[WATCH] PM: Aaron Farrugia removal part of regeneration process

Abela defends omitting Aaron Farrugia from cabinet reshuffle, giving Gozo minister planning portfolio

Former transport minister Aaron Farrugia
Former transport minister Aaron Farrugia

Prime Minister Robert Abela insisted that removing Aaron Farrugia from cabinet was part of a regeneration process, while dismissing concerns that combining Gozo and planning portfolios was done to appease Joseph Portelli.

Speaking to journalists after the swearing-in of new cabinet members, Abela praised Aaron Farrugia for his work in the Labour Party and in various cabinet positions over the years.

He insisted that cabinet omissions are not an expression of disapproval to a politician’s work, and that change is necessary.

“I felt there was a need to continue our regeneration process. And I don’t know why you’re singling out Aaron Farrugia. There were other changes and appointments,” Abela said.

Farrugia was the only member of cabinet to be left out of Abela’s surprise reshuffle over the weekend. He was the minister responsible for transport, infrastructure, and capital projects.

Abela also dismissed concerns over giving Gozo minister Clint Camilleri the development planning portfolio. The assignment raised eyebrows, as many Gozo-based groups and associations have been warning of overdevelopment on the sister island.

Some also wondered whether the addition of this portfolio is an attempt to appease Gozitan construction magnate Joseph Portelli – a suggestion that Abela dismissed outright.

“Whoever’s making such comments has no idea what they’re talking about,” Abela said. “Clint Camilleri is not only a competent minister but also a competent architect (perit).”

“I believe [Camilleri] is the person that can bring about the necessary changes to policies. If someone is claiming that this appointment was done to promote unbridled development, that’s definitely not the case.”