Gone fishing… but what could Robert Abela be afraid of?

Our Prime Minister has rightly been criticized for the way he carries out his duties: he continues to do so even when he is miles away from Malta on his boat in the middle of the Mediterranean. This is nothing short of very stupid and can lead to serious constitutional problems in particular circumstances.

For donkey years, it has been customary that when the Prime Minister or President is not physically within Maltese territory, their duties are transferred to someone acting in an interim capacity. According to the constitutional theory underlying this practice, the Prime Minister (or President) cannot properly discharge his duties if he is not within Maltese territory. It goes to the extent that when one of them is unconscious due to anesthesia during a medical procedure – no matter how small – someone else should technically take responsibility, even if that is only for a few hours.

Robert Abela would have none of these “absurdities”. He never entrusts his duties and responsibilities to anyone, even when he is on vacation and having fun with his family miles away from Malta.

Opinions on why he does this don’t differ much. It seems that he wants to delegate his duties and responsibilities – even temporarily – to the Deputy Prime Minister at all costs. This means that the relationship between the two is not normal and is subject to suspicion as it has become strained by paranoia.

This has never happened in Malta.

Even Dom Mintoff, who used to take summer vacations on someone else’s boat, was replaced by an acting prime minister when he went fishing. He trusted his deputy, who for many years was Guże Cassar. At this time, Mintoff’s summer vacation served another purpose: some in the upper echelons of the civil service used to wait for this annual leave to get a Cassar-approved document, as they suspected he might otherwise cause a Mintoff crisis that would never lead to it. be signed and officially approved.

Mintoff never thought Cassar had ambitions to replace him – and he always relied on Cassar’s loyalty; though Cassar was the only one in Mintoff’s cabinet who sometimes succeeded in persuading Mintoff to change his mind. Chris Fearne is not Guże Cassar, of course.

Eddie Fenech Adami did not hesitate to leave the responsibility of the post of Prime Minister to Guido De Marco. At this time this matter of ministerial responsibility was taken so seriously that Richard Cachia Caruana monitored the dates of all summer vacations taken by Cabinet members to ensure that the majority of the Cabinet was in Malta at all times. and to plan which minister will take over the duties of a vacationing colleague. Seniority was observed with devotion.

I can’t remember a time when relations between the Prime Minister of Malta and the Deputy Prime Minister were as tense as they are today – insofar as the responsibilities of the Prime Minister are not transferred to a Prime Acting Minister, even when the Prime Minister is having fun with his family, fishing in the deep blue sea, miles from Malta’s territorial waters.

This does not bode well for the proper functioning of the country’s government. After winning elections earlier this year, Robert Abela chose his own cabinet. Yet there is something that doesn’t seem to match: Abela’s hold on his Cabinet seems to be as fragile as that of Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici. Moreover, everyone knows that behind the Prime Minister hides the shadow of Joseph Muscat, always popular in the Labor base.

So what is Robert Abela afraid of?

Chris Fearne’s ambitions?

The threats of Joseph Muscat?

Either way, it looks like Robert Abela can’t afford the luxury of a summer vacation during which he’s completely out of control of what’s going on in Malta – let alone without constantly monitoring the bottom line. of his duties as Prime Minister of the country. .

It’s bad – not just for Robert Abela. It is also bad for Malta to have a Prime Minister permanently in this situation.

Computer nervousness

An article published in The Times last Tuesday revealed the problems encountered by foreigners wishing to register the names of their children born in Malta. It seems that Identity Malta’s computer cannot accept foreign alphabets and the idea that babies have a surname regulated by the sex of the baby itself.

Some letters are not recognized by Identity Malta’s computer system. In fact, he only recently started recognizing Maltese letters like ż. Otherwise, the system only allows official letters from the English and Maltese languages.

A Dutch woman has complained that the Maltese system does not recognize the ë symbol which is part of her surname. And a French couple couldn’t register their son with his French name – Gaëtan.

Apparently, my old computer – soon to be obsolete – can reproduce such symbols but not that of Identity Malta!

The most serious problem is that in countries like Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine and Russia, the surname changes depending on the gender of the person concerned. Remember the name of Mikhail Gorbachev’s wife being Raisa Gorbachev?

The report gives the example of a Polish surname that ends in “-ski” but changes to “-ska” if the person is a girl. Thus, the father’s surname ending in “-ski” in Malta is given to all his children – even though it should actually be “-ska” in the case of daughters. While in Poland a woman with a surname ending in “-ski” would be ridiculed, Identity Malta’s computer and its rules are undisturbed.

Gone are the days when a priest refused to baptize a baby with the name chosen by the parents, if he thought – or suspected – that the name chosen was not that of a saint. I know of cases where parents have taken months – even years – to baptize their child because of the obstinacy of certain priests.

It now seems that the idiosyncrasies of the clergy have been replaced by those of the Identity Malta computer system!

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