You’ve all seen the films or, at least, I have. Man or woman is wanted by the police. They arrive at the airport to make their grand escape and, on presenting their passport, the ground hostess realises who they are and a chain of events takes place, including everything from a high-speed airport chase to a shoot-out.

What doesn’t usually happen in the films though, is a wanted man going through the only airport in the country several times in a year wholly unencumbered till he is arrested in Italy on a group holiday with a former prime minister. Even as I write this, I am struck by the fact that the shoot-out sounds like the more believable storyline. Not if you live in Malta, though.

You know how they say that it’s often only outsiders who can see that you’re in a toxic relationship; I think that is how it must work in this country. I mean, here we are almost proudly brandishing our greylisting, with even Hollywood poking fun at us by making our country the hub for a dinosaur black market in the forthcoming Jurassic World film and, yet, you still have people going around acting like we are living in the modern-day version of the Garden of Eden.

We are just irritated that people keep peeing on our legs and telling us it’s champagne- Anna Marie Galea

I mean, honestly, is no one just a bit concerned that, just a few weeks ago, we heard allegations that Ryan Schembri was just left to get on with his new life by the police while multiple investors were chasing him to get their money back?

In which western democratic country does it take you several years to issue an international arrest warrant? How are we meant to put our faith in a system that appears to be so lax and disproportionate?

The worst part is that this laissez-faire attitude seems to extend to literally everything. Just this week, a Moviment Graffitti member rightfully asked what would be left of order if we continue to ignore policies during the Qala illegal works hearing that centred around the fact that Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli had knowingly carried out works when he didn’t have a permit. As if the total disregard for the law weren’t enough, Portelli has openly said that he would gladly pay whatever fines came his way after admitting he was in the wrong but saying he was unfairly targeted.

It’s not only completely despicable that many people seem to think that obeying the law is optional but, on top of that, instead of perhaps doing the unthinkable and showing some remorse, everyone seems to think that it’s okay to make brazen statements and act as if everyone else is in the wrong or as if they are being treated poorly. It would be farcical if it weren’t so deeply saddening and maddening. If fines aren’t high enough to deter people from breaking the law, surely the answer is to make them higher.

Contrary to popular belief, many people aren’t jealous of the fact that a select few can get away with murder scot-free: we are just irritated that people keep peeing on our legs and telling us it’s champagne.

In a supposedly democratic country, is it truly too much to ask for our systems to work in the way they should? Is it too much to ask for people to be made accountable? It would sadly seem it is.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us