Tag Archives: Robert Abela

Normalising Corruption

Credit to MaltaToday

In order to understand Robert Abela’s government, one has to understand the mentality and the ideas (or lack of) of Robert Abela himself. As a village lawyer, Robert Abela is not a complex person and his politics are very dumb and straightforward. In my latest book, I give a concise description and definition of a robot bureaucrat which also suits Robert Abela perfectly well.

In a podcast with Jon Mallia, Matthew Caruana Galizia spoke about the undoing of Joseph Muscat’s corrupt regime. In practical terms, this means that previous corrupt agents and actors have to leave their government posts or resign from parliament apart from being investigated for their past actions. As of now, this process has been done exclusively by civil society and the Labour Rebels in 2019 as Robert Abela has shied away from rehabilitating the Labour Party’s image by conserving previous corrupt actors and agents within its ranks and in government positions. Konrad Mizzi’s resignation from Labour’s parliamentary group was an inevitable fallout of the 2019 crisis and not part of a cleansing act by the new leadership. Whoever survives the political and legal battle will remain in power as long as political convenience is not compromised.

Therefore, it is inevitable that there is still a clash against Labour and the government with those who still want to see a normal state and government. We are back to the days of Lawrence Gonzi’s mantra “go to the police if you have evidence for corruption”, which is the same kind of mantra which enabled John Dalli to be appointed as European Commissioner and eventually lead to the biggest political crisis in our history in 2019 after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia triggered the collapse of Joseph Muscat’s government.

This is why the Justice Minister is handling justice reforms instead of being hauled to court for the gifts given to him by Yorgen Fenech in what seems to be a prima fascia act of corruption, whereas gifts donated had influenced Edward Zammit Lewis in his opinion of Yorgen over the 17 Black allegations. At the same time, Rosianne Cutajar who took a bribe from Yorgen Fenech and defended him in her official capacity as a Member of Parliament has the audacity to sue me in court for alleging that she had slept with her corrupt partner. Audacity indeed, only it is the boldness of a stupid sheep which may very well be slaughtered.

For your perusal, I will simply attach the lines of the criminal code which dictate the law on bribery and corruption. Let this sink in.

115. (1) Any public officer or servant who, in connection with
his office or employment, requests, receives or accepts for himself
or for any other person, any reward or promise or offer of any
reward in money or other valuable consideration or of any other
advantage to which he is not entitled, shall, on conviction, be liable
to punishment as follows:

(a) where the object of the reward, promise or offer, be to
induce the officer or servant to do what he is in duty
bound to do, the punishment shall be imprisonment for
a term from six months to three years;
(b) where the object be to induce the officer or servant to
forbear from doing what he is in duty bound to do, the
punishment shall, for the mere acceptance of the
reward, promise or offer, be imprisonment for a term
from nine months to five years;
(c) where, besides accepting the reward, promise, or offer,

the officer or servant actually fails to do what he is in
duty bound to do, the punishment shall be
imprisonment for a term from one year to eight years.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code or of any
other law, when the offence against the provisions of this article is
committed by a person who, at the time when the offence was
committed, held the office of Minister, Parliamentary Secretary,
Member of the House of Representatives, Mayor or Local
Councillor and the offence involved the abuse of such office, the
provisions of Title VI of Part III of Book Second of this Code shall
not apply to the said person or to any accomplice.

Click to access Criminal%20code.pdf

Smoke weed and live with your parents

There are no reasonable objections to the government’s latest marijuana bill. The famous case of Daniel Holmes who was sentenced to ten years in prison for owning five cannabis plants shocked the nation and brought more awareness about the excessive ruthlessness of Malta’s drug laws. The government is allegedly introducing a law that will be more lenient on cannabis users by opening cannabis clubs and allowing limited possession.

