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Updated | Debono toys with resignation motion against minister, ‘PN decision was unacceptable’
After PN executive reconfirms election ban for wayward MP, Debono hits back with no-confidence motion.
4 September 2012, 12:00am
Debono yesterday was told by the PN executive he would not be allowed to contest on the PN ticket after having been banned back in July 2012 for having voted with the Opposition in a motion for the resignation of home affairs minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici.
Debono's motion, whose text he posted on his personal blog, comes just a week after having filed a motion against his own government's energy policy, by calling on the House to demand that the Delimara power station ceases the use of heavy fuel oil from powering its new turbines.
"According to the doctrine of individual responsibility, and the prime minister's repeated declaration that everybody has to face the consequences of his actions, this House resolves that it has no faith in Minister Joseph Cassar who has to be censured for these shortcomings and must therefore resign," Debono's motion reads.
In comments to MaltaToday, Debono insisted that it was shocking that the party did not accede to his request to have an independent tribunal hear his submissions as to whether the executive's ban on his candidature was justified or not. "I told the executive I was ready to answer before a tribunal of a certain degree of independence and impartiality, that is, composed of members unrelated or independent of the party. I told the executive: 'what are you scared of?'
"How can I be judged by people like the Prime Minister, who has his minister's interests at heart, or people like Carm Mifsud Bonnici influencing such a decision when I had voted in favour of the no-confidence motion against him, or people from the fifth district like Mario Galea? This country has just experienced the most shocking way a party could judge its own member."
When faced with the statement by Lawrence Gonzi that his vote on the Mifsud Bonnici had been "politically unacceptable", Debono replied that what was unacceptable was the fact that political parties in Malta behaved "as if they are above the law."
"They are not. I have every right to be heard. The party executive's 'hearing' is not its prerogative. What's unacceptable is that I have not been judged by an independent tribunal."
Debono would not answer questions about his political future, hinting that he is still biding his time: only yesterday he posted a blog in which he floated rumours of a new political party that would be made up of disguntled Nationalists, and later today he posted the text of a motion against health minister Joe Cassar he might consider filing.
Debono's draft motion makes specific reference to several shortcomings in the health department, which comes hot on the heels of accusations by former oncology chief Stephen Brincat who claimed two patients had died from chemotherapy toxicity in Gozo.
He also does not make any secret of his personal ordeal at the hands of the party.
"Since the Prime Minister repeatedly declared at every occasion that everybody has to face the consequences of their actions, and having passed me through martyrdom simply for dissenting from the Whip's orders [on the Carm Mifsud Bonnici motion]...
"Owing to the preoccupation of medical professionals towards the leadership of health minister Joe Cassar, and the public's general ire at the lack of beds in the hospital, problems in the emergency department and waiting lists... which are politically unacceptable...
"This parliament is supreme and has not just the right, but the obligation to scrutinise ministers' operations... ministers must be accountable to this House and face the consequences of their actions included mismanagement that is politically unacceptable."
Debono's motion also calls for the censure of Cassar over the recent selection process for medical consultants, the state of hospital ambulances, and the recent allegations of two deaths from chemo-toxicity made by former oncology chief Stephen Brincat.
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.
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