is seeking the power of criminal libel to nobble down the editor of the sister Sunday paper of this paper in defence of a man who was a school colleague of the head of government.