The Malta Independent 12 August 2020, Wednesday

Updated (2): Government has been taken over by a criminal organisation – Delia

Tuesday, 26 November 2019, 17:03 Last update: about 10 months ago

The government "has evidently been hijacked by a criminal organisation," Opposition Leader Adrian Delia told Parliament on Tuesday.

Speaking during what was supposed to be a debate on the Eco-Contribution, Delia said the country was living a "surreal" situation, with people protesting outside Parliament to show their disdain towards the government.

"This is an institutional assassination," he said. "There is not a single government individual that is being investigated over illegal acts, but the highest positions of government have been compromised."

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Delia said the country was surprised on Tuesday morning when, instead of firing Keith Schembri, he had thanked him for his service. "He thanked someone who is facing charged we have never seen the like of."

"We are not just speaking about money here, but about the erosion of our democracy," Delia continued.

"After allegations were confirmed as facts, the PM did not even have the decency to admit that the government has destroyed this country. We have one more chance to ensure that this damage does not become irreparable. The Opposition has acted cautiously and is willing to do whatever is necessary so that this damage is not permanent. We are doing this for our country, our children and our future," he said.

He said the PM had, in the past, sacked minsters over far less serious actions. He did not do the same with his Chief of Staff, however.

"The PM said this morning that Schembri will now move on. Move on? He robbed the country, raped the institutions! He has so suffer the consequences. No one is above the law."

He then turned his guns on Konrad Mizzi, saying that the latter had tried to avoid testifying in the VGH case, with the court warning him that he would be arrested should he do so.

"People are rising up. They are realising that this is not about political parties. This is about the country. This is Malta's hour."

The PM, Delia said, had forgotten that his office is an institution that plays an important role in the application of democracy in this country. "When the person leading that office becomes compromised, that institution cannot carry out its functions according to the constitution. Today, that office became compromised. The PM's position is no longer tenable. He can no longer take decisions in our interest, because he can only take decision to protect those around him."

 

Request for urgent debate denied 

Earlier, Speaker Anglu Farrugia had denied a second PN request for Parliament to hold an urgent debate on the political situation.

The request came after the resignation of Minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, and the suspension of Minister Chris Cardona.

Replying to Delia's request, the government Whip, Byron Camilleri said that the request was not in accordance with procedure and furthermore, on Monday, the Speaker made it clear that any discussions would prejudice the investigation. He continued to say that the requisites for this procedure to apply were not there.

Adrain Delia reacted to this by saying that a lot has changed since Monday, referring to the resignations of Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi, as well Chris Cardona's suspension.

He said there was nothing to laugh about, referring to a smirk on Konrad Mizzi's face, and declared that the institutions have collapsed. He said that Prime Minister, Jospeh Muscat has spent years defending the indefensible, and justifying the unjustifiable.

He said the Office of the Prime Minister is a vital institution and the person of the Prime Minister has been compromised. Delia once again called for his resignation.

Following the suspension of Parliament to consider the ruling, Anglu Farrugia said he considered Delia's request to invoke Permanent Order 13, and said that he recognises that the events that are happeneing are a cause for concern, but that he needed to observe the order of the House.

He continued to add that there were previous similar rulings.

Although the material is definite and of the public interest, as stipulated in the Permanent Order, its urgency was not. 

In this regards, Farrugia referred to previous rulings. He also referred to yesterday's ruling concerning the prejudice to the investigation.

He mentioned that he felt that he could not control the debate so as the investigation could not be prejudiced, and in accordance with European Court of Human Rights cases, a right to a fair trial.

Farrugia said he also sought legal advice on this ruling and also noted that these arguments were the basis of previous speaker rulings, namely Louis Galea. 

He also said that Delia made reference to to the Prime Minister's position being compromised and that he should resign. Referring to the same Order 13, he noted that since a vote is needed this order cannot be invoked.

The Speaker went on to deny the request saying that he was procedural restricted and the rule of previous speakers was what it is.

Delia, however, spoke about the political situation during the debate.

 


 

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