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"If Italy is drilling for oil in our territory then that is a national betrayal" – Simon Busuttil

Kevin Schembri Orland Friday, 18 September 2015, 21:27 Last update: about 10 years ago

Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil said that it would be a national betrayal if Malta is allowing Italy to drill in Malta's sovereign waters.

He was referring to a news item in Italy, where it was reported that the agreement between Malta and Italy regarding refugees grants Italy drilling rights.

"These are not things that can be allowed to happen and definitely not things that should appear behind people's backs".

The PN was holding its second day of activities in preparation for Independence Day in Victory Square Valletta, behind the old theatre.

The discussion's theme was "The Nationalist Party, why do we need it?"

Turning to Dr Muscat's recent travels to Turkey, he said that the prime minister was there selling passports "You are a statesman not a salesman". He questioned whether there was an agreement between Henley and Partners prior to the election and again called for the publication of the contract, stating that "we have a right to be suspicious". "What a lack of dignity".

He spoke about Professor Albert Fenech, and said that removing him was a vindictive act against the people.

"This is why the PN is needed, we are the real party who you might not agree with but you can work with" Cardiologist Albert Fenech was set to make his final surgical intervention last Friday and was told by the Cardiology Department Chairman that there were too many consultants.

Turning to Transport Minister Joe Mizzi, he said that the Minister was afraid of the questions posed to him and ran out of the room.

"Minister Mizzi today is known as one of the most incompetent Ministers in this government. He has been unable to offer a solution (to the traffic problem) in two and a half years".

He said that there are a number of PN candidates seen today who come from PL backgrounds or were even elected under the Labour banner at some point. "When you are a PN candidate, you are equally important. People have already begun to leave the Labour Party and move towards the PN".

Lastly, the PN Leader mentioned the stabbing spree committed by a Libyan man last weekend. He said that there are only four police covering Paceville, questioning how this can put the minds of parents at ease when Malta's youth is there.

The PN is needed for democracy - Rosette Thake

PN Secretary General Rosette Thake thanked the new candidates for deciding to run for the next general election. "The PN is needed for democracy. Without the PN there would be just one party. When taking a second glance at the question, (why do we need the PN?) one would arrive at a more important conclusion. The government is breaking rules, ethical codes and we are seeing one scandal after another. Who knows what we are going to hear today".

"We have a clear vision for an alternative government under our honest leader Simon Busuttil".

She spoke of the Independence Day celebrations as well as this being the 135th anniversary of the Nationalist Party.

She said that yesterday was the first time all the new candidates met together. "I was impressed by their energy and motivation to represent the party and listen to the people".

"I've been working in the party for almost four months and not a day has gone by where I have not seen the determination shown by Dr Busuttil, to offer a style of leadership that shows appreciation for the people".

She said that all candidates and those in the party are ready to be there and do what is needed for the Maltese and Gozitan people in order to once again place their trust within the party and lead the country with Dr Busuttil as prime minister.

The candidates were then given the opportunity to speak.

St Paul's Bay Deputy Mayor and radio host David Thake was met with applause and said he had asked to contest as "I see politics as a service".

"As a political party, your scope is to give opportunities and here is the big difference. The PN gives opportunities to the people while the PL gives opportunities to Gaffarena, Café Premier and those close to the party".

Here we have the Our Lady of Victory chapel. We are building a party that two and a half years ago saw a harsh result. Dr Busuttil is the architect of this reconstruction. We were here in front of this Victory Church".

"All I wish to say is that all candidates are here to offer a service and if there is a candidate who makes a mistake the people must take a step back. The PN always had leadership who honoured Malta, while in the PL you have people who you cannot say the same about".

He said that when Malta entered the EU, Dr Busuttil was given the job of convincing the public to do this and today he has another step to climb, another difficult task.

He said that through the phrase "Malta Taghna Lkoll," the PL laughed at the expense of the people.

Zejtun Councillor Amanda Abela said that she believes she can be the new voice for the people and the PN. "From a young age I followed politics, and was directly involved in the workings of the party for the past few years". She said that people must always remain at the centre. "I will be the person who listens more than I would speak as I believe this is how policies from the people can come to fruition". Politicians are there to serve, she said, adding that they should always be honest.

She said that she wants work for everyone, especially for the youths who are finishing their studies, and for them to find work that they studied for.

Attard local councillor Alex Mangion said the PN was the party that listened to him and a party with track records. "A party that isn't embarrassed with honesty. In the past general election, many people took us for granted. I wanted to contribute then but I didn't know how. Destiny wanted me to enter politics and politics is a calling, one where you want to help people".

He said that democracy is slowly dismantling into nothing. "Corruption in every day life is becoming the norm. Many people are worried, why? As they never expected this government to pull its favourites so close".

He wants to make a difference. "I am a person who believes in honesty".

Deputy Mosta Mayor Ivan Bartolo said that the PN is his natural family. "I saw both parties and today when I look back, I keep asking myself, was it possible that I voted for the other party when I was young? I felt embarrassed. I feel this is a huge step for me, a step I will take very seriously. As a candidate I must remain close to people. He said this party has no need to feel embarrassed about its part. It is a large party, a party that wasn't afraid of the unknown, that wasn't afraid of Europe".