There is no reasonable objection to the law being passed and I’m not going to enter into this very shallow debate because it’s not the point of this blog post. Supposedly we don’t live in a dictatorship and therefore we don’t need to waste our time with shallow debates on what people can and can not smoke in their own privacy and property. Here, I want to give the back story and the context to a law that is being hailed by the government as a great progressive step forward. But not only. Prime Minister Robert Abela is hailing this law as a

great offensive against the marijuana black market. The ex-bodybuilding gym-champ is putting on his superhero dark knight mantle and is storming the underworld stylishly and suited up Bruce Wayne style.

Only that he isn’t. This is more like Don Quixote fighting the windmills thinking they are dragons or something of that sort. There are very good reasons why this law misses the point and stops short of radical reform. This is a law made out of political expediency and does not address the structural problems within the market and neither doesn’t do justice to marijuana users.

First of all, Robert Abela doesn’t care about marijuana. The village lawyer mindset of the prime minister is limited to a conservative wall of stupidity that fails to develop new ideas and intellectual development. Abela does not care about your individual rights to smoke or whatever and he genuinely doesn’t even believe in the law itself. He is one of those gym rats who would be fine with taking high-performance steroids but thinks that illegal drugs are an abomination simply because the law says so. Through this law, Abela believes that he can sell himself to the youth and in fact, it is the only thing that he can sell them. This is why the law is half-baked and comes in the form of partial criminalisation. Abela wants to keep the law restrictive so next time round he would pass another version of the law making it even more lenient with the intention to keep milking the political cow out of this issue. This is of course the wrong approach and the local marijuana lobby is apparently very happy to play along with this game.

The marijuana lobby should be more honest about the reform instead of jumping like lapdogs on every time a politician offers them something. This law is not even full decriminlisation. Maruijana is still listed as a dangerous drug and therefore it is still a serious criminal offense to possess and sell it. You are only allowed to possess 7 grams and if you possess more than that you will be fined. You will be charged with serious criminal charges if you possess more than 28 grams and you can also be sent to jail for ten years or more for “trafficking” in marijuana. The government is simply allowing you to hold 7 grams of marijuana bought from official stores acting as clubs. You can also not hold more than 50 grams of the marijuana plant.

There is also no discussion about an important issue which the law should address despite the glaringly obvious problem which has been recently exposed by the press. Malta’s prison has a problem of overpopulation and the law does not come with a target at significantly reducing  Malta’s prison population – it is in this regard that the law defeats its own purpose.

It is logical here, that the intentions of the law are devious and even nefarious because why allow a black market to exist in the first place if you want to eradicate it? And who is this evil black market that Abela is speaking about?

The marijuana black market in Malta has changed a lot since my teenage years and is no longer a lucrative business. The small number of people who take the high risk to contraband marijuana make a bigger profit than the wholesalers who they sell it to but the wholesalers aren’t making much money themselves let alone the retail sellers.  Put it simply the marijuana business is no longer lucrative as it used to be and most people selling it as retailers and wholesalers barely make ends meet. There are very small rewards compared to the high risk of importing marijuana. Strong and enterprising criminals don’t deal in marijuana – they deal in cocaine, government contracts, and building permits, and washing money. Yet, this is the future that our prime minister is building for our youth. A country where decent homes are only affordable for the rich while the poor can console themselves with seven grams of weed.

Don Quixote is waging a war on an imaginary enemy and as expected it is all about him. The youth can be helped and supported with a war against homelessness, a war against precarious work, and a war against corruption and rent seeking, only that Don Quixote is not capable of these heroic tasks, so is he is waging war on sub-Saharan immigrants who sell weed in the street yet barely make ends meet.

You are either going to decriminalise marijuana or you aren’t. Partially decriminalising marijuana to let the door open for more decriminalisation later is outright political expediency and exploitation of people who need to buy the product itself. However, there is more.

Abela is also successfully using the marijuana issue to rehabilitate corrupt politicians. Owen Bonnici, who as minister of justice covered up for Joseph Muscat’s corrupt regime, and Rosianne Cutajar of Yorgen Fenech fame, are both political candidates for the next general election who wouldn’t be voted in parliament other than by the hardcore of the Labour Party itself. Allowing them to exploit the marijuana issue will normalise their re-entry into mainstream politics.

