Eduardo Cabrita – the former government minister not long ago described as “a large political abscess” – has bestowed a gold medal today for distinguished service on the very agency he dismantled.
Tuesday December 14 has been a strange day all round for news – and we’re only at lunchtime.
But this is perhaps the most unexpected of announcements: an accolade for a sinking ship.
Mr Cabrita’s tenure in government came to an unedifying halt on December 3 (click here).
It had been peppered by misfortune – not least the desperate tragedy on the A6 motorway where a BMW transporting him accidentally hit and killed a motorway road worker, which Mr Cabrita seemingly blamed over the incident.
Today however has shown the Socialist politician at perhaps his best: awarding SEF (the foreigners and borders agency) for its “professionalism” and “discipline” in the combat of the pandemic, and for the “honour and lustre it has brought the country” (notwithstanding the abysmal death of a Ukrainian jobseeker at the hands of three SEF inspectors last year click here).
The ‘dispatch’ published in government newspaper Diário da República dates back to December 4, the day after Mr Cabrita resigned – a moment when technincally he was in no position to be bestowing honours.
“SEF has been called to carry out an arduous and complex mission in terms of response to the health emergency occasioned by Covid-19, having revealed notable capacity for planning and organisation”, wrote Mr Cabrita.
SEF staff have displayed “outstanding professionalism, discipline and competence in carrying out their duties. The dedication to public service and the permanent availability of all the women and men involved, who performed their functions at risk for their own health and that of their families, demonstrated a remarkable spirit of mission on behalf of the community”.
And, for this, “it is entirely justified that the services performed by SEF during the Covid-19 pandemic, which have resulted in honour and lustre for the country, be publicly recognised as extraordinary, important and distinguished”.
HAS THE COUNTRY GONE MAD?
This is the question this morning from André Coelho Lima, PSD vice president, watching the soundbites hit television screens.
Writing over Facebook he says: “Absolutely ridiculous. The same minister who extinguished SEF against all political and technical advice and recommendations has attributed the service with an award after he himself had left the post of Minister for Internal Administration.
“I have no words to describe this.
“I think insanity has taken control of the country”.