In a move
aimed at mitigating public anger over the cabinet reshuffle last Thursday,
originally intended to mitigate public anger over the Panama scandal, Prime
Minister Joseph Muscat announced a further series of decisions.
Dr Muscat said minister Konrad Mizzi would no longer be
allowed to watch television between eight and nine o’clock at night on weekdays
for a total of 14 days, but would still be permitted to go out on
Television time would now be dealt with by the Prime Minister,
however Dr Mizzi would still be given authority over the remote control
and would be assigned “special tasks” such as the selection of audio books for
long trips overseas.
This led to a quick reaction from Opposition leader Simon Busuttil,
who claimed this was “not severe enough” and no real punishment, since
everybody knows Dr Mizzi “lives for Friday night” and can watch Netflix on his
iPad during the week.
Dr. Mizzi has been conspicuously absent from the public eye
for almost two months since the Panama affair erupted. Yesterday however, the
Minister gave a speech to the Malta Chamber of Zoologists (MCZ) where he
adopted a business-as-usual attitude and chose not to address the elephant
in the room. “I want to improve people’s lives,” he said, walking away from the
two ton African Bush elephant standing in a cage behind him.
re-shuffle followed the Panama Papers scandal, which also implicated the Prime
Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri. Insisting he was the one to take
decisions, Dr Muscat said Mr Schembri would continue in his present role
unaffected, and that “surely all this brouhaha was punishment enough.”
The Prime Minister reaffirmed that he felt the action taken
against Dr Mizzi was proportionate, adding there was not even the
slightest indication of illegalities or money being involved, and that the structures were opened “as a goof”.
The reshuffle also saw the return of Home Affairs Minister
Manuel Mallia, who will take up the post of Minister for Improbable Comebacks
under the “Time Heals all Wounds” stipulation of 2012. Asked whether this
decision makes sense, given the nature of logic, time, and the universe as
we know it, Dr. Mallia replied with a concise “Why not?”
Addressing a press conference shortly after the reshuffle, Dr
Busuttil slammed the Prime Minister’s decision as “just not fair” and expressed
shock at how the Prime Minister could leave the two people implicated in the
Panama scandal with Friday night privileges intact, not to mention ice-cream rights,
petrol allowance and pizza night.
He said the Opposition would continue to press for
Dr Muscat, Dr Mizzi and Mr Schembri to resign, insisting it was
“his go now”.
Response to Dr Muscat decisions elicited a mixed reaction
on social media that fluctuated between disbelief and “that’s pretty much what
While the full weight of these decisions still has to sink in, civil society activists are insisting that the protest on May 7, which is calling for four weekends indoors without television or ice-cream, will still go ahead.