Muscat paints picture of 'divisive' Busuttil

Labour leader says Simon Busuttil's true colours betray his scripted self, 'he sees everyone as either Nationalists or Labourite'

Labour leader Joseph Muscat
Labour leader Joseph Muscat

If Simon Busuttil were to be elected Prime Minister he would divide the country into categories, choosing between those who are Labour and PN, those who come from the North or South of the country and between those who are rich or poor, Labour leader Joseph Muscat said this evening.

Standing before hundreds that gathered in Tarxien for a political event, the Maltese prime minister urged the electorate to trust the Labour government for a second term, telling them that his government had delivered in four years what the PN administrations failed to do in 25 years.

“Simon Busuttil is a dangerous man… and he will continue lying to save himself,” Muscat said, warning Busuttil that he “can run but he cannot hide” from shouldering political responsibility over the “Egrant calumny”.

Both Muscat and Labour MP and Gozitan candidate Franco Mercieca accused Busuttil of categorizing individuals according to their political affiliation. “He looks at people’s faces and he sees red or blue; Labour or Nationalists. He is showing his true colours,” the MP said.

Mercieca was referring to an incident that took place at the University of Malta on Wednesday, involving his son who is a student. During the leaders’ debate, students inside Sir Temi Zammit Hall were given the opportunity to place their name inside a box, in order to ask a question.

Charles Mercieca’s name was amongst those chosen at random. He asked Busuttil how the PN’s pledge granting €10,000 to couples moving to Gozo would work. Busuttil, who told him “say hi to your father”, told him that he would soon find out when he receives the proposals by post.

“My son was there, like any other kid present for the debate. But Simon Busuttil’s reply only tells me one thing: he was telling my son that ‘since you’re Labour, you don’t deserve an answer’,” he said. As the crowd started clapping, Mercieca stopped them, adding that Busuttil was turning the clock backwards.

“This is not something to be applauded. He [Busuttil] is making a choice between Labour and PN supporters. He’s tearing apart that principle of unity which we worked so hard to achieve. He’s bringing the politics of the past back.”

Echoing Mercieca’s words, Muscat said that it was that moment that betrayed Busuttil.

“This is Busuttil’s true character. Remember when four years ago he told Deborah [Schembri] she had the face of a Nationalist? Then, two weeks ago, he went to Cottonera to tell the residents that they have problems. When we took [foreign prime ministers] to Serkin they told us ‘how common’.

“It is during these moments that Busuttil’s true colours emerge. It’s when he is not scripted that you realize who he truly is: he is the person that categorizes people according to their political affiliation, whether they live in the north or south… according to whether they’re rich or poor.

“And that’s where we differ… we are one family who believes that everyone should progress in life and we help them achieve this.”

Muscat accused Busuttil of adopting delaying tactics in order to prolong as much as possible to conclusion of the Egrant inquiry.

“Is Busuttil scared of the result of the inquiry? I renew the challenge: if the inquiry links me in any way to Egrant I will resign. But he will have to shoulder responsibility if it turns out that he has built all this on a lie – he who took people to the streets.

“I know that the truth is on our side.”