The Malta Independent 18 September 2019, Wednesday

This AG has been walked all over like Baa Baa Black Sheep – Busuttil

Jeremy Micallef Tuesday, 11 June 2019, 20:02 Last update: about 4 months ago

Speaking first, PD MP Godfrey Farrugia said that we are in a state of buzzwords, where checks and balances between various entities do not exist - further saying that we are in a situation where the weaknesses of the Constitution are being abused, calling it a strainer.

Parliament continued the debate on the draft bill to split the Attorney General's laws for the duration of the plenary on Tuesday.

Focusing on the bill, Farrugia said that the law is written in a mediocre way, and it goes against the principal of separation of powers and counter to the rule of law, particularly when the powers of the Prime Minister are being increased rather than decreased.

Economy Minister Chris Cardona said that from the first day of this administration, a large number of laws had been implemented after having been shelved for years, insisting that they are not only bringing the country to the present, but also preparing it for the future.

The Opposition not voting for this must mean that they believe in the status-quo, Cardona reasoned, maintaining that they want Malta to be at the front of every category.

PN MP Simon Busuttil said that this was an anti-European law that destroys European values, maintaining that the problem is already grave with a Prime Minister who controls almost all the institutions of the country.

Busuttil noted that a number of institutions had criticized the Prime Minister for a variety of reasons concerning checks and balances, or lack thereof - "Europe is seeing all this", he said, also noting that whilst the system was the same under the PN, the Attorney General was not a government puppet.

"This Attorney General has been walked all over -like baa baa black sheep saying yes sir yes sir.  I'm disappointed as he was appointed by the PN and I expected better."

He specifically pointed towards PM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and Minister for Tourism Konrad Mizzi, whom Busuttil said were caught in corruption and the Attorney General did nothing.

Busuttil insisted that had this draft created two independent entities rather than splitting the Attorney General's role, then they would have agreed with it, also pointing out the importance of a two-thirds majority.

"The acid test is clear - the person who will be made prosecutor will be capable of prosecuting a corrupt minister? Because the one we have today did not do that."

PN MP Jason Azzopardi noted the Henry the 8th clause - the "nuclear button" - as a negative aspect of the bill as it gives the power to the Justice Minister to change the law with a legal notice.

"The supposed progressive government we have today takes us back to how henry the 8th ran his country," he said, calling the draft a parody of the report by the Venice Commission.

PL MP Edward Zammit Lewis pointed out that countries such as Germany, France, and England have not split the roles of the Attorney General

Zammit Lewis also criticized Busuttil, saying that he should be ashamed of himself for using "baa baa black sheep" in such a way.

He also noted that, ironically, Hungary was the only other country that needed a two-thirds majority to finalise the process.


 

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