Editorial: The week the waters broke

Updated on

It has been a momentous, not to say historic, week.

After weeks and months of stagnation not just to unravel the background to the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia but also to begin the mammoth task of the cleaning of the stables with police inaction on the one side and all sorts of delaying tactics on the other, at long last some action has been taken.

The country must be reminded once again that no one must be declared guilty unless found guilty by the courts of law. Not even an arraignment, let alone a summons by the police is a declaration of guilt.

But at long last the waters have broken. The steel curtain that seemed to protect key individuals who were at the core of Joseph Muscat’s administration, much to the consternation and scandal of the people on the streets, conscious that no such lee-way is allowed to you and me, seems to have given way.

After a couple of changes at the top, things have changed. The changes of the past days, significant in themselves, are a clear indication that things have really changed. The old protective wall is no longer there.

Maybe this happened due to the incessant pressure from abroad, from the European institutions as well as the Council of Europe and in anticipation of decisions yet to come, Moneyval above anything else.

Whatever the genesis, the outcome is very welcome. The dark cloud overshadowing this country seems to have lifted. Although there is still the proverbial distance between the cup and the lip, the rule of law is (or seems) again on top. We now see the dangerous slope we were upon and where that could take us.

We seem to have stopped just before the cliff edge and we must count ourselves lucky.

We now must claw our way back to the sunny upland where the rule of law reigns supreme. And our gratitude goes to that small group, Daphne Caruana Galizia above all, whose courage and determination may have changed the course of our history.

We had the laws, the structures, the institutions that we thought were enough but even just days ago we assisted impotently at bare-faced attempts to void not just the letter but also the spirit of the law.

Unfortunately, among these there were members of the past and present Cabinets who must now hang their head in shame.

If what we’re saying is true, our democracy has been saved without any bloodshed, which not all countries can pride themselves of. Our democracy is made of sterner stuff.