Why Rosianne Cutajar yes and Jason Azzopardi No? Why is the latter special?

The Leader of the Opposition, Bernard Grech, wrote on his Facebook page that Prime Minister Robert Abela should ask Rosianne Cutajar to resign from Parliament. Should she not comply then Robert Abela must expel her from his parliamentary group. In other words, Rosianne Cutajar will have no other option but to become an independent candidate.  

There is a saying in English that suits Bernard Grech’s political strategy well: charity begins at home. It seems that before Bernard Grech wrote his message on Facebook, he conveniently forgot that the Commissioner for Public Standards, George Hyzler, who found Rosianne Cutajar in breach of ethics, had also found the Nationalist MP,  Jason Azzopardi, in breach of ethics. Like Rosianne Cutajar, Jason Azzopardi was somehow connected with Yorgen Fenech. Rosianne Cutajar is being accused that she failed to declare money received from a brokerage deal over property. Jason Azzopardi was found in breach of parliamentary ethics over a gift he received from the Tumas Group.

This resulted in action being taken against Jason Azzopardi. He  was temporarily suspended as Shadow Minister but was reinstated without much ado after a few weeks. Nor did the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee within the Nationalist Party reach any conclusion in his case. In fact, the inaction or disagreement that ensued  amongst its committee board members, because they could not agree on Jason Azzopardi, led to this committee falling  into disarray.

More importantly, Jason Azzopardi was never expelled from the Nationalist Parliamentary Group. Nor was he asked to resign from Parliament by Bernard Grech. Therefore, how can Bernard Grech ask an MP from an opposing party to resign when, one of his own MPs was found in breach of parliamentary ethics and is still active in the party and a candidate on two electoral districts?

On the contrary, not only was Jason Azzopardi allowed back within the parliamentary group but his actions were defended by those who preach about ethics and the rule of law. Repubblika did not even attempt to put pressure on Jason Azzopardi to resign. Manuel Delia even went on the Catholic Church’s radio station to defend him. The Catholic church’s journalists also campaigned to defend Azzopardi. The archbishop’s tribunal chancellor never spoke out against Jason Azzopardi or went out protesting against him. No university academic went out with placards in front of parliament demanding his resignation.

It is more than clear that this is another case of two weights and two measures.

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