Muscat says his pick for Chief of Staff is best man for job

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says his Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri was instrumental in Labour’s revolution and will strive to do same for government.

Joseph Muscat saluting the crowds from his new office at Castille. (Photo James Galea/MediaToday)
Joseph Muscat saluting the crowds from his new office at Castille. (Photo James Galea/MediaToday)

Newly elected Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that his decision to choose life-long friend and Labour Party chief strategist Keith Schembri as his Chief of Staff at Castille was based on his right hand man's successful transformation of the party.

Speaking on TVM programme 'Close Up', Labour Prime Minister Joseph Muscat talked about his first three appointments as Prime Minister and announced that his Cabinet would be sworn-in on Wednesday.

Speaking about the appointment of Keith Schembri as his Chief of Staff, Muscat said that this represents "a change of culture for the government."

"We will be restructuring how the secretariat [of the Prime Minister] works. It will be more business oriented and utilise concepts such as Key Performance Indicators," which Muscat said will establish what sort of performance government departments achieve, how to communicate, and what sort of transparency they would feature.

He noted that Schembri was instrumental to the Labour campaign, saying that it was a concept that he and Muscat "conceived together".

"I feel he is the best man who can introduce and spread this concept within a Labour administration," he said.

Pressed about Schembri's business interests, and whether this created a conflict of interest, Muscat said that "I deem the fact that someone comes from a business background as an advantage."

He reiterated that a Labour government wants to ensure that the business sector is given its due value and importance. "Entrepreneurs should be allies, not some vague enemy."

"Thanks to him, we will be able to implement a new culture of delivery," he said. "Our campaign was one of the best in the country, but we were also able to restructure the party completely."

Muscat also said that Schembri is "divesting himself from all commercial and private interests," adding that "to the best of my knowledge, he does not own any companies which tender with the government."

Schembri, 38, is a director of his family business Kasco, paper merchants who have extended their group of companies into the graphic art industry, waste recycling, foodstuffs, and other industrial supplies.

Muscat also said that he is not approaching government with a mind of having a situation which even leads to perceptions of some hidden powers operating from behind the scenes.

He said that he had discussed the role with Schembri, and his righgt hand man had shown an interest in taking it up.

"I plan to use the resources I have available, and I will be making sure that the role is open to all scrutiny," he added.

He also reiterated that Schembri's appointment is part of "a new government which is more business friendly, which is willing to work with employers to create employment, and which is willing to change its own culture."

"Government cannot be associated with inefficiency and this government will be one that will deliver."

Muscat also said that the new Cabinet line-up would be announced on Wednesday, and that it would be slightly larger than the previous one so that the ministers could focus more, and to ensure that some sectors were not lost in mega-ministries, as had happened in the outgoing administration.

 

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Finally a person at Castille that does not suffer jelousy from the success of the self employed and somone that does not put spokes in the wheel to feel important! Well done
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Finally a person at Castille that does not suffer jelousy from the success of the self employed and somone that does not put spokes in the wheel to feel important! Well done
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My opinion.Work smarter,not harder."Finances come and go,and in this economy,any one can go bust."
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If Keith S can at least achieve 50% of what he achieved for his business than I want him there for another 20 years - Prosit