The Malta Independent 23 May 2019, Thursday

Indepth: Endorsing Muscat’s Labour leadership bid was a mistake – Ana Gomes

INDEPTH online Friday, 14 December 2018, 08:17 Last update: about 6 months ago

Socialist MEP Ana Gomes has said that she regrets backing Joseph Muscat's Labour leadership bid.         

Gomes, who is a harsh critic of Muscat's government, was speaking on Indepth, which was this week filmed at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Last week, the Portuguese  MEP heckled Muscat as he took the stage at the Socialist group's congress in Lisbon.

Gomes told The Malta Independent's Editor-in-chief Rachel Attard that she was not the only member of the congress who had shouted "shame" at the Maltese prime minister, adding that several other MEPs had contacted her later to show support.

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Gomes said it was not only Muscat who should have been ashamed of himself, but also the organisers who allowed him to participate. "His being there did not enhance the credibility of the Socialist group."

"Muscat is the leader of two people who have been revealed as crooks," she said, referring to Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri. "They are being protected by the government. This does not represent socialist values."

Gomes continued: "I believe it is very unfortunate that someone like Muscat, whose government is stalling justice for journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, has been allowed to speak at the congress as if he was someone who could give credibility to our political family. It doesn't."

The Socialist MEP said it was very worrying that the revelations of 17 Black "have not been followed up by the police, and that the Egrant report has not been made public in full.

"Mizzi and Schembri were not only not sacked, bu0t they are kept in a position where they can continue in their criminal activity, as seen through recent revelations," she charged. 

Asked if she had faith in the Maltese courts, she said the problem was that, ultimately, the matter would have to go to the police or the Attorney General's office, which are not completely independent.

She said there have been other cases that were not "properly pursued", like the case of former European Commissioner John Dalli.

 

On Adrian Delia

Asked if she felt comfortable working with PN MEPs on rule of law missions when she is now also calling for Adrian Delia's resignation,  Gomes said: "I do not go into the Maltese logic of portraying this as a fight between the PN and PL. I am a true socialist ... I am more demanding about those from my own political family. But when I see corrupt or criminal behaviour, wherever it may come from, I will act."

Gomes said Daphne Caruana Galizia had "denounced Delia as a crook," reporting on his "business of dubious origin.

"Apparently these elements are there, so I think this person should not be the Leader of the Opposition."

 

On Joseph Muscat

Asked about her previous endorsement of Muscat when he was running for Labour leader, Gomes said that was a mistake. "I do not support him anymore."

"Muscat is discrediting our political family. He leads a government that protects corruption and stalls an investigation."

Gomes clarified that she has never actually asked for the PM's resignation.

"I hope the police does its work with regards to Delia, Mizzi, Schembri, Dalli ... whoever."

She also referred to the latest developments involving Neville Gafa, saying that the government had only taken action several months after the first report of alleged wrongdoing. On the other hand, no action was taken against Mizzi and Schembri. "Is the PM controlling them or are they controlling him?" she asked.

Asked if she had an obsession with Malta and Maltese politics, Gomes said she had always been interested in the country but became more "engaged" after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

"This is a democratic obligation for a socialist. It concerns us all. It concerns democracy in the EU. Malta is important and I feel this obligation. Whether its small or big country, this is the EU and what happens in Malta affects us all. It's not an obsession about Malta but an obsession with democracy and the rule of law."

 

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