The Prime Minister might have earned the dubious accolade as the Artful Dodger of Europe following his interview with John Sweeney on BBC Newsnight a few months after the assassination of his most vocal critic, Daphne Caruana Galizia, but I hate to break it to him: he is losing his grip.
Fast. For some time now.
Prime Minister, the astonishing scenes outside Parliament last Wednesday night when we showed you what we really think of your leadership is proof of that. Where were you hiding? Were you not eager to speak to the people?
You haven’t stopped chatting since the middleman, Melvin Theuma, and then the man many believe to be the mastermind, Yorgen Fenech, were arrested. So, what stopped you on the night?
But then you only speak when you are assured of a captive audience, preferably holding up placards telling you ‘We love you, Joseph’ rather than ‘What the f**k, Joe?’ or when you have a tightly controlled script like you have been unleashing on us all since the arrests.
Because make no mistake, people – what we witnessed last week is a media circus orchestrated by Castille. Pure theatre.
Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Prime Minister?
You have been rehearsing your stock replies and your furrow ever since the Times of Malta broke the story on October 6, if not before, and only decided to embark on your song-and-dance routine when Europol came a-calling for Theuma about unrelated money-laundering charges. Then you decided to sing for your supper to save your skin.
Or so you think.
The story has long slipped from your control and you are doing your best to control the narrative trying to take the credit for the latest developments.
You keep parroting that the institutions work. So why are you doing the police chief’s job?
But let me spell it out to you. The only credit you are desperately trying not to take is your inaction when and ever since Caruana Galizia revealed that your close associates in government opened secret companies in Panama to receive millions from a mystery Dubai company called 17 Black.
We subsequently discovered this company belongs to Fenech. Your inaction created the rule of delinquency and impunity that led to her assassination.
Under your watch.
For two years, you have refused to lift a finger except to point it at civil society for betraying the nation with our demands for truth and justice even though you had declared that you “will leave no stone unturned”. Ultimately, it was Reuters that spent half a million to uncover the identity of the owner of 17 Black. You preferred to pour money into paying Owen Bonnici’s cleansers overtime to bin our protests of candles and flowers at the memorial night after night, even on the night when Fenech was arrested.
Every time that the Prime Minister steps in front of journalists to speak about the case, folks, keep in mind that he has spent most of this legislature avoiding the press and refusing to take questions.
So, why is he chatting non-stop now? Because everything is being concocted for his television audience. You know, the ones “who follow the media, my dear”. Cue jangling hennaed arms and beringed fingers.
Who appointed you Police Commissioner, Prime Minister? You keep parroting that the institutions are working. So why are you doing the Police Commissioner’s job?
So efficient are the institutions that the Police Commissioner is refusing to speak about the case and you will not stop talking about it. Will you also be judge and jury?
PM, when and where was the last time you met with Fenech? And, in case you’re wondering, we’re still in November. And it is shaping up quite nicely indeed.
Your mantra has always been “I will shoulder political responsibility for my decisions.” Prime Minister, you have protected Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi to the hilt ever since Caruana Galizia uncovered their corruption.
Now we know that she was assassinated for it. It is time to shoulder your responsibility of your part in her death. Fenech is not the only villain of the piece.
Friedrich Engels’s mantra was that everyone strives for his own interests, but in the end what emerges is something no one intended. You have done nothing but protect your interests.
Now brace yourself for an outcome you are not expecting. It’s up to us, the people, to protect the country’s interests, even if the Speaker threatens us with arrest in Freedom Square. Oh the irony.
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Alessandra Dee Crespo is a member of the Repubblika executive committee.