You know things are really bad when Khadiya Ismayil gets in touch to ask if she can help

Published: May 12, 2017 at 10:51am

A week ago I had a telephone call from an Azerbaijani reporter who works for Khadiya Ismayilova, the prominent Azerbaijani investigative journalist and anti-Aliyev campaigner who was jailed for seven years in her country on trumped-up charges of tax evasion. Her case was taken up by the well-known human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who is married to George Clooney, and she was eventually released early from prison.

The journalist had rung to find out more about the links of Azerbaijani politically exposed persons, including Ilham Aliyev’s son Heydar and his daughter Leyla, with Pilatus Bank in Malta, and the association generally between the Maltese government and the ruling elite in Azerbaijan.

“Khadiya is closely following what is happening in Malta and to you, and she wants you to know that if she can help in any way, she will do it,” the journalist said.

And I thought to myself how things have come to a pretty pass in Malta when Khadiya Ismayilova, persecuted in her own country by her own government because of her attempts at exposing its corruption, looks at what is happening in Malta and sees disturbing parallels.

This is what we have come to.

A visiting journalist was told by a taxi driver in Malta a few days ago, when he asked him about the current situation: “They can take whatever they want because they haven’t taken it from me and I don’t care because I have money in my pocket.”

How stupid is that. A government which takes whatever it wants will eventually remove the money from your pocket either directly or by default when the system is brought down by the consequences of extensive corruption.

And stupider still is the failure to understand that you don’t need a corrupt government to have money in your pocket. You can have money in your pocket and a clean government. We had that for years.

34 Comments Comment

  1. This blog has literally become the lifeline for my sanity.

    Thank you, Daphne.

    • Izzy says:

      I’ve never been one to comment, like, post or share anything online, I like my privacy and have never had a significant online presence.

      However, at the place where I work, we’ve recently been told to keep our heads down and that we might run into trouble for liking or posting anything related to politics.

      I don’t recall this happening during the previous administration. I was free to speak my mind anywhere and in any way I pleased. No one put any restrictions on what I could or couldn’t say or like.

      This time round I feel duty bound to do what little I can to improve the chances of Malta getting rid of this corrupt lot. I am making an effort to use what little time I have on my hands to comment on various comments boards. I had in previous years refused to even read other comments boards because the (lack of) reasoning of so many people makes my blood boil.

      Long story short, this website provides me with the much needed dose of sanity and the views of like-minded people. So Daphne, apart from thanking you for being a beacon of hope in a dwindling democracy, I also want to thank you for providing a platform for sane discussion.

  2. A+ says:

    The coming election will determine if the majority of the Maltese have the same mentality of that taxi driver, or whether the majority of Maltese are decent law-abiding people.

  3. Brian Sinclair says:

    The harm which this band of criminals have caused Malta will stick for a long long time. Malta was always considered to be on the very fringe of Europe for various reasons, not least its proximity to Africa.

    It was only due to serious honest statesmen that it managed to scrape through and gain some respect. Not in total , but enough.

    Maltese, unfortunately, will always struggle to persuade the big boys. Inhabitants of big countries snigger in derision behind our backs. Malta is not the centre of the universe, irrespective of what the sheep think.

    With these thieves and their herd it is always impossible to shake off the negative tag. Vote them out and we might salvage some fragments to rebuild a modicum of respect… and stability.

    • Evarist Saliba says:

      A good reputation can be lost overnight, but it cannot be regained as quickly.

      As for Khadija Ismayil’s comment her last sentence should be highlighted. Pilatus Bank is not saying that what has been revealed about their operations is not true.

      They are complaining that information about them, which was supposed to be confidential, has been leaked.
      Does MFSA need further proof that they should step in to protect Malta’s international reputation, not about its secrecy, but its integrity in fighting money-laundering?

      • Angela Galea says:

        When reputation and trust are lost, they’re lost forever. They might then be replaced by some tolerance. I feel that other countries just tolerate us but never really take us seriously precisely because of the inconsistency in our political scene. The MLP had never been good for purpose. It is nothing but an albatross around Malta’s neck.

  4. Liberal says:

    And once again it takes a woman to stand up to government without fear of reprisal.

  5. marks says:

    The only way the taxi driver will come to his senses is when he realises that the money in his pocket is peanuts compared to the fortune in the pockets of the corrupt politicians who he blindly supports.

  6. EarthwormDave says:

    As a Brit what I find strange is that in a country with such a strong Catholic tradition, so many people are so deeply selfish.

