The De­li­mara de­ba­cle and Delia’s pud­ding

Malta Independent - - News -

It is some­what more than heart­en­ing to see the Op­po­si­tion leader leap­ing to the chal­lenge yes­ter­day to take on the very sus­pi­cious deal that amounted to the new De­li­mara power sta­tion, af­ter fresh and ap­par­ently damn­ing rev­e­la­tions were pub­lished about the sor­did deal yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

Some months ago the Op­po­si­tion leader had taken us to task over a story that showed that he, in his pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tion, was ten­u­ously linked by sev­eral de­grees of sepa­ra­tion to a com­pany that han­dled a bond is­sue for the for­mer lead part­ner of the De­li­mara power sta­tion – one of the most con­tentious pro­jects the coun­try has ever seen.

At the time, the Op­po­si­tion Leader had taken not the sug­ges­tion that a firm he had been in­volved with had le­git­i­mately held a share in trust in a com­pany that worked with that com­pany, Ga­sol, but, rather, the sug­ges­tion that he had been si­lenced as a mor­tal in­sult. And in so do­ing he has showed some of his met­tle. He did the same yes­ter­day, and de­manded the res­ig­na­tions of Messrs Schem­bri and Mizzi. Granted, many oth­ers have done so since the on­slaught of the Panama Pa­pers all those moons ago and very lit­tle, if any, ac­tion had been taken.

No ac­tion save for the Prime Min­is­ter ap­par­ently de­mot­ing Mizzi, in a move that was any­thing but a de­mo­tion, to ex­cuse Schem­bri’s part in the in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial ad­ven­ture down to his per­sonal wheel­ings and deal­ings as a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man and, as such, sug­gest­ing that no ques­tions should be asked.

That was wholly un­ac­cept­able, and if any­one in govern­ment thought for a minute that the free press would let the mat­ter go, they were sadly mis­taken. It is not just a mat­ter of the more in­quis­i­tive me­dia be­ing like a dog with bone, it is a mat­ter of good gov­er­nance on the most ba­sic of lev­els.

And that brings us back to the Op­po­si­tion Leader, who, at the first op­por­tu­nity, went straight for the jugu­lar on the power sta­tion deal. And that is a re­as­sur­ingly pos­i­tive thing.

Af­ter all, hav­ing a strong op­po­si­tion is one of the main un­der­pin­nings of hav­ing a strong democ­racy. Not only is a strong op­po­si­tion able to chal­lenge the govern­ment and keep it in check, but it is also col­lab­o­rates with the govern­ment and pro­vides es­sen­tial in­put on the draft­ing of new laws and poli­cies.

This role is es­sen­tial even more so in the cur­rent day and age the coun­try is liv­ing in, in which the au­thor­i­ties fail to pros­e­cute or even in­ves­ti­gate the doc­u­mented mul­ti­ple mis­deeds per­pe­trated by mem­bers of the govern­ment, in which the govern­ment has cas­trated the in­sti­tu­tions that are meant to pro­tect cit­i­zens’ rights and up­hold the laws of the land, and in which the au­thor­i­ties ig­nore ba­sic demo­cratic prin­ci­ples left right and cen­tre.

Delia, those months back, had in­sisted he is not for sale at any price and in­sisted that, “If the deal was only made to fleece us of pub­lic funds, then it is wrong. I will not shy away from say­ing that about the Elec­trogas deal.” And yes­ter­day he made good on his word at the first chance he had to take on the De­li­mara deal.

We had said at the time that if he were to do so, then we would stand foursquare be­hind him, or any­one else for that mat­ter who fights the good fight for good gov­er­nance, af­ter we have seen the na­tional in­ter­est thrown out the win­dow time and time again in favour of politi­cians’ per­sonal in­ter­ests and po­lit­i­cal par­ties’ par­ti­san in­ter­ests.

We have held him to his word, and he made good on it, but this is not a one-off and we will con­tinue to hold him to his word for as long as it takes to see jus­tice served. And so far, all things con­sid­ered in bal­ance, Delia has not re­lented in the Op­po­si­tion’s fight against ram­pant cor­rup­tion. His ap­proach may dif­fer from those of his pre­de­ces­sors, and the proof of the pud­ding, as the adage goes, will be in the eat­ing… and there are many meals to be had still. Bon Ap­pétit.

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