Sunday Paper’s Review prepared by Jesmond Saliba
Malta Today – MaltaToday reports that <<Alert of risk Pilatus posed to Malta came in May 2016>>. Matthew Vella reports that ‘a stark warning on Pilatus Bank and its business model of ‘secrecy’ for politically exposed persons (PEPs) was spelt out clearly by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) in a hard-hitting letter from former director Manfred Galdes which copy was provided to the Malta Financial Services Authority’s director of enforcement Anton Bartolo. “However it was only in February 2018 when a money laundering probe at Pilatus Bank was kicked off by the MFSA”. In another report entitled <<Police probe Italy, Dutch crime links to DCG murder suspects>>, we read that the Investigators in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia have privately named Italy and the Netherlands as two EU member states where cooperation was required in a bid to explore organised crime links to Malta. In its editorial, <<Out with the truth, and with the lies>> MaltaToday comments about what it calls ‘the problematic’ response by Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in his reactions to events like Panamagate, the Egrant allegations and now the DaphneProject, that of calling his supporters for the May Day events as a show of support. The editorial argues “The biggest problem, however, is that no amount of crowd adulation will have any impact on the underlying questions raised by the recent revelations”.
The Malta Independent on Sunday – In a report by David Lindsay, entitled <<Delia insists he is now all clear with the taxman after settling 2016 bill>>, we read that the Nationalist Party leaders insisted with the newspaper that all his taxes – arrears, interest and charges – have now been settled with the taxman, down to very last cent, after his final 2016 tax bill was paid. In another report entitled <<‘Respect for victim of terror, freedom of press are basic ethics’ – ECOC 2021 Artistic Director>> we read that Chris Torch, the artistic director of Timisoara European Capital of Culture has joined the ever-expanding list of individuals who have raised an eyebrow at Jason Micallef’s behaviour, voicing their concern that his role as chairman of Valletta 2018 is clearly untenable. The editorial of the Malta Independent also touches on May Day. Playing on the term, the editorial entitled <<Muscat’s May Day mayday>> the editorial argues that Muscat’s decision is “nothing short of a move from the playbook of a totalitarian dictator that an under-fire Prime Minister rallies the faithful in their thousands to ‘give an answer’ to pesky journalists asking uncomfortable questions and writing troubling articles about his government and some of its member – stories the government would prefer to be buried six feed under, perhaps even deeper. It adds, the only responsible action, actually the only responsible action, the Prime Minister could take at this juncture, would be to immediately fire (Chief of Staff) Schembri and (Minister) Mizzi.
The Sunday Times reports that <<Schembri won €425,000 in government, OPM contracts>>. In a report by Jacob Borg, the paper reports that the Prime Minister’s top aide, Keith Schembri has won over €425,000 worth of government contracts since the Labour Party was returned to power in 2013. Of that revenue €318,000 was raised in from entities falling directly under his control at the Office of the Prime Minister. Most of the contracts are related to paper supplies. Replying, Mr Schembri said Kasco Paper was one of the biggest suppliers in Malta. In another report Sarah Carabott reports that <<Whistleblower Efimova has message for protesters in Valletta today>>. The report writes that demonstrators at today’s civil society protest in Valletta. Efimova, the Pilatus Bank whistleblower, expressed the wish to be there in person but fears for her safety if she came to Malta. The editorial of The Sunday Times entitled <<Populist and unpatriotic>> also refers to Muscat’s call for supporters to rally behind him on May Day. The editorial argues that “such declarations represent the worst type of populism., which have no place in a supposedly modern European Union Member State, especially one governed by a social democratic government which repeatedly calls itself “liberal” and “progressive””. The editorial calls the Prime Minister to “desist from using his electoral majority as a threat to those calling for the rule of law and democratic norms of governance to be fully respected”.
