PN yet to file Rosianne Cutajar parliamentary Motion Bernard Grech announced in November

MPs detail ‘fiery’ Tuesday meeting as Grech and MPs clash over party’s ‘out of touch’ strategy in dealing with bread-and-butter issues  

The parliamentary motion asks Rosianne Cutajar (right) to return money she was paid as a consultant to the CEO of the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) in 2019 (Photos: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
The parliamentary motion asks Rosianne Cutajar (right) to return money she was paid as a consultant to the CEO of the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) in 2019 (Photos: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

The PN has failed to file a parliamentary motion asking Rosianne Cutajar to return money she earned from a phantom job despite announcing it in November. 

Opposition leader Bernard Grech had said the party would be filing a motion following a damning report by the National Audit Office (NAO). 

The NAO report revealed that the former Labour MP’s contract with the Institute for Tourism Studies (ITS) had been “illegitimate and breached regulations”. Furthermore, the decision to engage Cutajar was taken by then tourism minister Konrad Mizzi with the complacency of the ITS CEO behind the school board’s back. 

However, despite the announcement last November, no motion has yet been presented by the Opposition in parliament amid internal bickering over its futility. 

Replying to questions by this newspaper on whether the PN has backtracked on Grech’s initial statement, a spokesperson said, “the motion is going to be presented in the foreseeable future.” No timeframe was indicated. 

Early in December, MaltaToday had revealed how the proposed motion had caused a stir inside the PN parliamentary group, with several MPs concerned it would backfire and put them in a bad light. 

Questions had been raised about the absence of Nationalist MPs from their ordinary place of work with the public service despite being paid their full wages. 

Meanwhile, MPs present at a parliamentary group meeting last Tuesday, who spoke on condition of anonymity to be able to speak freely, told this newspaper that the motion was not even discussed. 

“We don’t know where we stand on it as a party. There had been internal debate on it at the start, but now most of us are in the dark on what will happen,” an MP said.  

But party insiders insist Grech is adamant on presenting the motion, despite the internal opposition. “Grech has told those opposed to the motion they must straighten out their affairs as it will be filed whether they like it or not,” an MP told this newspaper. 

MPs detail ‘fiery’ parliamentary group meeting  

The MP also said that during Tuesday’s meeting, an “agitated” Bernard Grech and several MPs clashed over an introductory address by the party leader.  

“He kicked off the meeting by saying we should be more present and closer to people,” the MP stated. “Several of those present took umbrage with what was said. I mean we are constantly speaking and discussing a range of issues, but we find no support from the party structures.” 

Another MP echoed the previous MP’s statements, saying the party chooses to focus on niche subjects which people “have little interest in.” 

“I do understand that the party has to focus on rule of law and good governance, but out there, people are interested on the rising cost of living and ever-increasing prices,” the MP said. 

Another MP said the party seems to be out of touch with bread-and-butter issues, and this ends up harming it politically.  

“From a purely political standpoint, we need to be in touch and aware of these concerns, and start speaking out more on them, or else we will not be electable,” the MP said. 

One of the issues raised during the meeting was the fact that the party media does not always invite its own MPs to speak about policies. 

On the other hand, another MP who spoke to MaltaToday played down the claims, saying it was a normal discussion where different ideas were debated.