Malta is in a very dark place right now. Nobody can deny this.

Our country has been swamped with scandals, one after another, one stronger than the next. With every scandal we think we have reached rock bottom, only to discover there is another even lower bottom full of stench and filth.

And while all eyes and fingers point at the politicians who planned this out for their own benefit, there is another layer of important people we keep ignoring who are just as responsible as the politicians. These are the people who let all this happen. Worse still, they allowed all this to happen when they were duty bound to stop it. They could have stopped it and should have stopped it.

I am referring to the people who hold a position of leadership in the civil service of our country. It is what publicservice.gov.mt refers to as the “Leadership Structure” and visually presents the structure as follows: ​​​​​​​​​​​1 head of public service, 19 permanent secretaries, ​​71 directors general, 164 directors and 180 assistant directors​.

Why am I going in this direction? Can so many people be involved in the huge scandals which have rocked our country from the core and which have led to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia? Absolutely not. But some of these 435 persons could have stopped all this huge mess from the very start. They too are responsible for the rot and irreparable damage this has made to our society and to our country.

As communications co-ordinator for the Ministry of Health, I had the priviledge of working with some very exemplary persons. I recall clearly how disciplined they were, and rightly so, to avoid over spending. They were strict in following procurement rules and regulations, sometimes to the point of frustrating those of us who did not come from the civil service background.

It is because of this experience that I refuse to believe that all those who form part of the Civil Service Leadership Structure are involved in creating the unsurmountable rot which has drowned us. It is also for this same reason that I strongly believe there were those who allowed the scandals to happen by looking away, by succumbing to the pressure coming from the Ministers, by signing documents without checking the content, etc, etc, etc.

I remember clearly one civil servant once telling me, “Politicians are migrating birds, we are the ones who face the music and the responsibility is ours.” Perhaps each man and woman in office in one of these leadership positions should reflect on this.

I don’t want to put all these persons in one basket. However, there are the obvious cases which stand out and some of these permanent secretaries have some serious explanation to do.

When permanent secretaries feel they should put pen to paper or accept to be the face of opinion pieces to defend policy decisions taken by the government I wonder if these civil servants really know their place, but others have taken things too far.

Take Ronald Mizzi for instance. He was the permanent secretary for Konrad Mizzi throughout the time the ex Minister conjured up the scandalous deals with VGH and Electrogas. Is it possible that Ronald Mizzi knew nothing of what Konrad Mizzi was up to?

Frank (Francis) Fabri allowed his Minister (Justyne Caruana) to pay her boyfriend 5,000 monthly.

What about the permanent secretaries in the ministries renowned for the scandalous direct orders in the ministries of Transport (Joseph Caruana) and Economy (Nancy Caruana).

Not to mention of course the permanent secretary responsible for Finance (Alfred Camilleri) and the Principal Permanent Secretary (Mario Cutajar). Both men have the authority to question and even stop Ministers and their permanent secretaries from spending public funds in such an appalling manner.

With all the reports and investigations going on by the auditor general, some of these persons must be feeling the squeeze. Now is the time for them to come clean. They will have to sooner or later.

Claudette Buttigieg

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Deputy Speaker Parliament of Malta.Kandidat f'isem il-Partit Nazzjonalista għall-Elezzjoni Ġenerali fuq it-12 u it-13 Distrett.