Remedies for past injustices long overdue
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Nationalist supporters were promised remedies by their party, by then in power, for injustices suffered under the outgoing Labour administration.
Last May 18, Legal Notice A.L. 156 of 2012, was issued, establishing September 1, 2012 as the date on which the Freedom of Information Act 2008 will come fully into force.
This Act will enable people who had appealed to the Commission against Injustices to examine their case report.
The Commission against Injustices was set up in the late 1980s. This investigating body was commissioned by the newly elected government, to probe into injustices committed by the outgoing MLP administration to the detriment of PN supporters. Each case presented for investigation was registered and numbered.
The rejected pleas for justice, which were numerous, were notified by means a simple letter. A report on the proceedings might have been drawn up and confidentially sent to the Prime Minister. I think many were left unaware of such a report by the commission.
I would urge former Nationalist supporters who, in the late 1980s or early 1990s, had their plea rejected by the Commission against Injustices, to try and discover what was decided and written, behind their back, about 20 years ago.
Allow me to ask the following questions:
Was there any report published on the proceedings of the Commission against Injustices?
Was this Commission a simple exercise for the new PN administration to dodge its responsibility of paying back those who suffered the misdeeds of its predecessor and the promises made to them?
Were the victims the only parties investigated?
Were the results of the investigations on the perpetrator available to the victim to contest?
Were different verdicts reached regarding the self-presented cases and those in which the applicant was assisted by a lawyer?
Was the cases report addressed confidentially to the Prime Minister really given due attention by Lawrence Gonzi himself?
Were the decisions taken by the Commission accepted as legally and morally binding on the Prime Minister?
Why were the reports kept secret and inaccessible for about 20 years?
Can an appeal or protest be filed, considering that a case report was kept hidden from the applicant for a long time (A period long enough for the case to be assumed lost for an appeal)?
Were there cases brought before the Commission against Injustices and later in front of the Office of the Ombudsman, that had a different outcome?
Why was a judge who served on this Commission later appointed Ombudsman?
It would be interesting to hear the Nationalist Party’s replies to these questions. Many former party supports feel that they had been used and that justice has been denied to them.
People do not care to be the Prime Minister neither for a day nor for a second. They have spoken out and all that they got out of their party was the cold shoulder and insulting and threatening sermons. They now expect genuine remedies and explanations, and not virtual gimmicks.
I do not think all the troubles now facing the PN administration stem from Dr Gonzi’s leadership.
Quite a bit of the mess the party is in was inherited. Yet, there is much that Dr Gonzi can do.
It is not too late and, still, it would be an investment in the party’s revival even if the general election is lost.