Lawrence Gonzi said Cachia Caruana's loss is even bigger considering the current economic crisis, the 2014-2020 EU Budget and the Air Malta restructuring plan.
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi published the letter he penned in reply to Richard Cachia Caruana resignation letter sent on Monday, in the aftermath of the parliamentary vote on the Opposition's motion calling for the resignation of Malta's permanent representative to the EU.
In the letter, Gonzi said that the Opposition's motion was an "act of victimisation based on charges which were manifestly false and opportunistic."
"The country is losing your highly competent services as recognised by Parliament in the EU," Gonzi wrote.
He added that his loss was even bigger considering the current economic crisis, the delicate talks with the EU over the 2014-2020 Budget and the Air Malta restructuring plan. Gonzi said that as a result, Cachia Caruana's resignation "endangered the interests of many Maltese families."
While Gonzi thanked Cachia Caruana, the Prime Minister asked him to stay on for a few weeks to ensure there is a smooth transition in such a delicate moment, and augured that the country would continue to benefit from Cachia Caruana's services.
The Opposition's motion was only approved after government MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando voted with the Opposition and fellow Nationalist MP Jesmond Mugliett abstained. Gonzi said he was surprised by the vote as "there was an understanding that all government MPs will vote against the Opposition's motion."
Earlier today, Gonzi said that despite his resignation, Richard Cachia Caruana would represent Malta during next week's EU heads of government meeting at the prime minister's request.
Speaking this morning, Gonzi said that he asked Cachia Caruana to stay on for an undetermined period until a suitable replacement is found.
Gonzi explained that Cachia Caruana had agreed to stay on and serve the country's best interests "because that is what loyal people of integrity do."
The Prime Minister refused to answer whether he intends to call a vote of confidence in government. The only comments he gave in this regard were that the government is not a lame duck and it will remain at the helm of the country for as long as it enjoyed the confidence in Parliament.
Gonzi also noted that the government has lost two votes in Parliament in the space of two weeks because of "personal interests and personal agendas."
The Prime Minister also did not reply when asked to whom he was referring to. Gonzi also did not reply whether Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando acted in collusion with the Labour Party but said that "whoever takes decisions, myself included would be expected to shoulder their responsibility and face the consequences."
However, the Prime Minister fell short from explaining what kind of consequences Pullicino Orlando and Jesmond Muglett must face.