This article was first published on The Times of Malta.
Let’s face it; we’ve heard a lot about Panama. The story itself took a long time to unfold, with new evidence coming in almost on a daily basis, with more and more people finding themselves embroiled in the mess, and now that the web has unfolded right in front of our eyes, some of us cannot even bear to hear the name of this country one more time.
I too must admit to having heard quite enough about the matter and wish that Malta could move on to focus on other government issues such as good governance, transparency, the finished power station, a functioning Industrial Tribunal, and everything else that we had been so solemnly promised before the election. Unfortunately this is not happening, and it’s not happening because it’s not possible to move on from such an appalling lack of honesty and morality, especially when committed by people so close to the highest echelons of our administration.
There’s a very good reason why the Opposition keeps reminding us of this Government’s failures and it’s not because we are inherently negative but simply because the Government has taken the ridiculous decision not to do anything about such a fundamental problem. It is our Prime Minister who decided to leave the problem right where it began – in his office. Not only is dishonesty and tax evasion frustrating and wrong in itself, but worst of all, the decision to let it lie impacts a much wider area than the Office of the Prime Minister. The impact and implications of such a decision, or rather, lack of a real decision, go far and wide, including that of jeopardising the very foundations of the financial services industry of our country and, all the jobs that come with it.
So yes I am fed up of Panama and I am sure that many of you are too, but the only person we need to blame about this situation is our Prime Minister. He has decided to keep the ‘Panama problem’ very close to heart. His chief of staff is still where he was before the scandal broke, and Minister Konrad Mizzi did not lose his job but instead, gets what seems to most, special treatment, in fact, one could very well call it a promotion.
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but we will not, and should not, stop hearing about the Panama scandal because our Prime Minister should not be allowed to bury it through inaction. This scandal should only be allowed to be buried when it is properly dealt with; when the right decision is taken, and not after a pseudo reshuffle; a reshuffle where everyone ended up with more or less the same cards.
Our Prime Minister acted just like a magician with a set of cards in hand. He appeared to have tossed them and turned them, flipped them and spun them, when in reality he was just playing a trick on all of us, hoping that we would be naïve, distracted or stupid enough not to see through his ploy.
I have no doubt that most of us have not been tricked at all and, that the ones that have are those who are under some kind of spell and, who conveniently refuse to understand the difference between being an intermediary and an actual owner of a company in Panama.
Therefore, the next time you hear the word ‘Panama’ know that you are hearing it because of our Prime Minister’s inaction and indecision. Let’s all feel blessed that the Opposition is doing its job and moral duty to put pressure on the Government to act and live up to the standards that we all deserve.