Updated: Nov 16, 2020
This week Joseph Muscat quit parliament under a cloud.
He addressed the House with a brief speech which typified the rhetoric Muscat maintained throughout the larger part of his political career : braggadocios and chest-beating he crowed about his achievements but where his failures were concerned he demonstrated little acknowledgement and no contrition.
During the Muscat years Malta experienced remarkable economic prosperity and unprecedented recognition of several civil liberties and rights of minorities. This is uncontested and undeniable.
However, Muscat has only himself to blame for the fact that nobody, not here in Malta, and certainly not abroad, will remember him for these accomplishments.
Instead Muscat’s years will be remembered for the heinous murder that happened on his watch, the corruption in his office, the deep political unrest which ensued as the skeletons broke out of the closet and ultimately the international ill-repute which he earned Malta.
This is what his premiership will be remembered for, and resigning now does nothing to fix or change that legacy.
Rather it stokes the embers of increasing anticipation that he will be the next member of his government to face legal action.
If that is the case, then Muscat is a ticking time bomb, and to have him sitting in parliament is something the beleaguered Labour government could not risk any longer.
Time will tell if the sinking ship has kicked the rat off its decks.