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
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.
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.
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.