A whistleblower from the Labour Party has leaked a story about graft at the Gudja Party committee to independent political candidate, Arnold Cassola. Of, course, the Labour Party is refuting the claims. The whistleblower is claiming that a couple of Party delegates from the Gudja local committee pocketed up €20,000 in donations and membership fees.
I know nothing of the case, but having been secretary of a local Party committee, I know very well how local committees work. Although there are a lot of good-willing and principled people working in the Labour Party local committees, there are also a lot of opportunists who are engaged in small-time graft, like the one quoted above. The Labour Party knows about many of these cases but tolerates them for various reasons. Many of these engaged in graft end up in the local council and build a group of core followers which involves their family members and their friends. Secondly, the Party is dysfunctional and these local committees are mostly treated by the Party executive and administration as simply cash machines: as long as they bring in the money to the Party and new members, no one cares what they do and they may as well be involved in graft.
From my experience, when honest delegates try to fight graft in local committees, the Party refuses to provide any backing and in many cases, criminals get away with it with the full knowledge of the Party. This situation has created stagnation in local committees as honest people are driven away from this village corruption leaving local committees with the usual old people who are always there. And the stagnant situation with regard to the local committees is also pervasive in the rest of the Party’s structures. The Party has a part-time deputy-leader, Daniel Micallef who, after his full-time work, sometimes goes to the Party’s headquarters to listen to members’ complaints. Then there is the Party CEO, Randolph Debattista whose job is to keep the corrupt system of donations flowing to keep ONE alive whilst also acting as the personal secretary to the Labour Party leader. Then there are the local committees which are treated as cash machines and the Labour Youths whose job is to cheerlead the Prime Minister. And that’s basically, it. That’s most of the Labour Party and how it works.
The Labour Party has become the personal private space of its leader and nothing really happens in the Party outside the realm of Robert Abela. Some of the top brass are aware of the malaise and would like to do something about it as well, but they are hampered by a leader who made many enemies, alienated many people, and doesn’t trust anyone except his family members and the very small number of members of his inner circle. Robert Abela turned the Labour Party into an old and sick giant.