Ministerial resignations in this country are few and far between. So it stands to reason that Mifsud Bonnici's resignation is no small matter. I think it's also the first time in Malta, at least as long as I can remember, that a Minister has been forced to resign by a parliamentary vote of no confidence.
One would therefore expect Mifsud Bonnici to have committed some grave sin. But what sort of wrong-doing has he been involved in? Mismanagement of public funds? Misleading Parliament? Corruption? Embezzlement? Nepotism?
Nay, none of the above. The reason it seems is that he should assume responsibility for problems existing in Malta's justice system for as long as I can remember, surely before his appointment to the post in 2008. Was he expected to solve all of them in four years, when the average court case currently takes three years to conclude?
Another accusation was that the Reparative Justice Act is being implemented too slowly. This act introduces parole, and allows prisoners to be able to slowly start spending time outside of prison to help in their re-integration into society. It's not something to rush in I'd say, and I would favour a staggered approach for its full implementation. But this accusation, coming from a criminal lawyer whose clients would be the first to benefit from it, sounds to be quite a conflicting case of interests to me.
Ah, before I forget, he's also to be held responsible because the courts don't have strong enough chairs for lawyers who think they should be able to kneel on chairs while addressing the court.
It seems that on a point of principle, for Labour and Franco Debono these accusation are enough to vote for the Minister's resignation. But wait...on a point of principle, or for some other reason?
Because it seems that the problems in the Justice Ministry would have been solved had Franco's package of demands been met. The problems in the justice sector would not have been so serious as to demand the Minister's resignation had Franco been made Leader of the House, deputy chairman of PN's think-thank AZAD (which is chaired by Simon Busuttil), had he been included in Lawrence Gonzi's and Simon Busuttil's meetings with civil society, and had the Prime Minister stopped bloggers from attacking him.
On a point of principle eh? Because he stands for justice, right?
And to assure us that it was nothing personal, after his act was complete he says to Carm: “Hekk. Biex tkun taf x’jigifieri taghmilli hsara mal-Prim Mhallef.” And to further re-assure us that it was not about him, he tells us that: "I hope that the sacrifice and difficult moments my family and I have been through will serve to establish meritocracy, where ministerial careers are open to talent and political accountability." His talents of course.
Labour's point of principle is nonexistent, except that they quickly jumped on this personal revenge bandwagon. In comes Joseph Muscat talking about political accountability, when he is the Labour leader to have invited back candidates dismissed by Alfred Sant because of much more serious cases of corruption.
In come the old Labour crew who think that Carm's work in the Justice Ministry is a graver case than a judge who did not hear cases for seven whole years while retaining his full salary, paid by us. They, the same ones who voted for Carm's resignation, voted against this judge's impeachment when he refused to hear any more cases. But after all, one judge less doesn't add to the court's backlog, right?
And worst of all, in come the "progressives and moderates", showing off their dictatorial tendencies by expecting the Prime Minister to have the power to stop people from speaking their minds. While I disagree with some writings and comments, I do not expect anyone to have the power to shut anyone up, except in cases of lies and slander already covered by our libel laws. For me, this tendency in Labour is a far worse threat on democracy and freedom than all the imagined oligarchies put together.
I would like to thank Carm for his work and dedication. We all know who really stands for righteousness.