Testy mo­ments

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

In other cir­cum­stances, we would have said it was clear the prime min­is­ter was abroad. Now, we are not so sure. The fact re­mains we had some testy mo­ments in Par­lia­ment this week. There was the querelle be­tween Ja­son Az­zopardi and Owen Bon­nici with the lat­ter claim­ing breach of priv­i­lege and with the for­mer re­fus­ing to re­tract. That will surely have a se­quel, maybe in the Com­mit­tee of Priv­i­leges. For Par­lia­ment still has priv­i­leges and it has also a com­mit­tee to stand guard over these priv­i­leges. Then we had the on­go­ing strug­gle to come to terms and find out more about the con­tracts with VGH and the fu­ture of no less than three hos­pi­tals in Malta and Gozo. We had the un­seemly spec­ta­cle of op­po­site sides tus­sling whether the is­sue should be

Ed­i­tor’s pick

dis­cussed and ex­am­ined at the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee or in the Health Com­mit­tee. Then we had the tus­sle be­tween the Op­po­si­tion and Min­is­ter Evarist Bar­tolo over the scheme in­volv­ing the GWU which has hived off 500 from the un­em­ployed regis­ter and whether the union was mak­ing a tidy profit for its ef­forts. Once again, Min­is­ter Bar­tolo was quite testy when asked in Par­lia­ment.

Mr Bar­tolo also had an is­sue on the side, so far not re­ally aired in Par­lia­ment, but which can have in­can­des­cent con­se­quences – about who de­cides how Mal­tese must be writ­ten. As could be seen by those who fol­low what goes on in Par­lia­ment, tem­pers were quite high. And not one of these afore-men­tioned is­sues has been re­solved. On the con­trary they are still, we may say, just this side of boil­ing point.

It is also clear that with a year and a half to go for the next elec­tion, and with Malta be­ing so politicised, tem­pers risk get­ting out of hand. With Malta (and not just the prime min­is­ter or his gov­ern­ment) en­joy­ing the pres­i­dency of the Euro­pean Union, we can­not af­ford to have such spec­ta­cles in Par­lia­ment or else­where.

So far it has been, at most, a mat­ter of shout­ing, maybe in­fring­ing the par­lia­men­tary pro­to­col and mak­ing all sorts of charges. But one never re­ally knows with our Mediter­ranean char­ac­ter.

Pol­i­tics must go on, be­cause pol­i­tics is the life­line of the coun­try. But the coun­try ex­pects bet­ter be­hav­iour all around from its bet­ters. For­tu­nately too the Christ­mas re­cess is around the cor­ner and maybe it will help bring the tem­pers down a bit.

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