A close encounter between a wig and a paraventu
In a bid at salvaging what’s left of his credibility, Alfred Sant raced down to Police Headquarters accompanied by the glossy Jason, the Lion of Change and Charlie ‘DNA’ Mangion. They all looked whey-faced. Sant looked as though the worms in his cheese had eaten his toast.
They were there to meet the man that Sant so memorably described on television as a paraventu ghall-korruzzjoni. I wonder how that went. Let’s picture the scene. Sant walks in with his delegation of four for moral support – we all know he’s a coward – and the inscrutable police commissioner politely avoids the subject of paraventi. Sant doesn’t bring it up to apologise (he has no regrets). The police commissioner offers them a ‘kafe jew tnejn’ and they get down to business. The Lion of Change brings out his lucky santa tal-Madonna and kisses it. Jason fixes his hair and smiles at the handsome police officer by the door. DNA Mangion does a quick mental reckoning of how much the latest batch of flats will bring in.
The Police Commissioner tries hard not to sneak a look at his watch. Privately he might be thinking that if anyone knows about land deals, it’s DNA Mangion. He says nothing, of course.
Is a third-party application for construction on land owned by an MP a police matter? Of course it isn’t. It’s a matter for the MEPA auditor. The police only get involved where there are issues of criminality – fraud, bribery, the exchange of money for favours. The Police Commissioner must be very annoyed to see that the man who described him as a paraventu is the very one who is trying to use him as such. By rushing off to file a report with the police, Sant hopes to give us the impression that there is criminality involved. He knows that some people are gullible, and he knows that the police commissioner would never tell him over the telephone, ‘Look here, sir – there are no criminal aspects to this case. Take it elsewhere.’
I don’t like the fact that the prime minister referred the case to the police. He’s a lawyer, so he knows that there’s no criminal case involved. By reporting it to the police after he had already reported it to the MEPA auditor, he was just embroiling himself in Sant’s weasel game.
So the wig met the paraventu and got his photo-op outside Police HQ. I’ve just sat through the painful coverage on One News, which is making much of it so as to drown out the sound of mocking laughter and shouts of ‘U-turn ohra!’ and ‘Mela he’s not a paraventu now?’
From Police HQ, Sant and the other three legs of this particular table went to stand on the steps of the Auberge de Castille in a dress rehearsal for the Big Day. After all, it’s just a short drive from Floriana and oil is only $103 a barrel. The Super One reporter who accompanied this farcical delegation held a reverential microphone to Sant’s lips (‘tmissnix jekk joghgbok’) and asked him why he had done that morning’s brave deed.
‘It’s because we are honest and clean,’ he said, while DNA Mangion cast about frantically in his mind for any more rented flats or similar difficulties. The Lion of Change worried briefly about the fact that he hadn’t raised his hand when the boss asked a coffee-morning crowd amusingly whether any of them had a swimming-pool to take advantage of his halved surcharge. After all, he has a fairly nice one at home in L-Iklin, but he would have felt like a prat as the only one with his hand in the air in front of the TVM, Super One and NET cameras.