An honest marijuana reform would have legalised the product and allowed its regulated commercialisation and that is how you defeat a black market. In addition, government could have taken a golden opportunity out of this reform by addressing the crisis in the agricultural sector by buying out agricultural land through the National Development Fund in tandem with the legalization and commercialization of marijuana. But, no. Let’s spend thirty million Euros on a car race track in an industrial estate instead and have some fun.

Għal ġol ħajt, bro. Dawwar ġojnt, mhux xorta? Ok, ħabib?

Dumb and Dumber

Every previous government administration and prime minister has an event or a major factor that characterises its core history. For example, in Dom Mintoff’s case, it was industry due to the explosion of the manufacturing industry. For Eddie Fenech Adami it was the European Union. For Lawrence Gonzi it was simply the collapse of the Nationalist Party. For Joseph Muscat it was the rent seeking boom and Daphne’s murder. For Robert Abela it’s simply Benny Hill politics charcterised by cabinet ministers inaugurating parking lots.

At this point in time, It is fair to say that that we have a dumb Prime Minister leading a Benny Hill-style government with Chris Fearne being the only technocrat in the house. Allow me to explain concisely in point form.

1. The boy who’s in charge

Upon the announcement of the candidature of Roberta Metsola to the post of European Parliament President, Abela claimed that he was going to support her candidature despite the fact that she tarnished Malta’s reputation in the European Parliament. Now, let me get this straight. I am not a fan of our members of the European Parliament given the irrelevance of the European Parliament itself and least of all a fan of Metsola.  I, as a writer and a historian without filters, have a license to tell stories and entertain people in various ways including by being petty and trashy. The prime minister does not have this license even though he constantly acts like an infantile idiot without any gravitas. In such a moment, Abela could have been the bigger man and simply say something dignified of a statesman such as a comment how Metsola represented the competitive and thriving success of every Maltese abroad, but no, he had to act like an idiot because, in fact, he is one.

Abela is more of a boy and less of a man with the intelligence of a teenage gym rat and a vision of a headless chicken. His lack of emotional and intellectual development stems from the fact that he never worked an hour of his life and had everything set ready for him by his peers. He got lucrative consultancy deals from Gonzi’s administration thanks to his father and eventually became leader of the Labour Party thanks to Joseph Muscat. Practically, he has no political or economic achievement to his name and his international perspective does not extend beyond the limits of Rome being the furthest city any Maltese village lawyer goes to in the penultimate pinnacle of their success before they reach their zenith by becoming robot bureaucrats in Brussels.

Having been launched into power without having anything to show for, Abela is very insecure, so he wants to assert his power with an election. However, he is deluding himself. Labour voters don’t care who is Pope as long as the Church is intact and while the Nationalist Party is still in ruins, Abela is riding the wave. And as he is immersed in his extreme infantile frustration for not having the acknowledgement of the general public, he is raiding the public coffers and splurging on as much as he can to literally buy out the country for his re-election. What do you expect an over-grown infant with power would do?

2. The fundamentals

Do you remember Richard Sultana “Tal-Farfett”? People used to be entertained by his absolute conviction that he would get elected by promising to give anything to everyone. Robert Abela will give you anything as long you support him. As of now, there isn’t enough data to cover in detail the government’s splurge in corrupt and rent seeking practices, but employers have been complaining that there is a huge government employment drive that is draining workers from the private sector.  The government’s recurrent expenditure has grown by up to 300 million Euros in the first half of this year alone as compared to last year, yet only around an additional 56 million Euros have been earmarked for recurrent expenditure in the health sector as compared with last year for the whole year. Meanwhile, contractors are already fighting over a yacht marina which Roberta Abela has promised them, while the construction industry keeps being pumped with free public money and generous subsidies. Abela thinks he can easily insult people’s intelligence by saying the most outlandishly stupid remarks. Despite the fact that industrial real estate is an extremely prised and rare asset in Malta, Abela had the audacity to call the lavish 20 million Euro expense on a car racetrack in an industrial estate as an “investment”. The government will also be building another vanity project to pay more contractors and party donors with a ridiculously useless expensive building to host seized goods.  There was a time during Muscat’s administration when industrialists were coming to Malta looking for industrial real estate and couldn’t find any available, now Robert Abela is plundering it in the crassest manner possible. To add insult to injury, Abela claimed in his typically bombastic fashion that he lead the country in its worst economic crisis ever. The little idiot doesn’t even know enough of his country’s history that what he faced as a leader amounts to nothing compared to what our forefathers and foremothers had gone through. He is even much better off than Gonzi given that Abela has the privilege of the European Central Bank’s free money QE policy.

