The Malta Independent 26 May 2024, Sunday
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People like Chris Fearne ‘should never end up the target of cruel attacks’ – Abela

Sunday, 12 May 2024, 12:43 Last update: about 14 days ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Sunday that people like former Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne should never end up being the target of cruel attacks.

Fearne submitted his resignation on Friday, following the news days earlier that charges had been filed against him in court tied to the infamous hospitals deal. Fearne is facing charges of fraud and misappropriation. Other public officials also face charges, like Central Bank Governor Edward Scicluna, but there has not been any news about whether or not they will resign.


Prime Minister Robert Abela, addressing a political rally on Sunday, said that this week was one filled with many emotions. "I had moments where, even on a personal level, I felt a lot. I spoke to people who are loyal to the country. People of integrity who served the country without looking at political colour. You see in their eyes the hurt, the sadness of those suffering injustice. What they spoke to me about is inexplicable, and I feel that hurt with them. In such circumstances, with what I saw before my eyes, there is little that you can say or do. You feel that even if you show them your complete trust it is nearly not enough."

"Those I spoke to know that time will prove them right, but they still ask, why? One of them told me that until time proves him right he will be buried beneath the ground. They mention facts that confirm certain doubts and questions that we of good will are also asking and talking about. That is why I made certain observations over the past days, that is why I criticized. Others called them attacks. But look at them, they believe they have the divine right to criticise the decisions they don't like. They believe they have a monopoly on what is good, or that what is good is according to what they decide and write. They attack the private lives of the judiciary before they take a decision, to condition them to decide the way they want. They condemn and insult the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner. The Permanent Secretaries that worked with them but also with us, for them have become criminals because they worked with us."

Now, he said, "processes will begin before the courts. A process which a the President of the Republic rightly said must be allowed to take place serenely. But what I can swear here before you, as a person for whom the law and the rule of law are part of my life, as the Labour Party Leader who loves this party so much, and as Prime Minister  who always puts Malta first, is one thing. Whoever serves the State loyally and with integrity found me and will continue to find me standing shoulder to shoulder with them."

He said that those who said it is not right for photos of Magistrates to be published in newspapers, felt that they had to and were able to publish a photo of every Permanent Secretary serving today, and wrote that Civil officials will find the police outside their homes. I will dedicate my life to fight for those who serve the country, to be their shield."

Abela said that he will show love to those who love their country, "and I will not let anyone blackmail them from doing their job honestly. People like Chris Fearne who left his professional career behind him to serve the country, people like him should never end up in the aim of these cruel attacks. I absolutely condemn the cruel discourse of the Opposition Leader, saying that Fearne damaged the country."

"Chris, the Labour Party is proud of you, Malta is proud of you."

"Because we are proud with what you worked for, we will continue strongly working for the will of the people to be respected."

He told the people to be proud with the decisions they took over the past years, "as it was the fruit of your decisions and choices that our country always moved forward. It was with your strength that we gave new civil rights, that we doubled the economy, that we modernized this country, that we helped pensioners, that we built a new middle class."

He said that the whole Parliamentary group is focused on how it can do more for the country. "Look at the others, they try and divide, create wedges between us, but instead they strengthen us," he said in what was a shot taken at the PN.

He spoke about a recent Cabinet meeting, and a decision to improve the conditions of workers. "In our manifesto we had pledged to extend the equal pay for equal work concept, which until now only existed in the public sector, to the private sector. That is what we will be doing," he said. Abela said that they consulted with not just the constituted bodies, but also operators in the manufacturing and tourism sectors, as well as SMEs. "On this equal pay for equal work concept, we will make all the needed changes at law so that private sector workers of contractors who do the same work as those who work directly with the employer on the same workplace be paid the same wage. This is another reform that in the coming days we will provide details about."

He said that many businesses adapted to today's realities, and prepared to implement this concept of equal work for equal pay. "The Labour Party finds solutions for workers, and we find solutions with agreement with employers. That is the economic and industrial harmony the Labour Party brought since leading the country."

"While we take decisions for the country, do you know what others were doing? They were talking about the civil disobedience they want. Bernard Grech wasn't even embarrassed when a journalist asked him whether he thinks it is antagonizing discourse for him to say he wants to conduct a war. Bernard Grech told the journalist that it seems the only way to 'stop them' is by going to war. He wasn't even ashamed to respond in this way. Let him speak as much as he wants about the war he wants against us, we will speak about the wealth we want for the people. I told you on 1 May, don't fall for provocation."

"In the coming weeks let us neutralize provocation with more work and love towards our country, and more calm."

"They provoke and on 8 June, we vote."

Grech urged people to again put their faith in him, "so that with the strength of that trust, we will strengthen the government to continue implementing the manifesto, as that project only remains alive if you continue believing in it and if you show the establishment again that you are ready to continue struggling for it. One thing is clear, they will run cruel campaigns," he said in reference to the Opposition.

In reference to the Nationalist Party, although not naming them, he said they tried to break the country many times but never managed. Abela said that not even a pandemic broke the country, "let alone an establishment that we beat and will continue to beat as long as we are united."

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