Marco Cremona’s open letter to the Prime Minister

Published: May 31, 2017 at 10:20pm

Dear Joseph (I believe I can still call you Joseph),

We go back a long way, as far back as 2006, when we jointly (and successfully) worked together, you as an MEP in Brussels, me as a water activist here in Malta, to stop Lawrence Gonzi’s “Malta needs 3 golf courses, and the first one will be in Ghajn Tuffieha” project, which was set to get the green light by the autonomous(sic) MEPA.

I found you to be trust-worthy, efficient and capable, all pre-requisites for a leadership position which I encouraged you take up in the early summer of 2008, following the news that Dr. Alfred Sant was vacating his post.

I remember when as Leader of the Opposition, you appointed me to be part of an energy working group, working under the guidance of Keith Schembri and entrusting us to come up with energy and water proposals in time for your first budget speech in Parliament.

And I also recall how we caught the PL administration completely by surprise when you presented 20 factual, original, doable proposals in parliament, proposals for which they had no reply.

I also cannot but mention the various one-to-one and other group information sessions we had about Malta’s water crisis before the 2013 elections, and how I had very high hopes that you, as Prime Minister and subsequently Konrad Mizzi (as Minister for Energy and the Conservation of Water) would address now that you were in power.

To my disappointment, the water issue was ignored in these last 4 years but water and environment apart, you did a rather good job in the other sectors, though there started to be cracks when it came to transparency.

I must admit that I lost a huge chunk of trust in you quite early in the administration, in July 2013 to be precise, when you “wanted Europe to smell the coffee” and played poker with the fate of a boatload of refugees who had just arrived by boat after having survived an ordeal at sea.

I couldn’t believe that this was the Joseph I knew, and I couldn’t but leave my place of work and immediately go to protest at the Floriana Police Depot at the threat of pushback with Jesuits and atheists and others. For, we are all human.

We’ve not spoken for years, but as an interested citizen I’ve followed and lived the political, social and economic developments of the first 3 years of the administration, which in the main were positive – though I do not subscribe to an economic strategy that sells its assets for short term gain (especially when the conditions of these sales are not made public, and in the main irreversible from an environmental point of view).

Then came the now infamous Panama papers, which led directly to Castille though not to you personally. I did not attend the first protest organized by the PN because …… well, in hindsight it is now not clear why I did not go.

I did attend the second one though, because I did not see any inclination on your part to take action on the matter though the situation demanded that you take appropriate and immediate action. You ‘demoted’ Konrad Mizzi, but in effect you know, we know and everybody knows that he was effectively retained and nothing changed.

I come to the reason for this letter:

In the national interest, and for myself personally, I WANT to believe that the allegations about Egrant are not true and that they are a complete fabrication;

I want to understand WHY you retained Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi when you know that it is obvious there was intent to transfer huge amounts of money when in public office;

I want to know WHY, as soon as the allegations about your wife being the beneficiary of Egrant went online on a blog, you did not immediately call on the Police Commissioner to search the Pilatus Bank where the alleged documents were to be found.

I want to restore the trust I once had in you, as a person and as Prime Minister. But I can’t.

I know that if I were the innocent victim of a frame-up of such proportions, with serious implications on my credibility and integrity, but also, as Prime Minister, on the country, I would turn heaven and earth to prove my innocence – with one of the actions certainly being an immediate search of the bank for the alleged ‘proof’ as soon as the allegations were made.

If the search yielded no proof, the accusations would be rendered false, the PN would suffer a massive setback in the forthcoming elections, and we can get back to normal (although the questions about Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi would remain). No need for early elections. Your reputation of a ‘clean’ prime minister somewhat restored.

But you did very little to convince me of your innocence. Too little and also too late.

There are only a few days left before the elections, which you may well win. You may win the trust of a (slim?) majority, enough to ensure that you remain Prime Minister, but you very well know that you have lost the complete trust of tens of thousands of Maltese who are neither PN or PL, but who want to believe that they have an incorruptible Prime Minister, but can’t.

Getting the co-operation, if not support, of these tens of thousands of families, workers, entrepreneurs, pensioners, youth is now close to impossible. Your dream, our dream, of an everybody-on-board national project has been irreversibly compromised.

Either way it goes, the damage has been done. We now have a divided country, with scepticism of politicians, institutions, media all around, and with a lot of people having lost faith in everything and everybody.

I write this letter with a heavy heart, because we are all losers here. I would normally end such a letter with an appeal, a suggestion, but I struggle to come up with something, because there’s really very little anyone, including you, as Prime Minister, can do at this stage.

Best regards

Marco Cremona

Marco Cremona