Abela took over a strong public coffer. By the time he will be gone his successors will have to find ways to start paying the bills. We’ve probably never had a prime minister this wreckless in our history.

3. The Pandemic

Robert Abela has made a total mess out of the pandemic. Hadn’t been for Fearne we would have probably have had a disaster. Constantly pressured by his ruffians and shady figures in the tourism industry, Abela decided to fully re-open the country in the Summer of last year allowing the reopening of the cheap island party industry model. He placed another idiot as tourism minister, Julia Farrugia Portelli, who went on the BBC and said that our mechanisms will keep our country safe just right before the said parties were the cause yet another spread of the virus leading to the eventual shut down yet again. Abela threw all the blame on his minister, Julia Farrugia Portelli and fired her from the post. Very convenient for him to throw his mistakes onto others. Don’t expect high standards from this kid. Crazy to think that the only thing that stands between Abela’s total stupidity and our lives is an adult in the room.

4. The Restoration of Rule of Law

So far, apart from replacing the previous police commissioner, Abela has done practically nothing to restore justice and rule of law in our country. Despite all the bombastic talk about the great reforms taking place in our country, what is actually happening is that Abela has imposed total censorship in the public broadcaster and is turning state entities into means of electoral leverage. So far he has protected Joseph Muscat’s allies by placing Edward Zammit Lewis as Justice Minister and is keeping Rosianne Cutajar in his parliamentary group while she is preparing for reelection. Most of Muscat’s rent seeking and corrupt executives like Johann Buttigieg and Robert Musumeci have been kept in power as well. So far, the police haven’t moved in on any politician and despite the rubbish talk about being serious on corruption, the government has so far made no moves at all to recapture back corrupt proceeds made out of the Electrogas and Vitals deals. The quarter of a billion Euros deal over the government’s old people’s home is also going through. Meanwhile, there remains an unresolved elephant in the room which is the fact that this government, appointed Victoria Buttigieg as attorney general despite having been the same deputy to the attorney general who covered up the corruption of Joseph Muscat and his friends.

5. No vision, no future

Robert Abela has no vision for the country. He has never made any significant or contributory public service. When Lovin Malta asked Robert Abela what he knew about my story of the irregular refuelling of a Russian warship under Joseph Muscat, he said he knew nothing of it. OF course, he knew nothing of it: Robert Abela was only a consultant to Joseph Muscat in name but not in reality. Think about it. What actual use did Joseph Muscat have for Robert Abela other than to get him to tag along for grooming and useful political ends?

Somehow, some progressive reform may seep in given Labour is in government. Free public transport had long been in the plans of Joseph Muscat’s vision of the country. Abela will apply it. But god forbid the metro works starts under Abela’s administration for that will be the day when another potential rent seeking boom will come. It will be yet another bonanza to the construction industry while the young generations keep getting priced out of the property market.

It is also important to keep some facts under consideration. Free public transport should be viewed in the context of the overall quality of life which is rapidly deteriorating to the extent of making most young people desiring to leave.

In the end this may be Robert Abela’s greatest legacy: the great exodus of the young generations. 

Prosit Ministru. Ok ħabib?

PS: I think that the government is saying a lot of bullshit about its marijuana reform. But more on that in another post.