The Malta Independent 21 April 2019, Sunday

Prime Minister compares Simon Busuttil's belief Egrant is his to flat earthers

Noel Grima Sunday, 14 October 2018, 11:58 Last update: about 7 months ago

Prime minister Joseph Muscat this morning compared Simon Busuttil's belief, reiterated in Parliament last week that the Egrant account is his or his family's to the belief still held by some people that the earth is flat and that if one travels too far, one risks falling off the edge.

Or the belief that Elvis still lives.

The inference was quite clear - that Busuttil's belief is out of this world but that he has a right to his belief.

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"As i was in the House and heard (Busuttil) speak, i kept asking myself if i was hearing correctly", Dr Muscat said. People wanted him to take action, such as claim for a Breach of Privilege. But the rest of society simply laughs. He has lost the plot.

There is hypocrisy too in Busuttil's stand - he is undermining the work of the magistrate.

On the contrary, he (Dr Muscat) is all for publishing the Egrant inquiry report even if all experts tell him this would set a bad precedent. Now the matter is in the hands of the Court, this is belief in the rule of law in practice.

The government has written to the Venice Commission inside the Council of Europe and invited it to come to Malta and tell the government how it can do better and what it must change.

Simon Busuttil had made a big deal of taking files to the magistrate but when the magistrate concluded not in the way he wanted, he turned against the inquiry. 

The responsibility of the Leader of the Opposition is a great one. There is a huge difference between Simon Busuttil and his group and the rest of the Opposition. After the outburst in Parliament many Opposition members contacted him (Dr Muscat) and told him Dr Busuttil does not represent the Opposition. 

The Leader of the Opposition must make it clear who is in the driver's seat and who is sitting at the back.

There are also some who are creating stories, Dr Muscat added, with reference to the story carried by La Repubblica on calls allegedly made to Minister Chris Cardona after a call to Daphne Caruana Galizia, whose death is condemned by all.

Now a newspaper, (The Malta Independent on Sunday) not a paper usually well-disposed towards the government, DR Muscat added, came out today and reported that there was never such a call to Minister Cardona.

The Leader of the Opposition has asked for an inquiry but what is the purpose of such stories - to damage Malta? Or to obstruct the magistrate and the police? 

On his part, he defends the institutions of Malta. Last week, when speculation ruled, and he heard all these allegations he himself lost it. He was wrong to do so but it was hard to listen to all that was said and not to react.

At one point, Dr Muscat became quite cryptic and said that 'someone' had his own personal problems. He knows far more than he says but he does not reveal this.

Before Dr Muscat began his speech, MP Alex Saliba had claimed that Simon Busuttil too has criminals among his close friends.

In the first part of his speech, Dr Muscat spoke about the achievements in healthcare, as the Cabinet heard from Minister Chris Fearne at a Cabinet meeting held at the hospital last week.

This government, through Mr Fearne, had operated a turnaround in the healthcare situation of Malta. Operations are now held on Sundays and at night when before, in the words of a former minister (John Dalli) it was a 'part-time hospital'.

135 babies have already been born from IVF.

Three health centres are being built by the government - the one at Paola has been cleared of bureaucratic issues; one will be built in the North of Malta and one in Gozo.

The challenges of the future refer to the quality of healthcare to be offered through the use of the latest technology such that a stroke patient, if cared in time, can now be sent home after three days. A patient with a heart attack, if cared in time, can similarly be cured.

There are no longer out of stock medicines. Mater Dei Hospital is 10 years old and all its equipment will be replaced. The hospital will be one of the first in Europe to use Artificial Intelligence.

The Gozo hospital will be upgraded along with Mater Dei to Mater Dei standards.  

Along with these improvements, preventive steps will also be undertaken: it makes no sense to ban unhealthy foods from the schools only for a shop just outside the school to continue to sell such junk food. 

There have been many improvements done to Karen Grech Hospital. Mater Dei is still too small - the government wants to increase it by 300 beds.

A new mental health hospital will be built at Mater Dei but attention must be paid to any changes at Mount Carmel Hospital because some inmates have lived there their whole life and that is the only environment they know. So €30 million will be spent to modernise the Mount Carmel Hospital.

A new maternity and children's hospital will be built at Mater Dei.

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