The Malta Independent 21 April 2024, Sunday
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Prime Minister Joseph Muscat: I was wrong not to react earlier to Panamagate

Noel Grima Sunday, 6 March 2016, 11:45 Last update: about 9 years ago

Speaking to supporters at the Grand Hotel in Gozo, Labour leader Joseph Muscat expressed regret he did not react earlier to the accusations that are surrounding his administration.

Speaking to a crowd that welcomed his every assertion with shouting and applause, Dr Muscat defended his administration's record and said it has nothing to be ashamed of. He even made a long list of his government's achievements in these three years and asked what has this government to be ashamed of.

On the contrary, he added, it is the Nationalist Party which should be ashamed of its past. It was the most corrupt government Malta ever had.

Speaking before Dr Muscat, Parliamentary Secretary Deborah Schembri asked if certain people from the PN past are going to be at this afternoon's protest - people like Giovanna Debono, Tonio Fenech and others.

Dr Muscat referred to what Dr Schembri had just said, but focused most of his attack on PN president Anne Fenech who was revealed as having opened companies in Panama (which she has denied)  and who admitted she obtained contracts from the PL government, thus driving a hole in the PN claim that only Labour supporters get contracts from this government.

However, Dr Muscat did not once mention Deputy Leader Konrad Mizzi who was present and who was mentioned by the other speakers. Dr Muscat cautioned that people had elected this party to government to sweep away the corruption and people expected better from this government.

Dr Muscat emphasised this legislation still has two and a half years to run and the party must do better in these coming months than all it has done in the past years in government. The people who are still clamouring for justice must be listened to.

He invited Dr Busuttil to have long one-on-one meetings with his advisers as otherwise he may be in for some surprises.

One other PN claim has meanwhile been burst by none other than the European Commission, he said, referring to the story on the front page of the Malta Independent on Sunday (but without mentioning the paper at all). PN had been long claiming corruption in the issuing of visas to Algerians but now the Commission has found there is no basis for such claims. Is the Commission corrupt as well?

The Opposition has not changed at all but the government must do better. When the time comes to face the electorate, PL must be ready with a plan for the next five years, Dr Muscat concluded, announcing that the party will hold a mass meeting on May Day in Valletta.

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