PR16/03/2022  – Have we learnt the lesson?-ADPD

53 months since the brutal assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia the country has not taken the necessary action to ensure that what happened that day is not repeated, ADPD said in a statement. Chairperson and candidate on the 4th and 9th district Carmel Cacopardo said that “we hope that justice is truly served but also need to ensure that such heinous act will never happen again in our country.”

16th October 2017 was indeed a dark day for democracy in Malta which we now know was the direct consequence of the impunity which was permeated through the highest echelons of power. It took years for the call for an independent inquiry to look into whether the State took the requisite measures to protect her and whether her violent demise could have been avoided to be heeded.

“Indeed now we know why there was such dragging of feet in the appointment of the inquiry – it confirmed what we knew already that the tentacles of impunity created from the highest echelons in Castille led to her demise. And that the State should shoulder responsibility for her death,” stated Cacopardo.

In their report published in July 2021, retired judge Michael Mallia, former chief justice Joseph Said Pullicino and Madam Justice Abigail Lofaro said “the State created an atmosphere of impunity, generated from the highest echelons of the administration inside Castille, the tentacles of which then spread to other institutions, such as the police and regulatory authorities, leading to a collapse in the rule of law”. They slammed the “lethargic inactivity” of the institutions over their failure to investigate serious allegations of criminal wrongdoing, including by those in government, as being inexplicable and condemnable. The inquiry said steps must be taken to rein in and regulate the links between politicians and big business.

The inquiry went on to issue a number of recommendations as well as a call for change in the relationship between business and government, the police force, and the protection of journalists. “Several months after the publication of the report a reluctance on the part of government seems to indicate that there is not the political will to take the necessary action. What we have heard so far (regarding the media) seems to have been half-baked and simply meant to appease the call to act. Why is the government dragging its feet on this matter? What does it have to hide or who does it want to protect?” asked Cacopardo.

ADPD representatives in Parliament will insist on the strengthening of the rule of law in Malta and that the Mafia culture is tackled head on. Among its recommendations in the fight against corruption and organised criminality, ADPD proposes that:

• the recommendations of the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry are implemented in full;
• all public contracts awarded after 2013 are investigated;
• the passport sales scheme is scrapped immediately;
• a National Crime Agency is established under the authority of a special anti-Mafia magistrate;
• this agency should also investigate the oil contraband taken place at the Hurd’s Bank;
• a whistleblower scheme should be set up at the Planning Authority;
• the Police are given much more substantial resources to fight political corruption and money laundering.

The state has an obligation to defend in every possible way the lives of journalists, the fundamental right to free speech, even when a journalist expresses tough opinions against the government of the day. “Without a free press there is no democracy and we support all those journalists who are not cowed by the attacks on their profession and continue to report on all that is in the public interest without fear or favour,” stated Cacopardo.

ADPD’s Executive Committee members and candidates for the General Election attended this evening’s vigil organised by civil society next to the makeshift memorial in Valletta.


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