The Constitution must be strengthened and changed to make better provision against corruption in the higher echelons of government, maintained Professor Raymond Mangion, in his speech delivered on the occasion of Victory Day.
Mangion said that the Constitution must be updated “especially following the developments of the last months when unity and peace among us Maltese were threatened and prejudiced.” He referred to a particular change that he feels must be made, that there be a self-enforcing mechanism to ensure that a member of Parliament or in a high-ranking position within the civil service be suspended in case of corruption according to specific criteria. Furthermore, the enquiry board must be composed of three senior judges, and the enquiry and sentence should be held and given in relatively limited periods so that the accused will return to his place in the absence of proof.
He added that this would do away with mud-slinging and the Rule of Law would be given a new lease of life. “We must confirm unity and peace rather than quarrel and cause more division and hatred.“ This hatred and division is different to “our behaviour in 1565 and 1940-45 when we strove, body and soul against our extraneous aggressors”, said Mangion.
Along with this change, Mangion also remarked a media ombudsman should be appointed to ensure that the press act is in line with proper journalistic ethics. Furthermore, he stressed that environmental rights should be given more prominence.
The Maltese, he said, have come to “rejoice whenever we flourish economically”, even at the expense of having “raped our esplanades, panoramas and idyllic scenery.” He added that it seems that blocks of flats are more prestigious than archaeological sites, aesthetics and symmetry. “Yes”, he said, “We have entered the catacombs of ignorance and of the lack of appreciation.”
On the other hand, Mangion praised Malta for its positive progress; the reduction in stigma and taboo regarding persons struck by bodily and psychiatric problems, the dedication to inclusiveness, the national voting age being reduced to 16, and political transparency laws.
He concluded his speech by saying: “We hope and pray to embark soon on a program that will revise the Constitution and make it more functional as an instrument of unity and peace. We have to adopt structures that impede any side of our political spectrum to take positions, in conferences, groupings and publications, to the detriment of our own country, a rare and inestimable diamond. We must be a council of unity and peace, and above all, of love. We, children of this motherland, whose name we bear, so deserve.”