Loss of a minister and deputy leader

Updated on

The resignation of Chris Cardona from the post of deputy leader of the Labour Party, announced yesterday by Prime Minister Robert Abela brings to an end a political career that earlier looked promising.

His career as a minister had ended before.

Cardona was one of a new cohort of Labour politicians who had entered politics during the PN’s last legislature.

It is interesting to note that what brought him down was not the way he conducted his ministry but rather his personal life.

He began to be attacked, mostly by Daphne Caruans Galizia, mainly on his personal lifestyle.

She followed him to his favourite waterhole in Valletta and reported on the type of people he frequented.

Then she made the extraordinary claim that while in Germany on government business, he crept out and visited a brothel.

That set the cat among the pigeons. He issued denials and in the libel case that followed, froze her financial assets many times over.

Daphne was rescued by many people who put up money as surety for her. Later on, he dropped the case when it looked like the investigation was getting near to reveal the locations of the mobile phones on that occasion.

Cardona made his famous speech in which he promised to be a battle-axe and on the strength of that was elected party deputy leader.

Then came the revelations in one of the many court cases about the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia in which his name started cropping up as a friend and confidant of one of the three persons charged with her death. And other allegations.

Most of the allegations are just that – allegations. There was no smoking gun, nothing to build a case on, but the cumulative impact of so many allegations proved once again that the onus of proof required in politics is very different from that required in the courtroom.

One just had to look on Robert Abela’s face in parliament on Monday, his blank look while the minister next to him droned on and on to realise the pressures the PM was facing.

Then he seemed to have decided and took the decision that the party and the government cannot be held hostage by Chris Cardona. This seems to have been the message from Cabinet too.

Cardona does not seem to have gone willingly but at that stage to resist until death would have caused immense damage.

All in all, that’s a pity. He had drive and initiative and could relate to people in business. This whole Daphne death, we may ultimately find out (without implying Dr Cardona necessarily) may have very worrying links to business.

Maybe ultimately we may find that there are other, more ethical, ways to do business and to grow.