We lived a lie. We pretended all was fine when, in reality, it was not. We were taken for a ride. We were held hostage and deceived by the king of spin doctors who did his utmost to hide his real intent. And the worst feeling in the world is knowing we were lied to and deceived by those in whom we placed our trust to lead us.

It took the work of a fearless journalist and her cold-blooded assassination to bring us to our senses.

Any writer of fiction would probably find it impossible to create a more shocking political piece than the one that continues to unfold right in front of our very own eyes on a quasi-daily basis. As we descend this tragic and downward spiral web of corrupt politicians, deceit, white-collar crime, murder and theft and when we think we reached the lowest of points we are presented with new discoveries and further leads. 

We owe it to ourselves to get to the bottom of this political web of deceit. To make peace with ourselves and to ensure that justice is served.

We also need to face up to the fact that the excellent reputation Malta once enjoyed is compromised for years to come. From a state actor that punched above its weight, we are now associated with fraud and corruption at the highest of levels. Malta’s name has been dragged through the gutter as we are reported on for the wrong reasons across the global news networks. We are today seen as a country whose economy is fuelled by the interests of the corrupt few.

This self-inflicted reputational damage to our country needs to be reversed. And it will be no easy task. The news is out. We cannot turn the clock back in time to rewrite history and clear Malta’s name. We cannot wipe clean all the news articles found on the web, all the discussion shows and films that feature our country for the wrong reasons.

We are today seen as a country whose economy is fuelled by the interests of the corrupt few- Graham Bencini

We must learn from our mistakes. We must reinvent ourselves as a centre of excellence for good governance and good political practice. We must truly embody the need for change. We must demand and elect the right political representatives. We, the people, must be the drivers of change to make this happen. It will surely be no easy feat. But it can be done.

We would not have been any wiser had it not been for the few good men and women who saw through this government’s extensive plans to dispose of our national assets in order to fatten the pockets of the few. Had we not been faced by a series of extraordinary events, civil society and the work of brave journalists we would have never arrived at the point we are at today.

We need a new government armed with a dedicated communications strategy backed by the right political decisions to start afresh. To reverse the unquantifiable damage done to our country and to safeguard our economy and the thousands of jobs that depend on our reputation.

We need to rid ourselves of corruption to redirect the millions of euros originally destined for the pockets of the few and to place them in the pockets of the many.

For us politicians, who, despite all the negativity surrounding politics today, decided to offer ourselves to serve you and our country by taking our first steps towards a political life, these are extremely important considerations. We had to a choice to make. We had to decide on a party to champion, based on the ethos we embrace. I made my choice. It is now your turn to make yours.

There are many aspects that deserve your attention. For starters, politicians need to be kept in check and their actions need to be constantly scrutinised in the interest of you the voter and you the taxpayer.

Our country deserves respected and professional journalism where investigative journalists need to be encouraged and not dismissed. Let alone murdered. The need for independent and personal political thought away from tribal politics has never been more evident than today. Civil society needs to be further empowered and not restrained. Our institutions need to be free from favour and given the independence and resources they require.

We, the Maltese and Gozitan voters, will soon be put to the ultimate test. While the truth hurts, we will soon have the opportunity to make amends. We have a choice to make. We owe it to ourselves to bring about the change that our country needs and which we deserve. We can set ourselves free and start the long and painful process to rebuild our reputation or we can continue to live a lie. As always, your vote drives change! 

Graham Bencini, Nationalist Party candidate

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