A few days ago we received the news that my late father’s circa 29 000 euro salary underpayment by Enemalta will now be paid to his heirs. Bittersweet, really. Why should we enjoy the fruit of his labour after he has passed away? Why shouldn’t HE have enjoyed the use of the money that he worked for in his lifetime?
Justice is arbitrary in Malta. It’s hit and miss justice; mostly miss. For example, the criminal court took 12 years to order two contractors to pay 4 000 euro each in damages to the family of Mrs. Vella who died in the rubble of her own home when this collapsed because of excavation works on the house next door.
Wouldn’t it be great if our courts of law administered true justice in a timely manner? So many different problems would be solved at a stroke. If any person or entity had to pay prohibitive amounts of compensation for abusive and illegal behavior in a timely manner, wouldn’t this act as a huge deterrent?
Impunity is defined as “the exemption from punishment or freedom from the injurious consequences of an action” (dictionary.com). We’ve had such impunity in Malta for decades.
Look at where this impunity has brought us. Would the recent victims of the three collapsing blocks of flats have been spared their trauma if the contractors in the Vella case were ordered to pay more substantial damages within months - not (twelve) years - of their horrific negligence?
Isn’t it damning that so many victims of abusive and illegal state and non state behavior decide not to pursue justice in our courts of law because they know that they will not be served justice?
I think this is the crux of the many problems in Malta.
I began my fight against the discrimination of the state against me – a teacher exercising her right to EU freedom of movement and treatment equal to that of host nationals – in 2015. My correspondence with Kevin Bonello’s MUT, MEDE, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Secretariat for Catholic Education, the NCPE…, makes a considerably hefty file. At every point of this correspondence, I was told to give up because I would have to pay hefty legal costs for nothing. I was exposed to the complete ignorance of ALL the powers that be of employment law and EU law.
Four years later and I’ve had two victories:
1) In January 2017 I was placed on the correct point of the civil service salary scale and the salary underpayment due to me from the period September 2013 to December 2016 was reimbursed.
2) A few months ago, the NCPE recommended that the arrears due to me from the period September 2010 to September 2013 should also be paid to me.
In the light of the NCPE judgement, my lawyer asked MEDE to pay the still outstanding arrears due to me. I’ve heard not a whisper. Silence from all the entities involved in this illegal and disgraceful behavior. The illegal behaviour of the state, to boot. The state behaving illegally.
So what are my next steps? I’m cogitating and deliberating as some foodie TV presenter used to say. I’ll think of something – I always seem to.
But everybody concerned needs to understand that yes, I want MY money. Today. Not when I’m dead. So that I can use MY money to do up MY house so that MY children will have a comfortable life with the money that I worked for. So even if it means that I have to take MEDE to court and pay the legal and court costs that they were so worried about on my behalf, I will. And then I will sue for damages and costs, all the way up to the European Court of Human Rights. It takes as long as it takes – I will do it.
Oh, and also my teacher colleagues whose cases are slightly different from mine – they also have a case. And when I win, they also will win. Because the Maltese constitution – no less – prohibits law that discriminates.
I never imagined in a million years that I would have to fight these kinds of battles when I returned to Malta in 2010. Never. These are fundamental human rights that people are being denied. Shame on all involved in the denial of timely and true justice. Look at the atmosphere of impunity you have all helped to create in one way or another.