Impeachement: know when it’s time to go

This post was first uploaded on www.timesofmalta.com

Following the impeachment proceedings against Mr Justice Lino Farrugia Sacco has become a bit like being at the circus. Will he fall, will they pick him up, will the tight rope he is walking on snap right beneath him? And how many more man hours and tax payers’ money need to be wasted before the obvious step is taken?

I won’t go into the technicalities of whether the original motion for impeachment is legally dead or not. At this point, who cares, really?

I will, however, say that there is such a thing as taking the dignified and honourable way out. Such a thing as not hanging on when you have pretty much the whole nation, as represented by both political parties, against you.

Judges are appointed to serve the interests of the people. When it has become obvious that the people do not want you to serve them, well there is only one right path to take.

The more protestations and legal manoeuvring attempted by Mr Justice Farrugia Sacco, the more he shoots himself in the foot. The more he hangs on in there instead of facing proceedings with honour, the more the respect of the public diminishes.

This is not to say that I do not feel sympathy for him and, more particularly, his family. However, the vocation of a judge is not built on persuading people to feel sorry for one’s plight, especially when said plight is of one’s own making.

This tendency to hang on even when all circumstances indicate that it is time to gracefully resign is widespread in Malta. Maybe it is because so very few people treat their profession with the respect it deserves, particularly in the case of public posts.

Rather than a responsibility, public posts are more often than not viewed as an opportunity to hitch a ride on the gravy train.

And heavens forbid that anyone tries to get any incumbent off the train before they decide it is convenient to do so, because then they will fight tooth and nail to hang on. Even when hanging on means debasing both themselves and the post they occupy.

This attitude is all-pervasive across the public service, the NGOs, the parastatal companies…The most royal messes never lead to resignations. They lead to temper tantrums, much stamping of the feet and a ton of self-righteous indignation. Until the storm passes and the next debacle hits.

I have a feeling the public is getting fed up very fast of these tantrums.

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