Monthly Archives: January 2022

Doubling down on the mafia

Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando

Robert Abela has doubled down on his criticism against the police for confiscating the mobile phones of Joseph Muscat’s children. Meanwhile, Robert Abela has said nothing on the alleged leaks by the police to Joseph Muscat on his raid and investigation.

Meanwhile, the police are being harassed and attacked publicly for investigating Joseph Muscat by the fake government executive and ONE TV chairman, Jason Micallef. Another government executive, and previous member of the Grand Lodge of Malta, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando has also attacked the police in a public post.

Jason Micallef is attacking the police and urging Labour Party supporters to come out in protest.

There are no better words than to describe Joseph Muscat’s gang of friends and accomplices as a criminal organisation that is embedded in the political structures of our country, and in the Mediterranean, we call this the mafia.

There should be no illusions to what is happening here, irrespective of cordialities, friendships and familiarities. Feeling that walls are closing in, the mafia is fighting back with all means necessary. Robert Abela is ingratiating with his previous master who anointed him leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister to ensure his political survival in case Joseph Muscat wins the court case and comes back into the political fold. They are so scared of Joseph Muscat and his followers that they won’t let go of their support for him and his criminal behaviour. They are spineless, corrupt and opportunistic freaks who have no care for the country and our future

If you think we live in a normal country, you are wrong. I am a Labour Party member and previous delegate and I urge everyone to get the Nationalist Party in government unless we want to see our country going to the pits. Before we discuss mainstream politics and political ideologies, we need a normal country where the mafia has no support or backing at all from the official government.

And allow me to send a message to Robert Abela once we are here. Robert, you are not a “court expert” and you have no right to make “checks and balances” on the investigations being carried on Joseph Muscat. You are your father’s child who has been propelled in power by the grace of his name, alone. You are a puppet and an idiot and totally unfit for purpose. The sooner you leave office, the faster we will start rebuilding our country. Until you are still there, the mafia still seems to exercise power and influence in our country. GTFO.

Some notes on economic risks

Two years in government and Robert Abela has nothing to show for his legacy except rampant rent-seeking (the latest case is the €31 million lease for government offices in Żejtun), the yacht-marina in Marsascala,  the car race-track in the prime industrial estate of Ħal Far, and a rule of law still in tatters. There is still no justice for Daphne and no public official or politician has yet been indicted on corruption – please note that Joseph Muscat is only being investigated because of a criminal complaint filed by NGO, Repubblika. Missing a legacy of his own, Abela needs to excessively pump his delusions with publicly-paid aids to his party media in order to convince people that he is the right man for the job.

Robert Abela’s legacy

Labour Party media is propagating the narrative that Robert Abela’s two years of government have been an astonishing record-breaking success for the economy. The reality is a bit different. Robert Abela’s delusional economic successes read like Chinese Communist Party economic data: bloated figures, misinterpretations and half-truths which over-all are false and outright disingenuous.

Robert Abela has had an easy ride throughout the pandemic thanks to the robust health service and a technocrat as his health minister who managed the pandemic successfully. The only time during the pandemic when we were on the brink of a crisis was when Robert Abela forced his way on the health authorities to re-open the country for cheap parties funded by MTA in Summer 2020. On the economic front, Robert Abela was supported by great fiscal leniency from the European Commission which eased its stance on budget deficits, while the European Central Bank helped government spending by increasing its bond reserves and lowering interest rates. Robert Abela is undoubtedly operating in a much better fiscal and monetary environment than the previous financial crisis of 2008.

Today, as inflation soars across the globe and supply chain problems persist, central banks are scrambling to address inflation gradually by closing the window of monetary excess. Robert Abela intends to keep a bloated government expenditure according to IMF economic forecasts. The government debt to GDP ratio increased from 53% in 2019 to 63% in 2021 and is set to remain at 65% by 2026. This forecast is being made in conjunction with another forecast that the GDP is set to increase, however, this economic bonanza is set to be partly paid by an ever-increasing government expenditure with government debt set to increase by as much as 50% from 2021 to 2026.

