The diplomatic corps have gone on strike over the new employment policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to employ diplomats from the public service without passing the traditional diplomatic exam. Diplomats who are on strike and refusing to reply to emails are being called by personnel from the Ministry threatening them over promotions if they continue with the strike. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also released a new call of applications for the diplomatic service which demands from applicants a degree in “Mediterranean Studies” but not strangely enough, not in history. I suppose that this shows that there is Evarist Bartolo’s direct involvement in this mess since the Mediterranean Studies department of the University of Malta is a dump for political cronies like Norbert Bugeja (Varist’s close friend) and not a real academic department. It’s not a place where you are going to learn Arabic or Latin (those of us who studied Near Eastern Studies went through a rigorous three-year course in Semitic classical languages apart from learning history and archaeology), but rather a place where you are going to hear a lot of political nonsense on Palestine by academics who have no empathy or sympathy to fellow Maltese journalists murdered at home.
There are also reports that Frank Fabri, the previous and corrupt permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education, is being touted for a post in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and this, despite the fact that Fabri was underlined as a potential criminal suspect by the damning Standards Commission Report. The civil service chief, Mario Cutajar has also successfully covered up for him by promising us an investigation which never happened. Frank, so it seems, given that he has been a strong supporter of Robert Abela, was also being touted as a potential replacement to Mario Cutajar, but since things have changed this dream has been shattered. It is very true that Frank wants to leave the Ministry of Education to live under daddy’s fold, Varist. Frank is hated by most of the bureaucrats and the executive in the Ministry of Education and right now he is feeling humiliated being surrounded by the previous officers he abused and insulted while in a position of power.
However, Varist seems to be losing the plot. The only reason he was shifted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was to keep him out of local political action and surprisingly, Varist has played his role very well in supporting Robert Abela abroad. Varist has also allowed Robert to choose his ambassadors all the while filling the diplomatic service with cronies and shady figures like Emmanuel Mallia. Still, it may be more surprising that Varist is acting childishly and irresponsibly in his administrative affairs. The world is going through a serious crisis with Russia. Putin has said clearly and without any reservations that if Ukraine joined NATO, Russia will be going to war against Europe, and Lavrov has also re-asserted Russia’s bullish stance. I fail to understand how Varist is making a mess with administering the diplomatic service while we are in the middle of such a very serious crisis.
One thing is for sure. We will get the adults in the room back into power come next general election or we will have Labour in government to wreck our country and our future. And my message is very clear here. Don’t vote for Varist out of friendship or respect. I consider him as one of my previous friends, and someone whom I respect but I would never vote for him under these conditions. These are times of crisis and we need a government that works in our national interest and not in the interest of the family in power and its criminal allies.