Busuttil: Election about more than proposals, it’s a matter of trust

The Nationalist Party leader warned that the Labour Party would once again offer ‘everything to everyone’ but would ultimately not deliver

Simon Busuttil insisted the election will boil down to a matter of trust
Simon Busuttil insisted the election will boil down to a matter of trust

Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil has warned voters not to fall for promises made by the Labour Party, insisting the government would be promising “everything to everyone” in a bid to “buy votes”.

Speaking at a political activity in Santa Venera on the four-year anniversary of his election as party leader, Busuttil insisted that both political parties would be putting forward their proposals for the upcoming election, however the choice would ultimately boil down to a matter of trust.

“You shouldn’t be surprised if [Muscat] starts to promise everything to everyone. It’s what he did the last time round,” said Busuttil, who said Muscat couldn’t be trusted since he had failed to deliver on his promise to fight corruption, and increase transparency and meritocracy.

Turning to the resignation of Godfrey Farrugia as Labour whip, Busuttil said that Farrugia no longer felt he could be a part of the party because of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who he said had become synonymous with corruption.

“I can promise honesty in politics, something Muscat can’t do because he has lost all integrity,” said Busuttil. 

He accused the Labour Party of engaging in a campaign of fear, by suggesting that a Nationalist administration would drive the economy into the ground.

“Have we ever had a Nationalist government that presided over a failing economy? The economy has always done well under a Nationalist administration,” said Busuttil.

Busuttil then spoke about the announcement earlier in the day, where the magistrate leading the Egrant inquiry said there was enough evidence for a second inquiry to be order to investigate allegations that the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri had taken kick-backs from the sale of Maltese citizenship.  

“The Prime Minster has travelled the world selling our citizenship,” he said. “Now it is clear that the Joseph Muscat was the salesman and his chief of staff was taking kickbacks.”

Busuttil insisted that once he was provided with evidence he went to the inquiring magistrate and explained to him that three Russian nationals had applied to buy Maltese citizenship and had paid Nexia BT managing partner Brian Tonna through Willerby Trade Inc - a British Virgin Islands company he owns.

Subsequently he said, two instalments of €50,000 were transferred from this company to Schembri’s personal account.

“Today, the magistrate sent me the decision he has taken,” said Busuttil. “He feels that there is enough for a criminal investigation to be opened by a magistrate into the dealings of Keith Schembri and Brian Tonna.”

“The Prime Minister doesn’t have a leg to stand on. We have told him repeatedly to leave and to stop harming the country,” he added, insisting that every day Muscat remains in office, the country’s reputation worsens.

He appealed to Prime Minister to “do the right thing and leave”, adding that winning an election would not solve the problem of corruption.

Deputy leader Mario De Marco, speaking ahead of Busuttil, said Malta had faced a number of changes in the past such as whether to remain a colony or not, or whether to become a member of the EU or stay out.

“Now on the 3 June we have another important choice in front of us. On the one hand we have Joseph Muscat, who promised before the last election that he would eradicate corruption,” said De Marco. “Instead by means of corruption he is eradicating his own party.”

De Marco said that on the other hand there was the will of honest Maltese people who believe in integrity and hard work.

“They value the basic principle of normality where what is right is right and what is wrong doesn’t become right,” he added. 

He stressed that the fact that Malta was going to the polls a year early clearly showed Muscat was acting in his own personal interest and not the national interest.

“He wants the election to erase his shortcomings and those of those around him in government.”

Economy spokesperson Claudio Grech said that over the course of the legislature the Nationality Party had managed to change the way in which politics is done.

“We dictated the political agenda of the country from the opposition benches,” he said, adding that the PN had consistently put forward valid proposals over the course of the four years whereas the Labour party had only done so now.

“We were the first party to issue a policy document on retailers when the Labour Party had forgotten them,” he added.

According to Grech Malta’s strong economy did not appear overnight and was the result of work by past Nationalist administration.

“It’s the result of Eddie Fenech Adami’s vision and the success achieved, against all odds, by Lawrence Gonzi,” he said. “In four years, they did not create a single new sector”

He said that the PN was not happy to be better than the Labour Party but was determined to raise the level of Maltese politics.