Clayton Bartolo: ‘Irrespective of political beliefs, voice your ideas on how this nation goes forward’

Clayton Bartolo is a Labour candidate on the 8th and 12th districts

Clayton Bartolo
Clayton Bartolo

When and why did you decide to be active in politics?

My political journey started at the age of 15 where I started involving myself in the Labour Youth Forum. I felt that at a young age my contribution can be valued both at party and community level. In fact, a few years later I contested and got elected as the youngest councillor ever to be part of the Mellieħa Local Council. From then onwards, I never looked back. Between 2013 and 2017 I fulfilled the role of Deputy Mayor in the Mellieħa Local Council. In 2017, I got elected for the first time as a Labour Member of Parliament from constitutents of the 12th electoral district and recently was entrusted by Prime Minister Robert Abela to be part of his Cabinet of Ministers. Firstly, as Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Digital Economy and now as Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection.

What were the reasons that made you choose one political formation from another?

The Labour Movement has always been about people. It was formed to give the working class a voice and has sought power in order to improve their lives. The fruits of this work have changed Malta for the better, through the most progressive governments in our country’s history. In the past 9 years, we have experienced an unprecedent period of economic growth, unemployement records decreased to historic lows, yearly increase in pensions and stipends and new civil liberties that have given Maltese people a platform to live their life as them deem fit irrespective of race or sexual orientation. The greatest asset of the Labour Party is that it is an evolving vehicle that does not settle for the status quo. This is what at stake in this general election. A choice between a future with Labour or going back to the past.

What inspires you in politics?

The compassion and love of the Maltese people is the driving force that motivates me to pursue this political career. Politics are a sterling opportunity through which everyone can make a difference in society. We must appreciate the value of living in one of the most participative democracies in Europe. The greatest advice I can give to the upcoming generation is that irrespective of your political beliefs be protagonists and voice your ideas on how this nation can truly go forward in the years to come.

How are you conducting your election campaign?

It is a hectic period. There is no denying that. However, it is a sterling experience especially when going to people’s households and getting to know them better. As we are approaching the final lap of this campaign, the aspect I will remember the most is the faces of the people I have met from one corner of this nation to the other. The respect and genunity I have seen in them makes me so hopeful of the bright future that await the Maltese Islands.

What in your view are people’s concerns at the moment?

Despite the political campaign, I am observing a common concern about what is happening in Ukraine. Justifibly, people are raising questions as to what extent this war will impact our economy especially on fuel and food prices.

Then there are other issues like the environment and the pandemic.

What are your personal expectations in the next general election?

It would be a privilege to be entrusted once again from the constituents of Mellieħa, St.Paul’s Bay and Naxxar and for the first time from the residents forming part of the 8th district composed of Birkirkara, Lija, Balzan and Iklin. However, it’s the people’s decision. Come what may, I will respect the electorate’s decision.