The Malta Independent 23 June 2024, Sunday
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Prime Minister must apologise for his irresponsible comments towards media and journalists - Grech

Semira Abbas Shalan Tuesday, 7 May 2024, 11:44 Last update: about 3 months ago

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech condemned Prime Minister Robert Abela’s comments towards the media and journalists, and said that he must apologise for his irresponsibility.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Grech said that Abela’s words in a press conference he held on Monday were unacceptable, and proved the devilish pact he had made with former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

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Grech was referring to the Vitals magisterial inquiry, which was concluded by the inquiring magistrate and passed on to the Attorney General, who then filed criminal charges in Court against several individuals, including current and ex-public officials, governors, Muscat, former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, and former Minister Konrad Mizzi, among others.

Abela held a press conference on Monday evening, where he defended the “innocent until proven guilty” stance on these individuals, and implied that the judiciary and media are part of an “establishment,” with the timing of the conclusions being an intentional move to rock the MEP and local council candidatures ahead of the elections.

Grech said that on Monday, the public saw a Prime Minister who chooses to defend and back those who allegedly committed crimes, and not defend the victims, the Maltese and Gozitan public.

He said that none of those who are facing criminal charges should occupy a public role, and this is expected in this case. Grech said that instead, these public officials seem to have the “right” to stay in their role despite the allegations.

“Abela spoke of the ‘establishment’, who is everyone but himself, and everyone who does not agree with him,” Grech said.

Grech said that the so-called ‘establishment’ is in fact Abela, as well as Muscat who Abela is defending, who have, together, been leading Malta for the past 11 years. Grech said that the Labour government took over the AG, the Police, as well as the national broadcaster.

“We must send a message to the institutions, to release them from the criminal establishment in Castille,” Grech said. He said that Abela is “throwing out” the strength to the Maltese, and not defending it.

Grech said that the AG chose to pass on the contents of the magisterial inquiry to the Prime Minister only, without publishing to the public or providing a copy to the Opposition Leader.

He said that the AG is giving the opportunity to Abela to decide what to do with the contents, while trying to convince the public that the process leading to the conclusions was done unjustly.

“Abela said he is not ready to make his own conclusions on the inquiry, yet in the same breath, he says he has not seen it,” Grech said, noting the contradiction, and alleging that Abela does indeed know what the contents of the inquiry say.

Grech said Abela has been caught in a lie, and since he is the Prime Minister, this is a serious lie. He said that Abela is confused and weak, which has led him to act erratically.

“To which extent are you ready to defend Joseph Muscat? To which extent are you ready to throw Malta away, and keep defending the devilish pact you made with him?” Grech said, addressing Abela.

He said Abela is risking everything, despite having gone through the grey list, namely financial services, gaming, workers’ jobs and businesses, as well as the country’s reputation which has been “thrown out” in the past 11 years as government believes that Malta is their own to control.

Grech said Abela made dangerous attacks towards the fundamental pillars of democracy, being Parliament, the Court, and media and journalists.

He said that the Prime Minister feels he has the right to lead in a totalitarian manner, despite 20 student groups as well as the Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM) having come out criticising Abela’s “irresponsible behaviour.”

“Are these also part of the establishment? Is whoever does not agree with you part of the establishment?” Grech said, adding that this is a delicate moment where Abela, who is meant to be there for the people, is ready to compromise everything, including the country’s stability.

He said that these words bring back “ugly memories” of when Labourites had set fire to a media house, and the Courts.

Grech asked Abela if he will condemn the threatening words he spoke, or if he will continue fearing Muscat.

“I am certain your response will be silence, and so I will hold you responsible of all that can happen in this situation,” Grech said.

He thanked the media and institutions who realise the delicate moment the country is facing, and urged them to continue being strong and honouring their constitutional obligations.

“To the media and journalists, a Maltese journalist, just like you, paid her life for the truth. Daphne Caruana Galizia stayed strong, like you will stay strong in the face of the Prime Minister’s attacks,” Grech said.

He said that Abela should withdraw what he said and apologise to the media and journalists, urging them to stay strong and persevere as part of the pillar of democracy.

Grech said that the PN, who brought independence and democracy to the country, as well as membership to the EU, will continue defending the Maltese state, as it is its duty and responsibility.

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