Frank V. Farrugia

Frank V. Farrugia is the President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry.

Constitutional Reform, Now

Monday 06th November 2017

What happened on October 16th shocked the nation and rocked everything we thought we knew to the core. The brutal murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia sent shock-waves across Europe and the rest of the world as glowing obituaries appeared in newspapers and news websites as far as the United States and India.

The tragic event attracted outright condemnation from everyone, no less from our Chamber which was amongst the first to call for a concerted effort to get to the bottom of the case in a timely and conclusive manner.

The motivations for the horrific deed are still unknown. What we do know though is that this murder does not define us as a nation. But we are a positive nation that can rise to the occasion and unite to defeat those trying to instil fear and get back on our feet as quickly as possible.

As a Chamber we appealed for truth and integrity to forever prevail in Malta. We declared that respect for journalists and the media must be ascertained at all times as they are the fourth pillar of the state. True and free journalism is indispensable in any modern democracy as it safeguards morality and ethics across all society. Both of these values are wholeheartedly upheld by our Chamber and the upstanding business community.

The murder of Mrs Caruana Galizia was an attack on the freedom of expression and all other freedoms that Malta is proud to uphold.

However, we cannot freeze in the proverbial headlights. I believe that as a country, we should take this opportunity to look ahead. We should consider this heinous tragedy to be the needed catalyst to move forward with the much-needed Constitutional Reform.

This week I had occasion to express my thoughts on the subject on Times Talk. Wide concern already exists on the need of a Constitutional Reform. Everyone agrees that the current system we have has served us well in the past, but is now showing serious need for updating. We must see what is holding us back to get the ball rolling, set a time-frame and move ahead.

This should be an opportunity for politicians to set their differences aside, get their heads together and come up with a solution to the stumbling blocks our system is encountering. We need to have a system in place that is triggered automatically when something dubious takes place – without requiring anyone’s nod.

Justice needs to take place, but it also needs to be seen to take place. We must inject new faith in our institutions.

Only then will the country start the long road towards healing. Every type of social unrest harms business, especially when it is picked and sensationalised by international media. While I uphold everyone’s right to protest and express their views, we need to move ahead. The country cannot grind to a stop.

This episode has undoubtedly damaged Malta’s reputation abroad, but we need to come out of this nightmare stronger than ever, in order to safeguard what we have built thus far as a nation, for the interest of our families, our society and the country.