Interpretation Act: Amendments needed to strengthen regulatory entities, Abela argues

In light of the FATF greylisting, Abela wants the Opposition to agree on the amendments which will strengthen the prosecuting power of regulatory entities

Prime Minister Robert Abela is calling on the Opposition to accept amendments to the Interpretation Act that would allow regulatory entities to impose administrative penaltieis directly, instead of leaving this up to a court of law.

During a telephone interview on the party-owned ONE Radio, Abela said that the Opposition is failing to prioritise the public interest by voting against the amendments.

The initial government proposal involved amending the Constitution, but this was stonewalled by the Opposition. Government then presented amendments to the Interpretation Act, which would have required a simple majority.

The Nationalist Party stood fervently against the amendments, with former Opposition leader Adrian Delia warning government that he will challenge any amendment to the Interpretation Act in the Constitutional Court if it passed in parliament, insisting that any change should be enacted through a constitutional amendment.

“I hope that after the FATF decision and all this discussion on working together in the interest of the country they would support this change,” Abela said.

After this, Abela went on to speak about the party’s environmental commitments, with reference to the Wied Fulija project.

The valley, situated in Żurrieq, was converted into an open space with 43,000 trees and bushes planted, after being host to two billion kilograms worth of waste as a dumping site.

“The environment is one of those areas where we started doing more, we want to do more and we will do more. The environment is not a burden, but an opportunity.”

On COVID-19, Abela appealed for the public to get vaccinated against the virus.

“The pandemic remains a constantly evolving challenge and where as a world, as a country, as decision makers we learn all the time. And as decision makers, while we take the advice of the health authorities, we must keep listening to what people are worried about all the time."

According to Abela, health experts are saying that the vaccine is providing a safe environment for everyone even in spite of rising cases of COVID-19.