Cross­ing each other’s palms with sil­ver

The news­pa­pers car­ried a press re­lease yes­ter­day in­form­ing us that “Mrs Michelle Muscat, spouse of the Prime Minister, has vis­ited Dubai as guest of HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hus­sein, spouse of vice-pres­i­dent and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emi­rates

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Less than four years into her hus­band’s term of of­fice, Mrs Muscat ap­pears to have ac­quired the no­tion that she is roy­alty her­self. This is go­ing to be prob­lem­atic when she has to re­turn to nor­mal life in one or five years’ time, lose the chauf­feur and the grace-and­favour car, the per­sonal as­sis­tant, hair­dressers and dress de­sign­ers, and the en­tourage of syco­phants, and get back to driv­ing her chil­dren to school, do­ing her own gro­cery shop­ping, buy­ing her own dresses, and pay­ing for her own car and petrol, and all this while those who have been court­ing her as­sid­u­ously for the last six years or so turn their backs on her and move on to court­ing Ms Kristina Chet­cuti – or try­ing to. Know­ing what I do of her, I can’t imag­ine they’ll get very far – and in any case, the main rea­son so many ‘so­ci­ety big cheeses’ court Mrs Muscat now is be­cause she is so very keen to get in with them, and that makes her easy to ma­nip­u­late.

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In a court case yes­ter­day in­volv­ing two mem­bers of staff at the state gen­eral hos­pi­tal, who had been quar­relling with each other and ha­rass­ing one an­other, the mag­is­trate who had to deal with them burst out: “This busi­ness of try­ing to pull strings and have favours done for us by the party in gov­ern­ment, or by politi­cians, has got to stop. What is il­le­gal is il­le­gal and no po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence should pro­tect those who are in the wrong. They can go to the Of­fice of the Prime Minister, to the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion, to the Par­tit tal-Far­fett or to the Par­tit Demokratiku, for all I care. Abuse is abuse and I won’t tol­er­ate it.”

Fine words, in­deed, were it not for the fact that the mag­is­trate in ques­tion is Joe Mif­sud, the for­mer In­ter­na­tional Sec­re­tary of the Malta Labour Party and long-time staff re­porter for the Labour Party’s of­fi­cial print or­gan, Kul­lĦadd. The only rea­son he is a mag­is­trate at all is be­cause of the very same abuse and po­lit­i­cal pa­tron­age he so un­wisely (in his po­si­tion) con­demned. He is one of the batch of for­mer Labour Party of­fi­cials, cronies and as­so­ciates ap­pointed to the bench by Muscat’s gov­ern­ment.

***

I see that Prime Minister Muscat has ap­pointed his po­lit­i­cal party’s long-time au­di­tor chair­man of the Bank of Val­letta, which should do noth­ing to di­vest peo­ple of their rapidly hard­en­ing be­lief that when the Labour Party is in gov­ern­ment, the Bank of Val­letta be­comes piggy-bank to both party and gov­ern­ment – and to their cronies too, of course.

Not only is Tad­deo aka Deo Scerri the Labour Party’s au­di­tor, but he is also in­volved with Hani Hasan Naji Al Salah, the Jor­da­nian ver­sion of San­dro Chet­cuti and Charles Pol­i­dano who nipped over to Malta, nabbed a large tract of sea­side land, and promised to build an “Amer­i­can univer­sity” on it. Crony­ism in these is­lands have now en­tered a new di­men­sion, one in which they’re not even try­ing to hide it any­more.

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You know things have re­ally taken a turn for the worse for Labour when Joe Camil­leri, who was pri­vate sec­re­tary to one of Malta’s most vile and abu­sive politi­cians, Dom Mintoff, and who spent much of his time in the com­pany of Lorry Sant and other ghastly spec­i­mens in his boss’s cab­i­net of gov­ern­ment, writes pub­licly that Muscat’s gov­ern­ment is a mess, that the Labour Party has de­te­ri­o­rated into a sham­bles in which the prime movers are more in­ter­ested in their cor­rupt deals with op­por­tunists, their com­pa­nies in Panama and the money they stand to make than they are in so­cial is­sues.

And this morn­ing, Mark An­thony Sam­mut, an­other for­mer Labour Party stal­wart, whose fa­ther Frans was one of Prime Minister Al­fred Sant’s con­fi­dantes and aides, has said much the same thing at a press con­fer­ence to launch a book he has writ­ten about this gov­ern­ment’s cor­rup­tion and the Panama Pa­pers. The cor­rupt switch­ers are still busy wav­ing the Muscat flag as hard as they can – but that goes with­out say­ing. They’re all cross­ing each other’s palms with sil­ver.

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