Parliament betrayed the people – Legal expert

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Prof Kevin Aquilina, former Dean of the Faculty of Laws, described the current situation as an “unprecedented constitutional crisis.” In an opinion piece the Saturday edition of  Times of Malta he wrote that Parliament betrayed the people when it was adjourned at the hight of such a crisis.

The law expert then made a list of the serious deficiencies or outright wrongdoings that are contributing to this crisis:

  • Serious questions are being raised about the exercise of the investigative role of the police and how the government has been complicit in the violation of the law.
  • The rule of law itself is at its lowest ebb.
  • The Prime Minister continues to exercise powers of an unfettered elected dictator.
  • The President did not summon the Labour parliamentary group to confirm or otherwise whether the Prime Minister still enjoys the support of his own group.
  • The civil service is also in the Prime Minister’s lap.
  • The independence of the judiciary is extremely weak.
  • Government finances remain very much uncontrolled as evidenced by the audit reports published by the Auditor General.
  • Backbenchers – contrary to constitutionally established practice in the United Kingdom – are all promoted to the front bench by being given remunerative public offices to silence them.
  • Members of Parliament are allowed to undertake full-time employment in the public administration in breach of the separation of powers doctrine.
  • Conflicts of interest abound elsewhere and are anathema in the Maltese political discourse.
  • Constitutional bodies (the Broadcasting Authority, Public Service Commission, Electoral Commission and Employment Commission) are appointed not in the public interest but half in the interest of the party in government and a half in the interest of the party in opposition.
  • The public service broadcaster is directly controlled by the government of the day and falls under the responsibility of a ministry of government.
  • Ministries’ secretariats serve as paladins of clientelism, nepotism and cronyism rather than for drawing and implementing government policy.