Godwin Schembri, a Maltese soldier who was fired over a viral video of himself making fun of a useless army gate in Pembroke, has reacted to Transport Minister Ian Borg swearing on TV… and eventually being cleared of wrongdoing from the Standards Commissioner.
Last week, Minister Borg blasphemed during a televised interview on One’s Pjazza, but claimed he had actually not said: “Ħ*qq Alla” but “ħa qalanqas anqas” (which does not exist in the Maltese language). Yesterday, the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life George Hyzler said it was very clear that the minister had actually blasphemed, but called it “a slip of the tongue”.
“Not everything that is in poor taste is a breach of ethics,” the Commissioner noted in a report which concluded the matter does not need to be investigated further.
Godwin Schembri, however, was quick to point out the stark differences between the treatment of the minister’s case and his own… which had ended up in the soldier being fired 24 hours after a video of himself swearing at an ineffective gate went viral.
“Everyone was so quick to defend the minister, to the point of them saying he didn’t even swear and believing in a completely made-up phrase,” Schembri told Lovin Malta. “He even had University professors defending him with etymology lessons!”
“Meanwhile, the country berated me, trampled on me… betrayed me,” Schembri lamented.
“They fired me the day after the video was uploaded,” he continued. “My wife was pregnant, and they instantly just fired me. They didn’t even have me present my case in front of a board… if it even was a case of needing a board decision for a video like that.”
“I went to the President of Malta, and it was a dead end. I went to the Minister (Michael Farrugia), and it was a dead end. I went to the Office of the Prime Minister, and the same thing happened. All because I dare to utter a harsh truth about the government.”
“And everyone knew it was true,” the former AFM soldier said. “Because hours later, a wall was erected hastily – and without permits – in the exact same location.”
“They did all of this to break my family, they nearly drove me to suicide,” Schembri continued.
“I’m not Ryan Fenech, who gladly uploaded a video on Facebook Live of himself saying he wants to kill black people.”
“When Fenech uploaded a video of himself inciting violence and racial hate last year, people called him a hero,” Schembri said. “People raised money for him. They didn’t even find any police report about what he was talking about, and yet he was being called the hero?”
“Then there’s Francesca [the police officer who uploaded a TikTok video of herself dancing in uniform],” Schembri said. “Everyone quickly jumped to defend her, but what everyone seems to forget is that she uploaded that video herself. And she was even inappropriately dressed, because she had her hair down. That’s flat-out forbidden for uniformed police officers, and that’s probably why they had to discipline her.”
“I was even treated worse than someone who liked shooting cats, and just because he couldn’t find cats one day, shot at immigrants and killed one of them.”
Schembri went on to refer to the shocking murder of Lassana Cisse, a case that saw two AFM soldiers being charged… and eventually released on bail.
Addressing all of the above – and much more – Godwin took to Facebook to post his public reaction to these last two turbulent years, which he said all came back to haunt him following Ian Borg’s TV gaffe last week.
“All of a sudden, Malta isn’t the ‘Vatican State’ which it was in November 2018 when my video was published,” Schembri jested. “We are now in January 2021, when, confronted by a video of Minister Borg publicly swearing on live TV, Malta has become America.”
In the lengthy Facebook status, Schembri also makes reference to former Alternattiva Demokratika leader Arnold Cassola, who came under fire for reporting Minister Borg to the Standards Commissioner last week. At one point, he even mentions a leaked video showing former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle celebrating with friends during a party in Girgenti… a party to which Yorgen Fenech was invited. “But of course, that wasn’t a soldier at Pembroke Ranges, but the Prime Minister in a chapel,” Schembri said.
“So why should I be treated differently from Ian Borg? Why should be I treated differently from Ryan Fenech? Why should I be treated differently from Joseph Muscat? Why should I be treated differently from Francesca the police officer?”