Malta has successfully grown its economy across the years by diversification and further innovation and by mainly creating new economic sectors whilst lessening our dependence on previous major economic sectors. The economic forecasts made on Malta’s GDP growth are being made on the premise that tourism will boom once the pandemic is over.  Currently, one of the major risks of the economy this year is that the tourism industry is beset with uncertainty whilst it is struggling to survive on government subsidies.  The Maltese government has so far spent around €653 million on wage subsidies alone, subsidizing more than 100,000 jobs. Currently, the tourism and hospitality sector is still on the government’s lifeline, which by 2020, amounted to around 47,800 employees in contrast to 54,400 employees in 2019. As of now, few are speaking of the prolonged risks of a crisis in the tourism industry which could result in a situation similar to the previous crisis when precarious employment became the norm. Clearly, we should by now begin to realise that we have an over-dependence on tourism, but we have done nothing so far to explore and create new economic sectors.

Another major risk we are facing is the silent ticking bomb of the home-ownership crisis. The percentage of homeowners seems to be decreasing as the registered number of homeowners stood at 78.6% in 2020 contrasted with that of 81.9% in 2017. Now, the home-ownership rate should not be considered as a good indicator of the health of the economy, as even Greece has a relatively high home-ownership rate at 74.6%. One should also point out that the population growth in Malta between 2013 and 2020 has grown at an average rate of 2.8% per year.
Robert Abela should also learn to read all of the NSO reports instead of nitpicking for propaganda purposes. The ever increasing problem of high-priced housing is glaring. From the NSO’s report: 

Housing costs were perceived to constitute a slight burden for 56.5 per cent of all persons living
in households. A further 24.4 per cent considered these costs to be a heavy burden while, for the remaining 19.1 per cent, they were of no burden at all (Table 6 and Chart 2). Furthermore, 78.6 per cent of persons who were severely materially deprived consider the housing cost to be a heavy burden. In contrast, only 39.3 per cent of people at-risk-of-poverty considered the housing cost to be a heavy burden (Table 7).

Quantifying the risk of the home-ownership crisis is not sexy for electoral purposes so, such a model would have to be created. Surely, something is not adding up in Labour’s propaganda, however, when one considers that home prices in Malta have increased by more than 100% from 2013 to 2019 while wages increased by only around 20%. Meanwhile, while inflation is soaring during the pandemic, home prices don’t seem to have abated very much. Robert Abela’s solution, is to call the Archbishop to fill up his empty convents.

On a positive note, Grey Listing doesn’t seem to have had its intended effect, as of now, as the domiciled funds and foreign wealth stored in Malta seems to be increasing, although this statistic should not be confused with Labour’s propaganda cry that foreign investment in Malta is actually increasing. Money coming in as funds and stored wealth is not actually a direct investment, but we count it as so in our statistics.

The risks facing the Maltese economy seem to be lack of diversification, lack of innovation, a home-ownership crisis, and an ever-increasing public debt burden with a bloated government. You’re not a technocrat if you simply put on the public payroll employees at Air Malta who have been employed out of nepotism and political favour by Konrad Mizzi and Silvio Schembri. You’re just another politician.

 

 

 

Joseph Muscat’s comeback

Joseph Muscat’s comeback.

After having his house searched as part of the magisterial inquiry on the corrupt Vitals hospitals deal, Joseph Muscat gave a press conference where he claimed he was tipped off about the search in advance. He also claimed to have had a file that he had made ready which he gave to the police as soon as they arrived at his home. Meanwhile, the only remarks that Prime Minister, Robert Abela made in reaction to this event was that according to him, from his position as a previous court expert, he couldn’t understand why Joseph Muscat’s children’s phones were confiscated.

Robert Abela successfully minimised the importance of what is happening with his dumb and inappropriate comment. No court expert is in a position to argue whether the police should have the right to confiscate the mobile phones of a suspected criminal’s children, especially if the criminal is a pathological-lying psychopath. There is a lot that is at stake here – including the future of our country. Robert Abela is ingratiating with his previous master as he is leaving the door open to the possibility that Muscat wins the case. If Muscat wins this case and has no guilty convictions on any other corruption allegation, Muscat will use his victory to return to politics. Muscat is already hinting he wants to get back in the political fold. And as I said in Jon Mallia’s podcast, Muscat will return to politics as soon as he feels he is legally threatened. That time seems to be now.

