Tag Archives: Tax issues politicians Malta

It’s not a game: it’s serious business

Bernard Grech: Leader of the Opposition

Labour has been playing games in politics because Robert Abela doesn’t know better. This is why it is important to discuss the personal character traits of people in power because they help explain how and why they act accordingly. Having never worked an hour in his life, Robert Abela doesn’t understand the values of labour and struggle, so for him, politics is just a game that he plays for his personal and selfish interests completely oblivious and ignorant of the great impacts that his actions have on the lives of people and the future of our society.

By now it should be clear that Robert Abela has weaponised the tax department in his favour and has direct access to personal files and information of his critics and his enemies. He is using this information against his enemies in a selective and timely manner and in this way he believes he holds leverage on his enemies. As soon as Bernard Grech was elected Leader of the Opposition, Labour released his story on his alleged past tax offences. Rosianne Cutajar’s corruption case was treated as a simple tax issue instead of a serious and potential criminal corrupt act. Now, Labour has leaked the story of David Thake’s troubles with the tax department just in time when the Nationalist Party released a mega-package of bills on corruption.

The Labour Party is not a press agency and does not have the privilege to act as a publisher, and neither does it have the right to leak information selectively and only when it serves its own interests. You are either running a press and publishing business or you are trying to lead the country and if you are trying to lead the country you are supposedly busy trying to fix it not abusing the information at your disposal to attack your critics. Had Labour been so liberal and generous with leaking information, they would have leaked all the current corrupt arrangements with Electrogas and other private-public partnerships. Labour will of course, not do this, because Robert Abela isn’t able to comprehend the fact that he is not playing a game, but rather playing with the lives of ordinary people and the future of our country.

Meanwhile, David Thake has unwittingly sabotaged what could be an important and historic turning point for the Nationalist Party. I will not be the one to invoke my virtues over businesses having tax problems. Having tax problems doesn’t necessarily mean you were avoiding taxes or involved in wrongdoing either. And had the same standards been applied to the Prime Minister and his allies as well, David Thake wouldn’t be the only one taking the heat.

However, the size of the material infractions of David Thake’s businesses doesn’t allow him for a lot of excuses. You can not have your business affairs in a mess and at the same time try to run the country. A businessman entering politics should ensure to have his or her house in order. In addition, a failed businessman shouldn’t even dare to enter politics in the first place – I’m not saying David Thake is a failed businessman, but he has surely not projected any high standards in how he runs his affairs. Thake also knew that his affairs were going to be used against him, eventually and it was his responsibility to clear them as soon as he entered Parliament. Let’s not forget that one of the reasons why it was deemed to be obvious that Adrian Delia wasn’t fit for purpose as Leader of the Opposition was that his private financial situation was a total wreck of unpayable debts. Businesses can have their problems and struggle too but one would expect MPs to apply high standards to their own business as well. So, in David Thakes’ case there should be no excuses.

Yet, it remains also clear, that despite the attempted gamification of politics by Robert Abela, Bernard Grech is showing a great sense of maturity in the face of the biggest challenges and issues in society. As David Thake resigns from PN’s parliamentary group, Grech can keep focusing on what really matters: upturning the rent-seeking and corrupt structures in our society. Grech had also previously shown he is serious about corruption when he asked one of his mayors to resign over an alleged conflict of interest, although this resignation didn’t come out in the wake of Labour leaking any information. Now, Bernard Grech has done what Robert Abela should have done as soon as he entered office: present a series of legal reforms to address the current collapse of rule of law.

Robert Abela’s government is normalizing corruption by allowing previous corrupt contracts to remain in execution especially the Electrogas contract which is mired in Daphne’s blood and a large web of corruption. This situation alone is a travesty of justice, and completely abnormal. Miriam Dalli wants to convince us that it is practically normal for her to quote legal clauses when defending the current execution of the Electrogas contract, only that she fails to realize that now, as a Minister, she is not pandering to her “Prosit Ministru” crowd only but she is addressing the whole nation, and most of us are not impressed by people who recite legal clauses from memory when asked difficult questions.

Gradually,  Bernard Grech is positioning himself as the mature and normal person who is needed to run this country and alleviate it out of its political crisis in contrast to our Prime Minister who is only happy playing infantile games. The choice between who is the most responsible leader for the country is becoming quite apparent.