The Sofia inquiry aftermath

Jean Paul Sofia and Isabelle Bonnici will go down in history. The former as the sacrificial lamb and the latter as the modern crusader.

Jean Paul tragically lost his life not only because he happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time but also, if not primarily, because he was a victim of the government’s maladministration, laissez-faire attitude and conspicuous lack of good governance.

Isabelle Bonnici with a picture of her son Jean Paul Sofia outside parliament. Photo: Matthew MirabelliIsabelle Bonnici with a picture of her son Jean Paul Sofia outside parliament. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Instead of Jean Paul, it could have been anyone of us to have suffered such a tragedy. Instead of his grieving mother, it could have been any mother of any young son or daughter. So, in this sense, even she is a victim of the government’s multiple wrongdoings.

These two figures reflect the public’s multiple societal concerns: the quest for the truth to come out, for justice to be done and for all those responsible, directly or indirectly, to be accountable.

In the figures of Jean Paul and Isabelle, with all that they represent and signify, we see ourselves reflected.

All this, a truly bleak picture of the government’s ineffectiveness, came about thanks to the Sofia public inquiry’s report. Yet, the majority of our representatives in the House of Representatives thought otherwise when they initially voted against the launch of a public inquiry. 

It was a clear and unforgettable affront to the public interest because it was and still is in the public interest to know and understand why and how, for years on end now, we have been witnessing one construction and building tragedy after another. The public inquiry that Isabelle painstakingly managed to force the government to launch determined a clear sign that basic oversight of our critical industries simply is not happening. Undoubtedly, it is just the latest evidence that the regulatory regimes that oversee large parts of the Maltese economy and society are failing.

Jean Paul’s demise and the consequent permanent grief within his parents are just one of many other disastrous unintended consequences that occur as the direct consequence of poor intentional choices by our top political decision-makers.

Yet, the government remains blind to the fact that such maladministration affects the national economy and the thousands of citizens whom it is supposed to administer and serve. Maladministration has come to affect the nation’s progress and the welfare of the masses.

The government must initiate the necessary and appropriate reforms to ensure that such maladministration does not occur.

Mark Said – Msida

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