  7. Jim Hutton says:

    Literally “banking on the former”

  8. Pandora says:

    Iz-zejt ikompli jitla f-wicc l-ilma. Xi jridu aktar minn hekk biex jindunaw li vot ghal Muscat ifisser futur bhal Azerbaijan ghal Malta? Kif ser inwasslu dan il-messagg fost dawk li ghadhom ma jistghux jifmu?

  9. just me says:

    The taxi driver and people like him should be made to realise that with a clean government they will have MORE money in their pocket.

    Experts all agree that if Labour is re-elected there will be great crash in our economy similar to that in Greece. Foreign companies including those in the financial and gaming sectors would close down. Many jobs would be lost.

    Many foreigners would leave the island. Those who have property which is being rented at very advantageous rates would end up with vacant properties. With less foreigners taxi drivers would have less work.

    On the other hand if a clean government is elected, Malta’s name will be cleaned and we will return back to being a normal, democratic country again.

    Companies and foreigners which were thinking of leaving would hopefully remain. Other new companies would hopefully come and invest here, including those that are presently in the UK and because of Brexit are looking for other EU counties where to move their operations.

    We would have a stronger economic boom than we ever had if the Nationalist party is elected to government.

    • Corinne Vella says:

      If a clean government is elected it will have to spend the first years of its life cleaning up the mess the others left behind.

  10. Jim says:

    Well, before we ever get to a Maltese court accepting the judgment, we must consider whether a US court would exercise jurisdiction and deliver judgment. In principle, it should not.

    The relevant events and any damage incurred took place in Malta, the bank is a Maltese legal person residing in Malta and exercising business there (not in the US), and the defendants are resident in Malta too.

    Their assets are also situated in Malta. All relevant connecting factors point to Malta as the correct seat of proceedings.

    The US court will likely find that it should not exercise such jurisdiction as it may have. This is called the forum non conveniens doctrine.

    Now, if the US court did not apply that well-established doctrine, we come to the problem of enforcement. All of the assets are situated in Malta, so a judgment would need to be enforced there.

    The Maltese court should not, in principle, enforce the judgment because (i) the exercise of jurisdiction by a US court would be considered exorbitant, and therefore contrary to accepted international standards; and (ii) punitive damages are likely contrary to public policy.

  11. john says:

    Simon Busuttil said that comparison of the various proposals put forward by the political parties is a secondary consideration in the upcoming election.

    I would go a step further. The proposals are completely of no consequence and should have no bearing on the decision that lies before us.

    The choice is a simple one. It is a choice between crooks in Castille or decent men and women in Castille.

    • JC says:

      Yes but as many have said, the level of intellect leaves a lot to be desired. Many are in fact guided by the money in their pockets. The freebies. The perks.

      They ones who flock to supermarkets when they have a buy 1 get 2 free etc.

      So Simon Busuttil needs to make these proposals for people whose only understanding is his/her personal gain. A big number of floaters are enticed by the little things. Integrity is such a big word that they don’t even understand the concept of it.

      • You have described the mentality of a Labour voter, not a floating voter.

        In any case, there is no such thing as a floating voter. There are only people who use their heads properly and people who don’t.

        The reason I vote Nationalist is not because I am “a Nationalist”, because it doesn’t take much intelligence to see that the Labour Party is full-on crap.

    • Viking says:

      Economic proposals are a big part of the whole exercise to gather the numbers needed to win the election. I know you’re dead right in your reasoning but a government has to be elected otherwise you will become just a pressure group.

  12. Max says:

    If he is re-elected, then what? His political legitimacy abroad is destroyed, so how will he convey himself as a head of state? Will we retain our membership of the EU? Will we be able to conduct business in an open economy with access to international correspondents?

    Internally, will we have any confidence left to exercise our civil rights; to seek the representation of the executive and the protection of the judiciary; to be assured that we are treated equally?

    The moment he is re-elected it will be game over, and five years on I fear there won’t even be a middle class to speak of; those who can will have left and those who can’t will face first hand the implosion of what was once considered one of the strongest performing economies in the EU.

    The thoughts of the disaster which awaits us is just too much to bear.

    • natari says:

      Please understand the structure of government. He is not head of state. That would be the President. He is head of government. Mrs Muscat is not First Lady, but just the wife of the Prime Minister. In England the Queen is Head of State and the prime minister runs the country.

  13. Most of the prominent businessmen I know, with very few exceptions, have the educational level and even IQ of that taxi driver. So obviously, yes, they would reason that way.

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