The newspaper ILLUM‘s main story is about the risks that 20 band clubs are facing in view of a court decision taken this week, three which are expected to be taken and a European Court of Human Rights decision which might be a precedent for the 20 band clubs. <<20 każin taħt il-mannara>> refers to the court case about the Paola Band Club and the issue of rent and ownership. In another story, the newspaper report that there was an increase of 31% in reported thefts from beaches in 2017. In the report entitled <<Żieda ta 31% fis-serq mill-bajjiet fl-2017>> we read that there was a reduction in the cases of pickpocketing. Mdina is the city where most pickpocketing occurrences occur. The editorial of Illum is entitled <<Jew iswed jew abjad…tolleranza żero>>. The editor writes about the high level of intolerance that has taken up the Maltese public sphere and debate. The intolerance is being expressed in its worst forms in any debate that is taking place on the island. The editor warns that this is a dangerous situation and calls for whoever is responsible to act in a way that responsibility and respect should be the underlying theme of any expression.
It-Torċa‘s main story is about the current IVF debate and the embryo freezing. <<Inqas Tbatija u Spejjeż…Żieda fiċ-Ċans ta’ Tqala>>, quotes Professor Renald Blundell who gives his views about the subject. Another story gives the views expressed in the bulletin of the Parish of Sannat (Gozo) and expresses the concern of a mother and how she will be explaining to her children some of the comments being said like the ones expressed above mentioned bulletin and stated in the story title <<Qed titħejja t-triq biex trabi jinbiegħu għal spare parts>> (Preparing the road so that babies are sold for spare parts). <<Ebda passi kontra Neville Gafa fuq insegwiment malizzjuż>> is a report which quotes unofficial police reports, which state that there will be no further action or procedures against government official Neville Gafa, following a photo he uploaded on Facebook which showed Daphne Caruana Galizia in Floriana and which was posted and put on the social media, the day the journalist was assassinated last October. The fourth story of It-Torċa is a caption story, which leads to an interview with Alfred Galea, who lived a significant event in Malta’s industrial relations history and which marked an important step in the process which led to the relations between the UK and Malta, the issue of the integration and the independence. The editorial of It-Torċa entitled <<Jipproteġu u jippreġudikaw>> focuses on the current debate about the freezing of the embryos and argues against arguments being done from certain quarters, close to the church, who through their words are showing judging and hurting people who’s been through a lot because of their infertility problems.
Il-Mument‘s front page story <<Muscat irid jaħbi l-kriżi>> argues that the Prime Minister wants to hide the crisis that there is, and which potentially can be a constitutional one, following the declaration by the President of Malta about the current IVF and embryo freezing debate, where through her appeal, she asked for more time before a decision is taken. The report argues that the President is making a clear attempt to unite the people, something which the Prime Minister is failing to do. The second story entitled <<Imħallfin jilmentaw dwar żieda qawwija ta’ xogħol>>, we read that the judiciary is lamenting of an increased work load in view of the fact, that currently the amount of judges is 19, when the complement should be 24. The newspaper has two more stories in the form of ‘lead-to’ stories about today’s civil society protest in Valletta and one about the celebrations of the Nationalist Party for Workers Day. The editorial of Il-Mument is entitled <<Irwiefen kontra l-Gvern ta’ Muscat>>. It focuses about the current reports and accusations in the international media focusing on Malta, Joseph Muscat’s Government and the Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder.
Il-Kullħadd carries four stories. The first story <<Jammettu vot kontra> is about the vote taken this week in Parliament about the Domestic Violence bill, where the PN Leader Adrian Delia gave the Free Vote to the Nationalist Party’s MPs, and which for a number of MPs to vote against the bill. The second story <<Qassis ħassieb tal-PN kien xejjen il-biza’ dwar l-iffriżar ta’ l-embrijuni>> is a lead-on story about the position taken by the late Fr. Peter Serracino Inglott about the issue of embryo freezing. Another report, entitled Il-PM dwar Malta ta’ Għada focuses on the speech the Prime Minister is expecting to do during today’s concluding session of the Labour Party General Conference. The last story is about an investigation being done by the newspaper on how the PN leader Adrian Delia found €55,000 in cash to make one payment for his tax bill. The newspaper’s editorial <<Moviment Ħaj>> focuses about the Labour Party’s general conference and the vision of the party built on the notion of a movement, as established in the run up of the 2013 elections.