He said the Motto Malta Taghna Lkoll would have fit the PN more in the past, than it does Labour today.

The Deputy Mayor hit out at government, saying that it is a government interested in profit and that is has gone back to the 80s.

Tarxien local councillor Lawrence Bonavia said it was an honour to be chosen to represent the PN. He said the PN was responsible for the creation of the Ombudsman, of laws protecting workers etc. He asked whether we believe in local councils, or "are we trying to play a game of chess to reduce their importance and turn them into committees like "bocci clubs". He asked whether something was happening behind the scenes for this to happen. Turning to social justice, he mentioned that some people are struggling to meet day to day requirements, however then another is making €4million through agreements and becoming millionaires overnight The PN used to try and build a school a year and strengthen institutions".

Roderick Bugeja said he is a completely new face, though he had worked within the previous administration. He said his relationship with Simon Busuttil goes way back to university. He spoke of the problem of drugs amongst youths and the fear felt by the elderly regarding crime and said he will work to solve these problems.

He felt he could no longer remain indifferent and felt he had to take up the challenge and go to the heart of the people, listening to the people. He said the PN is based on honest policies and common sense that will make a difference for the better. "I wish to form part of this party's regeneration".

Marsascala Councillor John Baptist Camilleri mentioned that he grew up next to Zonqor Point. He said he has been elected for six legislatures and said he feels going out for the general elections is like advancing to the Premier division. "I remember that after the last electoral loss, I found my family quite sad.

"Over the past two years we went further down hill than I could have imagined" he said. He explained that wherever one looks, "we have fallen into absurd politics". He added that seriousness and honesty are the base of the party. He said that each day a new scandal emerges. "They have lost their sense of embarrassment," he said referring to the Labour Party.

Raymond Caruana from Zejtun said he took the decision to run, as following the last election loss, "the party must get up off its feet and regain its strength. This is why I accepted to contest. Even when I contested for the local council elections, I never expected to be elected straight off. Politics always interested me and it only turns dirty if we allow it".

He said that today, the PN was always a party that worked for the good of the people. He said the party worked for Malta to become a full EU member, one that worked to attract investment.

He stated that the PN was the party to move forward and defend the rights of labourers. He mentioned that the PN strengthened the university and Junior College. He mentioned the press conference today by Transport Minister Joe Mizzi. "Is it right to have a Minister who doesn't allow a journalist to ask a question and exits the room?".

PN President of the College of Councillors Noel Galea spoke of Professor Albert Fenech, saying that a person with such experience was blocked from continuing to save people's lives and ease the minds of their families. Let's not forget that when the PL were elected on the concept of 'Malta Taghna Lkoll', they lied to the people to win votes. He said government is helping those who switched to Labour, making them millionaires. "In order to forget yesterday's scandal, a new one pops up today".

He said that people are scared to say they support the PN.

Arabic Teacher George Muscat from Qormi said that Dr Busuttil instilled motivation into him. "Looking around we see a stable economic country that is a member of the EU, so I ask, does this mean that there isn't anyone who needs someone to fight for their rights?" He mentioned that asking Gaffarena would result in an answer where there are no problems.

"We need to be a pro-good business party and not pro-smelly business". He mentioned that the party is for students, the middle class and people living in poverty. "I believe in democracy and the party's vision for the country. Work done by the party's ancestors and George Borg Olivier resulted in Independence".

Media personality Dr Matthew Paris from Floriana said that the party has always fought for liberty. He said that certain factions can today do whatever they want, yet other factions cannot do this. He mentioned the environment sector as an example, adding that environmentalists cannot enjoy the environment".

He said that the Labour government had promised transparency and that the idea of "us vs them" would end, "however today we see the opposite". I want to work to gain the trust of those who have lost their trust in politics".

EU Funds Officer Maria Portelli said that the PN allows her to be inclusive. "I am still young yes, but energetic. The PN guarantees our rights, a competitive economy and high educational standards". She mentioned the Independence day celebrations and through her studies she completely affiliated herself with the PN. She mentioned that by joining the EU, Malta is benefitting from EU funds.

She said that in 2013 she contested the local council elections in Victoria Gozo. "If I am to remain stagnant then how can we look ahead. She said that Gozo is not a small place, adding that she will not see the people as a number of votes, but rather as people. "I will remain a woman from Victoria and I want to be the ear in which you can speak".

Iklin Deputy Mayor Dorian Sciberras said that currently, those you know are more important than what you know." The PL was voted in through a call for meritocracy, yet did the opposite". He mentioned the power station adding that people barely know where it is. "The PN is offering an alternative based on honesty". He said the PN truly wants to make a difference in society and promote dignity.

"Do not be afraid to be active participants in the new PN".

Sta Lucija Councillor Liam Sciberras said he is currently in fourth year-law, "When looking at politics I see it as a way to provide a service to the community and help those in need, while delivering an honest message".

"Honesty needs responsibility". He said that previous nationalist governments gave clear examples of this, and said that he will work energetically and determination to take the PN's message to his district.


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