The Malta Independent 27 September 2020, Sunday

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia slams governance board composition

Sunday, 19 January 2020, 12:18 Last update: about 9 months ago

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia took aim at the new Prime Minister, Robert Abela, during a political activity on Sunday, slamming the composition of the governance board the latter had announced after holding his first Cabinet meeting.

Delia began his speech by thanking former PN Leader Simon Busuttil for his work for the country. Busuttil has been appointed the new EPP Secretary General. Delia said that for Malta, this sends two important messages. The first is that other countries can see through the issues that the government tries to hide here in Malta. The second is that "this gives us a stronger voice in the heart of Europe." 

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Delia said that the new Prime Minister announced the formation of a good governance committee. "He chose the people who will sit on the board himself and didn't launch a process to see who would be the best people in the country to form this watchdog. So the PL MPs will themselves see if they are working well. So the student will sit for the exam and correct it himself."

"This is like the Arnaud incident," he said. "On this governance board sits Owen Bonnici, the former Justice Minister who was close to Joseph Muscat who had in his hand the whole Egrant report. He knew what was in it and knew for months that criminality was occurring and was hiding it. He was doing everything to, instead of protecting you and getting justice, protect criminals."

"He also appointed Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar as secretary. He is there to ensure that civil service regulations are followed, yet he himself had broken them." He said that those people who do not respect laws are not only promoted, but are made secretary of a governance board. He said he does not believe the board will do good work as the composition is wrong.

Turning to Abela's cabinet choice, he said that the longest meeting was reportedly held between the Prime Minister and reappointed Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana. "Her husband, the former deputy police commissioner went abroad with Yorgen Fenech when it was already revealed that 17 black was involved in corruption and when he was already a person of interest. Abela, did you know that Valletta had gone abroad with Fenech and if you knew, does it mean that it is acceptable for you that Caruana keeps her post? If you didn't know, today you do, now show us that you are able to take decisions."

Turning to the former Police Commissioner Lawrence cutajar's resignation, he said that this was not a decision, but was something that the Prime Minister had no other choice to do. "Now we will see if this is a PM who wants to turn a new page," Delia said. "The Police Commissioner was either removed or he resigned. They told us he resigned, so the PM did not remove him, and was going to leave him there. If he was truly going to take decisions, he would have fired him."

Delia said that the police commissioner should never have been in the position he was In to begin with, and highlighted the number of police commissioners who have changed over the past years, "until they found the right one."

"Will we investigate the Police Commissioner now? If he was obliged to ensure the security of journalists, will we investigate as to why he didn't do this for Daphne Caruana Galizia?"

Delia said that the Commissioner should be investigated for his failures.

"I don't think Abela will take these decisions as he was advising Joseph Muscat, and I imagine he was also advising him on these issues. He was a consultant as was Nexia BT."

"Abela has not told us what he will be doing about Nexia BT," Delia said. "They had an office next to him, door-to-door. One were the accountants for Castille, and the other the lawyer to the PM. These are the same people who decided on Electrogas, the power station that was going to be the engine for money laundering for the criminality that politicians used in the country. What will Abela do about Nexia BT, about Karl Cini  given that the Egrant report concludes he should be investigate?"

"I don't think he will do much?"

He highlighted  how all backbenchers were given consultancies or positions of trust to keep their mouths shut last legislature, "as Abela did when he said nothing about what was going on. Abela said he sees nothing wrong about this. He also said he sees nothing wrong with Peter Grech keeping his position, when the courts found that he broke the Constitution when he is there to defend it. The court found that he breached the fundamental rights of the Opposition Leader, and instead of resigning, he was interviewed and said he did nothing wrong and that it is part of his job."

"So breaching the Constitution and Fundamental Rights are part of his job." Abela sees nothing wrong with this, Delia said.

Delia said that Abela must declare if he will publish certain contracts in full. He mentioned the hospital contracts, "where the tax payers are paying tens of millions each year for 30 years to foreigners who are giving us nothing."

"Chris Fearne said he would look into it and he was not happy with it. Robert Abela told us nothing, did not commit himself and so is accepting that you pay €80 million a year to foreigners who are giving nothing to the country. We expect the whole Electrogas contract and the VGH contracts to be published."
Delia said that the problems in the country are not solved by changing the PM.

Referring to Moneyval, Delia said that Malta risks being on the blacklist and if the government does not manage to make the necessary changes and reverse the damage done, we could permanently be on this list. "In a few months we could face a situation where no serious people would want to invest in the country," he said.

He said that right now "we are fighting to take Malta in a new direction and rebuild the country afresh. We need to fix the damage done. We will not move ahead just through cosmetic change. Just by changing names we will not move forward."

He said that the PN needs to look at the common good first, and look at the country's interests.

PN MP Claudette Buttigieg said she could not understand why Prime Minister Robert Abela thanked the former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar. "Thanked him for what?" she asked, stating that he had not done his job and didn't do what he needed to do, damaging the reputation of the police.

"He thanked him for not protecting Daphne Caruana Galizia," she asked, and "for taking two years to resign from when calls were being made for him to step aside?" She brought up the Pilatus Bank incident as well. "Do you know why he resigned, because we were right," Buttigieg said. She then went on to say that "We were right on the AUM project, the Electrogas project," she said, while mentioning many more.

She highlighted that Abela was former PM Muscat's consultant, and said that he was advising him when Muscat was "drowning the country with his decisions." "This is why Abela has a lot of explaining to do. He cannot say that he would act differently as he was there, with Muscat, and was advising him."

PN MP Robert Cutajar said that we have lived contradictions in the past days, where someone was preaching continuity but said that this was turned upside down soon later. He mentioned the removal of the Justice Minister, and said that the PN was right when it called on Bonnici to carry responsibility. The same, he said, could be said when it comes to the police and that the PN had been calling for his resignation.

He highlighted that the same people who had defended what was being done last legislature are still there, and the people appointed to ministries were there last December as well.

PN MP Maria Deguara said that the new Prime Minister's priority should be to return the country to normality, and restore trust in the institutions. She said this would be harder to achieve without the inclusion of the opposition, and said that justice must not look at faces. She said that the courts must be led by people who are free to hand out justice.

She highlighted that abroad, and people in Malta as well, are convinced that corruption is rampant.

 


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