Kon­rad’s trea­sure hunt

Malta Independent - - INTERVIEW -

Ei­ther Min­is­ter Kon­rad Mizzi has an un­canny knack of walk­ing right into the punch line of a joke, or per­haps it is just too easy con­sid­er­ing all that has come to pass over the last cou­ple of years.

He can an­swer ques­tions about a chil­dren’s tele­vi­sion chan­nel’s episodes com­ing to Malta but not ques­tions about Air Malta or, for that mat­ter, his own trea­sure hunt or the hunt for his fa­bled trea­sure. We can un­der­stand that the man has a job to do, and we can also un­der­stand that Mal­tese kids will be in for a big treat next year as sev­eral of their favourite car­toon char­ac­ters de­scend upon the is­land as part of a ma­jor net­work’s ‘trea­sure hunt se­ries’.

But, re­ally, for Kon­rad Mizzi to address a press con­fer­ence about a trea­sure hunt could be con­sid­ered more than a lit­tle far­ci­cal. In fact, the sit­u­a­tion would be com­i­cal if it were not so se­ri­ous.

That is be­cause the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of Mizzi’s ac­tions, and the fact that they have gone com­pletely un­pun­ished, are leav­ing some very se­ri­ous resid­ual prob­lems for the coun­try.

Kon­rad Mizzi was, af­ter all, the only Euro­pean Union min­is­ter ex­posed by the Panama Pa­pers and as such, he is the only EU min­is­ter to have been in­ves­ti­gated as a re­sult of those rev­e­la­tions, and as a re­sult, Malta is the only coun­try em­bed­ded in this quag­mire.

At a rather in­nocu­ous press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, Mizzi was quizzed about Air Malta.

Now we un­der­stand that it may be a lit­tle rude to go straight for ques­tions that are un­re­lated to the sub­ject mat­ter at hand, es­pe­cially when there are for­eign guests who know noth­ing about the state of the na­tional air­line.

But, on the other hand, it is also some­what rude to have the min­is­ter os­ten­si­bly caught schem­ing to skim from the state cof­fers to re­main in po­si­tion as though it is merely busi­ness as usual and that the eyes of Europe have been on us and our gov­ern­ment for years now.

Mizzi’s peo­ple did not take kindly to the Air Malta ques­tions, but just imag­ine if jour­nal­ists had started ask­ing the very valid ques­tions about Panama, New Zealand, Dubai or 17 Black?

But the min­is­ter, his col­leagues and his peo­ple have to re­alise that the truth of the mat­ter is that this just will not go away, and the ques­tions will not go away un­til the coun­try has the answers – maybe not the answers many out there do not even want to know, but the answers that they need, and de­serve, to know.

That is be­cause these mul­ti­ple ac­cu­sa­tions of fi­nan­cial mis­con­duct by those in power have been fes­ter­ing un­der the na­tion’s skin for far too long and they hang like a shadow over this gov­ern­ment, and as a re­sult large swathes of the pop­u­la­tion, those who did not vote for this gov­ern­ment and even many of those who had, are openly or se­cretly call­ing into ques­tion ev­ery deal the gov­ern­ment strikes –from the power sta­tion to the hos­pi­tals to Air Malta and, who knows, maybe even with the tele­vi­sion net­work at yes­ter­day’s press con­fer­ence.

The thing is that trust has been lost. And once that trust is lost, it is ex­ceed­ingly dif­fi­cult to re­gain. No gov­ern­ment should be able to af­ford that and no gov­ern­ment should al­low it­self to be re­garded in such a neg­a­tive light by any sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of its pop­u­la­tion, ir­re­spec­tive of any elec­toral re­sult no mat­ter how favourable.

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