Opposition insists Byron Camilleri must resign

Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech and spokesperson Joe Giglio say Byron Camilleri should be resign over former prison chief’s conviction

Joe Giglio (left) and Bernard Grech
Joe Giglio (left) and Bernard Grech

Bernard Grech has reiterated his call for Byron Camilleri to resign after exercising “bad judgement” when he retained the former prisons director despite facing criminal charges.

The Nationalist Party leader insisted the Home affairs Minister must shoulder political responsibility for his actions.

Camilleri came under fire after former prison director Robert Brincau was found guilty of threatening an ambulance driver with a handgun and injuring him over an altercation that took place last August in Għadira. Brincau was given a suspended sentence.

The minister had refused to temporarily remove Brincau pending court proceedings when the case came to light last summer. Camilleri had defended his actions, adding that all he had heard were sensational comments, insisting he did not want to create a vacuum in the prisons.

Brincau resigned after the court verdict was delivered yesterday and somebody else was appointed to the post.

Prime Minister Robert Abela defended the minister’s actions yesterday, describing Camilleri as one of the best performers in Cabinet.

But in a press conference on Wednesday, Bernard Grech and Opposition home affairs spokesperson Joe Giglio insisted Camilleri should resign. “If he does not resign, then what is Robert Abela waiting for to remove him?”

Giglio said the message that Camilleri gave when retaining Brincau in his post was one of impunity, adding this was dangerous because it weakened security.

“The Prime Minister’s admission that our children are not safe if they walk in the streets of Valletta is confirmation that the Home Affairs Minister is not fit for purpose,” Giglio said.

He briefly referenced two recent incidents – one in which teenagers were assaulted in Valletta and another where a woman was killed after being run over by a driver high on drugs.

“People are not feeling safe and this is compounded by the demotivation experienced within the police corps. Police over worked, overstretched and definitely not over paid,” Giglio said.

Grech said it is everyone’s duty to act responsibly but chastised the government for fostering a climate of impunity where people close to power can do as they please.

“This leads to a breakdown in law and order where people suffer and sometimes die,” Grech said, adding many felt helpless in these circumstances.