[WATCH] PM on Caruana Galizia inquiry: I will apologise for shortcomings of Maltese State

Prime Minister Robert Abela says he accepts public inquiry’s conclusions that the State’s shortcomings created the environment that enabled the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela

Prime Minister Robert Abela has said he will apologise for the shortcomings of the Maltese State for having fostered the environment that led to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Abela addressed the press in a live conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in Valletta, saying it will be himself to request an apology for the State’s shortcomings, firstly to the Caruana Galizia family, but also to other people affected by these very shortcomings.

Abela said he will meet the Caruana Galizia family personally, to apologise in the name of the State.

“I want to meet Peter, Matthew and the rest of the family, to apologise personally, and to start a process to initiate the recommendations of the public inquiry, and my wish is to start a reconciliation between the State and the family, in dialogue. I would also wish to discuss the consideration of a national monument to her memory, with the family,” he said in response to questions by MaltaToday.

The Caruana Galizia public inquiry, headed by the three judges, declared today that the Maltese State had to bear responsibility for the assassination of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia for having “created an atmosphere of impunity, generated by the highest echelons at the heart of Castille and which, like an octopus, spread to other entities and regulators and the Police, leading to the collapse of rule of law.”

The three-judge panel accused the Muscat administration of having failed to take measures to curtail its overweening powers, which “by judiciousness and reason, it was expected to take to avoid this risk.”

Abela said he would start a process to reach the aims of the reports’ recommendations on the protection of journalists and other constitutional reforms.

Abela said the government will work with the Opposition to deliver the legislative measures required, and for consultation with the Institute of Maltese Journalists to deliver legal changes on the protection of media workers.

“Nobody expected the impact of what happened in October 2017 would be resolved overnight. This wound will heal slowly, and we must not fall into the temptation to forget. This report is the way we react to what happened, as another step to healing.”

Abela pointed out that the report itself had stated that the State itself had no role in the assassination of Caruana Galizia, but he accepted that the State’s shortcomings had created the environment that enabled this assassination.

The PM insisted that he was leading a new administration, rather than having inherited the Muscat administration when asked by MaltaToday whether he should call an election for the people to determine his government’s legitimacy. “We have carried out a swathe of government reforms which have the blessing of the European Commission, Moneyval, the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission… this administration is unlike the one there was in 2019,” Abela said.

Abela would not commit himself to calls from the Opposition leader to sack Joseph Muscat from Labour or strip him off his national honours. He also said that despite his own previous role as a legal consultant to the Muscat Cabinet, the inquiry had never called him to testify as a witness and that the report had not dealt with his role.