The Malta Independent 9 December 2018, Sunday

'Not following the rules is completely unacceptable' – Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

Jeremy Micallef Sunday, 2 September 2018, 12:23 Last update: about 4 months ago

As more details emerge from Libya about the developing conflict in the region, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat ensures that Malta is monitoring the ongoing conflict taking place in Tripoli and the surrounding areas.

Calling in for his weekly interview with the Labour Party's One Radio, he said that with an air strike having taken place in the capital city, Tripoli, "we are very carefully following the situation there".

Law, Order, and Relocation

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In spite of a decrease in the flow of migrants through the Central Mediterranean route, which has seemingly moved westward as the Western Mediterranean route is seeing a rise in migrants crossing the Spanish border, Muscat emphasized that "even up to last night, there were migrants who left Libya but were not taken to Malta".

This, he says, is due to the ongoing coordination between the Libyan coast guard, the Italian navy and other EU naval operations.

With the International Organisation of Migration publishing a report stating that 87,122 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018, EU member states have been scrambling to find a solution to process all the intake. Not to mention the documented deaths of 1,549 people in the Mediterranean in 2018.

The relocation process for the migrants who landed in Malta from the Lifeline and Aquarius NGO ships, is also moving along, Muscat said, as another group of individuals are being flown to France as per the ad-hoc solidarity agreement reached. Italy now remains the only country still to keep its work to take in 50 migrants who arrived in Malta on board the Lifeline in late June.

Moving onto the areas with a significant population of migrants, the Prime Minister brought up recent complaints he had received from locals living in Marsa and the surrounding areas. Complaints focused on the fact that there was a lack of law enforcement presence in these localities, leading to a disproportional amount of crime.

"I am not interested in knowing whether those breaking the law are Maltese or foreigners, what is important is that we make it clear that not following the rules is absolutely unacceptable", Muscat declared, making it clear that police and security forces have been asked to use all recourses available to keep the peace.

Safeguarding human rights is not an issue for Malta, but everyone must be respectful towards the way of life of Maltese and Gozitan persons, he emphasized

Maghtab Fire

Following up on the Maghtab fire that broke out at the Wasteserv complex, Muscat thanked the staff of the Civil Protection Department and Wasteserv for their efficient work last Friday in handling the situation.

He also criticized the Nationalist Party's reaction for "politicising" the incident, particularly as when the government had asked the Opposition to participate in a discussion on waste management, "it had refused". He went on to praise recent schemes through which every household in Malta will be given recycling containers for the easier waste separation, and subsequent processing of waste.

Income Tax Refunds

Muscat emphasized how government is keeping the promises made to its constituents, referring to the income tax refunds being sent by post to approximately 200,000 people.

Comparing the current administration to when the Nationalist Party was in charge, he jabbed that "other administrations sent bills, we send cheques". Further commenting that "those who earned the most" had more to gain from tax cut policies, emphasizing that "the wealth we created will keep on being divided amongst the people".

"The number of people on social benefits had been reduced by 43%," he said, "and these are now working and paying tax."


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