So, the future of our country right now rests in the hands of the police force: a collective of underpaid honest officers, opportunist hoodlums and burger-flippers. Who will win amongst them, we don’t know yet. Some of them seem to be in contact with Joseph Muscat given that he was tipped off about the search. Note, the usual lies of Joseph Muscat that he got to know about the search in advance because of a “Nationalist source”.

Surely, so far the police are giving the impression that they are allowing Joseph Muscat to get away with it. The corruption behind the Vitals deal has been known for some time now, and the police had ample time and room to investigate. And there is not only the Vitals deal. There’s the Electrogas deal, the Montenegro deal, the proximity of his chief of staff to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s alleged murder, and much more. If the police are doing investigations exclusively and only when magistrates initiate them, then we are fucked.

Bringing back the Church in State

Archbishop Charles Scicluna

Malta is currently facing the risk of a prolonged recession once the wage supplement is stopped, however, few seem to be speaking of this risk. I will be publishing the article on the risks I see in the economy tomorrow, meanwhile, all of these risks are exacerbated by a Prime Minister void of any knowledge, vision or direction needed to address the various crises we are going through.

So far, the risk of having a total idiot at the helm of the country’s executive is being overlooked, however, the consequences will eventually be apparent to all since the decisions of the executive affect in a very tangible way our everyday lives and the kind of society we live in.

And you shouldn’t expect Robert Abela to address any problems we have in our country. He has just outsourced one of the greatest challenges and problems we have as a society to the Catholic Church. Affordable housing is an ever-increasing challenge for young couples, but instead of addressing the issue by technical and structural policies, Robert Abela has just signed an agreement with Archbishop Charles Scicluna which will see the Government pay around €300,000 every year to the Church to host homeless people in its unused convents.

This agreement can symbolise everything that is wrong with Robert Abela. Robert is genuinely unable to find problems and solutions to the myriad of problems the country is facing, so for him bringing in the Archbishop in the most feudal of ways to help him address in terms of policy and action one of society’s most pressing problems, is a way to relieve some weight off his shoulder. On the other hand, you have the Catholic Church which has a serious problem of unused convents and properties and has exploited Robert Abela’s vulnerabilities to cash in a great rent-seeker deal: profit for charity. Had Joseph Muscat had been in Charles Scicluna’s position, he would also have taken that deal. Nice one Charles. So, you not only dumped your fellow flock of Nadur to the pseudo-feudal lords claiming their homes, now you are cashing in from the government for providing it with homes for the homeless.

This is a typical deal the Nationalist Party would have made with the Church: a deal which goes against all the socialist, liberal and secular principles we have fought for many years. The welfare state should be the responsibility of the State and not of a religious organization that has its own religious agenda. The State is there for everyone – the Church is there for its members, and although it may also help others who are not its members, your universal rights can only be guaranteed by the State which is for all of its citizens. I feel stupid having to explain and write these things in 2022, but Robert Abela is happily taking us back to the Dark Ages.

Tomorrow, I will be publishing my article on the risks we face in the economy.

A criminal flaunting his government job.

The role of the Malta Tourism Authority is to give out money to imposters posing as businessmen and host tacky events and parties which supposedly cause English tourists to come to Malta and “generate the economy”. Then there is the Chairman, Gavin Gulia who is using MTA’s funds to enrich his family. The virtuous buffoon, Julia Farrugia who likes reporting priests for homophobic speech to the police had no objection to the sleaze at the MTA when she was Minister for Tourism. And today, Minister for Tourism Clayton Bartolo, who most recently extolled the virtues of tax collection, is also ensuring that his family gets a piece of the MTA cake. Here is convicted criminal and fraudster Lionel Gerada, flaunting his government job at the MTA saying that he wasn’t actually demoted at the Malta Tourism Authority, despite press reports saying so.

By now, the sleaze at the MTA has become so pervasive that we kind of expect the MTA to be a hub of corruption and sleaze for criminals and scum. We don’t expect better. In fact, its CEO is Johann Buttigieg, the previous Planning Authority chairman who oversaw Joseph Muscat’s rent-seeking boom in the construction industry. Johann, apart from signing a corrupt contract to Konrad Mizzi, was also caught soliciting business with Yorgen Fenech in his official role as executive chairman to the planning authority.

