It is now official: Malta is ruled by a few of mega-millionaire families; and current public policy dictates that everything is done so that they become richer.

The rest of us, it has been decreed, have to do with the crumbs that fall from the table of these lords and other lesser ones. It could be that from time to time these crumbs are quite abundant but it could also be that some manage to get a meagre share. In that case it is tough luck.

To make these mega-millionaire families more rich government had first come up with the idea of a power station that the country does not need. It seemed that this is not enough to feed hungry mouths and populate international financial structures. So yesterday the Planning Authority had approved the building of monstrous constructions in the middle of Malta and in Sliema.  More millions can now be pumped into the pockets of a small number of families.

More millions can now be pumped into the pockets of a small number of families

Yesterday’s decision reminded me of a speech Minister Evarist Bartolo had given in Parliament when it was discussing the Panama Papers scandal which is once more in the news following the resignation of the director of the national agency tasked with the investigation, among other things, of money laundering – the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit. For a very long time informed persons in the grapevine have been saying that this agency presented a report to the Commissioner of Police who mysteriously became sick after reading the report. It now seems that the director of the agency could not tolerate any longer the inaction of the police and decided to call it a day.

Allow me to liberally quote from my commentary in The Sunday Times of Malta of June 12.

“Bartolo said that on becoming a minister in 1966 he was invited by an eminent lawyer to a fenkata at a farm in the south of Malta. He gladly accepted though was not privy to the guest list.  On arrival, he was surprised to find well-known lawyers, members of the judiciary and land speculators. All honourable men posturing as be pillars of the community. The prandial conversation was anything but light banter. On the contrary, Bartolo told us,  that the conversation centred on land transfers and large projects. 

‘I was worried,’ Bartolo told Parliament. And rightly so, say all of us.  Such covert meetings, brook no good except for those who want to take unjust and probably corrupt advantage over the rest of us.

Bartolo shared his reflection on the meeting.

‘I said: there are political parties; we criticise and confront each other; we write electoral programmes and make speeches; there is Parliament and there are law courts where decisions are taken. I realised that behind the façade of democracy, important decisions are taken in in back rooms, in farms on Saturday afternoon and not during Parliamentary sittings. [Decisions are not taken only]  in places where electoral programmes are compiled, or by us who do a lot of sacrifices to dedicate ourselves to politics.’

Bartolo said that he only went once to such a gathering. He was never invited again as the organisers realised that he was not ready to play their dirty game. He added that also invitations to go on yachts or to go to the gym dried up.  

Bully for him. We need more honest politicians who like him shun such gatherings.”

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