Bartolo’s 17 wise observations

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo has been posting morning missives during the period that this national crisis has unfolded. Bartolo made various observations:

  1. People need peace of mind and serenity. While the Labour Leader Joseph Muscat speaks of his personal serenity, Bartolo underscores the need for serenity in the country.

2. The change must be real. This seems to be a direct reference to the recent photograph of Muscat embracing the two leadership hopefuls Chris Fearne and Robert Abela.

3. The people feel the party did not deserve this. In this, Muscat seems to agree with Bartolo as he was reported as saying that the party has an exciting time ahead.

4. There should be a minister who is a change agent. This is an innovative approach. Malta had a minister who was responsible for inter-governmental communication and co-ordination under a PN administration. This is new ground.

5. The people want to have a peaceful Christmas. Observers have noted that this seems to be a dig at Muscat: Get out before Christmas. Or it could just be an observation.

6. Damage is being done to Malta’s reputation due to the present political instability. Bartolo’s observation was borne out a few days later by the abysmal GRTU findings.

7. How long can we go on like this…Like a ship without a captain. In spite of the fact that the leadership race was wide open, and Muscat was saying that he was taking the day to day decisions, Bartolo felt it incumbent to stress this point.

8. Behind the façade of democracy, important decisions are taken in in back rooms. Citing this period as the saddest period of his political life, Bartolo expressed concerns about business backroom deals which affect government.

9. Some praise you. Some call you ‘Judas’. Do you have a conscience? Bartolo’s direct appeal is somewhat nebulous: is he addressing Muscat or is he addressing the former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri. Given that Muscat said that the buck stops with him, observers have opted for the former, even if for the latter, the cap fits just as well.

10. How sorry I am that I did not take a stronger position in 2016…it was one of the political mistakes of my career…I believed what they told me. This Mea Culpa by Bartolo links directly to the ‘explanations’ given to ministers in the Post-Panama Papers fall out. Enough said.

11. Justice can be served without burning the country and the whole population. In a plaintive tone, in one of the earliest posts, Bartolo used the ‘burning Rome’ analogy.

12. Malta is currently at a crossroads. Bartolo said that protecting criminals will only put Malta in a worse situation. It would be only if justice gets served without any prejudice, would the country stand in a better place.

13. The country is passing through difficult times. Protest demonstrations are legitimate but have to be in a civil manner, wrote the Minister.

14. The tree needs pruning. Using this analogy, Bartolo suggested, early on, that Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi step aside. Mizzi retorted that the public deserves better than a public spat. Eventually, circumstances forced him to resign.

15. Don’t switch off the fire alarm. Admonishing the PL leadership indirectly, as is his wont, Bartolo criticises those who obstruct constructive criticism.

16. Confused, lost, angry, hurt and betrayed. Bartolo was among the first, if not the first to actually use these words to describe the mood of the people.

17. Unprejudiced justice to be served. Written the day after Minister Chris Cardona was called in for questioning on the Daphne Murder Investigation, this trite comment by Bartolo had a special significance.