Robert Abela had strongly defended Johann on the revelations of his chats with Yorgen Fenech. Under Johann’s management of the Planning Authority Robert Abela was also the recipient of “consultancy contracts” amounting to around one hundred thousand Euros every year. 

By now, any sane individual would have realised that our country is run by rent-seekers and crooks.

 

Wrecking the Country and the Labour Party

While we were going through a pandemic and an economic crisis, Robert Abela was busy plotting and scheming against his critics and adversaries in the Labour Party. One Robert Abela’s first acts in office as Prime Minister was to prompt the Auditor-General to start an investigation on Chris Fearne’s top official: Carmen Ciantar. Carmen Ciantar is the CEO of the Foundation for Medical Services and Chris Fearne’s generalissimo who runs the Ministry of Health and is one of the most highly-paid government officials raking in a salary equivalent to other government CEOs such as Kurt Farrugia (Malta Enterprise), Johann Buttigieg (Malta Tourism Authority), Frederick Azzopardi (Infrastructure Malta), Jonathan Cardona (Enemalta), Paul Bugeja (MedAir), David Curmi (AirMalta) and others.

I will not in any way justify Carmen Cinatar’s contract. I think it’s wrong and Carmen should see to stop embarrassing our stalwart at the Labour Party. However, this story is not about Carmen Ciantar- it’s about the Prime Minister. Carmen Cinatar’s salary was no news – it was already known even to the press.  This story is about how the Prime Minister is wrecking the country and the Labour Party by gamifying politics in his own personal interest.

Carmen Ciantar’s contract was a process inherited from Joseph Muscat’s rent-seeking boom where top government CEOs could rake in mega-salaries: a practice that has its origins under Lawrence Gonzi’s Nationalist administration. Robert Abela never complained in cabinet about the mega-salaries of government CEOs and was actually one of the most popular rent-seekers in the public sector who has received “consultancy” contracts worth millions of Euros. As a Prime Minister and head of the executive, he could have easily changed this practice, but instead, he prompted an investigation by the auditor-general to get back at his adversary. Robert Abela had no qualms about disrupting the Health Ministry during the Covid pandemic. He also tried to find replacements to Chris Fearne but the persons whom he offered the post of Health Minister didn’t even entertain the thought and refused it outright.

There were also many others who made their rejections. Prior to appointing some of his useless propagandists as MPs, Robert asked some liberal-minded Labourites to join him in Parliament: they refused him too saying they could never take a seat next Rosianne Cutajar or Edward Żammit Lewis.

When Robert calls for unity at the Party meetings he is not referring to the traditional form of unity in the Labour Party where a varied forms of political groups in the Labour Party were united under common goals: his form of unity is absolute and unyielding loyalty to him.  The worse part of Robert Abela, however is not that he is an autocrat who plays games against his adversaries, the worst part of Robert is that he doesn’t have any political ideology or beliefs at all. He has no vision for the country and entered the big game of politics solely out of vanity and personal ambition. While Robert Abela wrecks the Labour Party by purging his Party critics, Abela is wrecking the country and he is mainly doing this by bringing into the fore of politics new politicians who are as dumb as him and have nothing to contribute to the country other than unyielding loyalty to the Party leader.

Overall, the results of Robert Abela as the dumb infant Prime Minister who is playing games in politics is reflected in his discourse, speech and political acts and they are seriously consequential. The immediate effect is the lowering of the IQ across the political class and the dumbification of political discourse.

The response of Robert Abela to the Nationalist Party’s proposals on rule of law is alarming and proves my point. Instead of opening a serious and constructive dialogue on the restoration of rule of law, Robert Abela attacked the PN’s proposals in the most infantile and ridiculous way and rejected outright the possibility to discuss them in Parliament. He also goes on to lie and say that he is in dialogue with stakeholders of the media and publishing industry over new reforms, a process that exists only in his fantasy world.

This is not the time to have an infantile Prime Minister playing stupid games. We need a Prime Minister who is capable of opening a proper and national dialogue to restore rule of law and get us out of the myriad of crises we are in. Robert Abela is not the right man to lead the country and we should make it a point to remove him from office so as to start the proper reconstruction f our country.