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Life is a journey - David Stellini

The outcome of the mammoth magisterial inquiry on the Egrant saga should not be taken lightly and lessons must be drawn, not least for the Nationalist Party.

We must continue insisting on the full publication of the whole report until it is out for all to read. That much is clear. It is also evident that this is not the endgame. We are not even close to it.

This notwithstanding, we can already start reflecting on what was said and done in recent days and ask ourselves whether we acted in good faith, all along, as the Egrant drama unfolded before our eyes.

When I say we, I’m referring to all of us Maltese citizens, including journalists and politicians. We must realise that, each and every one of us, through our words and actions, has an impact on the well-being of Maltese society.

Are we now acting in the best interest of our communities?

Swords were drawn, attacks were launched, tensions flared after the publication of the Panama Papers, and yet, the Prime Minister chose to keep his chief of staff and his tourism minister regardless.

This did create a sense of unease in the country despite the economic growth. It did provoke needless accusations and allegations, with some even verging on conspiracy theories. That did not help things, as much as it is not helping now that they both have been reinstated in their previous positions after the 2017 electoral victory.

Where does this leave the Nationalist Party? Or rather, its leader, Adrian Delia?

The one thing Delia is keen on is that the PN does not lose credibility in the fight against corruption.

It is abundantly clear now that Magistrate Aaron Bugeja did not find any proof that Egrant belonged to the Muscats.

It was wrong before the 2017 election to state, without much hesitation, that it belonged to Michelle Muscat. It was profoundly wrong to call a demonstration in the wake of this allegation when there was no hard evidence backing it up.

Delia was not around at the time but he was indeed questioned about the case in a leadership election campaign interview, and he did steer clear of the issue, because he felt it did not amount to much. He is now in the unenviable position of having to pull the party out of a credibility crisis.

It was profoundly wrong to call a demonstration in the wake of this allegation when there was no hard evidence backing it up

On the one hand, he is painfully trying to tell us that the PN was wrong on Egrant, and on the other hand, he is saying that major misgivings remain in relation to the Panamanian companies of the Prime Minister’s chief of staff and the tourism minister, the Vitals agreement and so many other corruption cases, not least the yet-unknown owner of Egrant.

In plain, simple words we must focus on the cases in which the evidence is as clear as day. We must focus on the inaction vis-à-vis this evidence and the disparity of treatment by Joseph Muscat with the Maltese electorate and his peers. Focus is key.

What we have before us is a man who decided to leave his comfortable life with plenty of time for his family and wade into murky national politics when the PN was passing through such a challenging time. He was elected by the broadest of bases since the rules of the game were changed by his own predecessor.

What we have before us is an almighty government that needs constant reminding that, despite the infinite tools at its disposal, there is another Malta that craves an alternative vision.

The government needs to be reminded that some of our own are indeed invisible and are suffering in silence, and that claims of corruption can also have an adverse impact on jobs.

It is, therefore, of paramount importance that we offer our loyalty to the Opposition leader, because it is not in anyone’s interest to have a weak Opposition. Much spade work has been done by former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, and we need to continue building on it.

We should not give up and, despite the trials and tribulations, we are all on a journey. Whether we reach our destination or not is not so important at this stage. What is important is that we get it right every step of the way and we learn from our mistakes with a modicum of humility.

Let’s not look at the mountaintop but rather focus on every step we take. Success will come, but let’s not forget that life is a journey, not a destination.

David Stellini is an MP and president of the PN administrative council.

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